Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) is a large, elected local authority serving a population of 685,000 people. The Council provides a wide range of services from education, health services, roads and highways, Fire and Rescue, waste management, heritage sites, and more. The vast amount of services offered by NCC creates projects that are often cross-team, cross-directorate and cross-council delivered with a wide range of external contributors.
Prior to deploying BrightWork, NCC experienced some project management challenges. The council had adopted PRINCE2 methodology for project management but not everyone in the council was trained on how to apply those principles. Projects often became difficult due to varying levels of project management knowledge and experience across the council. NCC also had required documents and procedures for project management, but adherence to those protocols was not always followed. They also found that there was a lack of openness and transparency of many projects because they were so large. As an elected representative body, NCC is fully accountable to the public so they needed a system to increase visibility into projects and their progress.
The Council deployed BrightWork to improve project management within the council and customized it to meet their specific project management needs. You will see how, by implementing BrightWork, NCC was able to make sure that their strict project management guidelines are followed and provide management a transparent view into the status of projects and project milestones.
One of the most important features of BrightWork for them was the introduction of project milestones to be completed in all phases of a project. Using BrightWork, NCC set up a template that was pre-populated with all mandatory milestones that have to be completed in accordance with their established project management protocols. Project managers are expected to fill in completed milestones as they go through the project. Besides the mandatory pre-populated milestones, there is the option to create project specific milestones. The introduction of project milestones enabled visibility, openness and accountability for project managers. The template also enables top management to quickly see a high level view in to which milestones are being done correctly and which are being missed, enabling the complete transparency and accountability the Council required.
The project milestones checklist helps the project managers who are lacking in experience and project management knowledge to make sure they are following all the guidelines laid out by the Council. NCC also added a document library which automatically shows up in every new project that is created. The library houses all necessary documents that would need to be filled in by the project manager to prove that they are following protocol in setting up and managing a project.
One more way NCC created openness and transparency with BrightWork was by adding versioning history for risks, issues and tasks. The project manager could see when an item was last edited and by whom, but they could not see what had been changed from the previous version. With BrightWork, project managers now have the ability to look into the history of an item to see any changes made from the first version to the current version. This feature ensures the Council can remain accountable to the public and have a record of every phase of every project.
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