Skip to main content

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. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Changing Principles

In EA, architecture principles set a framework for making architectural decisions.  They help to establish a common understanding across different groups of stakeholders, and provide guidance for portfolios and projects.  Michael Durso of the LSE gave a good introduction to the idea in a webinar last week for the UCISA EA community.

Many organisations take the TOGAF architecture principles as a starting point.  These are based on the four architectural domains of TOGAF: business, information/data, applications, technology/infrastructure.  These principles tend to describe what should be done, e.g. re-use applications, buy in software rather than build it, keep data secure.  See for example the principles adopted at Plymouth University and the University of Birmingham.

Recently though, I encountered a different way of looking at principles.  The user experience design community tend to focus more on how we should do things.  E.g. we should start with user needs, use iterative developm…

Why the UCISA Capability Model is useful

What do Universities do?

This may seem a strange question to ask and the answer may seem obvious.  Universities educate students and undertake research.  And perhaps they work with industrial partners and create spin-off companies of their worn.  And they may work with local communities, and affiliation bodies for certain degress, and they definitely report on their activities to government bodies such as HEFCE.  They provide student services and support.  The longeryou think about it, the more things you can think of that a University does.

In business, the things that an organisation does are called "capabilities", which is a slightly strange term.  I think it is linked to the HR idea of a combination of the CAPacity and ABILITY to do a task.  Whatever the name, it is a useful concept.  A capability is more basic than a process: a University may change the way it educates students but as long as it remains a University it will educate them one way or another.

A capability …

A brief summary of our major initiatives

I notice that in 2016 I wrote 34 posts on this blog.  This is only my fifth post in 2017 and we're already three-quarters of the way through the year.  Either I've suddenly got lazier, or else I've had less time to spend writing here.  As I'm not inclined to think of myself as especially lazy, I'm plumping for the latter explanation.

There really is a lot going on.  The University has several major initiatives under way, many of which need input from the Enterprise Architecture section.

The Service Excellence programme is overhauling (the buzzword is "transforming") our administrative processes for HR, Finance, and Student Administration.  Linked to this is a programme to procure an integrated ERP system to replace the adminstrative IT systems. 

Enabling Digital Transformation is a programme to put the middleware and architecture in place so that we can make our processes "digital first".  We're implementing an API framework, a notification…