UDSIS: Student Information Services Project

Project Information

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Project Teams

Project Status Reports

Student Administration Process Maps



UDSIS Project Charter

September 30, 2004

Introduction

This Project Charter serves as a high level guide to the key components of the UDSIS Project: the Executive Steering Committee, the Project Management Team, the Functional and Technical Project Teams and the staff and consultants who serve on the teams. It defines the relationship of the University with The Cedar Group as a single team focused collaboratively on a common goal. And it provides a framework designed to insure the success of the project participants as they execute the Project Plan.

About the University of Delaware

The University of Delaware is a state-assisted, privately controlled institution that has grown from its founding as a small private academy in 1743 to a major research university. The University of is one of the oldest land-grant institutions, as well as a sea-grant, space-grant and urban-grant institution. The University enrolls more than 16,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students.


Project Genesis

Replacement of SIS/Plus with the new student information system will complete the effort the University began in 1998 to upgrade its primary, aging business systems. A new human resources system was implemented in 2002 and a new financial system was completed this year. The University expects to complete the implementation of the new student system in 2006. The Cedar Group is the University’s implementation partner.


Vision Statement

The University wishes to create a well-integrated student information system to enhance and maintain effective and efficient administrative processes that will also provide students, faculty and staff with ready access to information.

General Objectives

  • Implement the system to meet or exceed the standards and expectations of the University of Delaware user community wherever possible.
  • Implement the system in a way that preserves University ‘best practices’ and seek opportunities to adopt others, particularly those native to the new system.
  • Use the native system wherever possible. Adopt customizations, modifications and bolt-ons only when a business practice or policy cannot be changed.
  • Provide improved reporting capability at all user levels.
  • Provide extensive and intensive training and support for all levels of student system users to insure that they are prepared to conduct University business using the new system by the designated ‘go live’ dates.
  • Develop enhanced web services for users who are not in core administrative units.

Scope

The scope of the project includes implementing six student administration modules.

Campus Community

The University will use Campus Community to capture and unify recruit, applicant, student and student employee records in a common database.  The module contains student biographic, demographic and addresses data.  It also allows the creation of checklists to monitor and automate specific activities.

Admissions/Recruitment

This module tailors admission requirements and processing for each academic program, incorporating separate evaluation criteria, calculations, and admissions policies.  Recruitment capabilities include uploading data from various test and applications databases, contact tracking, and outcome reports.  The module will capture all information about to prospects, applicants, and admitted students as well as manage its recruitment activities, and automate decision processes.

Student Records

This module expedites complex administrative tasks such as catalog and class schedule maintenance; classroom management; registration and drop-add; enrollment requisite and conflict checking; multiple grading systems; multiple concurrent academic careers and programs; enrollment management; transcripting and automated transfer credit evaluation.   It includes flexible course catalog features such course component definitions, course equivalencies, pre- and co-requisites, enrollment restrictions, fees, and maintenance of data for generating electronic course catalogs.

Student Financials

This module organizes University rules for tuition and fees assessment and in a unified environment allowing comprehensive tuition calculation, cashiering, application of financial aid, third-party payment processing, collection and refund management, and profitability tracking.  It allows the institution to track student disbursements, charges and payments, and integrates those activities with the calculation and application of aid awards.  It also enables automatic generation and tracking of collection letters and refunds.

Financial Aid

This module integrates the application processing for all types of aid.  It integrates and automates assignment of student budgets, needs analysis, fund disbursement, and compliance with federal regulations and grant application procedures.  It provides full support for automated Direct and FFELP loan processes.  It supports automatic aid packaging functions, which include management of matches of financial aid sources to eligible students, assignment of budgets and student awards, integration of financial information with Student Financials and the human resource system.  It also enables accurate posting of current financial aid to student bills and simplifies management of work/study programs.

Academic Advisement–Degree Audit

This module provides automated analysis of student progress toward completion of academic requirements.  It enables automatic degree auditing and online comparisons of student progress to degree requirements that include “what if” analysis of degree progress vs. proposed academic programs.  It also facilitates advisor and student access to “what if” analysis of student in-progress coursework and proposed course choice. 


