Project Management and Implementations
Moving a major project forward—from identifying an issue to gaining buy-in for a solution to actually finding and implementing that solution—is no small matter. It requires meticulous planning, equal parts flexibility and rigidity, and the right combination of financial investment, personal dedication and support from senior leaders and staff.
This Feature dives into what it takes to get a major project off the ground and reflects on the process of going from idea to implementation and beyond.
Shifting Away From the Status Quo
Ken Udas | Higher Education Itinerant & Adjunct Professor, University of Southern Queensland and Scott Sorley | Executive Director of Information and Communication Technology Services, University of Southern Queensland
A few key, but often uncommunicated, factors in whether or not a committee decides to shift away from the status quo include organizational maturity, the type of project and the proposal writer’s ability to appeal to organizational objectives.
While the amount of time, investment and effort that goes into a major implementation (and the accompanying business process changes that follow) can be significant, the outcomes and benefits tend to make up for the work that went in.
Engaging Stakeholders to Support Change
Properly engaging end users and executive sponsors is critical for the success of a major project and can help to drive buy-in for, and engagement with, the project.
Bringing New Parties Into the Conversation
While avoiding micromanaging, it’s critical for governing boards to be involved in major implementation and purchasing processes in order to meet their fiduciary responsibilities to the institution.
Creating Change from the Ground Up
By properly identifying a problem or opportunity, and then approaching a solution systematically, individuals can inspire massive changes in their environments.
Tips for Project Leaders
The capacity to clearly communicate is critical to avoiding some of the most prevalent and impactful roadblocks that stand between a project’s conception and its implementation.
While maintaining a collaborative environment, IT leaders must take a leading role in helping to define the scope and requirements of major projects on their campuses – ensuring needs and wants are defined, understood and kept separate.
Though it can be challenging, focusing on consensus building can help leaders ensure their institutions stay ahead of major market shifts while also keeping everyone on the team pulling in the same direction.
Building consensus between multiple parties is a critical responsibility of IT leaders today, and while there are a few best practices that can be employed to help find common ground, there are a few significant pitfalls that, if not avoided, can spell disaster for a project.
Driving Change Across the Board
By standardizing the institutional approach to project management, it’s possible for a university to realize massive efficiencies while also seeing major projects through to completion closer to (and even under) their anticipated time and budget.
Project Management Secrets
Shaun Sutherell | Assistant Director of Business Development and Project Management in the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, University of Delaware, and Steven M. Kendus | Manager of Marketing and Communications in the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies, University of Delaware
The process of launching a major IT project can be time-consuming and stressful, but the positive impact the new system can bring to the institution or division makes that effort well worth it.
Even with all the best practices and intentions in place, failure is a reality in project management. To recover from those failures and to minimize their future occurrences, project leaders must learn to embrace failure.