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Estates Communications & Post-Project Reviews

Project Highlight

Using SCD techniques Estates have improved their communications, internally and externally, to ensure more efficient project management, better service for external departments and improved staff morale.

What was happening?

Estates projects staff raised the issue of poor communications in their November 2015 Away Day. Teams were often working in ‘silos’, unaware of what was going on in other teams, which was leading to inefficient project planning. There were issues surrounding the clarity of communication with stakeholders. Staff also felt that more needed to be done on communicating and celebrating the successes of individuals and the department.

Estates Briefing Presentation

What did we do?

Estates created a project group to address these issues, using SCD tools to manage the work. There were several work streams within the project and each one was assigned a project lead, someone to be accountable for the progress, and stakeholders to be consulted and informed were identified. The team are hard at work and have made a range of improvements so far, with more in development. They are using the practice of continuous improvement to review their changes, adjusting when necessary, to make further enhancements.

Estates Map Table

Estates Review Wall

What was the result?

A key improvement that the team have implemented is the creation of a project timeline of works. This timeline brings together projects from across all teams within Estates and is enabling a more holistic view of works to be taken. Additionally they maintain a spreadsheet of all project contacts, making it easy for colleagues to collaborate.

They've created a project zone with a wall to display information on current projects and a desk which displays the campus map for quick reference during reviews. This project zone is a key enabler for the weekly logistics meetings they have implemented, which bring together all the teams to create greater awareness of the works that are taking place and their impacts.

They have been working to improve their external communications through a range of initiatives. They are creating more standard documents, such as the Stakeholder Management Plan and the Project Charter. These documents will help to standardise practice across projects in Estates so that stakeholders have a consistent experience. The Project Charter and Handover Management Plan will help to define roles and responsibilities, document key project objectives and create more standard and formal processes.

One quick improvement they've made is to review their email etiquette and ensure that the language they use is appropriate for the intended recipient and doesn't use too much technical terminology.

If you'd like to find out more about how you could use SCD techniques to improve communications in your team or department please contact Graham Steer who has been leading this project.

Estates have also made some small and simple changes which have been really effective for improving communication within the department. They've improved the format of their Estates Brief from a wordy document, which was not widely read, to a PowerPoint template which enables quick distribution of information to individual teams.

They have created a prominent area in Argent Court, between the meeting rooms, to display all the awards which have been won by individuals, teams and the department. They are working on pre-loading their mobile phones, which are issued to new starters, with all the contact details for Estates. This will not only save time for the new starters but improves their experience of joining the department as they can quickly integrate with their colleagues.