Digitising Project Management at Pymble Ladies College
With a vision of standardising project management practices across its organisation, Pymble Ladies’ College (Pymble) sought out a functional PPM solution to meet its increasing digital needs and aid in its maturity journey. Coupled with a focus on consistent project management methodologies to enable the College to deliver successfully on all projects, Pymble engaged Sensei. Pymble’s trust in Sensei was rooted in its alignment with values, most importantly in the humancentric value of ‘people before process’.
- PLC now has a clear concise framework and standardised process to manage all projects.
- Altus integrated seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, Project and Planner allowing all users to work with familar tools.
- The intuitive solution, coupled with continuous training and support tailored to the College staff, created strong uptake and ongoing usage.
- Refined project management discipline and high visibility for key stakeholders is driving better decision making and increased value for the College and its students.
Located in Sydney’s upper North Shore, Pymble Ladies’ College was established in 1916 on an extensive campus spanning fifty acres of beautiful garden grounds. The College, a non-selective independent school for girls from Kindergarten to Year 12, employs an academic staff of more than 400 with an enrolment of 2,100 students. Pymble’s strategic direction and vision comprise four key intelligences: academic, social, emotional and digital. These key pillars inspire students to explore what matters to them and see themselves in futures they may not have otherwise imagined.
The College understands the importance of technology to activate human potential, enable connections and make the world a better place for all. With digital intelligence a primary focus in its teachings, Pymble needed to lead by example to build on its maturity and increase discipline to digitise its entire project management model.
As it stood, the College managed its projects by department with no consolidated view or ability to report on multiple projects across multiple departments. It was using outdated applications such as Excel that were no longer effective to support reporting across the College. They needed a tool that provided a clearer alignment of projects with the strategic direction of the College.
Pymble partnered with Sensei to build a PMO and define the success criteria that would see meaningful workplace change in how they delivered projects on time and on budget. Sensei’s Altus solution slotted neatly into Pymble’s Microsoft Teams environment where collaboration, documentation and the project environment could be housed together. This digital solution gave Pymble the discipline to prepare and think through projects with thorough planning that allowed for successful execution.
From a usability perspective, Pymble needed more than software to set them on the path to PPM success, as even the best application could fail without a targeted support program to guide them through the steep learning curve of implementing a fully digitised PPM solution. As ‘citizen project managers’, many of Pymble’s staff didn’t speak the language of traditional project managers. Sensei’s Digital Adoption and Client Care teams quickly swooped in, lifting the partnership through continued training and support delivered in an accessible way that resonated with the College staff.
“Sensei has provided a clear and concise framework and has standardised the way we navigate all our projects,” says Pymble’s Operations Manager. “The business flow has allowed us to work through stage gates of priority ensuring that key stakeholders are engaged, costs are defined, risks identified and project schedules clearly show the road ahead for execution. We continue to build the discipline and report consistently on the programs of work we are responsible for. Pymble’s IT Infrastructure Manager went on to add, “With Sensei, we have an opportunity to centralise focus (and big brains) for all our initiatives, challenges, opportunities and forecasting. The tool is proving easy to use and integrates very nicely with Project and Planner, which is going to work very well in IT for assigning the tasks that we need to perform to deliver a successful project. We are looking forward to aligning our backlog and deliverables with other departments’ goals and expectations”.
“It is early days for Pymble’s PMO, but the benefits of a standardised digital PPM tool across the entire College are already felt far and wide,” says one senior College stakeholder. “To date, our Facilities, IT and Community Engagement groups have adopted the new PMO practices with more opportunities to come. We are refining project management discipline, changing the way we do things that drive value for the College and our students, framed by a defined methodology that delivers all projects successfully.
“When used efficiently, the Altus tool makes life easier and better for our citizen PM’s running projects. The more of our departments and people that get on board, the richer the dashboard becomes. We’re seeing that the departments who have adopted Altus have quickly become mentors for others in the College, creating a perpetual learning cycle.
“Success for an initiative of this nature – considered as innovative in the primary and secondary education environment – depends on sound sponsorship, committed vendor support, and of course, good software. Even the best software won’t work if your people aren’t willing or can’t
use it. That’s where Sensei has really shone. They provided the software and the backing support which has driven our project management maturity in an efficient digital direction that is in alignment with our long-term strategic plan.”
Download the full case study in PDF here.