Meeting at 11am every Tuesday for a short and concise meeting of updates to the SSR project; this week’s meeting, led by Adrian Bryant, saw us covering a few key points and sharing what we have all been working on.
Having noted early on in the project that people felt communication was an issue, measures have been taken to improve upon this. As part of the weekly project team meeting, we will be doing ‘stand-ups’ at the end which allow each team member to quickly share what we’re doing now & next and any issues we have. In addition to this we will be making use of whiteboards at designated areas throughout the building which will be updated with information for people to see when staff members aren’t available.
The Project Team now have a dedicated workspace on the 5th floor at HH where colleagues can drop into if they want more information.
The high-level plan is on its way, with only some minor details to tweak it should be ready to communicate shortly.
Sadly we will see two highly-regarded team members leaving in the coming weeks, Alix Barker and Mandeep Mudhar. We wish them the very best of luck in their future roles.
Now and Next
We briefly touched on some overall achievements and what to expect next from the project.
Finally, we went over some of the key dates coming up to keep note of in your diaries.
Next week’s team meeting will be led by Alix Barker with a focus on the communication aspect of the project. As always, more detailed info on all aspects of the project can be found on the webpage.
With the Admissions stage of the project going live fast approaching, we thought it a good time to gain new insights into the project nearly a year on from our last ‘Stakeholder stories’ interviews. We spoke to 4 members of the Project Team, each with differing involvement and backgrounds to the project which they all told us about in a bit more detail.
Anne Sidney, Admissions Work stream Lead (Deputy Head of University Admissions Home/EU)
With years of experience working in HE and a subject expert, Anne tells us what it has been like to lay the foundations on such an ambitious project.
Tudo Scheibner, Strand Lead for Design Configuration and Transition, Senior User (Head of Student Systems and Records)
Working day-to-day on the smooth running and upkeep of the existing systems, he tells us about the challenges of implementing a new system whilst maintaining the old one.
Adrian Bryant, Programme Manager
Having joined the project as Programme Manager only two months ago, Adrian is still relatively new. However, with circa 5 years’ experience working in Higher Education on similar Student System Replacement Projects and culture changes, he has just the right knowledge and skills needed to manage this programme.
Peter Watson, Project Sponsor
Peter Watson tells us about what it has been like to run such a large scale project and how important it is to him to make sure everything runs on time.
The most recent Project Board took place on April 20th where a full and frank debate took place on a number of key issues, leading to ratification of some key decisions. Below are some of the key headlines. We will be writing a similar post after each Project Board so please keep checking back for regular updates.
Due to some delays experienced in setting up our technical environments and kicking off Admissions, alongside budget overspend the project is at Amber status. Plans are in place to mitigate against further delays. During this board meeting many valid points were raised and many useful solutions discussed.
The key dates and milestones for Admissions were discussed and although challenging they are still achievable. The senior user, work stream lead and subject matter experts were thanked for all their hard work in this demanding environment.
Concerns were raised about the concurrence of the roll out of the new system for Admissions with an extremely busy period for the University, meaning it would be difficult for users to find time to become familiar and confident using the new system. As a solution to this a transition plan is being developed to help ease users into using SITS during this period.
A discussion paper was presented and debated as to the format of student ID’s in the new system and how this new format would be transitioned to. A numeric format was agreed to and further investigation will be undertaken to assess how best to facilitate the transition, with the lowest impact on students.
So far academic representation / engagement at workshops has been challenging. The Project Team are working to resolve this by setting up an Academic Champion group who will act as a key consultation and engagement group prior to going out to a wider group. Each College has been asked to nominate three colleagues to join this forum.
Discussions were had about the possibility of nominating members to form a rapid decision making group, to make key decisions quicker in order to keep up project momentum. The group would then cascade to their team and any issues could be fed back to them swiftly for reassessment. This proposal was approved and will now be worked into the governance structure of the project.
Despite the delays and challenges faced at times, and which should be expected on such a complex project, the project is still headed in a positive direction. We have made good progress with Tribal and their deliverables to date have been of a high standard and quality.