Project Implementation Strategy

A goal of this project is to implement the student administration software without customizations wherever possible.   Based on the results of phase 2, defined below, the project management team will address gaps in product functionality as follows:

  • Adopt new business practices to the system functionality wherever possible.
  • Recommend changes in existing policy that eliminate the need to customize.
  • Evaluate higher education student administration “best practices”, including those at UD, and adopt the best of the best.
  • Establish criteria for any changes to the new software environment.
    • Modifications are minor changes that include, for instance, alterations to screen objects. These types of changes are minor and should have no impact on the upgrade path.
    • Bolt-ons are programs that operate outside of the delivered system. Bolt-ons avoid changes to the delivered system, and do not interfere with the upgrade path.
    • Customizations are changes to the delivered system code that, because they must be reapplied each time, complicate, add cost to, and interfere with the upgrade path.

The project management team in consultation with functional team leaders will evaluate and recommend solutions to functionality gaps.  Recommendations may include, practice change, policy change, and technical change.   The Steering Committee must authorize any change that affects the scope, timeline, and cost of the project.

Implementation

The UDSIS project will be implemented in phases.  Phase 1, Project Initiation and Planning, addresses start-up and planning issues for the entire project. 

Phase 1 – Project Initiation and Planning

Products of the phase are

  • Definition of project scope
  • Validation of project strategy
  • Confirmation of roles and responsibilities of the project team members and consultants
  • Evaluation and recommendation of project resources
  • The high-level project plan
  • The Project Charter
  • The schedule for interactive design prototyping (IDP) sessions
  • A project timeline with milestones and estimates of time required for each step

Phases 2 through 6, described below, will be implemented as separate activities for each module:

Phase 2 – Analysis and Design

Products of the phase are:

Design and prototype all business processes define in Scope above.

  • A Module-by-module system overview (Interactive Design Prototyping, or IDP) for UDSIS project teams.
  • A Review of current business processes and the capabilities of the software.
  • Identification of any required adaptations in business practice or software. A comprehensive implementation task list.
  • A prototyped system design.

Cedar functional consultants lead walk-through of software functionality, and assist UD project team members map the new software functions to the University of Delaware’s existing and desired business processes.

At the conclusion of this phase, the Project Teams will have:

  • Minutes of all IDP sessions.
  • A logical flow of the system and interface points.
  • Documented functional and technical modification requirements.
  • Assessed report requirements.
  • Assessed interfaces of existing internal and external systems including third party systems.
  • Developed security requirements and templates.
  • Refined end-user training strategy
  • Defined reconciliation requirements and processes.
  • Provided business process guides.

Phase 3 – Development 

As each IDP is completed and documented Project teams will develop detailed technical specifications for adaptations determined in the IDP process.  These specifications will enable technical developers to carry out the system design.  Phase 3 includes:

  • Design Review
    • Technical and Functional specifications for any system modifications
    • Business Process Change Recommendations
    • Business Process Maps/Guide
  • Interfaces and Conversions
    • Conversion testing plan, data mapping template, functional conversion requirements, technical conversion requirements
    • Convert all relevant data
    • Formulate Interface Strategy and Plan
  • Reports
    • Develop functional reporting specifications
  • Security
    • Develop security schema
  • Web Services
    • Develop, plan and implement web services.

Phase 4 - Testing/Training Development

This phase includes testing of all system functions in all modules as well as the preparation for the delivery of training to all UD employees.  This will include:

  • Overall testing strategy and plans
  • Testing of reports
  • Preparation of test scripts
  • Execution of testing processes
  • Tuning and testing for system performance
  • Completion of training material along with concrete plan for delivering training

Phase 5 – Implementation

This phase includes all the steps necessary to put the new student system into production.

  • Conduct migration planning and execute
  • Create an environment that mirrors production
  • Monitor final testing and benchmarking of system acceptance
  • Conduct System Acceptance
  • Deliver end-user training
  • Execute the cutover to production

Phase 6 – Post Production

This phase ensures that outstanding problems are discovered and resolved and the system has been accepted in production mode.

