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.

Projects can be viewed at projects website

Once a project has been requested a Unit Head (selected at random) will receive an email message requesting that they review the project and then choose whether to approve or reject it. The Unit Head in question will also receive a reminder message about this after one week, and a further reminder after two weeks (copied to the Head of Computing).

To a review and approve a project the Unit Head must first choose a target prioritisation category and justify that choice, and they must set at least one deliverable for the project with a deadline. It is likely that the Unit Head will need to consult with the requester of the project as well as the wider computing staff community in order to complete the review.

Target Category

There are three target prioritisation categories: Mandatory, Strategic and Objective.

  • Mandatory: It should be obvious enough if a project would be considered "Mandatory", bearing in mind that the requesters interpretation of mandatory should not necessarily be taken at face value. So, an edict from Head of School or higher, external legislative requirement, security related updates are all good examples of the mandatory justification statement.
  • Strategic: A project meets the "Strategic" requirement if it aligns (in whole or part) with one of the explicitly numbered goals or recurring goals in the computing plan for the current or next year. It is generally fairly clear cut whether a project can be aligned to one of these goals as they are fairly specifically targeted. A sufficient justification statement template if it does might then be Meeting [part of] [recurring] goal N in YYYY plan "FULL TITLE OF GOAL".
  • Objective: A project meets the "Objective" requirement if it aligns (in whole or part) with one of the explicitly numbered strategic objectives in the computing plan for the current or next year. It can be more subjective whether a project aligns to one of these goals as they are not specifically targeted. A sufficient justification statement template if it does might then be Meeting [part of] strategic objective [S|I|R|T|C|MI|IS]N in YYYY plan "FULL TITLE OF OBJECTIVE".

If a project meets none of the three target prioritsation categories above then it should either be rejected or left with no target category.

To record the target category the Unit Head needs to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Choose the "Reviewer" panel by clicking on the named panel tab. On doing so you will see tabs with a tab for each project you are a reviewer for. Find the entry for the relevant proposed project. The project Name, Description and Beneficiaries can be updated if necessary. To set the target prioritisation category choose the appropriate priority from the "Priority?" drop down options and enter the justification statement. Then save.

Deliverables

At least one deliverable should be added to an approved project. The project will not be treated as approved until a deliverable has been added. Most projects probably only have one or two deliverables, at least at the outset. Interim deliverables can be added at a later date if necessary by those who are actually working on the project. The deadline for a deliverable should be justified. The deadline for a deliverable for a Mandatory project is probably made clear in the project request (or after consultation). The deadline for a Strategic or Objective project should default to the end of the year of the computing plan with which it was aligned - unless that particular project would clearly benefit from or requires an earlier completion (generally if it relates to functionality principally used at a particular point in the year), again this is likely to be determined in consultation with the requester.

To enter a deliverable the Unit Head needs to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Choose the "Reviewer" panel by clicking on the named panel tab. On doing so you will see tabs with a tab for each project you are a reviewer for. Find the entry for the relevant proposed project. On the Deliverables box click on the + button to add a record. Enter a short name, description, due date and justification for the due date. To add another deliverable click on the + button again and enter the details. Then save.

Decision

To record the review decision (as Approved or Rejected) the Unit Head needs to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Choose the "Reviewer" panel by clicking on the named panel tab. On doing so you will see tabs with a tab for each project you are a reviewer for. Find the entry for the relevant proposed project. The project Name, Description and Beneficiaries can be updated if necessary. To approve the project change the Status from Proposed to Approved. Then save. To reject the project change the Status from Proposed to Rejected and enter the justification statement. Then save.

Check

Once a project has been approved the Head of Computing will receive an email message requesting that they check and confirm that approval. The Head of Computing will also receive a reminder message about this one week further on. An approved project is not public until the check has been made. The Head of Computing may disagree with the review decision, this may result in further consultation before approval, and/or may result in the project being rejected.

To record the decision the Head of Computing needs to use the Theon "Project" desktop (select this from the "Choose Desktop" drop-down). Choose the "Projects" panel by clicking on the named panel tab. On doing so you will see a grid with a record for each running, approved and proposed project. Find the row for the relevant approved project. To confirm the approval click on the "Checked?" check box for that project and save. To reject the project you need to instead change the status from Approved back to Proposed and change the Reviewer to yourself. Then save. Then choose the "Reviewer" panel and re-query. You will then be able to edit the review, enter a statement explaining the reason for rejection, set the status to Rejected and then save.

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.

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. 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 sent 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 accountable Unit Heads 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 Head of Computing) 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 including the current period and the immediately previous period. In this latter row (which would normally be the second 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 you are accountable for (whether or not you 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 including the current period and the immediately previous period. In this latter row (which would normally be the second 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

Edit | Attach | Print version | History: r9 < r8 < r7 < r6 < r5 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions...
Topic revision: r8 - 29 Jul 2015 - 11:03:04 - AlisonDownie
 
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platformCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding TWiki? Send feedback
This Wiki uses Cookies