Student Information System Essay
Student Information System
Foundation and Background
“Everyone who works at this university — or at any technology-driven institution — understands how much we rely on our information systems. Unfortunately, WSU’s IT infrastructure is increasingly unreliable, made up of obsolete systems that were not originally designed for the multiple tasks they now perform. That they continue to work at all is a tribute to employees who have specialized knowledge of the unique fixes that are frequently required. Clearly, a world-class research university cannot long stand on such a shaky IT foundation. In fact, in the generally glowing accreditation report filed by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities about our university this summer, one recommendation read: “The Committee recommends that Washington State University provide contemporary information management systems that will address the needs of the future for its student, academic and management support requirements.” The committee echoed the findings of Gartner, Inc., the consulting firm brought in by WSU to examine our information systems in light of our funding requests.
“The current applications do not provide the necessary agility to meet changing business and academic requirements in a rapidly growing and evolving environment such as WSU is experiencing today,” the report found. Students and their parents are frustrated by breakdowns in our systems for registration, payments and financial aid. Just this fall, our registration software failed in the days leading up to the first day of classes. The situation was resolved, thanks to an intensive round-the-clock effort by our programming team. However, it was yet another clear sign that we can no longer delay solutions.” Excerpt from: Dr. Elson Floyd, Perspectives, November 9, 2009
Accreditation and Leadership Statement
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) 2009 Evaluation Committee recommendation that Washington State University provide contemporary enterprise information management systems that will address the needs of the future for its student, academic and management support requirements did not come as a surprise. Over the course of preparing the 2009 Self-Study report, information technology and an aging legacy system were identified as one of four cross-cutting challenges impacting the university as a whole and serving as a serious impediment to progress for almost every area of the university. Our internal assessment, and that of the Evaluation Committee, was reaffirmed in May 2009 in a report provided by a nationally recognized professional consultant. Responding to this challenge has been and continues to be a high priority of the University. The Student Information System project is a key component to the University’s overall effort to enhance WSU’s ability to deliver improved and expanded information technology services to the University community.
The forces pushing the WSU student information replacement project forward are particularly strong at this time. These are the primary business drivers: • Risk of non-compliance • Risk of system failure • Improved integration and system capabilities • Opportunity for a vastly improved business intelligence program • University, college and program accreditation needs
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These business drivers push WSU forward from a risk and compliance standpoint and/or pull WSU forward from an opportunity standpoint. While the administrative systems generally do not deal directly with the strategic initiatives of the University, they play key supporting roles in fulfilling the University’s mission. Risk of Non-Compliance The lack of a robust electronic workflow process across integrated University systems jeopardizes WSU’s ability to exercise adequate internal controls in the current systems and in meeting complex regulatory requirements. In general, WSU systems are characterized by relatively weak internal controls and are thus vulnerable. Risk of System Failure The current student systems put WSU at significant risk. The myWSU Portal has failed at key times over the past several years – severely impacting the ability of faculty, staff and students to prepare for the beginning of both fall and spring terms. The current 30 year-old student systems are unique to WSU and supported by only two or three technical staff members, some nearing retirement. In general, the availability of qualified staff to support administrative systems is extremely limited, and there is no vendor support available for the current application software. Improved Integration and System Capabilities Historically WSU has worked around many limitations in current systems, but is unable to do much more without addressing the fundamental underlying systems.
There are long lists of system improvements that WSU needs, but is unable to implement due to the inflexibility of current systems. Over the past few years WSU has, for the most part, only developed and implemented systems to keep current with regulatory requirements. WSU is not in a position to react quickly to market needs and pressures with current student systems. On the other hand, there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the capabilities of our systems and allow for greater economies of scale. With the implementation of PeopleSoft we will be able to sunset many existing peripheral systems while taking advantage of the economies of scale of an expanded, flexible and integrated system. Improved system capabilities will not only allow WSU to address long-standing known shortcomings, but will also put us in a position to react quickly to unforeseen emerging needs. Opportunity for Vastly Improved Business Intelligence The business intelligence (BI) portion of the project will primarily focus on university business processes and the needs of data consumers at the institution.
More broadly, this change in data management will allow data consumers to ask new types of questions that previously went unanswered. By structuring data from a University perspective based on consistency of common data and hierarchies, we will make a leap forward in reporting, predictive analytics and data modeling. In order for our BI program to be successful the implementation team will ensure data conversion and data warehousing are consistent with the needs of current and future organizational goals. The BI functional team’s efforts will encompass data conversion and cleansing, data warehousing, data consistency and data consumption. For reporting, a set number of general dashboards and reports will be made available at implementation time. Extensive training of the basic BI tools will be offered in the initial phase. In a later phase tools for data analysis will be added to support analytics.
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University, College and Program Accreditation Needs The risk to the university was documented in both internal and external reviews including a recommendation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) based upon their Evaluation Team’s visit in 2009. While the university’s accreditation was reaffirmed, the Commission identified the need for contemporary enterprise information management systems as a challenge the university needed to address.
Purpose of the Project Charter
The Project Charter is the primary operating document defining the goals, objectives, strategies, scope, organization and standards for the SIS project (“The Project”). It anticipates the reality of very large projects and defines processes for constructively dealing with project issues and decisions and defines the mechanisms for project control.