  • Deliver full system documentation
  • Ensure knowledge transfer to UD personnel is complete and successful
  • Review operational performance of implemented system
  • Analyze system’s success in supporting business objectives
  • Assess primary and end user satisfaction with new student system
  • Identify any additional requirements to enhance the usefulness of the system

Project Schedules and Milestones


Communications and Training Plan

Communications Objectives

The overall objective of the communications plan is to provide appropriate information in a meaningful, timely and accurate fashion to all levels of the University community regarding the status, capabilities and impact of the new student project. In particular, the recommended communications plan will:

  • Create an identity for the project that will continually affirm the commitment of the Executive Sponsors, generate confidence from the University community regarding its successful implementation, and provide continual encouragement to project team members.
  • Generate interest throughout the University at notable points in the development and implementation of the new student system. This will help to keep the project in the forefront of University activities and provide recognition to project team members as milestones are met.
  • Ensure the Campus community understands that this is a long-term, complex project, and that the University remains committed to its high level of customer service to our students.
  • Stress the need for everyone's participation and provide a means of communication that encourages feedback and input from all members of the University.
  • Create a strong sense of teamwork between and among all members of the project teams, regardless of their functional relationship(s) to the project.
  • Ensure the participation/involvement of the end users who will actually be using the systems throughout all of the design and implementation phases.
  • Stress the overall benefits of the new student system for the entire University community and, as appropriate, any particular benefits that will enhance and streamline existing operations.
  • Help to disseminate information regarding all necessary preparations for implementation at the departmental level, including PC upgrades, training, disruptions, etc.

Communications Methods

A variety of communication methods will be employed to help ensure a wide distribution of information and to reinforce the information through repeated announcements. It is recommended that this communications plan rely on several methods of distribution, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Two web sites will be maintained and updated regularly with relevant project information:
    • PROJECT website is for the project team to record directories, team minutes, issues, decisions, etc. It will provide for easy feedback to the project team and serve as an archive for project documents.
    • CAMPUS website is for communication and training particularly targeted to end-users.
  • A shared drive will be available for the project team so files can be shared and updated among team members.
  • The campus web site will be advertised for short periods on the University's home page. The web site address will be included in all notices and advertisements relating to the project.
  • Articles in UDaily will be utilized regularly to supplement and reinforce the dissemination of information. This is especially important for the reinforcement of announcements relating to the completion of milestones and upcoming implementation dates and will help to keep the project in the forefront of University activities.
  • A series of presentations will be made to various groups of constituents over the course of this project to familiarize the University Community with the project and to keep them informed.

Training Objectives

In order to train all levels of users on new software, we will employ a “train the trainer” within the Communication and Training Team.  Team members will be recruited from every college and many units affected by the new student system.  This strategy:

  • Builds a network of knowledgeable trainers/users throughout the campus.
  • Takes advantage of the informal colleague-to-colleague learning style
  • Helps build buy-in and familiarity across campus. Reduces the “fear” factor.
  • Maximizes the number of users trained.
  • Allows users to have a hands-on training experience.
  • Ensures consistency in the quality of the training. Emphasizes training that is delivered "just in time."
  • Takes advantage of available technology and facilities across campus.

Training Methods

Training will be offered to the project team, processing office staff and campus end-users.

Project Team:

  • Project team members will attend PeopleSoft training classes in their modules.
  • IT-MIS staff will attend the PeopleSoft technical training classes.
  • PeopleSoft training is highly recommended, though it need not be scheduled before the prototype phase.

Processing Office Staff:

  • Processing office staff should be included where appropriate in prototyping as part of their initial training.
  • Processing office staff will be members of project and communications/training teams to further their own training. Training others is an excellent way to learn the subject matter.

Campus End-Users:

  • A training instance is recommended for hands-on end user training.
  • Consider including campus end users in project teams where appropriate to assist with campus acceptance of new software and business processes. End user experiences with the implementation process will be helpful when developing the training materials.
  • The project’s Communication and Training Team will be responsible for developing curriculum and training materials for end users, and will be providing training to users for the PeopleSoft software and UD webforms
  • A project room with 10 – 12 computers, an LCD projector, and a white board has been setup in 003 Hullihen for the project’s training purposes.

