Advance Implementation - Why a Squirrel?


Viking Squirrel

Put ten people in a room for 18 months and assign them a project that requires high-level strategy and grass-roots-level technical requirements and, well, they can get a little  squirrely.

One day early in the project, the team was in a day-long meeting. As you can guess, they got sidetracked.  One of the team members recalled the dog Dug in the movie “Up” and interjected Dug’s idiosyncratic non-sequitor, “Squirrel.”  A rallying cry was born.

“Squirrel” got traction with the team and became their code word to have fun and stay focused.  Walk into the team room now and squirrels run amok.  There is a pink stuffed princess squirrel with a tiara, a fluffy-tailed “bandit” squirrel with a bandana around its face tacked to the top of one of the cubicles and any number of squirrel pictures pulled from the internet, including a “Squirrel Crossing” sign. The one that resides on your shirt was inspired by an image created, no doubt, under one deranged moment when a team member Photshopped a Viking helmet on top of a furry nut-hoarding friend.

Fun and focus.  This captures the commitment and camaraderie between two of JMU’s departments, Advancement Information Services and Information Technology, as they carried out the implementation of the new advancement information system, Advance Web.

I invite you to wear your shirt proudly, particularly on the first week of Go Live, and recognize that you, too, are part of the team.  In this case, it’s part of the project to get a little nutty.