Green River's ctcLink Project Blog

Implementing the Future. Together.

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New FirstLink Go-Live Date: August 24, 2015

(This is a repost from ctcLink Connect. View the original post here.)

Last week, the ctcLink project team confirmed August 24, 2015 as the new go-live date for FirstLink colleges. The official announcement was made following the SBCTC Board meeting in which a ctcLink panel of SBCTC, Ciber and FirstLink project leadership spoke to the board about project status and issues. (Spokane, Spokane Falls and Tacoma colleges are our FirstLink colleges). All panel members were in agreement that the August date provides the extra time needed to finalize all required activities, test, and train on the new system.

In addition, based on the current project plan methodology, ctcLink leadership projected an August 2016 go-live time frame for Wave 1 colleges, which is currently being discussed with ctcLink project leaders from Wave 1 colleges in greater detail.  (Wave 1 colleges are: Clark, Columbia Basin, Grays Harbor, Green River, Lower Columbia, Peninsula, Pierce District). The timeline for waves 2 and 3 were not confirmed, but ctcLink and Ciber leadership project 9-12 months will be needed between each wave.

The panel explained to the Board while much of ctcLink is ready to go and works well, there are several key areas that need more work (such as some outstanding testing and fixes to the payroll functionality to make sure the new payroll system works well and meets the needs of our 34-college system).

Both the ctcLink project and FirstLink college representatives shared some of the challenges they are facing due to the schedule extension and the overall enormity of the project, such as keeping the momentum going, staff turnover, workload and fatigue. Despite these challenges, the panel said their teams remain committed to the project.

FirstLink project managers Dick Hol (Spokane) and Andy Duckworth (Tacoma) both called their SMEs (subject matter experts) “rock stars” and commended them for their hard work, time and expertise. They also told the SBCTC board their SMEs feel good about the August date based on the tasks that remain and the time allotted to complete them. They said their teams will also take advantage of this additional time to become more familiar with the ctcLink system in the ‘sandbox’ environment that has been set up for FirstLink colleges and they will use that familiarity to determine and document how the new system will affect/require changes to existing college business practices.

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What’s happening with ctcLink? (and other important information)

What’s happening with ctcLink? I’m so glad you asked.

As we mentioned in late January, SBCTC and the First Link Colleges (Tacoma and Spokane) were going to be making the determination about moving forward with their go-live date in February. After a lot of hand wringing and gnashing of teeth, they collectively decided that more work needed to be completed before they felt comfortable transitioning to ctcLink.

The decision to delay go-live with the First Link Colleges means that those of us in Wave 1 will also likely experience a delay in our schedule. No word yet on our new date, but stay tuned.

In the meantime, a group of folks on our campus has been working on implementing Series25, a room/space/classroom and event scheduling product that came as a part of the state’s ctcLink project. The end goal of this implementation is to have a single system in place to schedule events (and the relevant resources), classroom spaces, and meeting spaces. Series25 will also publish to internal and public-facing calendars, and will update the calendars automatically as events are created or as details change.

We want to thank everyone who has been involved so far in the implementation work:

  • Yoriko Sosa-Nakata
  • Pam Dally
  • Megan Evans
  • Treyvon Webster
  • Stefanie Chapman
  • Zach Lambert
  • Heather McCurdy
  • Catherine Ushka
  • Story Gilmore
  • Brian Hansen
  • Nancy Kremer
  • Camella Morgan
  • Sarah Postel
  • David Larsen
  • Richard Hill
  • Jeremy Hawks
  • Kirk Knittle (SBCTC)
  • Walt Martin (CollegeNET)

Our next implementation session is in early April. Please let us know if you have any questions!

David Larsen & Sarah Postel

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Update on ctcLink go live dates

Just in from the SBCTC

Janelle Runyon, ctcLink Communications Lead for the SBCTC, contacted Green River’s ctcLink project leads late yesterday to inform the college that there will be a delay in FirstLink College go-live dates. Subsequently Wave 1 implementation will also be impacted, though full project implementation is still on schedule.

Runyon wrote, ”Late last week, our ctcLink and Ciber project team consulted with the FirstLink college project teams to complete the project readiness scorecard relative to the February 23rd FirstLink go-live date. The outcome of the assessment was the identification of a comprehensive final ‘punch list’ that has to be completed prior to go-live and the understanding that more time is needed to complete that list.

“SBCTC leadership agreed with the assessment and, by mid-February, we will announce a new go-live date for FirstLink colleges. Based on this date, the team will also be assessing the timing of Wave 1 implementation.”

Runyon also noted, ”When it comes to a project of this size and complexity, with several phases, there is not a best practice baseline against which to measure the pilot (FirstLink) phase. But, we can measure overall project scope, budget and schedule, and, at this point, the overall scope, budget, and schedule have not changed. We still expect to work within our schedule of completing the project by the end of 2017.”

Local project leads, David Larsen and Sarah Postel, will continue to provide updates regarding how this will affect the go-live dates for Green River’s implementation and activities.

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Digging in

(This post contains action items for you!)

Our last update contained a list of a few project tasks Green River is actively engaged in. You’ll note that, though the project hubbub has temporarily died down, work is still underway.

We’ve published links to SBCTC’s training site, talked about UPKs (user productivity kits), encouraged SME participation whenever possible, etc… but we know your time is also consumed by the daily tasks that scream for your attention.

