Why every digital team needs a ‘DPAB’

I published a post last summer about the positive effect a new project management framework was having for us and those we work with. A lot has happened since then, but, through it all, DPAB has doggedly and determinedly continued to meet every Wednesday to triage, assess and prioritise. We couldn’t do without it. So, what is DPAB and why do you need one?

What is DPAB?

Digital Projects Assessment Board (DPAB) is the governance function that assesses, approves, and controls project progress on behalf of the Digital Communications team.

DPAB was formed to provide oversight and control of incoming and in-process requests for work. This means all significant workstreams within Digital Communications can be supported to continually deliver user and business value. We demonstrate this value through effective and clear benefits realisation.

DPAB meets every Wednesday, like clockwork. We’ve only missed a few and that’s not because of C-19 or being too busy. It’s because we weren’t quorate.


SAP meeting room” by Vladislav Bezrukov is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why is DPAB so important, what does it do?

DPAB is what used to be the managers’ meeting, which had previously been a full team meeting. In this meeting we’d collectively work through a Trello board with many loosely defined projects starting up, in-flight, maybe landing, sometimes crashing… a card at a time.

Now it’s a board meeting. With a chair and secretary. With words like “governance”, “terms of reference”, “roles and responsibilities”, upfront. Which means it’s serious. Which means people take it seriously. Which means control.

And we are in control. Absolutely.

How have we managed to take control?

DPAB doesn’t say no.

DPAB rarely says yes.

DPAB says maybe.

The most common decision is to follow-up with a meeting, to see if we can work with our colleagues to find out what the problem really is.

DPAB has a role to triage requests, and quite often we aren’t looking at a project request, we’re looking at a support incident that just needs an hour or two on our support day (also Wednesdays).

Why do you need a DPAB?

Through the process of triage, using predefined routes for incoming requests to take, and very rarely saying no, we managed to buy ourselves the time and space to rapidly rebuild and reposition ourselves.

It’s this space to innovate, to think, to design, that’s fundamentally shifted us from being a beleaguered team of conscientious doers into a proactive team of user-centred content and product professionals.

It’s not just you that needs a DPAB, your business needs you to set one up too! Because, with a strong DPAB, everyone wins.

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