MSc Literature Review 04/2013

Improving HEI Productivity and Performance through Project Management

Not much of a sketchnote this one…

Improving HEI Productivity and Performance through Project Management


Weeknote 11/2013

Work activity

Jisc Transformations Programme

I’ve been talking a lot about the Jisc Transformations programme recently. I’m glad to say that the bulk of material is now there. There’s still a lot of work to contextualise some of the information and draw out specific themes from the work carried out but you can get a sneak peek at the case studies on Jisc infoNet’s Organisational Experiences wiki. The videos have been collated in a YouTube playlist too.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

With the help of my colleague, @dc86, we’ve got the draft CRM infoKit up online. The programme manager is reviewing it as we speak at. Once he’s had a good look through the resource we’ll ask for feedback from a wider audience. The resource attempts to bring together two past Jisc resources: the CRM Self Analysis Framework and the CRM Handbook. I still need to rewrite the stakeholder section, add some context to acknowledge where the resource has come from and bring out the Understanding “customers” section as a separate page.

Various meetings

Other than that it was a case of attending various meetings some of which I can’t really talk about at the moment. I did have an interesting chat with @dc86 with regards to our website. Lots to look forward to there: increased security; a more defined publishing process; printable versions; and much more. This won’t happen in the immediate future but something we’d like to get sorted over the next year.

Of interest

  • My colleague @sjbailey pointed me towards this very interesting article regarding the accuracy (or not) of Gartner’s hype cycle
  • Useful directory of hashtags relating to Higher Education
  • Is simplification the key to a happy workforce and game-changing innovation? Check out Carolyn Gregoire article on The Huffington Post to find out more
  • I’m intrigued as to how Universities can compare themselves against each other using the National Student Survey (NSS). Surely it’s only useful to for Universities to measure their own year on year progress. Students studying at one institution have different expectations to those studying at another institution. They also don’t know what they don’t know i.e. they have nothing to compare their experience on.
  • Merilyn Childs posted a really interesting tweet recently: “Is #highered incapable of transformation? Are there just too many vested interests for change 2 be more than minor tweaks and tweets?”

Weeknote 10/2013

Work activity

Jisc Transformations programme

I’ve been doing a lot more work on the Jisc Transformations programme. We’ve so far received 38/58 digital stories and 46/58 case studies. I’ve been looking through the outputs and have started to transfer them ready to publicise. I’m hopeful the bulk of activity will be complete next week.

Communications strategy

I’ve been looking into our communications strategy and ensuring that we’re more joined up with Jisc. As a result I’ve established a marketing and communications working group to develop this further – comprising @elliogem, @dc86 and myself. It’s been a very interesting exercise as it’s really forced us to question what it is we do as a service. Thankfully, we’ve carried out a lot of work in this area previously especially in terms of our business functions. For example:

  1. Manage projects and programmes
  2. Host, manage and attend events
  3. Partnerships and collaboration
  4. etc.

Using our core business functions as a foundation we then began to brainstorm our high level objectives, answering the question “what would we like to achieve in these areas?” It was very difficult at this stage to focus on objectives and not get too bogged down in tactics which is more about answering the question “how can communications help us to achieve our objectives?” And, I’m still a little bit unclear as to what makes a really good objective, despite having read around the topic.

Anyway, we’ve drafted a communications strategy and asked the team for comments. Each objective has a set of targets and high level overview of how we’ll attempt to achieve them. The next step is to carry out a more detailed baseline and firm up our targets.

Lessons learned

Confront your weaknesses! Despite doing okay at an academic level I’ve always struggled with search strategies and shone away from asking for help. I swallowed my pride this week and approached the University library for some help and it was great. I learned so much from sitting alongside an expert in that field. Some of them very basic things that I should have known beforehand. In whatever line of work you’re in make sure you make the most of the support on offer to you! I’ll try to write-up my learning in a separate post.

Of interest

Weeknote 09/2013

This post covers the past two weeks. I was at Kendal Calling  last weekend which meant I didn’t have a chance to create a weeknote. If ever you get the chance to go to Kendal Calling in the future I’d thoroughly recommend it. Very well organised, some great bands and a great introduction to festival life if you don’t want to delve straight into one of the big festivals.

Kendal Calling

Work activity

Doesn’t seem like much but other than meetings and general day to day activities my work activity consisted of the following.

  • I spent the week commencing 22nd July developing a new resource on Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It will become a new infoKit and brings together work previously funded by the Jisc Business and Community Engagement programme. It’s currently being proof read after which I’m hoping to release it to be reviewed.
  • A large number of projects from Jisc’s Transformations programme were due to complete on 31st July. I spent a great deal of time providing support, answering queries and bringing together all of the outputs. We should hopefully be able to share those outputs soon.

Lessons learned

  • Always try to remain calm when confronted with difficult situations. I had a work situation and personal situation over the past two weeks that made me feel extremely angry and frustrated inside but I remained calm and responded appropriately. The results were fantastic and reflecting back on it I feel fantastic about the way I handled things.

Of interest

  • Don’t underestimate what’s on your doorstep, we visited Crimdon beach this weekend and it was fantastic.

Reid on Crimdon Be