Let’s face it. You don’t have all day to read this, so I’ll cut to it: It is time for everyone to dig in.

Please dedicate time every day over the next 3 weeks to the following:

  • Working through each UPK and QRG that is even remotely related to your functional area
    • Campus Solutions training
      • Includes: CS fundamentals; Academic Structure; Recruiting and Admissions; Academic Advisement; Campus Community; Student Records; Financial Aid; Student Financials; Managing Continuing Education; Self Service
    • Human Capital Management training
      • Includes: HCM Fundamentals; Absence Management; Benefits; Budgeting Compensation; Core HR; Faculty Workload; Payroll; Time and Labor
    • Financials training
      • Includes: FM Fundamentals; General Ledger; Cash Management/Treasury; Budgeting; Expenses; eProcurement; Purchasing; Strategic Sourcing; Supplier Contract Management; Payables; Asset Management; Billing; Receivables; Grants; Contracts; Project Costing
    • For all managers
      • Includes: Manager Self-Service; Managing Delegations; Assigning Work Schedules
    • For all employees
      • Includes: Creating a Purchasing Requisition; Reporting Expenses; Entering a Quick Invoice; Employee Self-Service; Job Aid: Keyboard Shortcuts; Running Reports, Jobs, and Queries; PrintScreen in PeopleSoft
  • Spend time familiarizing yourself with the ctcLink (demo) environment.
  • Be positive about what we’re doing and where we’re going!

Please tell us your questions, concerns, or comments!

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Project Update (January, 2015)

Greetings, Green River ‘linkers!

You may (or may not) have noticed that the buzz around ctcLink has recently quieted from a  dull roar to barely noticeable background noise. Regularly scheduled campus project SME meetings have been cancelled, ctcLink Connect presses have slowed, and SBCTC-hosted SME meetings are sparse.

Rest assured, this is a temporary condition.

The team at Green River has been working with SMEs on campus on several critical project areas, including:

  • Ongoing supporting systems analysis – our effort to determine which of our supporting systems are in use (and to what extent), and which of the systems will and will not be subsumed by the features/functions provided by ctcLink
  • Series25 implementation work – As a part of ctcLink, each college has the opportunity to implement Series25, which is an integrated product designed to meet the scheduling needs of the campus (which includes space scheduling, event management, and class/course room and resource scheduling). We’ve started our implementation, focusing on room scheduling and event management initially. Class/course room and resource scheduling is a part of our initial efforts, but will “go live” in parallel with our ctcLink implementation.
  • Business Process Mapping – Understanding how we do business is a necessary (though not sufficient) component to understand how our business processes are going to change. As the owners and users of business processes, your functional areas (re: YOU!) have a vital role in the upcoming configuration, testing, and other implementation tasks that are soon to be knocking on our door. Several lean process mapping facilitators are working with campus SMEs to map out current business processes that have been deemed critical. More to come on this in a future post.

Thank you all for your work, attention, and active participation. Link on!

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Spotlight on Financial Aid

Happy December, ctcLinkers!

The ctcLink project is chugging along with SBCTC SMEs cranking out work ASAP. (FYI, get used to the acronyms PDQ… they’re not going away!) Per the latest ctcLink Connect post, the project team and FirstLink colleges have been focusing efforts on Financial Aid:

  • All available test scripts have been completed and passed in User Acceptance Testing…
  • The first round of testing Financial Aid cutover/data migration activities is approximately 50% complete. Activities include: importing year-to-date ISIRs, building FA term records, assigning students budgets, updating fields on the Packaging Status Summary page (i.e. file review and packaging statuses), posting historical data for Exit Counseling, and loading year-to-date active awards.
  • Approximately 30% of Financial Aid CEMLIs (extensions, interfaces, etc.) have been delivered and are currently being tested by the functional team. This includes testing the newly developed components to calculate and store students’ WA State Need Grant eligibility.
  • …. there are three additional points packed with useful information, but you’ll have to check out the Spotlight on Financial Aid to get them!

Happy Holidays!

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You Find What You Look For

Hello, Green River! This post is admittedly a wholesale copy/paste from a portion of the September 2014 ctcLink Newsletter. It is great stuff, so we thought it best to share!

A message from Mike Scroggins, SBCTC Chief Information Officer

ctcLink is providing everyone in our college system an opportunity to learn and grow. This is a positive thing. At least, it can be.  2014-10-02_10-31-14

A critical aspect to the success of the ctcLink project is perspective. Everyone has (or soon will have) a ctcLink perspective whether you are aware of it or not. It can be negative or positive. Your perspective is something you have control over and it will influence your experience with ctcLink. If you look for the bad, you are sure to find it. Focus on the good aspects of this change and you will find plenty. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but if we want to go on this ride together with a successful outcome, we will all have a better experience if we focus on the positive.

Along the way, we must keep in mind the benefits this will provide to students. However, there is also something in it for each of us. It might not be obvious and might not even be realized right away, but there is something in it for you. We should help each other realize what’s in it for us as individuals. This project is meant to break down some of the operational silos we have today. As we implement ctcLink, look outside your own area.

Commit to yourself that you will maintain a positive perspective even when there are glitches. And there will be glitches, especially early on. If you look for the things that are going well you will find them and your perspective will be positive. You find what you look for.

ERP projects are hard. They are hard for the project teams and hard for college teams. We will get through it together. Keep a positive perspective.



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