How to submit an idea
One of the updates that the digital communications team has been working on for the last year has been our processes for taking on new projects. Having spent a lot of time developing and documenting our engagement framework (how and when we engage with colleagues and stakeholders across the University), we have recently changed the way which we take on new projects.
In the past, we have worked on projects based on who shouts the loudest, which has left us unable to work on projects of strategic importance. In a bid to make our process simpler and more transparent, the digital communications team now requires any potential new project to be submitted to our submit an idea system.
An overview of the submit an idea process
The aim behind the submit an idea process is to create an overview of all digital projects which are desired by the University, and then to group and prioritise work for the digital communications team.
Anyone with an idea for the digital communications team should complete the submit an idea form. This is a Word document with eight sections that can be filled in by anyone connected to the University who has an idea or need for a digital project. This is document should then be emailed to email@example.com.
In future, we aim to transfer this document into a web form, although the sections will remain broadly the same.
What is an idea?
The submit an idea form should be used to propose a new idea or project to the digital communications team. A new idea may be a new section of the website, a digital form, a blog design – anything that requires the digital communications team to create something new.
If you require changes to be made to an existing section of the website or if you are looking to report an issue with current digital products, this is instead support and maintenance. If you require support and maintenance, you should contact the digital communications team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The submit an idea form
The submit an idea form is designed to give the digital communications team an idea of the issue you are looking to solve, who the issue is impacting on and what the benefits of solving this issue may be. Any idea submitted via this form must refer back to the University strategy, as outlined in the University Strategic Plan 2008 – 2018. Ideas that do not help meet institutional priorities will be given a lower priority.
The introduction to each section of the submit an idea form describes the information that we are looking for in that section. Many sections only require a bulleted list in response.
What happens next?
All submitted ideas go into UniDesk, which ensures that the no form will be lost in a personal email inbox. All submitted ideas are then read and assessed by the portfolio shaping team (PST) during regular meetings.
At PST meetings, members of the team will go through each idea and assess it. They will check that it has not already been submitted, that it does not affect another project in the backlog and that it is within the remit of the digital communications team. Once it has been established as a new idea, it is assigned a score based on a weighting system linked to the institutional strategy. Each idea is then added to the backlog, where work will start when a suitable slot emerges.
By adding all new ideas to a backlog, the PST are able to consider a number of different ideas for digital projects and prioritise which is of the highest institutional priority. This increases the team’s transparency and also allows the digital communications team to predict when they will be able to start on incoming projects. Knowing when we will start work on a new project means we can liaise with the relevant people in a school, unit or department – something which is vital for the success of our Agile DSDM method of project management.
Once the PST have reached agreement on which ideas should be taken forward by the team, and have identified a suitable time slot, a project manager will get in contact with the person who submitted the original idea in order to get work started.