By Mark Ritchie, Deputy Director and Head of Project Services, University of Edinburgh

The Project and Change Management Group (PCMG) was formed in 2014 by UCISA in recognition of the increasing importance of successfully managing change within the complex and challenging higher education environment.

Our Group members are professional staff from across HE who are closely involved in delivering projects, business change and IT-based solutions that are cost effective and deliver real benefits for their students and staff. Their individual and collective contribution is immense but often goes unrecognised by colleagues and peers. This is something we want to change.

This Conference, the first held by the new Group, on Wednesday 10 June 2015, will bring together practitioners to network, share experience and learn from best practice across the HE and FE. We aim to comprehensively demonstrate the value of effective project and change management through a series of presentations, workshops and case studies which: 

● Compare challenges in HE with those presented in the commercial sector
● Explain why change is difficult and provide practical tips for effective change management
● Emphasise the important role of professional skills in achieving success 
● Share best practice and promote collaboration between HE institutions

Our speaker line-up features several internationally renowned experts including Gerry Pennell, OBE, the current CIO at the University of Manchester. Gerry was previously CIO of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and his insights into bringing external project and change management best practice to the HE sector will be fascinating and worth the Conference fee on its own! Dr Ruth Murray Webster, from KPMG and the Cranfield School of Management, will be discussing the impact of change at the sharp end (ie on our students and staff), and describing how understanding the impact can be used to increase engagement and improve outcomes.

Adrian Reed, President of the UK chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), and a passionate advocate for the important role of the business analyst will be describing the darks art of business analysis. Finally, Professor Zoe Radnor, Professor of Service Operations Management at Loughborough University, will be sharing her expertise in Delivering services that matter, drawing on recent research on the use of LEAN across public services. There will also be sessions showcasing increasingly important change techniques including: Agile project management, process improvement and project management office (PMO).

The full programme is published at https://www.ucisa.ac.uk/groups/pcmg/events/2015/pcmg.aspx  

The Conference will be held at the IET Birmingham Austin Court – a venue which combines Georgian character and modern technology in an attractive waterside location near to Birmingham City Centre.

We’re looking forward to a great day which we hope will make a really positive contribution to the effectiveness of project and change management in higher education. The excellent programme and opportunities to network with colleagues and practitioners from across HE means that this is a conference you can’t afford to miss. Please join us to find out more.
We hope to see you there!