ODP Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions not already addressed here, please send them to Gert Reynaert.

FAQs: ODP Phases 4-5

When will these changes go into effect?

Most changes in the reporting structure discussed during the June 24 All Staff Meeting will be effective on August 1, 2021 with a reminder that although teams may be moving within one of the new seven units, additional organizational design work will be happening now through November.

Will there be layoffs? Is my job safe?

We need to recognize that this work is being done with the backdrop of significant budget reductions being taken campus-wide as part of the impact of COVID on UC Berkeley’s financial position. We want to make a distinction between our ODP work, where layoffs are not planned as part of our organizational design process, and decisions that have to be made related to meeting our FY22 budget targets. We will be taking a cut again and we hope it won’t be substantial. Those cuts were sitting on a lot of open positions. At some point we need to make decisions on what positions we fill, eliminate, and what we need.

The budgetary process is separate and we won’t know the impacts on our organization until later this summer/fall. IST will definitely have fewer positions in the organization at the end of this project, how many we do not know. Our hope is to use creativity to think through what roles we need, possibly combining two positions into one, having common responsibilities shared, or other ideas on how we can work smarter together that benefits everyone. By doing this work strategically, and not filling empty/vacant positions where possible, we can create opportunities for existing staff whose positions might be eliminated, and protect as many jobs as we can. If the campus wants common good services, we need funding or we will look into recharge services.

Are all the recent retirees related to ODP?

No. A lot of the retirees over the past weeks and months were driven by several things. Some had already delayed their retirement because they were hoping to travel and could’t because of COVID. Some wanted to continue to do their valuable work which gave them purpose. Some were waiting for the outcome of the 3% merit increase. And others had various personal reasons for retiring last fiscal year.

What is changing? And, what is not changing?

In June, we are announcing the new foundational organizational structure for our department. There is still much work to be done in Phase 4 to get into the detailed design before we officially launch our new organization in January 2022.

For many staff, reporting lines will not be changing at this time. There are some staff members whose reporting lines have been restructured now and we are meeting with them directly to work through the transition. Additional changes are likely as we continue our Phase 4 work and will be communicated as decisions are made.

Effective immediately, the Executive Leadership Team (ExLT) will be meeting weekly to make strategic decisions about the running of the organization. The ODP Executive Leadership Team+ (this includes ExLT + Jerry Yerardi and Luis Hernández) will also meet weekly through Phase 4 to participate in the next level of organizational design with continuing input from directors.

I heard staff will receive a 3% increase this year, is this still happening?

Yes! From Eugene Whitlock’s email message in May: Effective July 1, all eligible PPSM covered Berkeley staff will be receiving an across-the-board 3% salary increase. This 2021-22 general salary increase program is for our policy-covered staff employees and academic appointees. Staff employees and academic appointees who are represented by our various unions are not included in this program because their wages are governed by collective bargaining agreements.

What is the relationship between RTL and SAIT with our new functional organizational model?

We will continue to have a collaborative partnership with both RTL and SAIT but decisions about their organizations and their financial management will remain separate from the ODP. Both of these departments report to different administrative units, RTL to VCUE and SAIT to Student Affairs. We invited RTL and SAIT to be part of our ODP process since we have had an ongoing collaborative relationship with both units and reporting relationships with their leaders. In our new model, Anne Marie Richard will report into the new ED for Campus IT Experience, and Shawna Dark will continue to have a dotted reporting line to Jenn Stringer and participate as part of the new Executive Leadership Team (ExLT).

Why are we extending this project and doing all this work now? Can’t we wait to get through this pandemic and the return to campus?

We reached an agile decision point in May when we determined that it would be best to extend the timeline for Phase 4 to be able to do all the work necessary toward launching our new organization. Multiple factors were considered in this decision. The review processes with campus leadership and People & Culture have taken longer than anticipated. There is still budgetary uncertainty from the delayed FY22 budget process and the overall campus financial situation. And finally, the reality is that there will need to be significant focus and effort going into the return to campus after a very challenging year. All of these things made it clear we needed to extend the work of Phase 4 to have time to get this critical phase right.

The decisions made about the foundational structure of our organization were critical to moving forward with the next steps of finalizing the new leadership team (beginning recruitment for two new open leadership positions: the Executive Director of Campus IT Experience, and the Director of People, Performance and Culture) and starting the detailed design work that has always been planned for Phase 4. We expect to have these positions filled in the October timeframe. Having the full Executive Leadership Team in place will help us finalize the detailed design of our organization with a goal of having most other org and staffing decisions completed by November.

