DELIVERING VALUE BASED LARGE IT PROGRAMS – ON TIME AND ON BUDGET
A higher education learning institution was implementing the first-year model – a strategic objective allowing students to focus on a unit of study at any one time throughout the semester. This innovative model would mean a change to the provisioning process of unit teaching content on its learning management system.
The proposed change presented an opportunity to review existing processes regarding unit site provisioning and led to key initiatives to reduce inefficiencies in the system. These were targeted at improving productivity for academics and support staff, so that they can focus on their core role of teaching and the student learning experience and spend less time on administration tasks.
Created a vision: A list of initiatives and ideas were derived from extensive stakeholder engagements and scored against strategy and operational goals/risks – captured in single-page strategic cases. A vision was created for the product to make sure the outcome was clear for all stakeholders. This was then sized, prioritised and road-mapped with dependencies defined.
Reduced complexity of initiatives: Having large initiatives inherently gives rise to larger delivery risks due to many unknowns. These were re-evaluated and resulted in smaller initiatives that can be delivered in less time, while still delivering value to the client. The incremental release proved to be very effective, as it provided capability uplifts our clients could use straight-away.
Facilitated key decisions and planned investments: By having a clear and feasible program of work (as well as a roadmap) that shows key alignment metrics versus size/complexity/risk of initiatives, key decisions on budgets, resources and priority can be made quickly.
Enabled program agility: The program of work and priorities within it were not set in stone. Governance and terms of reference were put in place to ensure initiatives could be reprioritised or deferred at set intervals.
Business risk management: A key project management factor is regular business and project risk analysis to ensure mitigations are owned and acted upon in a timely manner – ensuring business benefits relevancy at all times.
Business analysis: One of the main factors for project overruns is failure to estimate tasks correctly – normally due to requirements not being fully defined. We employed business acceptance criteria – defining all use cases that the business will be using to perform UAT. By addressing actual business scenarios, the result was full functional coverage and fewer defects.
Improved student experience: By having fully automated provisioning of students’ services upon enrolment, such as video recording services, learning resources, mobile application services and collaboration tools, students were able to access all learning and support resources with ease and in one place. This also resulted in less support calls/queries.