Project Update 18/01/13

Activity with the project has picked up again since the Christmas break, the recommendations to the project board was converted into an actions lists and progress has been made.

Action: Review Project Board Roles

The project recognises that there may need to be some flexibility in the roles and structure of the project board depending on the size and nature of the project.  However, it is clear that the roles should be clarified and agreed to at the start of the project so all involved are aware of their responsibilities.  A template for a Project Board Charter and a Project Team Charter have been created.  This template includes the Terms of Reference for the Project Board , the suggested roles, the position (level, responsibility and area of the business) of the member of staff that should fill that role and their responsibilities.   A similar Project  Team Charter has also been created with the recommendation that the team should represent the Project Board at an operational level.

Action: Change Management, Communications Policies

It was noted when looking at change management and communication strategies that it was not possible to have one without the other and there was also a lot of cross over between the two with benefits realisation and stakeholder mapping.  Therefore a new template was created that takes the project manager through a series of stages that enable them to develop an effective change management and communication policy.

These stages are;

Phase one: Initial Analysis – this stage of the process considers the high level stakeholders and the potential benefits and impact of the project.  It is intended to be an initial consideration of the project deliverables  and the intended benefits.  This stage uses the e3 Benefits grid.

Phase two: Communication Strategy

The initial analysis identifies the stakeholders and the plan of how the project should be communication to them can start to form this is table based and considered; the stakeholder, their required involvement in the project, how the deliverables will affect them, the key messages they need to receive and the method with rough timings.

Phase three: Benefits Mapping

Once the project manager has considered the benefits to the stakeholders, and has identified the high level benefits of the project in the PID, it is time to tie them up with a benefits map.  This is a useful exercise to undertake with the Project Board or key stakeholders in the project to really focus them on the benefits of the project deliverables rather than the project itself.  Benefits mapping as presented by Niki Rogers at the EA workshops is used at this stage.  The intent is to link the deliverables from the project to the interim / immediate benefits through to the end benefits and ultimately the strategic objectives.


Phase four:  Change management strategy

This was influenced by the JISC InfoNet Chanage Manage workshop the project manager attended. Project outputs often impact a range of staff across the institution, requiring their involvement from strategic leadership to operational engagement.   Effective change management can ensure that buy-in is secured from relevant stakeholders to achieve successful delivery and implementation of project outputs.  The impact of the people’s attitudes and behaviour on projects, their deliverables and on-going benefits should not be underestimated.

This document should be used to plan a change management strategy, to be implemented and refined throughout a project’s lifecycle to help achieve successful delivery.

 Successful change management requires an understanding of a project’s stakeholders beyond high level impact or involvement required.  In addition it is important to be aware that people in a group of stakeholders are likely to react differently to a project and it is important to consider the roles within the stakeholder group, for example within the “academics” group there are course leaders, Principle Lecturers, Lecturers, Ad Hoc Lecturers who may need to be considered separately.  You may also find that you need to consider individuals as the project progresses, particularly when if they are a key influencer or have the potential to be a champion.

When analysing stakeholders, a project should consider;

  • Who are the influencers and who they influence
  • What reaction individuals are likely to have to the change
  • What barriers might there be to individuals buying into the change
  • How can those barriers be addressed
  • What benefits will there be to the individual – not just the benefits to the university
  • What activities may be required to secure buy-in
  • Identify if there are any groups that are likely to produce a change champion

A table sis used to capture the stakeholder, how they can be influenced, who they influence, what barriers they might perceive to engaging, if any individuals should be targeted and potential activities.

In addition the template includes a table for capturing potential change champions throughout the project.

Phase five: Communication and Change Management Plan

This is the key section of the document and is an amalgamation of the information captured in the phases above.  It is suggested that project managers may wish to embed this in their MS Project plan rather than a separate table.   The table includes timing, activity, key message, target audience and who the task is assigned to.

In addition recommendations are being made as to the layout and content of project sites on the intranet to ensure consistent communication about the project.

Action: Project Close down

New documents have been developed outlining the requirements for owners of project deliverables and their responsibilities.

In addition to the actions above a new process is being introduced for the new round of strategic projects that are just starting.  This is a gate process and outlines requirements the projects have to meet to progress through each gate.

These documents are subject to approval from the board but will be released with the project outputs.