We're All in this Together
ctcLink Project Managers (PMs) and Organizational Change Managers (OCMs) — and a few Executive Sponsors — gathered at Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) May 6 and 7 for the Spring 2019 PM Summit. All colleges and SBCTC (Deployment Group 2) were represented, with most attending in-person and a few via webinar.
On May 8, Deployment Groups (DG) 5 and 6 attended a half-day summit session about Initiation Phase deliverables (the activities, processes and plans to get ready to begin implementation).
More than just increasing skills and learning a common language to take back to campus, the PM Summits are an opportunity for PMs and OCMs to get to know each other, network and compare notes.
Jim Richardson, Wenatchee Valley College president, welcomed the group to WVC and told the PMs how important they all are to the success of ctcLink implementation on their campus.
“It’s a huge project and there will be bumps along the way. It won’t be easy, but I know it can be done,” said Richardson, who shared he has been through two previous implementation projects in his career.
Speaking on behalf of the college presidents (WACTC), Richardson told the PMs, “We support you 100 percent.”
Fun Fact: Back in 2011, an employee from Wenatchee Valley College — Aaron Parrott, adult basic skills administrator — submitted the winning entry for the ERP Project naming contest. The ERP Project Naming Contest selection committee chose ctcLink — which represents linking people with services and information — from more than 700 entries.
All Colleges are now in the ctcLink Arena
Christy Campbell, ctcLink Project Director, kicked off the event, saying “all of us make up the ctcLink team.” She said while each PM is responsible for their college’s activities and deadlines, we are all reliant on each other’s success. The success of DG2 leads to the success of DG3 and so on.
“We all need to be responsible and accountable for the project and we all need to help each other get there,” Campbell said.
ctcLink Project Management Office (PMO) and SBCTC staff presented on topics ranging from remediation and risks to data reporting and security mapping, while a number of college PMs presented to their peers on topics, sharing their experience, knowledge and skills with newer PMs:
- Carrie Powell, Centralia College (DG4): Resource Plan and Budget, Training Plan
- Eli Hayes, Lower Columbia College (DG3): Project Resource Tracking
- Jason Hetterle, Wenatchee Valley College (DG4): DG4 update, OCM at Wenatchee, Initial Supplemental Systems Analysis
- Ligia Cicos, Edmonds Community College (DG4): Common Process Workshops Update
- Pat Daniels, Highline College (DG4): ctcLink Post Support, Legacy Process Business Mapping, Communications Plan
- Paula Henson-Williams, Pierce College (DG3): Managing Processes and People
In addition to project staff, the PM Summit planning committee included project managers from most of the deployment groups:
- Beth Cummings, Bates Technical College (DG6)
- Evelyn Williams, SBCTC (DG2)
- Jason Hetterle, Wenatchee Valley College (DG4)
- Matt Connelly, CCs of Spokane (DG2)
- Missy Yates, South Puget Sound Community College (DG6)
- Sherry Felchlin, Green River College (DG5)
PMs at the Heart of ctcLink Success
College PMs from earlier DGs shared takeaways and “lessons learned,” providing a wake-up call about both the complexity of the required tasks and level of commitment required on the ground for a successful implementation.
Book a room
DG2 colleges suggested dedicated rooms for training and testing. Colleges will need a computer lab for ctcLink work such as data validation or group participation in training. When colleges get to the testing phases (user acceptance testing), they will need a second lab or another room with computers, depending on how many sessions are running.
The work is best done in groups and without interruption, so a regular workspace is not a viable solution.
If your college is upgrading monitors, laptops or computers, it was suggested that PMs ask if the old ones can be set aside to create an ad hoc lab.
Know your business processes
To be prepared for the Business Process Fit/Gap (BPFG) sessions, it is important for colleges to have mapped their Legacy business processes (e.g. time and leave, payroll, purchasing, grants management, financial aid). The BPFG “homework” is used by the ctcLink Project technical teams to configure each college’s local settings.
During the BPFG sessions, the subject matter experts (SMEs) will analyze changes from Legacy to PeopleSoft. These changes become part of the college’s Change Action Plan.
