Thursday, 28 May 2009

The next step

We had a full day yesterday as a team working through the next step of the Enable project, talking about the final part of the Investigation phase and the evaluation plan and what we are actually looking at evaluating, considering the bi-polar nature of the project. We have noted the usefulness of the Archimate/ Enterprise Architecture work that Sam has been doing for the process of Curriculum Design and Dev and we are now planing to use the same method to look at how we manage the process of change with this area. By creating a baseline of how the situation is at the moment, and how Enable has already been embedded in how we get new issues raised with senior staff we can track how we want to move forward, what roles will be needed in the future and what works.
I have a number of jobs to do based on this day too, a number of documents that need to be written to summarise the work we have been doing up until now, a refined project evaluation plan and motivating stakeholders (such as the partners) to write not just scenarios about what they would like in an ideal world, but their expectations from the Enable project (and the spokes involved in it). When doing the evaluation we need to think about measuring the totality of impact of the spokes, rather than the impact of each individual spoke (as they should be doing that as part of their own projects). This again links to managing a programme of projects and requires a bit of research on how we can do that. I have a number of spreadsheets and questionnaires that should help with this process.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Where angels fear to tread

I have just finished a day at Bolton looking at the benefits of using Archimate ( for modelling the Business processes at the university, and the way it has been used in past projects. Before today I rather thought that Archimate should only be used for Enterprise Architecture purposes, however it seems that each project had used it in a slightly different way. The two that resonated most with me were Roehamptons examples and those by APS Ltd. I noticed that the use of Archimate was by Business Analyst roles in a team such as a programme office or, in one case an Innovation Projects Office. The projects ranged from one person involved to a team of three, although each person had other roles as well.

So why this blog title? This links to the realisation that there is a real recognition to having to have a team in place (linking to the Programme Office I have mentioned in previous blogs) that can map all aspects of the university. This team would be required to map at a certain depth for executive overview – however further mapping would be required for assisting particular projects. The issue is around funding the department, should this be costed ( to each project as part of the expected work? At what depth should the mapping be done if a day to day role? It has been recognised that this team needs to sit outside of faculties and services to ensure that they are not perceived as having invested interest in particular projects or systems. Perhaps I need to think in terms of scenarios…

Monday, 18 May 2009

Capturing Perceptions

Last week was very busy, and this week will continue in that theme. We had a partner visit and tt was the programme meeting in Birmingham. This was followed by a presentation on Strategy and leadership for my course, which I started to support the work of Enable.
This presentation has since been used at EISTA 2010 and published in Journal of Education, Informatics, and Cybernetics, Vol 2, No 3, 2010
This course has since been completed and I have now started an MSc in Innovation and Managing Change in Higher Education by Negotiated Learning. I have finished my first module for this but will be putting the award on hold while I go on maternity leave. 

This week I am doing a fair bit of training The main aspect is looking at TOGAF and ArchiMate with CETIS in Bolton tomorrow. 
Blog available on this day here: Enable: Where angels fear to tread 

I am also doing some mentoring/coaching as part of the next stage of my course, this work focuses on supporting another member of staff working on a large scale project. In between these days I am still looking at evaluation and capturing perceptions of stakeholders, and at the structure of a project team event for the end of June.

Perception Questionnaires

I have been given a very useful questionnaire from Cardiff University that originated at BAE on finding out what people want from a project, and then measuring how successful we have been in providing it in the future. The questionnaire has been adapted from BAE and to asks the project lead (or stakeholders in the project) the following:
  • List 5 achievements for the project
  • For each of the 5 achievements score them 10 (Most Important) - 1 (Least Important)
  • For each of the 5 achievements score them 4 (Delighted with how it works at the moment) to 1 (Very Dissatisfied with how it works at the moment).
Each score was asked for twice, the initiative and for Enable. The project lead (or stakeholder) is then asked for what they consider the 'Big One' (i.e. high need but very dissatisfied with at the moment) and the 'Pat on the Back' (i.e. high need but delighted with at the moment).

This has gone out to our project partners via the VSN. I also found a useful questionnaire online "The Organisation Perception Questionnaire" although this relies on rating some statements, so the team needs to think about what needs to go in there.

