Lessons learned

Lessons learned are an opportunity to take a step back and look at the factors that contribute to the success of a project, as well as what we can change or do differently to ensure that it runs smoothly. This is instrumental to the continual improvement approach taken by the MAfS team, ensuring we document and share best practice that we and our stakeholders can build on during the next stages of the project and beyond handover to business as usual. 

At the end of 2020, we hosted workshops with project teams and boards for the Student Engagement and Attendance Monitoring (SEAM), Personalised Timetables (PerTi) and Student Communications projects.  

We adopted the 4 Ls format, a technique created for Agile retrospectives, where stakeholders can share what they: 

  • Liked about the project, from processes, to achievements to specific actions. 
  • Learned from the project and from collaborating with colleagues on the project. 
  • Lacked, particularly something that was unclear or missing and that would need to be implemented to ensure the projects continue to run smoothly. 
  • Longed for and wished would exist or was possible to ensure the success of the project 

We also identified specific areas of feedback and we asked participants to focus on these: 

  • communications and support  
  • roles and responsibilities  
  • time and resource 
  • training and transition 

The sessions were held online via Zoom and Teams, with participants split into rooms when the groups were bigger. We used Slido to collate the feedback, mirroring the post-it workshop experience we would normally have in a physical room. 

The sessions were incredibly productive, with 235 pieces of feedback submitted for the SEAM and PerTi projects and 100 for the Student Communications project, by over 30 colleagues. Overall, the feedback was positive, with specific areas of improvement identified. Further analysis of the feedback was presented to the SEAM and PerTi project boards. The recommendations were endorsed and some have already been implemented or in progress. 

As part of an icebreaker exercise at the beginning of the sessions, the participants were asked to describe the projects in one word. Interestingly, the words most used were complex, successful and collaborative. We couldn’t agree more! We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in collaboration with our stakeholders in 2020, a year undoubtedly marked by complexity.  

Finally, we would like to thank all colleagues who have contributed to the lessons learned session. We look forward tcontinuing to work with you all over the coming months. If you would like to find out more about lessons learned for MAfS projects, please email us at modernisingadministration@city.ac.uk. 

MAfS team

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