What We Do

The University of Derby is always looking for ways to enhance the experience for all students and staff. Projects are implemented to add new services to the University or to enhance the purpose of existing facilities.

The IT Portfolio team use a tool called BrightWork for management and reporting of each strategic project and programme under the IT Strategic Project portfolio. The Executive-led IT Strategy Group meets regularly to agree on the projects that will be delivered on a 2-year rolling cycle; they will monitor progress and resolve any conflicts of priority.

The ITPO team is focussed on the delivery of projects to the agreed quality standards, within budget and on time.

Subject Matter Experts (SME) for our corporate systems exist within the team to provide specialist knowledge of our key systems.

ITPO staff work in partnership with the University business units, as well as the IT technical teams and the senior management team, to deliver projects and manage associated resources.

The team also manage smaller development requests from the business, which are investigated and discussed with ITS (Information Technology Services) senior management before being approved or rejected.

Frameworks have been developed for Project Management and Business Analysis to assist in following the process adopted for these activities, including standard document templates. These undergo continuous improvement from within the team.

View the ITPO Framework.

Here at the IT Portfolio Office, the Project Manager has the authority to run the project on a day-to-day basis on behalf of the Project Board within the constraints laid down by them.

The Project Manager’s prime responsibility is to ensure that the project produces the required products/deliverables within the specified tolerances of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits and in accordance with the business case.

The Project Manager ensures the project resources are effectively defined and manages the relationships and work of the project team efficiently whilst maintaining co-operation. The Project Manager ensures that the project is delivered on time, to budget and to the required quality standard (within agreed specifications).

The Project Manager will:

Prepare the following Management Information and agree on them with the Project Board:

  • Project Brief, including the Project Product Description
  • Project Initiation Documentation (and its components)
  • Stage/Exception Plans and their Product Descriptions/Deliverables
  • Work Packages

Prepare the following reports:

  • Lessons Reports
  • Exception Reports
  • End Project Report

Maintain the following records:

  • Risk and Issues Register
  • Lessons Log 
  • Liaise with any external suppliers or account managers
  • Design, appoint, lead and motivate the project team

A detailed list of what our Project Managers do is available to view and download: Derby University Project Management.

Here in the IT Portfolio Office, we are passionate about Business Analysis. We have remarkably dedicated team members who continually innovate and promote more strategic business thinking within the University when investigating new IT system and process improvements. The Business Analyst (BA) works to define a project better so that our talented and dedicated project managers can deliver industry-leading systems and business solutions that better suit the needs of our internal customers and our students.

In ITPO we also like to get involved in each other’s business, in that we support each other to give the best possible service and wherever needed, we will sometimes cross skill between business analysis techniques and project management. All of our team have the opportunity to hone their skills in their area but also keep brushed up with the last best practice across the two disciplines should the need arise to turn our hand at something a little different from our day to day. Our business analysis specific skills use relevant professional techniques such as process modelling, requirements elicitation and engineering, user stories and facilitated workshops to get to the underlying issues that need to be addressed. It’s not always easy to challenge, but we know that by doing so we will get the best outcomes for our students.

We work within business analysis and project management frameworks, but due to the eclectic nature of the projects we get involved in, we have the opportunity for some creative thinking and have the ability to tailor our approaches to ensure the best possible solution for the University and students. We get to work and collaborate with external technology providers and consultants, project managers, end-users (staff and students), technical teams in IT and all teams in the wider University on not only specific projects but also to explore new ways of improving the student experience.

As Business Analysts, we are what links the business ideas to the capabilities of our IT technologies and teams, ensuring that we are advocates for the business need whilst ensuring that these harmonise with technological possibilities; always looking to innovate and get creative to meet business objectives and strive to be industry leading. Sometimes these systems may already exist in the University, sometimes we may have to explore externally to find new and exciting ones, but we have the skills to know where to look to provide harmonisation between all of our applications.

Please see our BA framework for further information.

IT Architecture supports business goals and drivers by helping maintain control over the development and evolution of their information architecture. Solution Architecture is an area focused on describing a system or the structure of a solution to a business problem which may contain several applications and technologies. 

The University needs to understand the current state before making changes to it; Solution Architecture captures this state by describing its Systems and Solutions, often visually. As each Solution Architecture is described, it contributes to our overall Enterprise Architecture view.

The University Solution Architecture function is part of the IT Portfolio Office and complements Project Management, Business Analysis and Service Management functions.

It helps the ITPO deliver projects which maximize the value of project outcomes for the Sponsor and the customers they serve.

ITS Architecture Principles

ITIL

ITS Services have adopted parts of the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) framework. We currently use the Service Catalogue, Critical Incident Management, Change Management and Risk Management. We have developed these systems using Sharepoint 2013. The Service Catalogue provides the "glue" that links everything together. 

Gareth Buxton is an IT professional with almost 30 year’s experience in wide range of IT roles. He is currently a Service Management Analyst and his mission is to help colleagues improve the quality and availability of the services that they offer.

For more information about how the catalogues link together and to see suggested audiences see the diagram below 

Service Catalogue