Once implemented, this student information system will positively impact virtually everyone associated with the University: students, their families, faculty and staff. The new system will increase data accuracy, make student information management more secure, effective, convenient and accessible, and begin to coordinate information across the system to simplify student access to University resources.
Washington State University demonstrates its commitment to WSU students, faculty, staff and the State of Washington by planning, resourcing and implementing on time and within budget a robust, modern, integrated, standards-based, sustainable and vendor-supported Student Information Systems (SIS). The new SIS will improve service, accountability, work-flow, end-user reporting and provide access to reliable, timely, accurate and insightful information for recruiting prospective students, managing the
needs of current students as well as the related needs of faculty and for institutional decision-making and resource planning.
Goals, Critical Success Factors and Success Criteria
Because a new student information system is a significant investment for the institution, the successful implementation will need to meet or exceed a number of goals. These goals or “Pillars of Success” will be used in conjunction with critical success factors to guide project decision making which optimizes the likelihood of meeting the success criteria as defined by system users for each functional area. Goals • • • • • • • Complete the project on time and within budget. Provide a system that substantially improves service to students, faculty, staff and other users. Provide a system that supports institutional initiatives. Provide reliable and valid student and academic program data in one integrated University system of record that allows for the flexibility to meet specific university and academic unit strategic decision-making needs and ensure that data quality continues to improve. Implement a stable, integrated, upgrade-compatible system with minimal total cost of ownership. Position WSU’s administrative applications to support significant growth and expansion. Implement a reliable, secure and scalable technical infrastructure.
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Critical Success Factors Critical success factors are conditions and resources that must be present in order for the project to succeed. • Acknowledge that people are the most important critical success factor. For success, it is essential that we: o Place the right people in the right roles at the right time across the breadth and length of the project; o Provide strong support by senior management; o Use skilled participants; o Keep employees and students informed; and o Foster broad participation and representation. o Give department personnel a good understanding of how their departments and roles will change as early as possible in the project so that people can assimilate to the changes more effectively. The organizational design effort will be a sensitive topic for end users. • Agree that the PeopleSoft student business processes are reasonably close to best practices. Therefore, it is reasonable to start with a “vanilla” approach to the implementation and adapt our business processes to minimize complexity and optimize the delivered capabilities of our system. Project participants will be able and willing to think out of the box, across departmental lines, and with an eye always toward the good of the institution. • Ensure that the overall SIS project is viewed as a “university owned” project and not owned by individual departmental silos. • Manage scope in a disciplined but not rigid manner. Scope changes can occur if it’s best for the institution, but they must be explicitly identified, assessed and approved. • Structure and discipline governance process to a high extent with clear decision rights.
The project leadership’s decisions and processes will be biased towards action, accountability, candor and support for the greater good of the institution. • Expect that we will not get the system and process design perfectly right the first time. Therefore, we will use an “iterative design” approach to implementation throughout the project. • Agree that end users must be trained in regards to business processes in addition to their role within the business processes so that they can play a key role in achieving the intended business outcomes. • Assume that the project will be able to proceed in the face of overall budget reductions. In part this has to do with protecting the project budget. But more importantly the project will not take place in a vacuum, as many participants, and all those affected by the project, are being affected by budget reductions. Success Criteria WSU functional areas have defined the following as measurements of success for the SIS project. As the project progresses, the project team will monitor activities and deliverables to ensure that these criteria are met. Campus Community • A single source for associates and biographical/demographical data. • Ability to create and maintain checklists for students, streamlining student notification of information needed for admissions and other areas. • Ability to create communications, either by batch or manually, as needed by any area for their needs. P age |5
Admissions • A seamless transition from the current legacy AIS system to PeopleSoft Campus Solutions in which staff from graduate and undergraduate admissions will be trained and able to process applications without confusion. • Ability to proceed through all steps of application processing via automated processes wherever possible while retaining the ability to “rush” or manually process when needed for individual cases. • Ability of departmental users to easily access accurate data for their day-to-day operations which will cut down on manual intervention. • Ability to track applicants by the appropriate offices through all stages (applicant, admitted, confirmed) for both graduate and undergraduate, in order to accurately project matriculation. • Logical manner for work to flow through the system. • Well-defined and flexible business processes (easy to change when necessary) that are easily documented (with documentation tools that are common across modules), and trainable (with interfaces that are intuitive for users and training materials that are easy to maintain). • Easy access for users/departments to data for their day-to-day operations instead of lists that are ‘fed’ to them by The Graduate School. This will cut down on manual intervention and communication from Graduate School to departments and to students. Student Financial Aid • Meeting all target deadlines and ensuring that data across the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions environment is accurate and accessible.
