Friday, 19 August 2011

Another milestone – functionality bench-testing complete

Well it’s been another really busy week for the Subject Matter Expert groups and members of the Evaluation Team this week.  We have been functionality bench-testing one LMS product all this week.  Groups of library staff have had hands on access to the LMS to verify its capability and test how well it can achieve all that our technical specification asked of all who responded to our RFP.  Those members of the Evaluation Team who were able to also spent time with the SMEs looking at system functionality.

Thanks to all who have been involved, especially the SME chairs who have led the process really well.  The Evaluation Team is looking forward to getting the reports from the SMEs by next Friday, so that we can consider the next steps.
So where to next?  The Evaluation Team will consider the information provided by the SMEs when they meet on 9 September.  Along with this we are also undertaking referee checks with people in Australia and elsewhere.  Feedback to date has been positive, and has provided us with some specific issues to follow up with the vendor.  A group from the Evaluation Team is about to undertake an interstate site visit to get a clearer picture of the software in operation.  This will involve seeing the software in action, meeting with various staff from managers, through system administrators to front line staff.
All things being equal we are on track to complete our assessments by mid-September, allowing us time to then finalise contracts etc for a proposed signing and announcement in October.

Libraries Board Metro tour

Last Monday the Libraries Board undertook its annual tour of a group of metropolitan libraries.  They visited three very different libraries in three councils; namely Woodcroft, Blackwood and Goodwood.  It was great to see these branch libraries and to hear how they fit into the overall strategy for library service provision across each council.
At each location the Board met with the mayors and CEOs of the councils along with various other staff.  Each library manager provided an overview of what was happening generally throughout their service as well as issues particular to each branch.  The combination of quite similar programs and needs across each library is also contrasted with local diversity and finding local solutions to meet local needs.

The dynamism throughout the various libraries was obvious, with Woodcroft having recently  been rebuilt and integrated with the local Neighbourhood Centre, and now back in action with RFID and growth in community use, Blackwood being the subject of serious council deliberations for a new library, and Goodwood having been extended a few years ago providing a unique & attractive environment with a specialisation on community languages. 

Each tour provides the Board with an update to members' understanding of what is happening across the network and supports their ability to make informed decisions on policy and funding issues.  To this end the Board will be touring the Mid-north for a couple of days in October.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

LMS take up rate for this year

We surveyed councils a few weeks ago to ask who had set aside money for participation in the LMS project this financial year.  The response has been quite overwhelming!

We have libraries which serve populations as low as 500 through to over 150,000 who have indicated that they have funds.  In total 22 library services have funds available to participate this year.  And these 22 libraries serve just over 50% of the State's population through a network of 41 branches & a couple of mobiles.

So by this time next year, we're hopeful that this project will connect together communities of over 820,000 people & allow these people to access collections of approximately 2M items!

Of course, while councils have committed funds, they still need to consider whether the final product chosen, and the price for both "buy-in" and ongoing costs will meet their needs before they commit to the project.  But I figure that we are off to a very good start to ensure that the project will be a success.

Working across the “rainbow”

In my post on 15 June I included a diagram of the different “strands” of work which are part of the LMS project.  These include governance, procurement, change management, technology and project implementation.  Each group is identified by a different colour & in the office many of us have a copy of the rainbow diagram pinned up at our desk to remind us about each part of the project.  For me, I keep an eye on making sure that I am "working across the rainbow" - i.e. making sure that each part of the project is being attended to.

I thought I would give you an update across each of these areas, noting that some of the work being undertaken is still confidential & can’t be released at this time.

Governance:  We have received approval from the Libraries Board for the key principles and structures that will form the governance structure of the project.  This includes the establishment of a transitional user group to operate during the implementation phase as well as a final elected user group which will form as the project moves from implementation to business as usual.
The Transitional User Group will be made up of a few representatives from the current Interim User Group as well as those libraries which will take up the LMS during this financial year.  This means that early adopters will be the majority of people around the table.  However this does not mean that they will be making decisions without formal and extensive consultation with the whole network to ensure that the decisions being recommended are firmly grounded in advice from all who wish to contribute.
The User Group will be answerable to the Libraries Board’s existing PLS Standing Committee where recommendations will be considered and ratified.

It is planned to form up the Transitional User Group within the next few weeks.  In the near future I will have more to say about the role for this group over the next few months.

Procurement:  This continues apace, and in accordance with the Evaluation Plan.  I would like to thank the 80 + people involved in the Subject Matter Expert groups and in the Evaluation Team for their commitment in both time and expertise.  Their advice and attention to detail has been invaluable. 

We remain on track for a decision being made and an announcement in October.  At this time we should also be able to announce the capital joining fee for each council and the planned annual subscription costs as well. 

As we are still in the selection process I can’t say too much more here, but look forward to the process finishing so that we can discuss the thoroughness of the process and what we found along the way.
Change Management:  Well my last post was about the appointment of our Change Manager.  Jo has been busy developing the change management plan for the whole project as well as some indicative timelines for the libraries that will join the program during this financial year.  We have also updated our project charter to reflect the implementation stage of the project.  A version of this will be put onto the Intranet soon.  We have developed the job specification for the Library Systems person which will be advertised soon.  This person will work alongside Jo and closely with each library when we get into the nitty gritty of data conversions etc.

Technology:  Lyal has sent each library a survey which will help us to get a better understanding of each library’s needs.  If these could be returned ASAP that would be great.
We also have an expert group looking at the bandwidth requirements for each of the shortlisted LMSs, so that we can map this against our current network & make sure that we can provide each library with dedicated bandwidth to run their LMS effectively.

Project Implementation:  Not much has occurred in this area apart from the point mentioned in the change management space about getting ready to advertise for a library specialist / project officer.  As soon as we have a system chose it will be full steam ahead in this area!

I will provide you with more detail on all of these areas in the near future.  I will particularly provide greater detail regarding the governance & decision making space in a few days.