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The role of a project board

On Tuesday morning, I will be convening the first meeting of the project board for our "Office 365 for students" project.  This is the first time I have convened a project board; I'm more accustomed to leading or managing the project team, reporting on progress updates and issues.  As the board convenor, this time it is I who will be receiving reports, offering guidance and checking overall progress.  It promises to be an interesting experience. It is already helping me understand what the members of a board look for in reports and papers.

I should perhaps mention that Development Services are not implementing this project.  As the system is outsourced and in this case all the integration work will be done by the IT Infrastructure division, my section is not directly involved in the project team.

Not all our projects have associated boards.  Many projects have a single sponsor, or are quite small and self-contained.  Boards are needed for larger projects that affect many users across the university. The Timetabling project affects every school and has a board.  The Distance Education Initiative is similarly diverse and has a Steering Group (which is effectively a board), as do the projects for Learn 9 and the Virtual Classroom.

A good project board fills several roles.  The members are less closely involved with the day-to-day work of the team, which allows them to take a broader view of progress and problems.  They represent the project to stakeholders in the wider University, ensuring that the relevant people know about the project and make appropriate provision to adopt the new system.  The board ensures that the project has appropriate staff, resources and structures to deliver its goals, while checking that the work progresses in the desired direction. 

I'm looking forward to seeing, and indeed leading, the work of the board in practice. 


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