• Successful load of FAFSA/Scholarship applications, packaging aid and delivery of funds to student accounts while staying compliant with state and federal regulations all without adversely impacting students. Student Finance • Precise tuition calculation. • Successful coordination of aid release in conjunction with Financial Aid. • Appropriate and accurate posting of all payments to Student Accounts. • Accurate aid disbursement/refunds to students on the first day of school. Student Records-Graduate • Smooth transition from one registration system to the next with student completing their priority registration with full class loads, by priority group. • Effective drop/add period beginning the week prior to classes and extending two weeks into the term, with students able to complete their changes in a timely manner. • Planned and effective use of class lists and grading by faculty before, during and at the conclusion of the 2012 fall semester. • Ability to track special population of students (example: Fulbright and International Agreements) in the Campus Solutions system rather than in shadow systems and paper files. • Ability to track and communicate with students on Graduate leave or Continuous Doctoral Status without staff intervention.
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Advising • Ability for students and their advisors to create “programs of study.” • Ability for offices or students to run a degree audit to check their status and progress towards a degree. • Ability to track departmental degree requirements and faculty committee eligibility. • Ability to easily schedule student exams. • Ability to process deficient students easily along with holds to prevent registration until reinstatement occurs. • Improved reliability of the system and true accuracy of reported data. Reporting • Adoption of a tool for easy access to all components of the enterprise student system from a single source with planned integration and/or linkages to data outside the SIS (Housing, Human Resources, Research, Finance, Alumni, WSU Foundation, etc.). • Secure self-service access to data and information for a broad base of users in appropriate forms that meet diverse needs. • Ability to conduct deeper analysis and data mining, turning data into information.
In Scope Items:
WSU is replacing parts of its major administrative systems: Student, Student Warehouse, and the myWSU Portal. This will affect many support and peripheral systems as well. We are replacing WSU student systems with PeopleSoft Version 9.0. The new PeopleSoft student system will be integrated with the existing WSU business systems (Human Resources, Payroll, and Financials). The new system replaces functionality currently found in our “student” administrative systems, which is comprised of modules in AIS, RONet, Financial Aid and the Graduate Schools systems. Along with replacing the core administrative systems, a substantial investment is being made in Business Intelligence. These efforts are being made to both adapt to changing administrative systems and to greatly expand the availability of business information to managers and executives. New BI tools will replace the current ITS housed data warehouse and Business Objects, the primary tool used to access that data. Also in scope is the replacement of the current Undergraduate Admissions data mart and the Graduate School reporting data base. The following list identifies what is currently in scope for the SIS project: • PeopleSoft Portal • PeopleSoft Campus Solutions o Academic Advising (including DARS replacement) o Student Self-Service o Admissions o Campus Community o Student Financials o Financial Aid o Student Records • PeopleSoft Data Warehouse (EPM and OBIEE toolsets) • PeopleSoft Campus Solutions Fusion Intelligence • OBIEE • Integration of current SAN located on SharePoint P age |7
Depending on project progress, performance to budget and business needs, the steering committee may add additional items to scope. As this occurs, the additional items will be added as in scope to this charter through the projects scope change process.
Out of Scope Items
On a regular basis the project team and the steering committee will review project scope. Currently, the following items are deemed out of scope: • • • • • Human Resources systems and processes Finance systems and processes Research systems and processes Campus Recruiting and recruiting business processes. Recruiting data will be fed from legacy recruiting systems to Campus Solutions via an interface. Campus Solutions Grade Book
Depending on project progress, performance to budget and business needs, the steering committee may deem additional items out of scope. As this occurs, the additional items will be added as out of scope to this charter through the projects scope change process.
The SIS project will use a phased implementation approach that delivers new and improved functionality in time to support the normal WSU academic calendar. The SIS project will aggressively seek to minimize customizations to the delivered software. Appropriate project processes have been defined to enforce this practice.
To help minimize customizations the WSU SIS project will: • Communicate clearly about “vanilla” implementations. The SIS project view is that sound business processes are embedded in the software and that WSU will look to adopt those processes rather than changing the delivered software. We will question why we do things the way we do. Is it really a “best practice” or is it because our legacy systems have limited how we could do it? Many WSU business processes were built around antiquated systems and limitations of current systems. What’s the worst thing that could happen if we change it? • Be open to possibilities and doing things differently. Be open to new ways of naming and talking about things. Be open to self-service, automation and consistency. Explore and take advantage of the full functionality. How can we better serve students? How can we better serve departments? Along with delivering systems that WSU is in great need of, this approach also serves to manage cost. The SIS project team will work very hard to meet target dates. Aggressive timelines require rapid decision-making, and the project will work in this fashion. Processes are set up to support knowledgeable and empowered decision-making. These processes are documented in the Project Management Plan document. Proven methodologies will be employed. The SIS project will also implement strong control mechanisms to effectively manage budget, issues, changes, etc. This includes outside audit oversight by JB Harris Consulting, the selected Quality Assurance vendor, which will perform monthly review of project status, plans and budgets.
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Data conversion is the process of migrating high-value information from our legacy transaction systems into the new PeopleSoft system. This is done for both operational and analytic purposes. There are mature best practices and technologies available to minimize the cost of performing this work. Conversion will be performed by creating data extracts from the mainframe legacy system, AIS. These extracts will then be loaded to a series of staging tables through the SQL loader tool. The Oracle Component Interface tool will be used to then load data to the appropriate Campus Solutions data tables.