IT Help Desk

The IT Help Desk will use primary processing unit contact information to handle questions and problems from the user community.  The Help Desk route questions to   the “owners” of the module involved or IT-MIS technical staff as required.


UDSIS Project Organization

The project uses a team approach, with a steering committee providing oversight.  Teams include a representative group of stakeholders and primary processing units, students and consultants.  The teams are committed to working collaboratively to successfully complete this project on time and on budget.

UDSIS Project Steering Committee

  • Dan Rich, Provost
  • David Hollowell, Executive Vice President and Treasurer
  • Susan Foster, Vice President, Information Technologies
  • Michael Ginzberg, Dean, Lerner College of Business and Economics
  • Conrado Gempesaw, Interim Dean, College of Arts and Science

Steering committee responsibilities include:

  • Ensure institutional commitment
  • Make or approve all decisions that may change the project scope, timeline, cost or complexity, including system customizations, modifications, and bolt-ons
  • Remove any obstacles to meeting critical success factors
  • Review, approve and promulgate policy recommendations
  • Address other recommendations from the UDSIS Project Management Team as needed.

UDSIS Project Management Team

  • Joe DiMartile, Assistant Provost and University Registrar, Project Director
  • Carl Jacobson, Director, IT-Management Information Services, Deputy Project Director
  • Louis LeClerc, The Cedar Group Project Manager 

The project management team is responsible for project timeline, deliverables, budget, and spending, as well as day-to-day operations and overall implementation of the project.  The project management team ensures that critical issues are identified and resolved, that components of the project are delivered in accordance with the project budget and schedule, and that all aspects of the project are appropriately coordinated.  The project management reports to the Steering Committee.

Responsibilities:

  • Maintain accountability for quality and timelines of deliverables across all project teams.
  • Adhere to the project budget.
  • Ensure that the project teams are staffed and organized appropriately.
  • Document work plan and approach.
  • Obtain equipment, office space and meeting facilities.
  • Manage project scope, budget and staffing.
  • Serve as first level of escalation for issues that cannot be resolved at the project team level.
  • Establish and document the escalation and approval process for adoption of system customizations, modifications and bolt-ons.
  • Escalate appropriate matters to the Steering Committee.
  • Report on a regular basis to the Steering Committee.

UDSIS Functional Project Teams

Campus Community
Jeff
Palmer
, Associate Registrar

Admissions & Recruitment
Jeff Rivell, Sr., Associate Director      

Student Records
Jeff Palmer, Associate Registrar

Financial Aid
Jim Holloway, Associate Director

Academic Advisement
Mary Jo Mankin, Assistant Registrar

Student Financial
Angela Beecham, Director

Responsibilities of these teams include: 

  • Participate in IDP process where required
  • Participate in data mapping and conversion to new structures
  • Identify and facilitate the implementation of interfaces
  • Identify current business processes and map to new processes
  • Identify and participate in development of web interfaces
  • Identify reporting requirements and participate in development
  • Insure accessibility of data by participating in the development of security schema
  • Participate in the development of training material

Reporting Team
Dale
Trusheim
, Institutional Research
And Financial Planning

  • Participate in the development of reporting requirements
  • Set guidelines for how reports will be analyzed
  • Develop the structure under which new reports will be developed including methods, categories and responsibilities

Technical Team
Raja Surampudy, Technical Project Leader, MIS

  • Participate in IDP to help determine application requirements, identify fits and specify gap solutions.
  • Participate in data conversion.
  • Implement new interfaces to other internal and external systems.
  • Assist consultants in technical implementation of product software.
  • Develop approved customizations as needed.
  • Develop approved bolt-ons as needed.
  • Design and develop Web Forms and Web applications as needed.
  • Support technical infrastructure for development, test, production and reporting environments.

