New FirstLink go-live date under review

Ciber's J.C. Chappell discusses the master project plan with FirstLink Project Managers Dick Hol (Spokane) and Andy Duckworth (Tacoma), while Project Director Barbara Martin captures a 'parking lot' item.

Ciber’s J.C. Chappell discusses the master project plan with FirstLink Project Managers Dick Hol (Spokane), Andy Duckworth (Tacoma) and other team members, while Project Director Barbara Martin captures a ‘parking lot’ item.

The process for determining the new go-live date for FirstLink colleges is underway. Last Wednesday, the ctclink core team (SBCTC and Ciber) got together and reviewed the ctcLink Master Project Plan in great detail. The team went through all critical path line items one-by-one and took a deep dive into all of the outstanding tasks. In some cases, this resulted in a re-estimation of the time needed to complete each task. In a few instances, the discussion prompted the addition of activities the team felt were needed to fully and successfully complete a particular task. The team then confirmed the resources (specific people) required for each task and drilled down to the detail of the percentage of time each person was assigned to that task. One next step will be to level-out the plan to ensure no one is allocated more than 100% of their time on a given task or tasks, and that their needed involvement in particular tasks doesn’t overlap on calendar days.

“With so many project activities going on at once—such as training, testing, interface and extension development just to name a few—it’s important that we take a serious and realistic look at our resources and plan down to the day and hour,” said Barbara Martin, project director. “Everyone on the project team and at the colleges is working extremely hard, but this is a huge project with hundreds of moving pieces and we simply can’t underestimate the enormity of it.”

Using the information gathered Wednesday, the leadership team met with the FirstLink colleges’ leadership on Thursday and went through the same detailed process. Input from both days will go into additional analysis and the determination of a new go-live date. The cutover/conversion approach for financial aid will play a large role in determining the new go-live date so the team has carved out some time to review all options for financial aid conversion before determining a new date. Project management estimates a new FirstLink go-live date will be determined by mid-March and that date will include some suggestions for the timing of ctcLink implementation for Wave 1 colleges.

About ctclinknews

ctcLink is a single, centralized system of online tools for student services and administrative functions for all 34 community and technical colleges in Washington. In the next several years, ctcLink will be implemented on every campus, providing online tools for everything from admissions to graduation. The first three ("FirstLink") colleges came online in August 2015. A wave of 8 more colleges (cleverly named "Wave 1") will switch over to the new ctcLink system in August 2016, followed by Wave 2 in 2017 and Wave 3 in 2018.
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