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.