3 Best Practices for Creating a Successful Project Team

3 Best Practices for Creating a Successful Project Team

Choosing a faculty activity reporting solution is a big decision. And it’s common that universities underestimate the resources that go into implementing, maintaining and maximizing the potential of their system. That’s why a project team should be involved from the very beginning. A project team will increase your university’s success with adoption, help faculty realize the value of the system and ensure that no one is overwhelmed with the responsibility of launching the solution. Here are a few things to think about to ensure you build a successful project team.

Why It Matters

Proper implementation is key, and no one person can represent your university’s data and reporting needs. It’s important for overall system success—data accuracy, quality control, and so on—that your faculty activity reporting solution will support your overall strategic plan. WIthout complete consideration of your faculty, mission and goals, you may not realize the full value of your system to report on a wide range of areas of interest to stakeholders.

By bringing the right individuals on board, your project team will consider the needs of each college and nuances of your institution. A team representing a wide range of stakeholders within the university also ensures users have the right system access, a solid plan for accurate data input, proper training for users, smooth communication and that the system is setup to accommodate campus and individual college objectives. Remember that people have different skills sets. Just because an individual is the perfect resource to train your faculty does not mean that this same person is going to know what data is in an internal system, like Banner, that can be pulled into a faculty activity reporting solution. And the person who knows your Banner data inside and out isn’t necessarily the person with the skills to program that connection.

Key Considerations

Whether you’re still evaluating a faculty activity database or in the process of implementing one, a project team is key to many steps. Creating the right project team increases your odds of identifying the right system requirements for your university, building sustainable processes around the system from the outset and adhering to your project timeline. Before choosing which individuals should be a part of your project team, consider:

  • End goals for the system or what you want to achieve with this solution (i.e., “To leverage the system to streamline faculty annual reviews.”)
  • Timelines for your initial implementation project and subsequent goals for expanding your use of the system
  • Who best knows how those goals are being met today, what should persist and what should change
  • The technical requirements and/or goals for the solution and who has the skills to help meet them
  • Who has the influence to create successful change on campus

The Right People, The Right Results

The most important decisions you will make at the outset of your launch of a faculty activity reporting solution pertain to how you will structure your project team, who will fill those roles and how they will work together to accomplish your goals. While it isn’t always possible to have a project team with a dedicated individual for each of the following positions, it is important that at least one person on your project team can fill each of these roles and key responsibilities:

  • Project Champion: A high-level person committed to the success of Activity Insight who ensures the rest of your project team has the time, resources and buy-in they need to be successful. They are the final decision maker for purchasing and renewal decisions, as well as staffing resources. This person will check in with Digital Measures at the completion of your Launch and annually thereafter, or as needed to ensure implementation success. A Provost or Vice Provost of Academic Affairs can serve as a Project Champion for a campus-wide implementation. For an individual college, this individual should be the Dean.
  • Project Manager: Has authority from the Project Champion to lead your implementation, and drive interest and adoption on campus. This person works directly with leaders of various units regarding goals and resources, garners buy-in from faculty and administrators. They work closely with your Activity Insight Administrator and the rest of the project team to ensure the project progresses as needed. This person checks in with Digital Measures at least quarterly.
  • Activity Insight Administrator: Serves as the main contact for campus stakeholders and Digital Measures and manages the day-to-day tasks of your implementation. This person is required to complete Activity Insight Administrator Certification, and should have a strong understanding of databases, project management, campus processes and other campus systems. During Launch, we recommend a half to full FTE. During Launch, this person checks in weekly with your Digital Measures Consultant to ensure you reach key milestones and complete your project on time.
  • Technical Contact: A member of your IT team who works closely with your Project Manager and Activity Insight Administrator to setup and maintain advanced authentication, data integrations (HR, courses, etc.) and web profiles (if this is one of your objectives). This individual will work with Digital Measures as needed if they have questions when configuring these items.
  • Unit Representatives: Provide feedback on the data collection and reporting needs of their college. They also provide training as needed and encourage buy-in with faculty in their unit.
  • System/Data Representatives: Provide information on the data available in the systems they manage and feedback on their own data collection and reporting needs for Activity Insight. Consider HR, Sponsored Research, Institutional Research and the Registrar for this group.
  • Strategic Office Representatives: Depending on your goals, you may also want to include representatives from one or more of the following areas: Institutional Research, Assessment, Accreditation and Strategic Planning.

After Implementation

Once your faculty activity reporting solution rolls out, many members of your project team will likely evolve, especially for those in advisory roles. Engaging them when and where they’ll be most effective in relation to the goals you’re actively pursuing. For example, if you’re pursuing a college-specific goal, the representative of that unit will be far more engaged than the others. Similarly, if your goal is no longer implementation but instead maintenance of a certain level of engagement with the system, you can disband your pilot group but continue to hold regular meetings with other members of the project team, including the faculty representatives.

Remember a project team is more than a group of people, it’s a critical mix of interdependent individuals who are bringing their knowledge and skill sets together to achieve the same goal. And the effectiveness of your project team can make all the difference in project implementation and success. Choosing a team that is well-equipped to envision, implement and champion your solution places you on the path to successful faculty activity reporting.

If you’d like to learn more about how the right project team can support the success of a faculty activity reporting solution, contact us here.

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