Directorate for the Student Experience


Update from Steve Dover, Project Delivery Director

30 August 2018

My last update on overall progress of the SLP was in March. Since then the Ways of Working discovery piece has completed. This pivotal piece of work paves the way for a new way to deliver the simplified and standardised processes designed by colleagues during our Design and Discovery stage. The processes will be supported by our new IT systems which are currently undergoing development and build and are progressing at a pace.

Development and Build

The Development and Build Stage commenced in late February, but there remained a small number of designs to be completed. Principal amongst these was the completion of work in the student finance workstream, the design work required for enrolment, assessment and progression and the completion of postgraduate research work.

All of these are now in differing stages of build against our detailed schedule. The build is across Microsoft Dynamics 365, our customer relationship management software; Campus Solutions 9.2, our student information system; SiteCore, the digital user access layer that underpins the new My Manchester and not to forget the thing that stitches all components together, WebMethods, our integration layer.

The IT build is being carried out both here in Manchester in Bainbridge House and in the Advanced Technology Centre in the Philippines. Daily video link ups between the teams, as well as building with the same set of virtual and automated tools, means that we are able to progress and link up different elements in real time. System test has commenced across the completed components and the statistics relating to this are displayed, in real time, on the TVs in the west wing of Bainbridge House.

We are now well across the halfway point for the IT build. We are still on plan and expecting to complete this stage at the end of November 2018. Very soon we will enter into what is known as Early Integration Test – or EIT. This is where we test the integration between our new IT components (Microsoft Dynamics 365, Campus Solutions 9.2 and SiteCore). Detailed preparation is underway for this.

Training

We will need to train the colleagues who will use the new systems before they go live, and I am now investigating suitable strategic technologies to provide a content based e-Learning capability to facilitate that training. This will form part of the next stage plan for the business activities on the Project, as well as the detailed work required to prepare for User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

Release

The way we release the Student Lifecycle Project has been discussed at some length over the past four to five months. We all accept that to go live with everything all at one point would be inadvisable, as the SLP affects operations across almost all parts of our University.

Our discussions have considered several ways we could break down the release to ease the burden on the University and introduce both the new processes and the new systems incrementally. We believe we have arrived at the right option whereby both the processes and the systems will be introduced in line with the academic calendar. Importantly we need to consider not when the events happen, but when the process commences to make them happen, so before the release plan is finalised we will conduct a deep analysis from both business and IT viewpoints to ensure we get at the detail and understand exactly what it will take to make this happen effectively.

Finally, the project is at one of its most intense periods where a majority of planned activity is happening in parallel. Overall progress is good. There remain some gaps but we’re working to close these as we head rapidly towards the test stage of the project. The teams have been amazing and the work, as seen at the numerous show and tell sessions, is of a consistent high quality. There’s more to do.

Steve Dover

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