The Organisation Perception questionnaire has not been used by Enable, however the BAE questionnaire was used (as adapted above) during the first stage of the Enable project and was found to be extremely useful when revisiting expectations against the reality and being able to capture what was/not achieved and why. It was used in conjunction with a semi-structured interview technique and a Project Overview document to support the Enable team in understanding the outputs expected from each initiative, what outcomes could be expected, and what overlaps might exist with other initiatives running in the University at the same time. This work all fitted with the Programme/Change Management approach adapted by the project team. Further information on evaluation techniques used by the Enable team will be available in August 2012,  through the Evaluation Story & Final Story written for JISC

Partner Engagement

Partner engagement has really picked up after visits have been completed at the partner sites, we are seeing blogging from tutors in Shrewsbury college on the VSN. Hopefully more blogs and discussions will grow in the next few months with the support of college coordinators such as Emma, Richard and Gerard. I will be sending out a reminder email to them all towards the end of the week to ensure that they are all happy with what is happening at their colleges.

A blog post has been written to cover partner engagement from the perspective of the Enable project team.

Programme Meeting

The Programme meeting in Birmingham had a few useful sessions, although in some cases information was appearing at the wrong level for some project managers. I certainly found the networking activities/ directed discussions very useful although the form filling in the afternoon was probably less informative. One session focused on understanding your organisational type as part of Change Management/ Engagement Strategies. When we looked at the type of organisation we felt Staffordshire University was we were surprised to see such a strong leaning to Innovative Culture, however we felt that we needed a balance across some of the other cultures, in particular Business. There was some interesting engagement methods used by some of the presenting projects that I would like to consider for projects at the university, including posters in hallways for commenting on with post-its and workshops that included stakeholders to look at how they see failure rather than success! There was still not enough "here is how we did it" - in particular the change academy model was used by a project - what is this and how did they modify it and why? It looks like some investigation on their website as it was not easy to find on the HEA site.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Being connected

As part of the work we did in the cluster meeting last week I have made an additional page for the Enable project under PageFlakes this site already has a page for the old WBL-Way project so those of you interested in that work can read about it and the work the partners have done here too. At the cluster a few of us were Twittering about the conversations taking place, these got tagged as jisc0509 and are all collected onto the pageflakes page.This has made me think it might be worth tagging my Twitters around the project so will be doing that from now on, and will bring the information together on the same site, although this hasn't been done yet.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

First Cluster meeting

We had a very interesting time at the cluster meeting last week, and we would like to thank Robin for all his hard work in hosting the event. There was a focus on looking at how each institution recognised the need to develop rationalised products and discussion formed around the different stages of reviewing product at the respective institutions and linking to competencies. The main discussion on Friday was around validation with three of the institutions summarising what was happening with them and comparing it to experiences with the others. Mark did the presentation on behalf of Staffordshire University;

At the end of the two days we discussed some of the programme management we were getting from JISC and sent our critical friend back with some suggestions on future support. It seemed the hardest part of the two days was discovering when people would be free for the next cluster meeting. We recognised the need to get dates in early and that some meetings did not need to go over two days. The next meeting is going to be hosted here - so need to get our thinking caps on for that as well as the SMWG meeting in a fortnight.

Continuous Enhancement

As mentioned in an earlier blog I attended a very useful session in Birmingham on Quality Assurance and Enhancement done by the HEA to support the Curriculum Design and Development and Curriculum Delivery programmes. I have published my notes in  the Elgg Enable group for discussion within the project. I have also shared my notes with members of the programme cluster who where unable to attend the day. For those interested in QA/QE then you can register with the SIG at and view the presentations under Events.

Some of this information will be old hat to people in Staffordshire University and done almost everyday, either with our without recognition, as Enhancement has been a key term here for the last few years. However is that message across the whole university? I have encouraged staff to comment on the notes I took and hopefully I will get some response. Some of the interesting points raised that link to Enable:

  • Understanding scope and developing baselines
  • Constant changing environments for institutions – the need of institutional Reform
  • Development of Enhancement Academy
  • Communication strategies are vital as are linking strategies together
  • Supporting staff development
  • Engagement of all stakeholders
  • Student Experience