Lib Ed: Close-Out

We held a close-out meeting for LAC's Liberal Ed Database project. In attendance were Christopher, Emily, Kim and Sarah. Let us first congratulate ourselves for completing a project that languished at the bottom of the priority pile for two years.

The Statement of Work, dated Aug 2008, sounds quaint as it worries over learning PHP, configuring servers, and following project management protocols. That these practices are second nature to us serves to demonstrate how far we've come in a short span.

Remarkable is how little the scope changed. Sure, we switched up how to accommodate old and new requirements, but the core of the project remained the same. This is a testament to the business process owners who thoroughly understood their needs and the system required to meet them.

As we scored ourselves against the Statement of Work, a few fails jumped out:

  • A significant piece of scope was dropped surreptitiously and without documentation. That the project didn't suffer without it is beside the point. I should have brought it to the attention of the stakeholders and given them an opportunity to make an informed decision.
  • A new stakeholder joined the project mid-stride. I could have done a better job bringing her up to speed, providing her a copy of the Statement of Work, and prepped her on the project management process.
  • We omitted an important constituency — advisers — from the testing and training phase. When the system went live they sent waves of feedback. We should have addressed their concerns earlier in the process and leveraged their buy-in for the launch.

The Timeline

I'm not sure what to learn from the timeline. Here's what we know:

  1. Changes to to Lib Eds hadn't completely settled out when we started the project. We actually benefitted from delays. In the end we built a system that serves the new requirements, not the old, and not some blending of the two.
  2. Other projects were given priority over this one and rightly so.
  3. Both LAC and IT underwent significant staff changes. Terry left. I jumped from contract to contract to perm. Both Christopher and I moved from LAC to OIP. Sarah was gobbled up by Peoplesoft. Emily stepped up. Kim was dropped in medias res.


The blog took getting used to but worked well for communication and documentation. And how slick was that? To simply send a link to another institution interested in replicating our work.


I spent 100 hours from Feb 5, 2009 to June 23, 2010.