The strategy for testing SIS is to employ all the aspects as listed below when they are applicable and when they are possible. For example, a performance test is valuable when there is a concern about volume processing and/or a critical need for response time. A usability test is valuable when the experience of users will help us either in the design of the user interface or in the design of user training and help-desk tools and materials. A parallel test is extremely valuable when possible. Transcript production is an excellent example. The testing strategy varies from one initiative to another and is incorporated into the implementation strategy and then the project plan for that initiative. Test Plan Before testing begins, a test plan is created. A typical test plan documents input values for the test, procedures used to perform the testing and the expected output values or results. Test plans range from very simple to very complex, usually in relation to the complexity of software processes which are to be test. For instance, testing whether a new user prompt is added to a screen may not require a test plan at all, while testing a complicated process may require documenting many varied input scenarios and the corresponding expected results and outputs for each case.
During the testing, the test plan is updated to log test activities, results and variances with what was originally expected. Unit Test A unit test typically focuses on a minimal component, module or narrow activity. The unit test validates that the specific module functions correctly. In relation to new or modified code, the unit test is often performed by the developer. Integration Test Integration testing follows a business process through a series of components, modules and activities to ensure that a function performed by the system works as designed from end to end. The purpose of integration testing is to reveal issues arising along the process chain, even though the individual modules execute correctly. Performing integration testing is usually the domain of business analysts or their equivalent that are well versed in the system functionality. System Test System testing takes, as its input, all of the “integrated” components that have successfully passed integration testing. System testing is a more limited type of testing; it seeks to detect defects both within the “inter-assemblages” and also within the system as a whole. Parallel Test Parallel testing compares the output between two different systems performing similar processes on the same input data. In cases where the output is not identical, the causes of the differences are researched and explained.
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Acceptance Test Acceptance testing usually occurs in cases which require a ‘sign-off’ in order for the coding or functionality to be considered complete. If the acceptance testing proves successful, the code or functionality is considered ready for production, and no further changes are required or allowed. Performance Test Performance testing attempts to put a system under a heavy load (such as a large number of concurrent users or complex batch processing). The performance test shows whether measures such as system response time are acceptable. Usability Test Usability testing seeks to discover whether the user interface is intuitive or at least easy to use. Usability testing is often administered in a controlled environment in which sample end users are monitored and asked for feedback on their experience.
Training is a critical activity to ensure successful user adoption of the new applications system as well as to meet the success criteria of the project. The user community of SIS is large and is spread out among multiple locations and campuses. The SIS project will utilize a “Train the Trainer” strategy that provides detailed application and business process training to a select group of “power users” throughout the various departments and locations. These “power users” in turn will train other employees within the various departments. The “power users” then can function as user support during the post go-live period. This maximizes the effectiveness of training and minimizes the cost of classroom training and materials. Training will be made available to end users via PeopleSoft on-line functionality (User Productivity Kit). For training to be effective, it should be delivered on a “just in time” basis in order to maximize information retention and allow task repetition to reinforce learning. A detailed training strategy and plan will be developed as part of the project execution process.
Reports to support day-to-day business processes will be delivered along with each Campus Solutions module. These reports are referred to as Operational and Transaction Reports. The development of reporting requirements, report layouts and data elements will be accomplished by the functional teams with input and participation from the appropriate University department. The technology team will code and build these reports and will aid in testing and implementation. The appropriate functional and technical project team members will work together to build and test these reports as part of the SIS implementation. In addition, cross-functional reporting requirements will be defined by the reporting team and will ensure that all University wide reporting requirements will be met. A fit /gap analysis will be performed to identify any cross-functional issues and to set direction for analytical and business intelligence reports to be defined later. These will be then prioritized by each functional area, based on business needs. As an overall strategy, the execution and running of reports needs to have a minimal effect on Campus Solutions processing and user response time. Where practicable, reporting should be supported by the EPM and OBIEE toolset. PS Query and other Campus Solutions tools will be used when necessary and will contain well defined security to ensure minimal impact to production processing and system access. A detailed reporting strategy document will be created as part of the project execution process.
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With the implementation of the new student system, WSU will implement a system that is FERPA compliant and gives users access to only the student records that they should be able to see. PeopleSoft security can be set at two different functional levels simultaneously. An individual user’s security access privileges are controlled by the resulting interacting combinations of these settings for that user. Page (Screen) Access A user can be granted one of the following access modes to Campus Solutions: • No Access—the user can neither see nor interact with the application. Further, if no access is granted to any of the pages associated with a menu choice, then that menu choice is not shown to the user. • View-Only (also referred to as Display-Only) — the user can see the data on the page but cannot change it. (Note that link controls on the page may or may not be active depending on the page design and coding.) • Update/Display—the user can see and change data on the page if no effective dating is involved. If the data is effective-dated then the user can only change current-dated and future-dated data, not historic data. • Correction—the user can see and change all data on the page, effective-dated or not. Administering Security In order to ease the burden of redefining security for each individual user, standard groupings of security objects are typically defined.
