People, Processes and Projects – How the Culture of an Organisation can Impact on Technical System Implementation [B2]


The University of Bradford is currently embarking on a major series of projects under the banner of e-Strategy. The Content Management System (CMS) Programme of projects is e-Strategy project number 12. It began in October 2005 with the Business Analysis Phase (Project I). The analysis phase of the project was designed to find out how information is passed between members of staff and to our external audiences with an aim to recommend improved structures and processes in an effort to make communication simpler and more effective.

Throughout this project it became apparent that this was the first time that such a large number of staff had been consulted with and involved in a ‘technical’ project from the beginning, and one where the solution was not predetermined. The success of the Business Analysis phase and the staff involvement therein, has encouraged other Project Managers to consider the impact of technical projects from a ‘people’ point of view. Sounds obvious but how many projects do you know of where the solution has been purchased without even determining what the problem is first!

A recent (small-scale) culture survey of the University of Bradford highlighted the primary behaviours of the University of Bradford (as seen by a cross-section of University staff) to be ones that would result in the institution struggling to realign departments, staff and resources to new plans, mainly through procrastination, and infrequent interaction with staff leading to disengagement with colleagues. Surely the recipe for failed change-management projects!

Phase II of the CMS Programme is now underway with colleagues right across the institution still involved – from Professors to secretaries, managers to academics. This cultural shift towards staff engagement and affiliative behaviours has encouraged staff involvement and buy-in and such should result in a successful CMS implementation in the future.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the session attendees will:

  • Have an understanding of ‘organisational culture’ and the effect this can have on change management and/or system implementation
    Appreciate the importance of ‘getting people on board’ from the beginning of a project
  • Be able to identify and understand the benefits of this approach to their Institution
  • Know the importance of sound project management techniques when delivering University-wide ‘change’ projects