Stakeholder interview - Project board

The project board was composed of members who represented users and suppliers and an executive who had final decision-making power. Some questions were asked to one of the board members about his involvement with the WLM project. IT Services' role also fed into the role of the project board.

Questions and answers

The principle project manager and quality assurance representative was asked the following questions:

What was your involvement in the workload model from the outset?

"I started working on the Workload Model in December 2008, which was pretty much from the beginning.

"My role was predominantly Project Management and Business Analysis to support the senior academic team in developing and deploying the new workload model. Previously within UWE, there were a number of locally managed models, and there had been a failed attempt to evaluate two of them for potential roll out across the whole University. However, with the impending changes in funding and the need for the University to gain a significantly better understanding of how and where it was spending its money on teaching and research, a decision to apply some full change management were taken to move things forwards effectively.

"Whilst the Associate Deans developed the WLM Model, I supported the academic lead (one of the Associate Deans) in developing the model and the system to support it. The evaluation model was developed and implemented using a very sophisticated spread sheet and we met with all of the departmental heads on a 1-2-1 basis to train them in how to use and evaluate the system. We also established a team of admin support staff for each faculty to support the process. As the complexity and size of the project became clearer, I was responsible for creating build a project team and governance structure for the project."

Were you part of the project board and Governance Group? How often did you meet?

"As the principle project manager, I established the project governance arrangements including the project board. We also established a task and finish group as part of the project called the WLM Management Group that owned the development and testing the model. This group consisted of all of the Heads of Department, Associated Deans (Resources, Teaching and Learning and Research), professional support staff from each of the faculties who supported and aided the administration processes, and data management as well as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Resources.

"As the model reached the point when it was considered good enough to deploy as a day to day trial, the spreadsheet system started to transition into day-to-day operation, and the WLM Governance Group was established (and replaced the WLM Development Group). The WLM Governance Group was tasked with considering all of the claims for variations from the standard levels of resource generated by the model."

Did you have any involvement with the Unions? Please describe your experience to us.

"I attended Trade Union (TU) meetings and discussion initially and then a joint TU sub-group was established to specifically look at the Workload Model. Whilst the TU’s were pro having a model, there were many twists and turns."

How did you and do you still support the implementation of the model?

"I had a central role in supporting development and adoption of the model as outlined in answers to other questions."

I understand that you were the quality assurance representative. What does/did that involve?

"I was the principal project manager and business analyst for the WLM Development. Latterly for the WAMS project, I took on more of an assurance and consultant role."

What lessons learned would you like to share about the experience?

"There are so many lessons to learn from a change as significant as introducing an academic workload model into a University. I think the biggest lesson we are still learning is about understanding the people and culture and how people are likely to react to it – therefore recognising the need to put more effort into understanding this before the model takes hold. Also, to understand the capability of the managers to manage the model and their staff effectively."

Project board members

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Resources
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Business Engagement
  • Associate Dean for Planning and Resources
  • Head of Planning
  • Deputy Director of IT Services
  • Head of Management Accounting
  • Head of Human Resources
  • Quality Assurance representative
  • Project Manager

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