Backfill, people and resources
Rich Lunden described Olympic College’s additional staffing levels. In addition to a full-time PM, Olympic has three full-time analysts (one for each PeopleSoft pillar) and that’s all they do. It’s a lot of work and the analysts take some pressure off of SMEs who are learning to do a new job, while doing their current job. He warned later DG PMs that during Initiation Phase you are cruising along at 55 mph and the day you enter the Structure Phase it immediately revs up to 120 mph.
Eli Hayes, Lower Columbia College, shared a project resource roster he created in Google Sheets. He had great feedback from users on campus as it is very easy to see who is doing what, when. It gives administrators an easy view into the volume of the work, and it also gives a clear, early picture of when people are getting overworked.
Paula Henson-Williams, Pierce College, described how important executive level support is to the ctcLink Project. Pierce is fortunate to have a supportive and engaged leadership team, including the CEO/Chancellor, campus presidents, VPs and Executive Sponsor (who also serves as the chair of the ctcLink Project Steering Committee). The ctcLink Project is now a standing agenda item for Pierce's executive team meetings.
When Pierce was part of Wave 1, additional project staff or backfill positions weren't hired, because the colleges weren't sure about expectations or true need for the project. Many key SMEs are not only engaged with the ctcLink project, but are being tapped for other campus initiatives, such as Guided Pathways and Achieving the Dream, to name just two.
Now that Pierce feels like it's on a good track with the project – and given the additional initiatives – Henson-Williams said additional hiring is an absolute necessity. Pierce currently has several project-related open position announcements in Finance, Campus Solutions and HCM, with the plan to have these new positions/new hires, back fill some of their day-to-day operations. She said the Pierce College executive team has also begun early conversations about the need for pillar-specific and/or business analyst type positions for life after go-live.
Common Process Workshops
Ligia Cicos, Edmonds Community College, suggests every college get involved in Common Process Workshops (CPWs). Specifically, she reached out to DG5 and DG6 for volunteers to carry the CPW coordination, facilitation, and testing torch to the finish line.
Developing common processes creates a best-practice standard to simplify and support local configurations, training and process adoption. Just as important, the CPW workshops help participants better prepare for ctcLink and gives them a chance to create SME networks and build community.
To date, 30 CPWs have been held and another eight high-priority CPWs remain.
If you have questions about ctcLink activities and planning at your college, contact your project manager.
Deployment Groups 5 and 6 in the Initiation Phase
Each college in a ctcLink deployment group undergoes five phases: Initiation, Structure, Construct, Transition and Deployment.
Initiation Phase activities impact nearly every stakeholder group and campus department.
The Initiation Phase lasts about 16 months and includes all project planning preparation tasks to prepare a college to step through Gate 1 (Peer Review for implementation readiness) into the ctcLink starting block. Based on the Peer Review recommendations, the ctcLink Steering Committee then approves the deployment group to move through the first gate.
Among other things, Initiation includes all project planning preparation tasks:
- Bringing on board a dedicated project manager
- Conducting college readiness activities such as college project charter and execution plans
- Resource plan and allocating a budget
- Starting change impact analysis and change action plan
- Legacy business process mapping
- Initial supplemental systems analysis
- Baselined project schedule
- Local communication, training and risk management plans
Initiation Phase Peer Review past and future
- DG3 underwent the Peer Review process in November 2018 to prepare for implementation phase kick-off in January 2019. Go-Live will be in early 2020.
- DG4 will undergo Peer Review in July 2019 as it heads toward late 2020 Go-Live date.
- DG5 will have its Peer Review for implementation readiness in October 2019 as it heads toward an early 2021 Go-Live date.
- DG6 Peer Review is set for July 2020 and a late 2021 Go-Live.
All dates are subject to adjustment.
Where to Find ctcLink Documents and Resources
- ctcLink Project Governance
- ctcLink Project Status Reports
- Document and Resource Links for ctcLink & ERP
- ctcLink Deployment Groups
- ctcLink Quality Gates & Milestones
Subscribe to ctcLink CONNECT
Was this blog forwarded to you? Get your own copy. SIGN UP to receive notices when ctcLink Connect editions are posted.
NOTE: Members of certain community and technical college distribution lists — SBCTC all staff, ctcLink Executive Leadership Committee, ctcLink Steering Committee, ctcLink Working Group, ctcLink Executive Sponsors, PM/OCM, Presidents, PIOs — are on the regular distribution list.