• Sets of pages and the corresponding page access modes are grouped into permission lists. Additionally, any page or set of pages can appear in multiple permission lists with the same or different access modes. Also, a permission list is often used as a convenient way to hold a given row-level security definition. • In turn, permission lists can be grouped in a variety of ways and assigned to a role. Additionally, multiple roles may make use of the same permission list in combination with other permission lists. • Effective security administration leverages the power of roles and permission lists by assigning users with similar requirements to the appropriate set or combinations of roles. Security access for an individual is defined by that individual’s assigned roles which are in turn defined by the role’s permission lists which are in turn composed of sets of pages, the access modes of those pages, and the assigned row-level security.
End User Acceptance
The overall strategy for end user acceptance starts early in the project and extends through Help Desk support after go-live. These are some of the key components: Support by executive management End users know at all times that executive management fully supports the SIS project and understands the difficulties of adapting to these new administrative systems. Involvement by middle management Middle management is informed of project progress and involved in project issues and decisions through vehicles such as the Steering Committee and Core Project Team. Involvement by university technical leaders Similar to the above, university technical leaders are informed of project progress and involved in project issues through vehicles such as the Technical Integration Group.
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Project communications Through multiple vehicles (including open forums and web pages), described elsewhere in the Project Charter, end users have access to information about project progress, issues, target dates, etc. (Please refer to the project’s communication plan.) Hands-on exposure End users have opportunities to see the system in action in a demonstration environment. Training Training specific to end users and specific to the WSU environment is developed and delivered to end users by the SIS project team. End user training will also be made available to end users via PeopleSoft on-line functionality (User Productivity Kit). Testing To the extent possible, the project team will recruit end users to participate in tests, in order to provide early exposure and to receive early feedback on any end user acceptance issues. Support Support for end users will be provided by the same organizational unit that is responsible for training. This will provide a seamless training and support environment that will extend into the future. This consistency will avoid the issues of inconsistent facts and language.
Staffing Approach and the Use of External Resources
The SIS project is too large and too complex for WSU to undertake on its own. Thus, outside consultants will play key roles on the project and will serve as well as sources for the additional temporary labor that is needed. The SIS project will employ consultants for their specific expertise and advice and will work to maximize knowledge transfer. There will also be a great impact on colleges/departments due to changes in business processes, including shifts in responsibility for data entry and the forms and formats of the information available. Based on experience, this impact is best addressed by overall project communications, appropriate involvement in the project, and in particular by adequate training provided by knowledgeable trainers.
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Project Management and Control
In developing a project management and control framework, WSU benefits from the experience of other leading research-intensive institutions that have successfully implemented the PeopleSoft Student Information System. WSU will aggressively seek to employ proven leading practices and core values that will guide us in the management of the overall project. 1. Demonstrate consistent and visible support for project by executive management. 2. Continuously communicate implementation information to university community. 3. Re-engineer business processes to conform to industry standards built into the software, to avoid software customization. 4. Drive implementation schedule with specific milestones. 5. Develop business intelligence and reporting strategies early in the project. Data conversion is addressed early, not late, in the life cycle. In addition, operational and transaction reporting are to be delivered at the time of go-live for each module. 6. Employ experienced consultants for expertise and support of core functional team. Consultants enable WSU to make decisions, and WSU drives the project, so that at the end of implementation WSU will be self-sufficient.
7. Maximize knowledge transfer from consultants to WSU staff. 8. Establish project teams representing all functional areas, weighing functional more than technical. Functional process and needs are core to the project. 9. Assign the project management team and core team members full-time on the project; reassign normal job duties. 10. Empower the project team to make decisions. 11. Track and reallocate project budget in a timely manner. 12. Create a dedicated work environment for the project team. 13. Promote positive work environment, with actions to reward, praise and celebrate project successes and value fun at work. 14. Monitor organization’s need and readiness to adapt on a continual basis. 15. Build prototypes early and often. Build, test and demonstrate frequently. Processes and procedures to implement these practices are outlined and maintained in the Project Management Plan document.
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Summary of Key Milestones
MILESTONE ▪ Start SIS Implementation Project ▪ Academic Structure Defined ▪ Campus Community Defined ▪ Student Bio/Demo Data Converted ▪ Course Catalog/Schedule Converted ▪ ISIRs Loaded ▪ Enrollment History Converted ▪ Ready for Live Student Pre-Registration ▪ Student Financials Balances Converted ▪ Financial Aid Awarded/Packaged ▪ Ready to Post Grades ▪ Calculate Tuition/Accept Payments ▪ Business Intelligence/OBIEE and EPM Fully Functional TARGET DATE July 2010 November 2010 June 2011 June 2011 September 2011 January 2012 March 2012 March 2012 August 2012 August 2012 November 2012 June 2012 June 2012
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The organization chart below illustrates the SIS project organization.