Communications and Training Team
Ellen
Lepine, Assistant Director and Elizabeth Wardrop, Associate Registrar

  • Deliver training materials and training as outlined in the preceding section on Training
  • Manage communications as outlined in the preceding section on Communications
Security Team
Jeff
Palmer, Associate Registrar 
  • Lead the effort to define and implement security schema
  • Define roles as they pertain to needed access to information
  • Develop the structure and methods for providing access to the UD user community

UDSIS Project Team Leaders

Project team leaders manage all aspects of the project for their areas of responsibility, including:

  • Establish and document how units will organize to meet the project schedule and budget.
  • Responsibility for quality and timeliness of deliverables identified for each team.
  • Manage cross-functional communication and ensure issue resolution.
  • Provide input to the project plan.
  • Communicate and coordinate with Project Management Team.
  • Assist in transition planning.
  • Communicate with external constituents.

UDSIS Project Team Members

Members of the UDSIS Project Teams represent Student Services, MIS, Institutional Research, Graduate Studies, Professional and Continuing Studies, Deans’ Offices, and other University units and departments as needed.   Project team members report to the appropriate UDSIS Project Team Leader.  Team leaders may call upon subject matter experts to serve while certain functions are being reviewed and analyzed.

Responsibilities:

  • Deliberate issues and identify solutions that will facilitate the implementation of the new student system.
  • Assist in the IDP process to identify issues that may require policy changes, process changes, or modifications to the software.

Critical Success Factors

Key issues have been identified as critical to the success of this project. They are: 

Project Team Commitment

Team leaders and members have been assigned to work on the project based on their knowledge of current systems and expertise in their respective fields.  Their commitment and dedication to the project is essential to its success and they are expected to focus on project assignments for sustained periods of time. To enable this, plans must be in place in core units to divert normal day-to-day responsibilities of these participants to others. 

Executive Sponsorship and Support

The Steering Committee is a vital participant in this endeavor.  It is the source of authority which initiated the project, appointed the project management team, enabled the formation of the module implementation teams and approved the selection of Cedar as the implementation partner.  Sponsorship, however, must extend beyond this Committee to the directors of the units involved who will release their staff to work on the project teams and manage their units in their absence. Unit directors will evaluate and identify temporary staffing requirements created by these absences.  Recommendations for short term, temporary staffing will be reviewed by the Steering Committee.  

Continuity of Service Delivery

During the process of implementing a new student information system, it is imperative that current services, particularly those delivered through the University’s Web layer, continue uninterrupted.  The University has invested significant resources in developing a very robust web-based, service delivery system that should be preserved and enhanced. Students will access the new system exclusively through the Web layer, as will most staff in academic units.
                                                                                            Communication

Communication at all levels is a key factor in the success of any project.  For this project in particular, communication among project teams and project team members must be open, consistent, comprehensive and documented.  Communication with the University of Delaware user community is crucial to building acceptance and understanding of the new system and the ways in which current processes and operations may be improved or changed.

Training

A comprehensive training plan will be put in place to insure that University users know how to use the new student system so that the delivery of student services is not diminished. The plan will include a training strategy for staff in the core processing units as well as secondary and tertiary users of the system.   The plan identifies the critical stages in the training process from the initial step of knowledge transfer from consultants to project team to staff readiness for ‘go live’ events. 

Reporting

Recognizing that timely and reliable information is essential to good management and informed decision-making, the reporting requirements of the campus will be addressed as a high priority. These reporting needs include regulatory reporting, processing unit reports, management reports and ad hoc reporting.  Effective, user-friendly ad hoc reporting tools and ready access to reliable, secured data will be a priority for the UDSIS implementation effort.  

Project Management

Effective project management will depend on the synthesis of University and Cedar resources into a single, coherent project management team.  The team will work collaboratively to: 

  • Devise a project plan, communicate it to the project teams and calibrate it throughout the duration of the project.
  • Organize the project to insure that project teams will succeed.
  • Staff the project bringing together appropriate resources of the University and The Cedar Group.
  • Provide leadership and direction to the teams on a day-to-day basis.
  • Exercise control over the project to insure that it is completed on time and on budget

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Last updated: October 21, 2004
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