While the People, Performance and Culture (PPC) unit is being created, who do we contact with admin and HR questions?

Liz Marsh will continue to manage our HR and admin functions while the new PPC unit is being stood up. Any changes to this structure will be clearly communicated at the time a transition happens.

Why are we moving Billing from Telecom to Operations?

There were several considerations discussed as we talked about moving Billing from Telecom to Operations, all of which factored into the final decision:

  • Builds on the strengths of a centralized billing function, creating consistency of how billing is done and how inquiries are handled with all customers, improving our reputation as a strategic partner.
  • Provides efficiency by having one functional owner for all IST recharge billing in the Operations team.
  • Creates a center of excellence, with improved individual competency in billing function so individuals can do their best work.
  • Improves our ability to be resilient and efficient with teams cross-trained and sharing work, allowing staff to take vacation or go on leave and billing work to continue. This helps to better serve our campus customers and reduce frustration experienced in the service provider teams.
  • Based on a proven model since the billing function works well in supporting Telecom services.
  • Will free up a portion of one project manager in the TPO.
  • Clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the billing team and recharge service providers.
  • Improves professional development and career path opportunities for billing team positions.
  • Enables billing support and application costs to be distributed equitably across recharge services.

What is the new org structure and how do we refer to the various levels of the organization?

The Circle of IT we shared at the all staff meeting on June 24 includes seven units. We chose the circle to symbolize the connection and interdependence between the services we offer, to demonstrate how each unit is represented equally, and that they are collaborative, dependent on, and accountable to one another. We believe this new structure evens out the organization and puts functions together in the right way. This enables the ability for more voices to be heard and equal representation from all functions of the organization at the leadership table.

Here’s how we will refer to our new organization: Our department within VCA has seven units led by the Executive Leadership Team. There are multiple groups within the units led by directors and/or managers and teams within those groups.

How was the decision for the new organizational structure made? 

The entire goal of this project was shared in our initial project charter in October 2020: To build an agile central IT organization that serves as a strategic partner with the UC Berkeley community to efficiently deliver campus IT services. Create a structure and culture where IT professionals can do their best work. 

We kept this objective in focus as we have proceeded through different phases of our ODP work. Our work has also been carried out with six guiding principles that include: engagement, respect, equity, communication, focus, and pace. In Phase 2, we gathered input from the OCIO/IST, RTL, and SAIT communities plus campus stakeholders to gain a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses as an organization. We took the data gathered and, in Phase 3, analyzed the results to help further hone in on what we heard as organizational challenges and where we could amplify our strengths. From Feb. through April we held weekly director meetings where we thoughtfully and thoroughly explored options and researched possible organizational models. 

When meeting with the directors and talking to CIOs of other universities, we considered many organizational models, including value chain based, service-centric, and project-based models, but in the end we settled on a functional organizational model. A functional organizational structure is a structure used to organize teams who are grouped based on their specific skills and knowledge. It vertically structures each department with roles for everyone in the organization. We currently have a functional model but it was a functional model by default rather than by design. So we took this opportunity to work closely with directors to identify alignments and create synergy between functions. 

This new structure:

  • Aligns the right functions in the organization to improve communication, service delivery and handoffs, for overall efficiency.
  • Creates departments that are easily understood by our IT partners and campus community.
  • Enables aligned units an equal seat at the table for decision making to run the organization together.
  • Allows for agility via Agile Collaborative Teams (more at our July all staff).

What are some of the metrics used from customers that helped inform the new organizational model?

Part of the metrics for success in the organization were set up in baseline data that we took from the initial survey in fall of 2020. Those results showed staff's perceptions about how well we are aligned, how agile we are, and the silos that currently exist. We knew we wanted to create an organization where we can give everyone a seat. It was also necessary to reduce the number of direct reports to the CIO from 16 to 8. This is the right-sizing that was needed to create an organization where every unit has the ability to sit at the leadership table, to work together, and to hold each other accountable. We look at the executive leadership as the place to lead the organization together, looking at the entire whole when making decisions.

Doesn’t the new structure just add more leaders and not more people to do the day-to-day work?

We believe this new functional organization structure actually shrinks the previous leadership structure and evens out the organization while putting functions together in the right way. This enables the ability for more voices to be heard and equal representation from all functions of the organization at the leadership table.

