Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Well this will be the last blog before the Christmas break, so Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from me to you. This week has been mainly working on the interim report, adding more detail to the outcomes we have had so far and adding useful information from the report to the website so others can see information about the project, this includes the issues raised from the first year of the project, and the development of the programme office. I have also changed the tone of the report based on the knowledge that it will be published online for all to see.

At the team meeting this week we have continued discussion on the governance of the programme office that will be raised next week with the Pro Vice Chancellor, along with what to name the office. I'm tempted towards "Enterprise Programme Office" as it is across the enterprise and seems to be an accepted term in business, however there has been some discussion about the fact that "Enterprise" has a different meaning in HE and that it should be called something generic such as "University Programme Office". We will have to see what our Executive think. It is an interesting idea that we should be changing what is a recognised term to something that fits the language of the HE environment even while saying that we need to change our language to fit that of employers to assist in employer engagement in award development.

We have also been discussing our modelling work, we need to get a head with this over the next couple of months as it will be vital to have a "To Be" model to support the programme office and also to support the work we need to create useful models within the pedagogic planner Phoebe. I have also submitted my first paper to an international conference, relating to embedding EA and Programme Management into an institution. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Our project partners are working hard at the moment creating their first snapshot report based on the work they have been doing for Enable. I have already received one draft - thanks guys - which was interesting reading. I am looking forward to the others arriving before the next SMWG meeting so that the findings can be covered in the meeting.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Flexible Service Delivery

It has been a busy week, I have been writing a paper for a conference next year on developing an Enterprise Programme Office and using Enterprise Architecture. This has coincided with the FSD JISC meeting down in London and discussions with our Finance Director. All of which have helped with giving me clear ideas of how we should be working as a university, and how to communicate the work both internally and externally to the project.

The discussion with the Finance Director lead to “imagine if..” statements which give basis to the “To Be” model that we need to build into our modelling. I need to capture these for sharing with the project team. A number of our “imagine if” scenarios relate to the work done by the FSD programme. The workshop I attended was on behalf of Sam, but in fact, I can see a real benefit to attending these events as a project manager, as well as those with a more technical leaning. There was a lot of useful discussion about enabling institutions to talk to vendors with one voice, and enabling institutions to be clear about their requirements by using Enterpise Architecture. Although EA isn't the be all and end all it is certainly a useful framework that can be used to help FSD and has helped the Enable project, and the institution, including giving us structure to collating evidence of behaviour within the university. It has also helped us identify the need for an Enterprise Programme Office that fits with the existing Executive Programme Office that already exists.

Here is a useful blog from the session by John Townsend (Liverpool John Moore) who was part of the last afternoon session group I participated in around effective change as part of the FSD business case. He reflects on the the idea of a Programme Office, and the need for effective governance. The governance put in place by Enable has been very useful in effecting change with the use of the SMWG but we need to be clear that the governance needs to go further to support our Enterprise Programme Office.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Notes from the Leeds Cluster Meeting

Leeds - small Just back from another useful cluster meeting, this time at Leeds.

It’s becoming apparent that there’s a lot of closely-related work going on in other JISC programmes and the curriculum design work will benefit from our participation in these other programmes. Specifically, we’ll be participating in the Flexible Service Delivery programme’s Strategic Technologies Group (STG), a community exploring and using enterprise architecture, and we’re running the OpenStaffs project in the JISC OER programme.

I now understand coaching as distinct from mentoring and tutoring. The PC3 coaching approach seems ideally suited to work-based learning. The kind of skills the coaching approach would develop would be a big selling point for employers.

From a support point of view, so far we’ve had lots of meetings to discuss the ideas, concepts and problems and theoretical approaches and solutions. We’ve got to the stage now where we need real world examples and advice from people/organisations who have ‘done it’ and lived to tell the tale. Input from outside the sector would be refreshing.

Costing new approaches was a major topic of discussion. This is also a main area of interest for the STG. I’m looking forward to finding out more about approaches to costing in the enterprise architecture sphere.

A key risk for our enterprise architecture effort was reiterated at the meeting – scope creep. We need to keep a very tight reign on architecture scope and partitioning to ensure the work fits the resource available.

One of the benefits of our enterprise architecture will be the ability to explicitly communicate how the University goes about its business. Currently, a large part of the organisation has a folklore-oriented architecture. Business processes seem to be passed down in oral tradition from one generation of administrators to the next. To get anything achieved you find the go-to person for that domain and ask them what to do. Processes are not documented and are therefore harder to identify and communicate. Enable gives us an opportunity to paint a picture of how we currently operate, making it easier to spot problems.

Now it’s nose to the grindstone to produce outputs and outcomes we can discuss at the next cluster meeting.