The QLD Department of Education identified several areas of improvement relating to project boards through assurance reviews. The department decided the best course of action to address these weaknesses was to provide training for Project Board members on how they can be more effective in their role through better meeting management and governance.
The Department of Education’s ICT Project Management Office (PMO) oversees project management capability across the department, with a strong emphasis on governance and decision-making at the board level.
After a series of assurance reviews and P3M3 reports, a priority was to strengthen the project board performance and thereby the overall effectiveness of project management.
The ICT PMO engaged Information Professionals Group to provide an ICT training program for Project Board and Board members.
The department asked Information Professionals Group to identify up to 12 “snack-sized” learning modules for an ICT education platform that Project Boards could refer to during a Board meeting, utilize on the Board agenda as required, or where Board members could access these learning modules outside of the Board meeting environment.
The intent was to provide quick and easy-to-digest information that would form a starting point for discussion and help Boards and Board members optimise their decision making in the interest of the department, its projects and stakeholders.
IPG initially performed a thorough review of all information available on previous Project Board performance and identified several areas for improvement relating to reporting, terms of reference and other procedural matters.
Using the insights gathered during the literature review, we then conducted a series of fact-finding interviews with Senior Responsible Owners (SRO), Senior Suppliers (SS), Senior Users (SU) and Project Managers (PM).
The outcome of these interviews formed the basis for the design and delivery of an ICT training program for Project Boards.
We also used our understanding and experience of Project Governance, Board structure and dynamics and typical user ICT skills and behaviour to define a set of learning opportunities.
Our initial list of learning modules included 18 potential options. We tested each of these with the same group of interviewees and with the ICT PMO.
This enabled us to prioritise our final list of learning modules to 12 and present a comprehensive program detailing how Project Boards can achieve improved governance and decision-making powers through better meeting management. The de-prioritised 6 of the 18 were not discarded. They too were deemed highly relevant learning opportunities but did not make the cut of the first 12 within scope of delivery.
After the final 12 learning themes were agreed on and approved, we used storyboarding methods to design a learning journey for Project Boards to follow. This learning journey or learning curriculum linked each learning module to the others in a way that allows project teams to follow a self-paced learning approach tailored to their specific requirements.
Importantly, each module specified learning opportunities for the Boards, including some specifically for Board members or prospective Board members.
We also utilised organisational project delivery standards and methods where relevant — ensuring all learning packages were aligned with the department’s ICT project management methodology.
While the project remains ongoing, the initial feedback from Project Board members, Project Managers and SROs has been extremely positive.
Even though all 18 of the original Information Professionals learning recommendations were accepted by the department, the project scope demanded that we prioritise the final 12 on our shortlist.
The learning module designs have been released to the department’s communications team for final production.
We look forward to following the implementation and results of this project as it progresses.
Department of Education