Banner 9 setting sail

The project teams have been busy negotiating the sometimes rough waters of planning over the past few months. Now the course is clear and it’s time to embark on what will be a fun, exciting, boring, head-scratching voyage.

Like any project of this size, we don’t anticipate that it will be a thrill-a-minute or that there won’t be days where, for all the planning, things don’t go as expected. But with a hardy band of team members – there are over 30 non-IT staff on one or more of the teams – we can be sure that no one will be traveling this path alone.

Already teams have reviewed all of the unique Miami modifications (mods) that have been made over the years. We started with 99 and we now have a group of 25 that will be rewritten to work with Banner 9. Another big task has been to look at the 126 Oracle standalone forms that exist in our current Banner ecosystem. Again the teams have done yeoman’s work, with only 13 identified for rebuilding. There are still 14 in review – but the collaborative housecleaning has been spectacularly productive!

There’s no time for resting on our laurels (a phrase originating in the ancient Greek custom of awarding laurel wreaths to great heroes.) Project manager, Frank Pahlke, has generated a 10-page, 381-item task list and planning accounts for about 22 percent of those tasks. And it would be naive to assume that the current state of the task list accounts for all the work that will be done. While light years beyond the high-level timeline the implementation team has been using as a guide – with the major project milestones laid out in three-month chunks.banner logo showing a school building and gears in the background

To keep this massive effort on-track Pahlke and team leader Kent Covert, keep all the tasks moving forward in a coordinated manner. Like building a house, each major unit of work must be in line with an overall timeline and be properly scheduled to keep the effort moving forward efficiently. You cannot bring the painters in until the drywall is finished and you cannot drywall until the framing is done – and so on. If any part of the work falls behind schedule it may mean a complete revision of the remaining tasks, so Pahlke and Covert have a daily meeting with the project core team to monitor progress.

If this sounds complicated, it is. Pahlke, a contract project manager, has over 30 years experience with Banner. Covert, who manages a group of application developers and is a long-timer in Miami IT, has been reassigned for the duration of this project, providing single-focused leadership. In all five IT Services staff members and two contractors comprise the core team. They act as central communication facilitators, ensuring that the 55 members of the various teams are informed, brought in for conversation and decisions, as well as keeping task and issue lists up to date.

Interested in learning more about the project? Check out the project website: Miami Charts a Course for Banner 9 or join us Friday, June 9 for a kick-off celebration. Miami VIPs will speak briefly about why the University has chosen to embark on this significant venture. Project team members will be on hand to give their perspective and answer any questions. The event is 8 – 9:30 in the Shriver Heritage Room. Light breakfast refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome.