I’m really pleased to be sharing our Digital Comms roadmap for the next quarter. It’s the first time we’ve publicly shared it. It’s our way of explaining what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we think we’re going be doing next.
6,000 members of staff and almost 28,000 students, six faculties, 28 schools and departments, 12 institutes, over 250 research groups, groups clusters and networks, and 14 divisions… The University of Bristol is, if nothing else, a complex institution.
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?
We’ve been investing significantly in an intranet for University staff and postgraduate research students (PGRs). Previously our intranet content was scattered across our external website, seriously old internal content management systems, wikis and random crevices that only staff who’ve been at the University for decades would be able to find.
As we’ve just moved it out of beta and into live I thought it was a good opportunity to detail the design principles we’ve been using to inform its development.
It’s important to add we’re still at the early stages of a long journey. There’s a large roadmap of development ahead. But we believe that by sticking with these principles we can continue to build an intranet that will prove invaluable to all our staff and PGRs.
The third part of digital officer Charlotte Brewer’s series on content sprinting.
This post was actually written a while ago. We planned to release it as part of our series on ‘Content Sprinting’. Then lockdown started. Hitting the publish button fell down the list of priorities.
Despite lockdown, and despite everyone working from home and all the challenges that has brought, we’re actually still working in exactly the same way. We’re still sprinting. We’re still doing everything we did before. Everything in this blog post remains accurate. The only difference is that all our meetings and our conversations are via Skype.
When colleagues from across the University come to us for help with their website, the first thing we ask them is: what’s your problem?
That sounds a bit rude and abrupt. Let me explain.
In any digital project or product this is the single most important question that needs answering. If there’s no problem to solve then there’s no work needed.
What do we mean by problem? What we don’t mean is that your website looks ugly, that it doesn’t look good on a mobile device, it doesn’t have the right tone, or that it’s not structured in a way that mirrors your team’s structure.
These aren’t problems, they’re solutions looking for a problem. (more…)
Deputy head of digital comms Alex Pardoe on how our newly-formed content team has transformed the way we deliver content.
This post is about the new way of working for the Digital Officers. Where previously we assigned project work to individual staff members through the project framework, now we’re assigning projects to the newly-formed “content team” and they’re using a modified version of Agile Scrum to get them not just done, but done-done.
Scrum for content?
Scrum has been used for years in software development, and we liked it for its simplicity and open-ended application. We felt it could work well for discovery and content design work as a team activity. Jeff Sutherland’s wife, Arline, adopted Scrum practices to improve communication and productivity in local churches. It’s not just for coding.
We introduced a new project management framework and governance function a year ago. It’s transformed our ability to respond effectively and flexibly to priority business needs. In the first of two posts, deputy head of digital comms Alex Pardoe explains how.
Where we were
When I started in this role in early in 2017, the team was really struggling to cope with the competing demands from across the University. These sort of things:
- Work requests could arrive from anywhere: email, phone calls, Yammer comments, meeting minutes, post-it notes on desks, chats in kitchen area, chats in the pub etc.
- Objectives undefined/entirely absent – why are we going to do this work?
- Scope of work undefined – what are we going to do, when do we know we’ve done it… and do they agree?
- No one talked about cost.
- And many, many more…