On April 27, a new unit joined the ASR family--the Project Management and Coordination unit. The unit was created to aid ASR staff members in completing projects effectively and efficiently.
Right now, this unit consists of Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez, unit leader, and Christa Nicols, administrative assistant. Both report to Grant Clavelle, director of ASR-IT.
Previously a member of the ASR Web Team, Santiago's years at the U and in ASR have prepared him to manage projects where it is often difficult to plan ahead. He has a master's degree in strategic communication, has been the chair of the Project and Change Management Collaborators network, and is a certified Scrum Master, a practice for managing software projects. This summer, Santiago is working on a certification from the Project Management Institute.
Christa has been in ASR since January 2011. She works partially in Imaging and ASR-IT as an administrative assistant. "Right now, I am managing my first project," Christa said. "I am working to redesign the way ASR tracks and monitors project progress."
In order to determine if the direction of this unit is going where staff want, Santiago and Christa have monthly round table discussions with current project managers (PM) to create a community of practice. The round tables are show, share, and learn sessions with staff tasked with PM duties.
"We have captured what we learned and will fold that into our coaching on future projects," Santiago said. "We are hoping to better match techniques, methods, and resources to the actual business needs of the individual projects."
When a project reaches a size and scope where it has an ASR manager as a sponsor, or will take over 2-3 months to complete, Santiago and Christa want to know about it. They can help facilitate and coach PMs to complete a project efficiently.
A standard tool kit will be provided for PMs to track, monitor, and communicate project progress. "Having the Communications Team involved early in projects is a predictor of success and keeps us user-focused," said Santiago. "The practice of regular communication of project status makes staff feel more informed and connected to ASR projects."
Christa is working to make the project tracking and monitoring process more efficient. "We want to help PMs have a standard way to report what is being worked on so there is increased visibility on project progress," said Christa. "The goal is to put better data in front of decision-makers, and increase transparency in ASR."
This standard tool kit will be done through Google Docs and will allow for PMs to fill out status reports that will update a main dashboard for ASR managers and other staff too look at. Ideally, this tool kit will automate the project tracking for PMs.
Overall, the goal is to aid staff in project management techniques. "Project management isn't rocket science, but we aren't getting things done as efficiently as we could," Santiago said. "By learning from each other, we want to facilitate excellent projects in ASR."
If you are currently acting as a PM and would like to participate in the round table, or want help facilitating and managing a project, you can email Santiago.