Computing Projects Procedures

This is a guide to the procedures around Computing Projects. It is principally for computing staff. Information for end users is on computing.help. This guide includes some references to technical implementation details.

Reviewing Projects

Procedures that apply for reviewing projects, see the flowchart covering the process from request to approval or rejection.

Running Projects

Procedures that apply for running projects, see the flowchart covering the process from approval to completion.

Account Periods and Effort Commitment

An account period is one month (always from the first of the month to the last day of the month). Before the start of each month Unit Heads should make a commitment of effort for each project they are accountable for. This represents a planned amount of time each developer will spend on each project in the next month. While the intention should always be that this planned amount of effort will be met, there are many reasons why it might not. Any amount of the commitment that is not met will be carried over as a deficit into the next month.

The most effort (in hours) that can be committed for a month (overall) is the FTE in the Unit Heads unit multiplied by the number of working days in the month multiplied by seven (hours per day) and minus the deficit carried forward. This limit is not enforced however. In practice other non-project work and annual leave will always reduce the amount of effort that can actually be committed.

A commitment for the next month can be explicitly "zero", as it is perfectly reasonable that in many circumstances no work will be carried out on a particular project in the next month. If a project has no commitment for the next month and has no deficit commitment carried forward from previous months then no effort can be submitted against that project.

Unit Heads will receive an email message two weeks in from the start of a month to remind them that they need to make a commitment for the next month (before the end of the current month). They will receive further email reminder messages on the last working day of the current month, the first working day of the next month and the working day after that (copied to Head of Computing) for projects that still have had no explicit commitment made.

Unit Heads also have to commit effort to a pseudo-Project called "New Projects". This allows a commitment of "potential" effort that could be made available in the next month for new projects that are submitted, reviewed and approved in or immediately before the start of the next month. Unlike other effort commitments this is not accrued, so anything that is not used in a month (if no projects are assigned) is effectively refunded. If however a new project is assigned then some or all of the commitment to "New Projects" will be transferred to the new project itself and will then accrue as normal. In general new projects will be assigned to units that have committed the most "potential" effort (on the grounds that this reflects they have more capacity to take on work), except where technical aspects of the specific project may make this ineffective/inefficient.

To make a commitment Unit Heads need to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Choose the "Effort" panel by clicking on the named panel tab. On doing so you will see a set of tabs, one for each project you are accountable for (as well as the pesudo-Project, "New Projects"). Under each tab is basic project information and a box called "Effort Commitment". This will have a set of rows, one for every account period since the project started running and one for the next account period. In this latter row (which by default is always the first row in the table) enter an amount and choose a resolution for that amount. Optionally enter a statement describing the intended activity that will be covered by the commitment. Then save. You do not need to do all projects in the same session.

Monitoring Frequency and Effort Submission

The monitoring frequency is set individually for each project but would generally be "weekly". It is the frequency at which reports by the developer(s) on the amount of effort actually done on a project are submitted. The monitoring frequency can be ramped up and down over the lifetime of the project as necessary. Submissions will only be required for projects where more than zero effort has been committed in the current accounting period.

Submissions will be requested automatically by email message to the developer(s) for each project the first working day after the end of the period being covered by the monitoring frequency for the project. The developers will receive a reminder email message on the next working day and a further reminder message the next working day after that (copied to the Unit Head accountable for the project) for projects that still have had no explicit submission made. A submission must always be made when requested, even if it is explicitly "zero". Developers should make the actual submission by sending it to their Unit Head (probably as part of normal work reporting) and/or directly (as below). The appropriate approach is set by the relevant Unit Head but unless told otherwise submissions should be made to your Unit Head in whatever way work reporting is normally done within your Unit.

To make a submission for projects you are yourself the lead or co developer of you need to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Once the desktop has opened the "Developer" panel will be shown by default. On this panel you will see a set of tabs, one for each project you have under development (or are accountable for development). Under each tab is basic project information and a box called "Effort (Outstanding and Done)". This will have a set of rows, one for every monitoring frequency period since the project started running and one for the immediately previous period. In this latter row (which by default is always the first row in the table) enter an amount and choose a resolution for that amount. Optionally enter a statement describing the activity that was covered by the effort. Then save. You do not need to do all projects in the same session.

To make a submission for projects Unit Heads are accountable for (whether or not they are also a developer of) Unit Heads need to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Choose the "Effort" panel by clicking on the named panel tab. On this panel there will be a row of tabs, one for each project you are accountable for the development of. Under each tab is basic project information and a box called "Effort (Outstanding and Done)". This will have a set of rows, one for every monitoring frequency period and developer since the project started running and one for the immediately previous period. In this latter row (which by default is always the first row in the table) or rows (when the project has more than one developer) enter an amount and choose a resolution for that amount. Optionally enter a statement describing the activity that was covered by the effort. Then save. Effort submissions can be done piecemeal, all projects do not need to be done in the same session.

Reporting

To assist Unit Heads in monitoring projects they are accountable for a statement will be automatically sent to them by email on Monday morning every week. This will contain a line for each of their running projects with the commitment/submission values to date for the current accounting period, the commitment/submission values aggregated for all previous account periods and the overall balance.

-- TimColles - 01 Aug 2014

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Topic revision: r5 - 20 Aug 2014 - 08:40:27 - TimColles
 
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