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Roles and Responsibilities
The table below defines the various roles and responsibilities of project leaders and team members of the SIS project: Role Responsibilities Overall • Act as champions for the project • Make decisions that affect the University as a whole or those that cannot be resolved by the Steering Committee Executive Leadership • Define project success criteria • Advise project management in resolution of escalated issues. (See definition of “issues” under Decision-Making and Issue Escalation Process.) • Seek input from SIS Policy Committee on fundmental academic policy issues • Review and approve modifications that affect University policy, project duration and budget • Foster executive support and buy-in • Assess value accomplished for the investment • Attend weekly “State of Project” Steering Committee Meeting Recommendations and Oversight • Review project progress regularly • Make policy change recommendations as requested by Steering Committee Project Direction • Review progress and work products • Prioritize; decide scope boundaries for potential customizations • Manage organizational change • Determine what risk mitigation strategies to adopt • Review and approve options to resolve issues, problems and scope changes to be brought to the SIS Steering Committee • Monitor that staffing is maintained; participate as appropriate in candidate selection • Provide weekly updates to Microsoft Project plan • Provide operational oversight over core functionality Overall
Decision Authority Example
Changes to implementation date Major scope or approach changes with impact to cost
• • • •
Project Management Team: Tori Byington Mark DeMaio Mike Corwin John Hansen
Prioritization of scope change requests Risk mitigations to adopt Approval of issues to escalate to SIS Steering Committee Resolve any project team issues that cannot be resolved by the project team members
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Role WSU Steering Committee Chairperson Tori Byington
WSU Project Manager: Mark DeMaio
Responsibilities • Assume responsibility for the successful completion of the SIS project • Maintain oversight and enforce accountablity for the project team • Co-chair of Policy Committee • Lead and coordinate issues escalated from the core project team • Assist with graduate school functionality Overall • Assume responsibility for execution of project plan and the successful completion of the SIS project • Manage and revise project workplan with inputs from Oracle Project Manager and WSU Technical Manager, BI and Change Management teams • Review and approve time in SIS time tracking • Oversee and direct Oracle Project Manager • Facilitate the development of project strategy documents and project organizational items • Create weekly project progress status reports • Assist with facilitatation of the weekly Steering Committee Meeting • Facilitate the resoultion of project issues and problems as appropriate • Provide monthly progress reports to Independent QA consultants • Assist with conversion planning effort and strategy Contract Management • Review contracts, identify exposures and manage contract changes or additions • Monitor contract compliance • Scrutinize expenses • Escalate vendor issues to accomplish resolution Risk Management • Manage risk tracking, mitigation strategies recommended, mitigation strategies adopted, responsible party, status, probability and impact • Monitor impacts to critical path based on
Decision Authority Example • Provide guidance and leadership regarding academic policy and issue escalation • Oversee and provide guidance to project management team members
Oversee planning activities Maintain project work plan
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Responsibilities updated project schedules from Oracle Consulting Project Manager and WSU Technical Manager Participate in all quality checkpoints Recommend risk mitigation strategies
Decision Authority Example
Independent Oversight • Provide independent project management opinions to the State of Washington • Provide independent project review, assessment, and advice to the CIO • Assume other duties as appropriate and defined by the Vice President and Chief Information Officer Overall • Manage and lead all Campus Solutions functional activities • Provide oversight and management to Oracle consultants • Provide Campus Soluitions subject matter expertise • Create and manage detailed project schedule for Campus Solutions implementation tasks and provide project plan updates to WSU Project Manager • Provide progress reports to WSU Project Manager Budget • Create and manage vendor detailed budget • Calculate burn rate throughout phases • Reconcile to actuals from finance Contract Management • Review contracts, identify exposures and manage contract changes or additions • Monitor contract compliance • Scrutinize expenses • Escalate client issues to Oracle Management when required to accomplish resolution Risk Management • Assist with risk tracking, mitigation strategies recommended, mitigation strategies adopted, responsible party, status, probability and impact • Monitor impacts to critical path based on
Lead configuration activites
Oracle Project Manager: John Hansen
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Responsibilities updated project schedules from Oracle Consulting Team Project Managers Participate in all quality checkpoints Assist in creating risk mitigation strategies
Decision Authority Example
Project Administration • Monitor appropriate framework in place for project results Detailed Task Management • Assign tasks and monitor completion • Update completed Microsoft Projects • Identify at-risk, late tasks • Provide preliminary status compilation to Program Director weekly • Identify and monitor critical path • Review team work products (primary) • Manage day-to-day staff resources • Assign and maintain adequate resource levels and appropriate allocations • Manage issues tracking (date, responsibility, status) Overall • Assume responsibility for all development activities, including all aspects of the lifecycle • Create and manage detailed project schedule for techncial implementation tasks and provide project plan updates to WSU Project Manager • Develop conversion strategy and plan • Provide leadership and management to WSU technical staff • Identify and staff technical roles to successfully deliver required functionality • Act as WSU client manager for all Oracle technical services and Oracle On-Demand • Provide leadership to ensure successful implementation of WSU environments, when necessary Detailed Task Management • Assign tasks and monitor completion • Update completed technical activities in Microsoft Project • Identify at-risk, late tasks • Provide preliminary status compilation to Project Manager weekly • Identify and monitor critical path
WSU Technical Manager: Mike Corwin
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Role • • • • Program Coordinator: Ivy Wang SIS Budget Administrator: Dawn Barnard • Washington State Treasury/COP Liaison: Barry Johnston • • • • • • • •
Washington State University Budget Liaison: Matt Skinner
Responsibilities Review team work products (primary) Manage day-to-day staff resources Assign and maintain adequate resource levels and appropriate allocations Manage issues tracking (date, responsibility, status) Responsible for coordinating project logistics including space, onboarding, supplies, etc. Also acts as Administrative Assistant to Project Management Team Reports to the CIO Assumes responsibility for managing all aspects of project finances, including the project budget. Responsible for project time tracking. Also responsible for administration of all consultant contracts Advises CIO on project financial matters that relate to the WSU and to the State Treasury Office Responsible for all communications with the Washington State Treasury Office regarding project funding Responsible for regular reports and expenditure submissions to the Treasury Office Responsible for coordinating long term Certificate of Participation documentation and payments Advises CIO on project financial and budgetary matters that relate to WSU and to the Office of Financial Management Advises the project team on student financials as it relates to the University’s budget and budget process
Decision Authority Example
• • • •
Meeting scheduling Document preparation
Monthly budget report Approval of all consultant requests
• Student User Team is a group of selected students that will participate in focus groups, testing, review, etc. The Integration Group, chaired by the Director of UISS, consists of technical leaders within the project and within the university IT community. The integration group is responsible for ensuring that project functional decisions are aligned with technical directions. The group works with the University community to develop technical integration standards and ensures non-ERP systems can integrate with PeopleSoft. SIS Communications Committee will be responsible for and will coordinate all campus and University wide communications pertaining to the SIS project.
