Microsoft Project Server Case Study NHS
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Case Study: Coventry and Warwickshire NHS

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Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust: Facilitating Step Change Across a Complex Organisation

Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust provides health and community services to a population of around 850,000 constituents. To equip the organisation with the capacity to meet future challenges it was decided to radically overhaul all project management systems and processes in one flagship step change. To manage the workload and ensure a smooth handover, IT Programme and Service Delivery Manager Paul Elden called on Wellingtone Project Management’s experience in this area.

The Background: Identifying the Need to Tighten up Systems and Processes

When Paul Elden joined the Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust he conducted a review and gap analysis of the current project management processes. As a result, he recommended that changes needed to be made to the way in which projects were controlled, reported and executed. Hence, a new strategy maximising the potential of Project Server was put in place.

“We had developed a 5-year IT Strategy with multiple cross organisational work streams which was part of the reason we wanted to use Project Server” Paul says. “We needed to ensure all the projects within IT were completely aligned with the Transformational Change proprieties to ensure delivery of both programmes of work.”

The Selection Criteria: Experience and Sensitivity in Process Implementation

Paul did not have the capacity to implement all of the new software and processes himself, hence the decision to contract in a third party expert to help. Of the 3 consultants invited to tender for the work, Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust chose Wellingtone not only for their track record of satisfied clients but also for the confidence that their consultant, inspired.

“He clearly understood how projects should be run in a large organisation” Paul says of Vince.

“It was important that the projects and deliverables between the IT and Transformational Change programmes be aligned as an outcome of the software implementation. It wasn’t just me – the Transformational Change Programme Manager also agreed that Wellingtone would be able to implement project server to achieve our objectives and felt that they were the right consultants for the job.”

The Crucial Issue: Heavy Customisation Required to Deliver Key Objectives

Wellingtone kicked the planning process off with a standard demonstration of Project Server for the client. This was followed by a series of discovery meetings involving the Wellingtone Consultant and Paul as well as the Transformational Programme Manager and several Project Managers.

“We explored Project Server in terms of what we wanted to modify, how we wanted it to look, and the elements that we needed to add or remove” explains Paul. “That gave them a very clear idea of the heavy customisation required in order to deliver to both programmes of work.”

A specific briefing document was drawn up and submitted to Wellingtone who made all of the changes on Project Server itself to suit Paul’s requirements. Following that, the Trust reviewed what had been done making any final updates before running a pilot phase using a selection of live projects.

The Challenge: Rapid Change versus Gradual Transformation

“This was a large step change rather than a gradual transformation, so the process was a challenge for our staff” Paul recalls. “For us this project was about making big decisions – the right decisions – and implementing them comprehensively at the right time. You have to do that with some software and technology solutions as a gradual transfer will not result in the desired outcome.”

The implementation and training was fairly swift, with a 3-month turnaround from discovery meetings to implementing the pilot.  Working together, the Wellingtone Consultant, Paul and the Transformational Programme Manager created a proof of concept for Project Server. It was vital to ensure that the pilot phase ran without a hitch and allowed for accurate testing. All customisation and final changes were made on Project Server itself prior to running the pilot phase.

“The pilot went smoothly and we benefited from the primary consultant and two colleagues remaining on site to provide live support during the first 3 days” Paul says. “The pilot was carried out on a hosted environment at Wellingtone’s base. That was really helpful in protecting our operational uptime whilst we tested the solution.”

The Outcome: Adopting Correct Working Practices

Project Server really makes people adopt the right working practices” Paul points out. “They have to do their reports properly and make sure that tasks are correctly allocated to the right people and accurate time scales. In comparison with our past practices the new system is quite restrictive and controlling, but for us that’s a good thing. We have to make sure deliverables are achieved on time, in the right way and to budget, which is crucial for a large organisation such as ours being so publicly accountable.”

Wellingtone is currently still providing a level of support the project to ensure that all the changes made are correct going forward. “They’re not the kind of company who does the job then walks away” Paul confirms.

The Feedback: A Successful Implementation Delivered on Time with Good Support

Paul was impressed with Wellingtone’s knowledge and support during the implementation process.

“They were extremely helpful and knowledgeable in terms of Project Management, and their Technical Architect was excellent. He knew the technology like the back of his hand, with nothing being too much trouble. Wellingtone are extremely good at providing you with exactly what you want; they’re very good in their understanding of how projects should managed. They provided a great overall service assisting in all the process from start to finish in supplying a bespoke Project Server that fulfilled all our requirements.”

In total, there were 6 days of training for all of the Project Managers across the IT and Transformational Change departments.

“Some people found the training very good, but for some it was all very new and so more of a challenge” Paul confirms. “Across the board of about 20 people who were trained, there was a varied reaction to the training. However Wellingtone’s understanding of the different levels allowed an adaptable training style to be employed to ensure all participants gained a good understanding of how to use Project Server. Although the process presented a significant challenge we have now started to realise the full potential of the system and our Project Managers are really starting to see the benefits of Project Sever and how powerful the tool actually is.”

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