It’s not just students who must manage projects effectively in their pursuit of excellence. The educational institutions – schools, colleges, and universities – that are charged with imparting the knowledge and skills they need to flourish, must manage multiple projects & portfolios to enhance their facilities and the level of education provided – to stay relevant.
These projects often vary in size and time to completion – from larger projects like constructing or modernising facilities, introducing new technology or rolling out a new curriculum, to smaller – yet critical – projects like parents’ evenings, after school activities, and induction days.
Forward-thinking educational institutions understand that traditional manual processes – such as spreadsheets, emails, shared drives, and documents – create inefficiencies when collaborating on projects and tracking progress amid a multitude of dependencies and risks. Consequently, they are turning to specialist project management tools that support the delivery of critical – and complex – projects on time by establishing a structured framework that fosters effective collaboration and facilitates transparent information sharing amongst teams.
How project planning tools can help
Specialist software allows education institutions to understand projects – and the associated tasks & risks – using a structured framework that provides the foundation for holistic management – and the benefits are compelling:
- Break down larger projects into smaller tasks and actions.
- Assign ownership of each element of the project throughout the organisation.
- Adds a layer of governance & structure, ensuring important milestones are not missed.
- Captures information in a consistent format enabling progress to be easily tracked.
- Maps key milestones & timelines and prompts staff to tick off the status of completed tasks.
- Facilitates a structured sign off and approval workflows for senior stakeholders.
- Provides financial oversight: map budget plans, track estimates, get budget approvals, log expenditure, forecast expected expenditure, and capture unforeseen costs.
- Log purchase orders and invoices to reconcile expenditure throughout the project lifecycle, with everything date and time-stamped and documented.
- Track the resources and time spent on specific areas of a project, enabling leaders to plan accordingly.
- Link project management to legacy systems via application programming interfaces (APIs), allowing operational data to be aligned with projects – and organisational objectives.
Managing multiple stakeholders
The successful delivery of projects is underpinned by a variety of stakeholders – both internal and external. For example, projects sometimes require the support of a third-party contractor, such as builders for construction and maintenance projects or managed service providers for digital transformation projects – adding a layer of complexity to the project management process.
The ability to set up workflows – with dependencies – for specific stages of a project is particularly useful when multiple stakeholders are involved. Projects are sometimes hindered by task bottlenecks, preventing stakeholders from completing their tasks on time because previous steps have been delayed. Specialist project management tools can be used to implement workflows that send automated notifications when specific tasks are completed, or the required approval has been authorised. This allows each stakeholder to commence their task without delay – driving efficiency.
Enhanced data sharing and communication
Project management software facilitates efficient data sharing across teams and stakeholders. This single-pane-of-glass view allows stakeholders to track the progress of each stage of the project via an intuitive dashboard – and understand the role they play in the project management process. Laborious progress meetings subsequently become unnecessary due to the oversight provided by the software.
Empowered by valuable insights at the touch of a button, leaders can manage projects more efficiently, eliminating the need to chase staff for status updates. This provides the structure and understanding required to achieve a holistic approach to project management that’s driven from the top-down and implemented from the bottom-up throughout the project lifecycle.
Project management software supports collaboration across teams and departments, ensuring consistent processes are implemented throughout the educational institution. Real-time dashboards – which can be viewed by all stakeholders at any time – and built-in reporting functionality, allows progress reports to be produced instantaneously for individual tasks to guide the allocation of resources and budgets across multiple projects and balance workload & expenditure.
Improved Governance, Risk and Compliance
Mature educational institutions use project management software that is augmented by governance risk and compliance (GRC) capabilities, and strategy management and incident management tools – added functionality that offers several benefits:
- Software solutions that incorporate risk management ensure project-related risks are added to the risk register and tracked. Controls can be established to flag risks using key risk indicators (KRIs) and tolerances.
- Software solutions that incorporate GRC capabilities consider the compliance requirements of all projects. These requirements can be linked to the obligations register, allowing necessary adjustments to be made when a relevant regulation changes or is created.
- Education institutions that harness strategy management tools can link projects to their overall strategy and leverage progress functionality to understand their ability to achieve organisational goals.
- Best-practice incident management tools can be used in conjunction with project management software. This enables all project-related incidents to be logged and managed through to resolution – including automated alerts ensuring relevant stakeholders are notified immediately. Root cause analysis can also be conducted to understand how an incident happened and proactive measures can be implemented to mitigate the risk.
Embracing project management software
The scope for project management tools to enhance the education sector is leading to their rapid adoption in schools, colleges, and universities – consigning antiquated manual processes to the past. Their ability to enhance the implementation of key projects and initiatives through automation is helping these institutions to improve facilities and the level of education for students.
To find out how the Camms project management tool can add structure and ownership to your project & portfolio management process, request a demo.
Catch up on our other blogs in the education series:
Managing Risk – Lessons for the Education Sector
Managing Compliance & Audits in the Education Sector
Effective Strategy Execution in the Education Sector