IEG4 Insights

From Whiteboards to Cloud-Based Solutions: A Project Manager's Journey Through 25 Years in Public Sector IT

Posted by Nick Boyd on May 21, 2024 12:48:29 PM
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IEG4's Project Manager Nick Boyd reflects on his journey over the last 25 years within Public Sector IT, highlighting how the role has evolved over that time, going from whiteboards to cloud-based solutions and how, as part of IEG4's project management team being flexible in how implementations are approached is paramount. Read his blog to discover more...

As I pass my 5th anniversary working at IEG4 I have been thinking back over the previous 25 years working as an IT Project Manager in and with the public sector and how the role has evolved over that time. Of course, the pandemic accelerated many of these changes but in many ways, this has just speeded up a process that was happening already.

Starting out as a novice PM working on a system rollout for a Local Authority, I remember making a tentative enquiry about having a work mobile phone, which was seen as a genuine privilege at the time. The request was denied and probably rightly so because in those days verbal communication was face-to-face and if not, then a desk phone was more than good enough.

As our project team grew in number we spent many a day arranging furniture to squeeze the latest recruit in to the antiquated city-centre space which was then used as Council offices. Each day we would review the team’s “To Do” lists on the office whiteboard in a kind of early version of the daily stand-up. Project plans spanning over two years were agreed and consultancy services were booked up to three months in advance and were always delivered in person, requiring meeting rooms of varying sizes booked out for days at a time.

Detailed design specifications were drafted and signed off before the work could commence and specialist IT resources were needed to provision hardware and install systems locally creating a critical dependency before the project had even started. Scheduling user training was an enormous logistical challenge. Systems were less user-friendly, some staff needed computer literacy training before they could even attend the two to three days of dedicated system training required, all delivered in person.   When the day of go-live arrived overtime was arranged and offices were kept open at weekends to enable those working to have access.

Things have certainly changed a lot since the early 2000s!

Here at IEG4 we have always been focused on providing digital solutions to meet the requirements of the public sector and we pride ourselves in being flexible in how we approach implementations, always adhering and being true to our values on how we act and operate. We will always take time to review and adapt our plans to suit the needs of the organisations we are working with rather than imposing any fixed templates or methodologies. Our team of product and implementation consultants come with a wealth of experience from across the sector and are well suited to the challenges our customers face and in adapting our approach to work alongside them.

All of our products are cloud-based and are rapidly deployed and connected to users within days of project startup. Standard integration components mean that there is usually no time at all required on upfront technical designs. Systems are low / no-code and intuitive to use, meaning that training overheads are kept to a minimum. Straightforward collaborative tools such as MS Teams and Planner are employed to help us to deliver projects at pace and in line with the availability and needs of the organisations we are working with.

Project meetings can be conducted whenever they are needed based on the individual needs of the project rather than needing to be booked in advance. Attendance can be quickly adapted to the areas of discussion at the time and systems can be accessed immediately to go straight to any areas of focus. Training for the team is provided when it is needed and in manageable chunks with an online knowledgebase and training videos to back this up. Service users can be fully engaged in the actual delivery of the solutions their departments will use rather than just consumers of the end product. When a go-live arrives it can happen during working hours with the right resources available to support wherever they are based. Examples of successful IEG4 implementations include; our Customer Portal was implemented entirely remotely at Newcastle City Council, Norfolk County Council completed their Project Kick-off to go-live with our Digital Concessionary Travel System in less than two months, and most recently, Erewash Borough Council began implementing our Waste forms at the end of October 2023, going live with four integrated digital forms within three months, including the introduction of a new Garden Waste Subscription Service.

For any Project Manager in 2024, the challenge has become less about technology and logistics and more about making the best choices, creating the right environment, and ensuring the team has the support needed to deliver their overall goals from the project. Here at IEG4 we are passionate about delivering excellent services to the public sector and pride ourselves in establishing transformative partnerships with our customers to achieve this.

Looking ahead, I wonder how implementations will change over the next 25 years?

Topics: Innovation, Customer, Implementation

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