Sue Cohen - Developing the BEST

Contact details: sue@suecohen.co.uk, 07971 400653, 020 8432 2725


Introduction of integrated Training and Learning Management Systems (TMS & LMS)

Situation

The 30 office, 3,500 staff firm has a dedicated, residential training centre, which had utilised various forms of TMS and was looking to enhance the existing system, specifically around adding staff and line manager access and information. This wasn’t possible as additions to the existing system, so a new combined TMS/LMS was commissioned.

The Training Director and Executive Head of HR & Training were Project sponsors, with a Board including IT Director, Head of Finance and me, Senior Training Manager. There were two distinct phases:

  • Phase I – TMS ie the back office system for the administration team to manage and co-ordinate the delivery of 700+ events each year, from a 65-bed residential facility
  • Phase II – LMS ie the user portal for staff and line managers to book and authorise in-house training events, launch elearning, maintain learning history and complete PDP and CPD forms.

My role

I was responsible for managing the project and specifically:

  • Sourcing the potential suppliers and running an initial Feasibility Project
  • Setting up the project, bringing the short-listed suppliers to the Project Board and ensuring a choice was made
  • Managing the relationship with the Supplier’s Project Manager and other key staff
  • Managing the project as a whole including specific stakeholder interests:
    • Staff and line managers
    • Senior management
    • Training delivery
    • Training administration
    • Interfaces with other departments particularly IT and HR

Overall project management approach:

  • Detailed planning and preparation.
  • Detailed briefings and ongoing meetings with HR Director and Exec Partner.
  • Detailed discussions with Director of IT and HR Director.
  • Detailed discussions with supplier’s Project manager and Technical manager.
  • Set up workstreams for data gathering, staff representation, training delivery, training administration, user testing.

As the Subject Matter Expert:

  • I undertook specific work for and with the whole training team to collate information and content for the various elements of the system, to work with the training team and training administration to manage their resources and maintain delivery of training, throughout the project.
  • Some elements of the TMS and the majority of LMS part of the system were not fully developed at the start of the process and a significant amount of my work was in bringing together the stakeholders, collating their needs and working with the supplier’s Project and Technical managers to ensure the system reflected their combined needs.

An overall deadline was not set at the start and, as needs and stages evolved, deadlines were set and managed for significant milestones.

My contribution

  • Systematic communications with Training Director and Exec partner.
  • Frequent communications with supplier Project manager and Technical manager.
  • On-going testing of system as it evolved.
  • On-going design of system from initial requirements and “wish list”, through beta-testing to final design.
  • Bi-Monthly Project Board meetings with full information, agenda, notes, actions and follow-up; challenging and influencing Exec partner.
  • Combined managing the project with specific Subject Matter Expertise for Training delivery and training administration needs as well as staff communications and roll out.
  • Trained administration and training staff in their aspects of the system and helped them manage the upload and updating of information.
  • Worked with a group of specific office representatives to reflect wide view of user/line manager needs, test the system, rollout the system and relevant training.
  • Designed and developed rollout programme for Executive Partner and Director of Training to delivery.
  • Worked closely with IT to fix various issues, particularly around compatibility with existing systems and user ids.

Key achievements / outputs

  • Through this combined system, significantly reduced administration required to:
    • Amalgamate and manage all centrally-managed training programmes managed into one system
    • Manage combined training resources ie residential training centre and all conference/hotel administration, its facilities, training room equipment
    • Improve scheduling of events and trainers including permanent staff, seconded and associate staff, external suppliers
    • Streamlined communication across all parts of National Training, cutting administration, reducing duplication of information and aiding collaboration and internal team working
  • Improved and increased management information and reporting
  • Halved time needed for annual CPD records by integrating Personal Development Plans for internal appraisals with Continuing Professional Development reporting for their institutes and professional bodies
  • The process was accredited by ICAEW for members’ CPD and approved by other bodies, reducing the time further for individual annual submissions and the firm’s ability to collate information centrally
  • Improved information and communication to staff and line managers about training, helping them to make and manage relevant bookings directly, reducing HR administration time
  • Improved management information to aid decision-making eg accurate and timely information on uptake of training, cancellations and swaps improved:
    • Scheduling and postponement of events
    • Utilisation of scarce and limited resources, in particular use of large training rooms to capacity
    • Need to reserve and pay for excess accommodation externally, enabling excess and wasted costs to be reduced
    • Manage and reduce cost of late cancellations