University of London
The University is a prestigious Higher Education Institution in the UK.
The University was seeking advice and guidance around the implementation of its student administration and management system. SITS is an externally provided IT system that manages student administration processes, from the initial enquiry stage through to the graduation and alumni stages. The system is considered vital to realising the University’s strategic business objectives; however the development and implementation of an important part of the system had not been completed to the planned schedule.
The Director of Operations thus engaged PTS Consulting Group (PTS) to conduct an independent review of the project to ensure that project management processes had been followed, and to provide assurance that the University’s recent transformational change programme would continue to deliver expected business benefit. PTS would conduct a lessons learnt review helping the University to clearly define a set of actions and roadmap for improvement. PTS needed to identify the root cause of the project delay, gathering views and reviewing processes to provide the University with transparency such that trust in the delivery capability of the team could be regained.
In close collaboration with the University delivery teams and stakeholder groups, PTS set about reviewing the project timeline, gaining face-to-face feedback from the key stakeholders. Alongside this, PTS conducted an assessment of the primary project management and system documentation, including that of past implementations that were successful. PTS carefully analysed the data and feedback collected to identify lessons that the University could learn from.
An important part of the exercise was providing a definition of project success. For this, PTS visually represented the comments and observations from the stakeholders interviewed around the Prince2® principles which underpin project success. PTS also visually mapped the process behind the student journey from the University’s high level vision through to the business objectives and processes. Consideration was given to the current state of the processes and capability through to the appropriate level of automation via the technology. PTS consulted with the University as to how these lessons could be put into place, providing a report and a deployment roadmap for action.
Prioritising the lessons identified and to embed learning, PTS suggested the following Quick Wins:
- Establish a Project Assurance role for all future projects
- Develop a project communications role
- Provide additional training on developing quality measures
- Implement development and testing standards using Management Information’s Data Quality standards as a guide
- Employ the continual service improvement process used by the Student Advice Centre to improve key IT Service Management processes- with a focus on Configuration, Change, Incident and Problem Management
- Consider hiring a Service Architect to lead the integration and management of the complex service environment
This would allow the University to achieve its vision for success – to provide a world-class education service. In order to achieve further benefit and address the growing service complexity, the lessons were laid out along a high-level roadmap.
PTS was able to give the University sound advice to lay the foundations of success in relation to:
- Good programme and project governance, adhering to PRINCE 2 and University quality standards
- Effective change management, and clear communication and consultation with key stakeholders, with formalvalidation of customer requirements
- A strategic understanding of the changes to the student and system lifecycle and capabilities of the SITS product
- Clear roles and responsibilities for the project with regard to design, build and test
- Clearly established processes and process management resource allocation
- Improved confidence in the process management resource allocation
- Improved confidence in the project team with robust and timely escalation and response to issues
- Reduced risk to operations and overall cost of running a highly complex system
The University was grateful to PTS, for appreciating that the situation encompassed not only technology, but an understanding of, and an appetite for, change. PTS was able to bring focus to the higher level needs of the business and establish the foundations of a strategic roadmap for change which will transform the University to meet its requirements.
The Director of Operations at the University commented:
““Thanks to PTS, the process was conducted professionally and with great thoroughness. The quality of the output from PTS was of a high standard and presented a clear case for action and a roadmap to assist us in moving forward. Graphic representation of the work built up over time took us on a journey that was both illuminating and highly instructive. Staff felt they had been listened to and their views faithfully presented. Overall, PTS demonstrated an excellent strategic understanding of the technological transformational environment. They were prepared to challenge us constructively and deliver a number of important observations for future development.”
Guidance and direction from PTS Consulting lead the University of London down the right path to change regarding their software systems.Read more