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Team Operations and Guiding Principles
SIS implementations bring together a group of talented individuals to bring about significant University transformation and improvement. While WSU can and should expect a very positive and successful project, implementations can also be a challenge. The SIS project will seek to balance the needs of team member work and personal time. The project will promote trust, accountability, openness and will provide mechanisms for conflict resolution.
Project Management and Control
Project Plan Maintenance
The overall SIS Project Plan is a consolidation and integration of the project plans for the individual initiatives. Project plans will be created and maintained in Microsoft Project for these initiatives: • • • Campus Solutions Portal Business Intelligence
The Oracle Project Manager is responsible for maintaining the project plans, with oversight and direction from the WSU Project Manager. This responsibility may be partially delegated to consultants and/or to a WSU Project Administrator, but the Project Manager is responsible for the integrity of the plan as a whole, including integration across projects and with other initiatives. Maintenance activities include marking of completed tasks, reassignment of tasks, redefinition of tasks, etc. Since project plans contain greater detail for near-term tasks than for longer-term tasks, a part of the regular maintenance of project plans is the decomposition of upcoming activities into tasks. The ideal task, from a size standpoint, is
what one person can accomplish in a week. That level of detail is normally expected to be present for the upcoming three months. With regard to the SIS project plan the SIS project team will work with the WSU Project Manager and Oracle Project Manager to “plan the work and work the plan.” At the beginning of each week, the Oracle Project Manager will ensure that each team member knows and understands the work that is expected to be worked on and completed during the week. The Oracle Project Manager will complete updates to the project plan(s) each and every Friday. Project plans will be done in Microsoft project, will be versioned, and will be kept on the SIS project SharePoint site.
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Continual communication across the project organization is essential and will often include meetings. However, it is essential that meeting time be designed to maximize productivity and efficiency. Thus, the standard SIS meeting protocol is: • • • • • • • There is a designated chair. There is an agenda that includes expected participants and topics to be discussed. Meeting notes are kept, typically by supplementing the agenda with key decisions made and/or follow-up items and assignments indicated. Necessary documents are available either as pre-printed materials or as electronically displayed materials. Meetings are conducted in such a way to maximize the productivity of the group time investment. Team will strive for full participation in meetings. Team members that are unable to attend a meeting should be prepared to accept the decisions reached during the meeting. Executive Committee – typically every 3 months Steering Committee – weekly or as needed SIS Policy Committee – monthly or as required/requested by the Steering Committee. Senior Project staff – weekly Steering/Project Coordination Committee – weekly SIS Project Management Meeting – weekly Project Management – weekly Quality Assurance – monthly Functional Teams – daily or as required
The standard SIS meeting schedule includes: • • • • • • • • •
The core functional team working sessions are held as needed. A general project pattern is to meet daily as a group in the morning and to work as individuals or smaller groups in the afternoon, but this is at the discretion of the Project Manager.
Project status reports will occur weekly and monthly. Weekly Status Each Oracle consultant will provide a weekly status report to the WSU Project Manager and the Oracle Project Manager. The Oracle consultant will work with their WSU counterparts to produce the status report. The status report will detail the work in progress, accomplishments, issues, risks, hours and all information necessary to allow the Oracle Project Manager to update the Microsoft project plan. All status reports will be posted to the project SharePoint site and be visible to the core project team. The WSU Project Manager will provide a weekly report that summarizes project status, progress against milestones, steering committee action items, and risk summary and resource issues. In addition, the WSU Project Manager will provide an overall project assessment of work in progress, accomplishments, issues, risks and hours. The functional coordinators and technical lead will report status to the Project Director and Project Manager (and to each other) at the weekly Core Management Team meeting.
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Monthly Status and Quality Assurance The WSU Project Manager and SIS Budget Administrator will ensure that an updated project plan, budget summary issues log, and risk log are available on SharePoint for examination by the Independent Quality Assurance Consultants by the 5th business day of each month.