A functional organizational structure is a structure used to organize teams who are grouped based on their specific skills and knowledge. It vertically structures each department with roles for everyone in the organization. In the months to come, there will be opportunities for staff input and potential to join an ACT (Agile Collaborative Team). ACTs are cross-functional teams charged with exploring a critical strategic challenge that will transform the way we work and/or deliver services. We anticipate that the work of ACTs will help improve our day-to-day work in different ways and will enable us to stay agile with the changing needs of the campus.

Instead of creating two new leadership positions, shouldn’t we be giving that work to the directors that already exist? Why isn’t the People, Performance and Culture role an Executive Director?

We eliminated the Deputy CIO position and the Manager of People, Performance & Business Operations. If we look closely, it's not two new positions that didn’t exist, it's putting things into place and eliminating and repurposing roles. Existing directors already have full portfolios so the idea of adding more work to their plates wasn’t feasible. We feel the changes we have made help create the right level of leadership.    

The People Performance and Culture group is very small but important as an organization to manage a variety of issues we want to tackle. If we don't get the people part right and if we don’t show we value and invest in our staff, we would be doing a disservice to the organization that we serve. This is why it was important for this role to report directly to the CIO and be part of the ExLT to have a seat at the table and a voice. The director title was chosen because of the size of the organization and the job classification.  

As the ODP work continues will opportunities exist to provide feedback?

Now that we have announced our Executive Leadership Team, we are enabling more participation in conversations so that we can engage more people. The Q&A sessions held in early July were an opportunity for staff to provide feedback, address concerns, or suggest ideas. Our ExLT team and directors continue to meet weekly on next steps in our ODP work and have been thinking through questions that have been raised. The ExLT team and directors will continue to engage with staff going forward to get the appropriate feedback. The idea is to have all these conversions now in the July/August timeframe to inform decisions that will be made September through November.  There will also be opportunities to participate in the hiring process for the 2 new leadership positions (Executive Director for Campus IT Experience and the Director of People, Performance and Culture).

What is next?

Now that we have built the foundational organizational structure, we need to continue working through the detailed design of our organization with a series of activities planned for our Phase 4 work as follows:

Phase 4 Detailed Workstreams

With the extension of ODP, when will we know the final org structure and when will it be shared with the rest of campus? 

By December we should have the detailed design of our organization in place and ready to launch in January. Since all the work in Phase 4 is being done in tandem, there may be some units that have their organization designed sooner than others. Of course this means that there is a lot of change that we are trying to manage mindfully. Any changes to the seven unit organizational structures will be clearly communicated at the time a transition occurs with individuals who will be impacted. Communications to partners outside of our organization will occur as decisions are made and timed appropriately with those changes. Official announcements about our organization will be made at launch, planned for January 2022.

FAQs: ODP Phases 1-3

How are SAIT and RTL involved in the ODP? 

Several people have asked why RTL and SAIT were included in taking the initial survey or what their overall role is in this Organizational Design Project. Part of understanding our organizational strengths and weaknesses is not only looking at our own self-reflection, for those of us who work in OCIO/IST but gathering a broader range of input from our peers and those who use our services. Since we do a lot of collaborative work with other IT units on campus, it is important to get their insights into what we are doing well and what may need improvement along with input from those we serve in the campus community: our stakeholders; our customers. This is why the ODP team gathered information from IST, RTL, and SAIT during the initial survey November to December and continued to gather input from additional stakeholders within our IT organization and from our campus partners in January.

Will this Organizational Design Project include layoffs along the way?

We need to recognize that this work is being done with the backdrop of the significant budget reductions being taken campus-wide as part of the impact of COVID on UC Berkeley’s financial position. IST will definitely have fewer positions in the organization at the end of this project, how many we do not know. By doing this work strategically, and not filling empty positions where possible, we can create opportunities for existing staff whose positions might be eliminated, we will protect as many jobs as we can.

Why are we doing this now? Can’t we wait for a vaccine or until we get through this pandemic?

As the world, and UC Berkeley’s place in it, continues to change at an increasingly unprecedented pace, we want to be an adaptive, agile organization able to proactively adjust to emerging campus needs while enabling staff to do their best work. To not do so now leaves us in the position of continuing to react rather than lead. We are embarking on this project together from a position of strength — that is, we are doing this after much success improving OCIO/IST in many ways, building trust across campus through One IT, and continuing to refine and implement our long-term strategic plan. The pandemic has presented the perfect example of the need for agility; coupled with the financial consequences of COVID, we feel it is essential to act now.

What were the outcomes of the OCIO-IST/RTL/SAIT survey?

