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					   Project Management for Student Affairs:
       Ending the Never-ending Project

                                          David Sweeney, Director
                                       Brooke Woodruff, IT Manager
                                           Texas A&M University
                                         Division of Student Affairs
                                             February 21, 2008

Copyright David Sweeney and Brooke Woodruff, 2008. This work is the intellectual property of the authors. Permission is
granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears
on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to
republish requires written permission from the authors.
           Who’s In The Room?
•   Centralized University IT
•   Decentralized Division/Department IT
•   Project Managers
•   Developers
•   Administration
•   Faculty
                Today’s Agenda
• History: Name That Year
• Our History at Texas A&M
• Operating Structures
   – Student Affairs
   – Higher Education
   – Project Management
• Defining a Project – Ideas vs. Deliverables
• Visual Case Study: Critical Incident Response System
• Ensuring a Projects Successful Completion
• Visual Case Study: Enterprise Event Management System
• A Model Moving Forward
           History: Name That Year
Name the year that this abstract segment was
written:
“Management is a future-oriented decision process that relates
resources into a total functional system for the accomplishment of a
set of objectives. As a rule, universities do not have a management
system, and there is no understanding of their environments in terms
of inputs, outputs, objectives, and organizational relationships of a line
and staff necessary for such a system. Hence, many of the problems of
project management in the university arise from lack of integrated
planning, programming, and budgeting, and from an operational
structure which does not encourage effective collection, distribution,
and control over resources.“ (Unknown)
A Brief History of the Department of IT,
  Division of Student Affairs at Texas
                  A&M
The Operating Structures: Philosophies
                 Higher Education Philosophy (Birnbaum, 1988)
                        •   Poorly run but highly effective
                        •   Agreement is more important than efficacy
                        •   Institutional Culture has teeth
                        •   Tolerance for poor results and ambiguity


Student Affairs Philosophy                Project Management Philosophy (PMI, 2004)
•   Student Development takes             •   Adheres to the definition of a project
    precedence over efficiency            •   Establishment of clear, achievable and measurable
•   Suspicious of a “Corporate” Model         objectives
    Approach                              •   Balances the competing demands for quality,
•   Student growth can’t be measured          scope, time and cost
•   Staff accountability is measured by   •   Adapts the specifications, plans and approach to
    ideas, not deliverables.                  the different concerns and expectations of the
                                              various stakeholders.
     Defining a Project – Ideas vs. Deliverables

     • Student Affairs is an idea and innovation warehouse
       centered around a committee based decision making
       model.
     • Plans are often loosely formulated from an concept or
       general need.
     • IT is then charged with the task of implementation.
     • The “concept” is never matured into a project.
     • Sponsors, stakeholders, requirements, timelines and
       deliverables i.e.; the project plans are not clearly defined.
     • Case Study: Incident Reporting and Tracking System (IRTS)

Definition of a project: “A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.”(PMI, 2004)
    Visual Case Study: Incident Reporting
             and Tracking System
                                       Feature 1           Feature 2
                                      Stakeholder         Stakeholder
                                       unknown             unknown


                                       Feature 3           Feature 4
                                      Stakeholder         Stakeholder
                                       unknown             unknown


          Project Core Does not exist. Loosely cobbled together features make up the application.


                                       Feature 5           Feature 6
                                      Stakeholder         Stakeholder
                                       unknown             unknown


                                       Feature 7           Feature 8
                                      Stakeholder         Stakeholder
                                       unknown             unknown



With zero project management, no project plan and no specs – IRTS continues to exist as a never-ending project.
          Ensuring a projects successful
                   completion
• Some of the most critical IT project footings in Higher Ed
  include
   –   People, Committees, Stakeholders
   –   Sponsors, excellent history tracking (knowledge management)
   –   original contracts (SLAs)
   –   a secure funding source.
• Accountability for deliverables for all stakeholders
• Keeping all stakeholders involved
• Securing quality people to get the job done (Full-time
  employees and well mentored Student Workers


    A projects potential for ending (and being successful) is directly tied to it’s original footings.
                     Visual Case Study: Events
                    Management System (EMS)
                          Feature 1                                       Feature 2
                           Known                                           Known
                         Stakeholder                                     Stakeholder




                                                 Project core
                    Feature 3                  developed from                 Feature 4
                     Known                     clearly defined                 Known
                   Stakeholder                  requirements.                Stakeholder
                                                 Features are
                                             independent of the
                                              core functionality.



                         Feature 5
                                                                            Feature 6
                          Known
                                                                             Known
                        Stakeholder
                                                                           Stakeholder




The idea for an Event Management System originated out of committee work. The committee assigned a sole sponsor.
         A Model Moving Forward
• Committees are here to stay – leverage
  committee work through aiding the leadership to
  establish clear goals, deliverables and
  sponsorship.
• Understand that consensus is important and use
  it to your advantage
• Establish funding sources before proceeding
• Efficiency is NOT always the first concern (for SA)
• Work closely with departments to set up
  mentorship programs with student workers and
  individuals tasked with IT goals.
                                Bibliography
Unknown (1968). Program/Project Management of Sponsored Programs in a University
   Environment. Originally presented as part of the Management Training Program for
   Educational Research Leaders, Columbus, Ohio, September 18, 1968

Birnbaum, R. (1988). How Colleges Work. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco

PMI (2004). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Third Edition, Newtown
   Square, Project Management Institute, Inc.




    David Sweeney sweeney@tamu.edu
    Brooke Woodruff brookew@dsa.tamu.edu

				
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