Project Budget Management
Budget management is critical to determining project status and making timely project decisions. The SIS Budget Administator, in close collaboration with the WSU Project Manager, is responsible for tracking actual expenses to date, actively forecasting of total project costs, and administering project contracts. Responsiblities include: • • • • • • • Create and manage detailed budget Review/approve invoices/record in spreadsheets Calculate burn rate throughout phases Reconcile to actuals from finance Review contracts, identify exposures and manage contract changes or additions Monitor contract compliance Scrutinize expenses
The budget management process is supported by the SIS Budget Administrator, with representation from the Office of Business and Finance and the University Office of Budget and Planning. The SIS Budget Administrator and WSU Project Manager are responsible for tracking time spent on the SIS project. Core team members and consultants will submit a weekly timesheet showing time spent by initiative and by activity. This is an important tool for project management. It allows monitoring of resources as actually delivered to the project, as well as a tracking of what is required to complete activities. This timesheet is separate from, and has a different business purpose than, timesheets submitted for payroll purposes. The SIS Budget Administrator and WSU Project Manager will meet monthly to review and track fiscal/project progress, to resolve open issues, and to discuss upcoming planned expenditures. The SIS Budget Administrator is responsible for the processing of all project-related invoices. This includes contractor/consultant invoices with reconciliation against project timesheets. The Project Manager has authority to initiate spending requests in accordance with established project budgets. The SIS Budget Administrator will provide second-level review and set appropriate accounting codes on the transactions.
Issues will arise throughout the life of the project. An issue is any condition or situation which, if not addressed, threatens the project from a time, cost or result standpoint. When an issue is identified it is logged, in the SIS Project Issues Log, located in the SIS Project SharePoint site. The log of outstanding issues is reviewed as a standing item on project team meeting agendas. Standard protocol for issue creation includes: • Assign a unique ID • Name the issue • Describe the issue, including its potential impact • Assign a priority (Critical, High, Medium, Low) • Assign the person
responsible for resolution • Set the initial status (Open)
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The protocol for issue review includes • • Update status, record key decisions and next steps Determine the current status (Open, Closed, Hold)
Once an issue is opened it remains on the log until closed. One way to close an issue is to resolve it by taking action or making a decision. Another is to determine that in fact it isn’t an issue; no action or decision is required. A third way is to turn it into a task on the project plan. All issues will be tracked via the SIS SharePoint Issues List. Issue logs are maintained at multiple levels on the project and managed as follows: • • • • The SIS Steering Committee Chair The WSU Project Manager The Oracle Project Manager The Functional Lead (for an individual project within a given initiative)
Decision-Making and Issue Escalation Process
Issues will arise over the course of the project. An issue is any condition or situation which, if left unresolved, threatens the project from a time, cost or result standpoint. Quick and appropriate resolution of issues is critical. Each of the core project teams are empowered to identify and develop recommended resolutions to project issues. Some issues, those that affect University policy, project scope, project schedule and the budget, will require escalation and resolution by the Project Management Team, the Steering Committee or the Policy Committee. If an issue requires escalation, it will be assigned a “PMT” status and will be reviewed by the Project Management Team weekly. In the event that a weekly turnaround is not sufficient to complete an activity on time, the issue owner can escalate the issue to the WSU Project Manager immediately. The Project Management Team will either accept the resolution or, if required, assign it to the Steering Committee for approval. Items escalated to the Steering Committee will be reviewed weekly.
Change Control Management
One of the more difficult aspects of a large project is change. Change is a fact, and it needs to be managed in a controlled way. The process should be quick when the request is straightforward and inexpensive and very considered when the request is more complex and/or more expensive. The change control process has these steps: 1. Propose Anyone may propose a change informally in the course of the project. These proposals are normal “what-if” discussions. A formal request for change, however, must go through the WSU functional lead. If the functional lead concurs, a System Change Request (SCR) is initiated. If the functional lead does not concur, an issue will be opened, and the issue process used to resolve the disagreement. The System Change Request (SCR) includes: • Initiative • Requestor • Date • Description • Expected benefit • Attachments as necessary
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2. Log System Change Request The System Change Request (SCR) is presented to and discussed with the Project Manager. If the Project Manager agrees with the judgment of the functional leads, then the Project Manager assigns an ID to the SCR, and logs it in the System Change Request Log. This log is maintained for the overall SIS project. 3. Assess System Change Request The requested change is analyzed to determine what would be involved if this request were approved. What modules/dialogs/tables/etc. would be affected? What more specifically would be the benefit? What would be the cost to the project? Assessment of benefit and cost is done on a ‘lifetime benefit/cost’ basis. For example, a customization to PeopleSoft will need to be revisited every time a new PeopleSoft release is installed. In the case of more complex requests this analysis can itself be a considerable amount of work. As a result of this work the original SCR is modified, so that it now includes: • SCR ID • Initiative • Requestor • Date submitted • Analyst • Date analyzed • Description (revised if necessary) • Affected components • Expected benefit (revised if necessary) • Expected cost (time and dollars) 4. Review System Change Request All SCRs are reviewed by the Change Request Group (Oracle Project Manager, Technical Lead, Undergraduate Liaison, Graduate Liaison, the Independent Project Manager, WSU Project Manager, and the SIS Steering Committee Chair). The Change Request Group then decides