We concluded our major Strengths & Weaknesses survey on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Over 300 respondents, from individual contributors, to managers and directors across IST, RTL and SAIT provided their insights by completing the survey. This represents a 69% overall response rate: 67% for IST, 72% for RTL, and 80% for SAIT - thank you all for your participation and valuable feedback! Results of the survey were shared out during the Feb. 25, 2021 All Staff Update.

How will the OCIO-IST/RTL/SAIT data be analyzed?

Our initial Strengths & Weaknesses survey yielded large amounts of data, both quantitative and qualitative. Here is the approach being taken to analyze the data:

  • Confidentiality is key - Individual respondent’s data will always remain completely confidential and shielded from anyone but the administrator of the survey, who is independent from the ODP Team. The data set used for analysis does not include demographics - organizational, departmental, or leadership versus individual contributor, or otherwise. 

  • Leadership decision points - If there are departmental/organizational, and leadership/individual contributor demographics that are deemed potentially relevant, the ODP Process Advisory Committee will make decisions about what data can be used for additional analysis, and who can access it. 

  • Analyzing the data - All of the analytical work for both types of data is being done by a small group of analysts within the ODP Team. The initial analysis is completely blind (i.e. excluding all demographic data)

    • Quantitative data - This is easier to analyze since it can be represented as numbers or counts. In the survey, this type of data consisted of statements that are rated on an agree-disagree type of scale. This data can then be counted and averaged to create aggregate measures around attitudes and perceptions on concepts relevant for the project. 

    • Qualitative data - Equally important is the feedback received via free format questions about strengths and weaknesses at various organizational levels. This data consists of individual expressions of the unique opinions of each respondent (again, with no demographic information to respect confidentiality). A lot of work goes into carefully reading and categorizing each reply, so that individual feedback can be presented and interpreted at a thematic level, and rendered actionable in that way. 

  • Input and guidance to ensure equity and inclusion - The ODP Team is in regular conversation with the OCIO/IST Action Team, to ensure that opportunities to improve equity and inclusion are identified and included in the analysis.

How do I know that this isn't just the CIO coming in, a new CIO always wants to create a new organization?

This work is not being approached on a whim. Jenn has been at UC Berkeley for over 7 years, and part of the IST organization in the DCIO role for 18 months prior to becoming CIO. We recognize that these kinds of activities are difficult and often stressful, but truly believe that the project needs to be done now and that the outcome will actually make us a stronger, more agile organization and serve the campus more strategically. Even after we have completed the project and have our organizational structure in place, we will continue to look at what's working, what’s not, and make some course corrections, taking your feedback along the way.

Does this mean that we're centralizing?

This Organizational Design Project is about getting our own OCIO/IST house in order first, and taking action on what we can take action on. One of the best ways for us to be seen as a strategic partner is to show that we can strategically organize ourselves to support the campus. The other part of the work in terms of gathering information with distributed IT across the campus is really two-fold. Primarily, it is to understand what other units are doing and what they depend on us for so that we make sure that we're creating a strong central organization to support our distributed IT colleagues. Second, it's also a chance to help give the campus a full, campus-wide picture of the overall IT organization. 

Does this project affect the move into our new space at 2850 Telegraph, especially in regard to timing? 

This project will be happening in tandem with the move to 2850 Telegraph. Our relocation needs to keep moving forward for a couple of reasons. First, this is a project that has been funded, contracts signed, and people are getting paid — it would cost more money to slow it down. Secondly, we have been asked by campus to get our operations out of the buildings that we're paying rent for to help our overall campus financial situation, so completing the project is financially important as well.

What framework are you following for this work? 

The OCIO/IST Organizational Design Project Charter is modeled after Heidari-Robinson, S., & Heywood, S. (Nov. 2016). Harvard Business Review article Getting Reorgs Right; and book ReOrg: How to Get it Right

ODP Process Advisory Committee (ODP PAC)

This committee advises the CIO on the project’s process but does not make decisions about the future organization or personnel assignments.

Jenn Stringer

AVC for IT and CIO

David Greenbaum

Project Consultant

Liz Marsh

Executive Director of Strategy & Partnerships and Chief of Staff

Liz Marsh

Executive Director of Business Operations

Gert Reynaert

Project Manager

ODP Project Team

This team supports the project through phase two to gather and analyze information about organizational strengths and weaknesses and campus IT services and functions.

David Greenbaum

Project Consultant

Gert Reynaert

Project Manager

Rita Rosenthal

Communications Manager

Clarissa Fermin

Administrative Officer

Stephanie Dunn

Executive Assistant

Isaac Mankita

Business and Finance Analyst


If you have questions not already addressed in the FAQs, please send them to Gert Reynaert