My former Director of Technology said that the first question he asks himself before he makes important decisions, “What is the experience of the end user (students)?”
As a technology leader in an educational organization it is important to keep focused on the purpose for the districts existence; the education of children. Support systems are important to have and understand, but at the end of the day we need to make sure that our students learn. Applications that students use should always be high priority. Classes are immediate and, based on current educational standards, often unrecoverable when time is lost. District personnel have schedules and timelines as well, however, they are secondary to the students sitting in the classroom.
One of the longest conversations I had with district engineers in North Carolina, was about how to understand the immediacy of the needs of the classroom. I worked in the corporate world for many years before I chose to move into education. I understand an office environment, complete with timelines and project demands. The classroom is an unique environment that is different from anything that I had ever experienced before. Those who haven’t taught have no frame of reference to understand.
This lack of reference made it difficult for the engineers to truly understand the urgency I was trying to help them make a connection with. It took a full day meeting with a working lunch for me to completely describe the dynamics of the classroom. It was an eye opener, having them walk in a teacher's shoes for a short time. By having all departments involved in creating the evaluation of applications you ensure that all voices are heard. There is a disconnect between classroom based personnel and district office based personnel. The lack of common reference can cause conflict, and by involving all in the Application Rational, you will have the best information with which to make decisions.