November 15, 2016
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Tompkins County Public Library - Borg Warner Room
101 East Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850




An Upgrade Success Story: In Scope, On Time, Under Budget, and Happy Constituents? with Chris O'Brien, Cornell University, and John Berkenkotter, Deloitte

Members will earn .5 PDUs for Leadership and .5 PDUs for Technical Project Management for attending this presentation.

A Lessons Learned review of how Cornell University successfully managed the triple constraints and delivered real value to all system stakeholders for a large upgrade project In Scope, On Time and Under Budget.

Cornell University was one of the last (if not the last) schools to upgrade to Campus Solutions 9.0.  Cornell needed to upgrade as quickly as possible as Oracle support for the outdated version was nearing an end.  At the same time, there was genuine desire from business owners to enhance current functionality to better serve students, faculty, and administrative users.  Running parallel with this goal was the desire to reduce long-term maintenance costs, expand delivered functionality, and strengthen the system’s position for future maintenance.

This presentation will deliver an open, honest review around the project management techniques that were applied to Cornell’s Campus Solutions upgrade project. The presentation will begin from the preliminary, pre-project stages of reviewing institutional goals and developing a proposal with clear, comprehensive requirements, to vendor selection and SOW development. From there, the presentation will transition into the tools and techniques employed to manage the project from a scope, budget, and timeline perspective.

Cornell’s upgrade placed over 400 customizations into play with a mandate to reduce customizations through the exploitation of delivered functionality. At the same time, the project was constrained with a 10 month timeline due to Oracle support expiration. This section of the presentation will outline how these priorities were balanced through project governance structure and supporting tools. 

The last component of the presentation will present the various challenges and obstacles that emerged over the life of the project. The various strategies to address, along with the results, will be presented.


Christine O’Brien, PMP
IT Project Manager, Cornell University

Chris has been in the higher-ed industry for all of her career. She spent nine years at Boston University in various roles ranging from developer to college registrar. She has been at Cornell University for nearly 20 years – most of that time in the role of technical developer. Chris transitioned into her current role as an IT Project Manager in the PMO at Cornell University eight years ago. She earned her PMP in February 2016 and she earned a BS in Computers and Information Systems from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Chris has a proven track record of bringing projects in on time, in scope and on budget.  Projects have ranged from enhancements to existing systems to upgrades and new implementations; small to large in team size and budget.  Most recently, Chris partnered with John to successfully upgrade Cornell’s alumni and student system – a multi-year, multi-million dollar project.

John Berkenkotter
Senior Manager, Deloitte

John is a decisive IT leader with a proven success record directing a broad range of Oracle/PeopleSoft implementation and upgrade initiatives over the past 18 years within the Higher Education industry.  Past clients include the Stanford University, University of Colorado at Boulder, eArmyU – U.S. Army, and the City Colleges of Chicago.  

John has spent the last two plus years working in partnership with Cornell University on upgrading and enhancing their student systems. He is a seasoned project manager with extensive experience in planning, analyzing and implementing solutions in support of business objectives. John started his career in IT systems on the technical side as a developer.  As such, he’s able to leverage his extensive experience through all layers of the Oracle/PeopleSoft project life-cycle including requirements definition, design, architecture, testing, security and support.



5:00 - 5:55 p.m. Registration and Networking
5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Light dinner, self-serve
5:55 - 6:00 p.m. Branch and Chapter Announcements
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Program




$15.00 Member Ticket
$20.00 after 11:45 pm November 13
$10.00 Earlybird rate before November 8

$20.00 Non-Member Ticket
$25.00 after 11:45 pm November 13
$15.00 Earlybird rate before November 8



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