Thursday, 15 November 2007

Pilot has taken off

Well the pilot is now up and running, anyone interested in registering as an employer, learner, tutor or support staff can do so. While this has been going on I have tried to put a list of all the features together of everything we have discussed in meetings. This has been put in GoogleDocs (as it is a document that others in the project will need to contribute on). This list will form the project plan for implementation of features that will occur while the pilot is running. I am now looking forward to feedback on the document and the launch of the pilot.

On an aside I have avoided using GoogleDocs since the start of the project as its functionality seemed limited and there was no way to add folders, since then they seem to have spent some time on it and now there is a way to add content to folders etc so it might be worth thinking about again as a store for documents with the project as GoogleGroups now has over 60 documents in it and is getting difficult to manage.

Next week I am off to the CETIS conference which should be interesting. I get to take my business cards, which have finally arrived too, helping with getting the projects name out there.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Helping friends

Went out and about yesterday with Mark to talk to Bradford college about their HE in FE project that is using some of our content. It was an interesting day that reinforced some of the points raised at last weeks Project Management training when it comes to writing work packages and using GANTT charts. I know I need to spend a bit more time now on the next stage of the project and the features that need to be added to the support point once it has launched (still waiting on that one!). It also reminded me to send the work packages for the project to the Programme Manager.

It is always interesting to see how the same problems occur for different projects, often these revolve around senior management support, lack of internal communication, and unforseen technical issues. These problems always impact on the success of a project, especially on its timings. We have been lucky with communication with the project, by choosing and using tools to communicate (thanks Google!) from the start the team have always had ways of keeping in touch, along with the use of monthly meetings. We are also fully supported through senior management thanks to ensuring the project fits with strategy within the university and the partner colleges. We seem to have been hit by the technical issues bug though and I am not sure that there is any way that this could be managed any better, but I will certainly be working at it!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Pilot in bar

Yep, the pilot is still on the runway! Technical problems seem to be the order of the day and they keep on coming at us. The pilot is now looking at launching next Monday which is 3 weeks late, but as they say better late than never! Still I have been working at developing my project management/ managing skills (including planning and risk analysis - oh the irony!) with a day and a half of training (thanks JISC for a good day). The days were very interesting and talk about shared experience about the project management was useful.

Now that the project update is out of the way I have been investigating PDP within the university on behalf of the fdf. This has involved my trying out PebblePAD with some colleagues, and I am having fun with that at the moment. It seems to be very useful for collaborative work and this is the bit we are testing in the department.

Other than that I am reviewing the Staffs Uni handbooks for awards, I am finding this useful for the project and the repository work I am involved in. The main problem appears to be that there is no standard format for these documents in SURF although the university has some guidelines for full time, undergraduate courses based at the university these guidelines do not work well for courses offsite.