Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Lessons learned

Programme Board yesterday, and possibly the last one, as we move to our new service management structure and a Service Strategy Board. Had our normal look at progress of projects and any resource issues or problems identified by the project managers, and then had a few project closures and reviews to consider. Each project has to produce a closure document, with the normal stuff about what has been delivered, what outstanding tasks there are and who has responsibility for delivering them, benefits, and whether the aims and objectives were achieved. Then a few months later the Programme and Project Unit carries out a lessons learned review by collecting information from the project team, the project manager, customer, sponsor etc.

This is a very useful exercise and all recommendations are fed into our project management process to continually improve what we do. Yesterday we looked at the Media Hosting Project and eRecruitment.

Within the Media Hosting project, much of it went well, but one issue which arose was that we were faced with a rapidly changing technology market and changes to the project scope. We looked at a number of products and services, but none met all of the identified requirements and it soon became apparent that we were looking for a product which didn't exist! We therefore had to decide whether to put the project on hold and wait for the market to mature, or split the project into separate projects for audio and video streams. The project was paused for a while, but in the end we decided to implement a video only solution for now. It was suggested with hindsight that we should have done a review of the market place first to see what was available before defining user requirements, but this would have constrained users to what was available, and we know that one supplier has built our requirements into their roadmap to we should get the additional features we need in the next release (or the one after that....)

eRecruitment (the staff recruitment module of SAP) also went very well, with cross departmental teams working successfully together, and good communication channels established. Lessons learned from this much bigger project included the need to have good commitment - from all of the teams involved, the sponsor, the project board, engaged users etc. Ownership of the project should be primarily with the business side, not the technical, and the focus on new ways of doing things, not the system itself. The people who are going to run and support the system need to involved very early on, and good training and comms are essential. All stuff we know already, but reinforced by thei review.

Thanks to everyone involved in all of the projects which have closed recently - some great work done.

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