Project management (inquiry project)


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Project management (inquiry project)

  1. 1. Karen Pilarski Change in Management of Undergraduate Inquiries 1 Project Description Project Title: Developing a plan of action to utilize new software in undergraduate student recruitment purposes. Project Sponsor: Veronica Carrillo, Director of Information Technology Training for Admissions. Project Description: I work in the Admissions office at XYZ College. My supervisor has asked me to develop a plan to best utilize a new software product called “Rapid Insight.” . This software generates models and graphs based on analytical reporting and scoring of potential student inquiries. The purpose of this software is to highlight potential students that Admissions wants to market to and where to shift a focus on those who are most likely to apply to XYZ College. Project Context: One of the main priorities within XYZ College is to increase enrollment numbers. An Admission Office gathers inquires from several sources (call-ins, emails, etc). The department also purchases names of potential students. Currently 70% of inquiries who apply to the college cancel before enrolling. In effort to better score the inquiries, Rapid Insight was installed in July 2010. The Director if Information Technology Training has asked that a plan be developed to better utilize Rapid Insight to change how search strategies are conducted. In addition, how to improve our focus of potential applicants. Inquiries will eventually be scored based on the probability of applying. Training needs to be planned for another individual to use Rapid Insight as a backup option.
  2. 2. Karen Pilarski Change in Management of Undergraduate Inquiries 2 Stakeholders: Sue Smith (Vice President for Enrollment Planning and Management): Stakeholder who is interested in how the department can increase enrollment numbers. Behind the project to change how we market certain potential students. Dianna Gaebler (Executive Director of Admissions): Oversees Director of Info Tech, counselors and support staff in the Admissions Office. Veronica Carrillo (Director of Information Technology Training for Admissions): Project sponsor. She is responsible for approving and implementing new searching strategies for student inquiries. Supervisor of support staff. Admissions Counselors: College representatives who are the initial contact for potential students. They spend time traveling to schools, fairs, etc. Time is also spent on campus conducting appointments. Counselors work with support staff to organize mailings/packets and various communication modes. Admissions Office Support staff: Group of staff members who enter data, send letters, packets, creates reports. Goals and Objectives:  Develop alternative inquiry management of student inquiries, meaning how we market and communicate to prospective students. Example- Inquires most likely to apply would get more literature and nicer view books, whereas those least likely to apply would get less literature and inexpensive materials.  Create list of names by most likely to apply and least likely to apply that Admissions will market and send mailings to for the fall 2012 semester.  Train an appointed backup person to use Rapid Insight and generate reports by February 30th, 2011. Training will be considered successful when backup person can create reports on her own. In-Scope:  Assess the current inquiry process. Admissions purchases names from certain sources. How the names are filtered/scored needs to be reexamined and more efficient searching strategies need to be in place.  Create a report and model of past attributes of prospective students that have applied. Focus on areas where most students have applied, background of applicants and most frequently attended events (and location).
  3. 3. Karen Pilarski Change in Management of Undergraduate Inquiries 3  Design training session and support for backup Rapid Insight user. Outside-Scope:  Assessing the graduate inquiry process.  Training of Rapid Insight to all support staff.  Determining if additional licenses should be purchased for Rapid Insight. Success Criteria  Fewer resources spent on inquiry mailings because with the use of Rapid Insight, the inquiry mailings would be more targeted and fewer materials would be sent out.  Fewer students who apply and then cancel their application. Lower percentage of cancels down to 40%. This will increase our application numbers.  Designated Support staff person develops proficiency in using Rapid Insight to achieve the current goals. Value/Need  Increase enrollment numbers for XYZ College.  Conserve marketing and recruitment resources.  Counselor and support staff productivity. Example: Counselors can aggressively focus their efforts was there will be the greatest gain. Impact  Increased enrollment numbers for fall 2012.  Less time spent by counselors and support staff manually managing inquiries.  Decrease in counselor travel time. Context  Recruitment events (Open House, Information Sessions etc) - Depending on the number of people who attend these events and satisfaction rates, it could alter the number of applicants received.  Change of positions/duties- Recently our weekend college counselor’s position was changed to work with graduate population. Her role was reassigned to the Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions. This is a very recent change and both employees need time to adjust to their new roles.
  4. 4. Karen Pilarski Change in Management of Undergraduate Inquiries 4 Constraints  The variables always fluctuate. Reasons or prompts for applying changes from semester to semester. Many things can determine if someone applies, enrolls or changes his/her mind. For example job stability, income, parental influence, etc.  Another limitation is time. The Director of Information Technology Training (project sponsor) is the only person to have a license for the software. She would be the person in charge of running reports and creating models from Rapid Insight. She has many pressing duties within the office and this may be pushed on the back burner during a heavy work load. In addition, licenses are quite expensive and are not within the budget of the department to purchase more than one. The back- up user may run into the same issue.  In addition the learning curve could be an issue. The terminology of the software is geared towards people with a higher level of business/accounting experience. Dependences  Time-Need to make decisions and implement new management strategies by June 2011 to be able to use them.  The department depends on supervisor to make decisions on how strategies are going to change. Assumptions  There is only one software license and no other varying levels of access  Data validity-All data collected is correct and updated  Models we build based on historical data will be able to be applied to future data Risks  Uncertainty if changing how inquiries are managed will result in higher enrollment numbers. 1. This would not necessary damage the current project but could possibly impact future projects of this nature. Running weekly numbers to see where the Admissions Office is at (number of accepted applicants) will help me and the project sponsor to monitor numbers and see how recruitment efforts could change to produce higher numbers.
  5. 5. Karen Pilarski Change in Management of Undergraduate Inquiries 5 2. One area of concern is if the applications are completed. One way to reduce this risk is to try different tactics such as inviting unsure applicants to campus events or having our recruiting staff give friendly reminder to calls to see if they are still interested. When they are campus ask if they would like to finish their applications in the office.  Time devoted-Time spent on this project potentially could take Director and back up user away from other important projects. 1. This risk would be a high risk based on the varying job duties and projects people are responsible for in the Admissions Office. Everyone in this department has time sensitive work. This could potentially delay the project of put the brakes on it all together. One way to decrease this risk is to job share with others in the department that shares the same knowledge. The director could give some of her workload (such as running reports for other projects) to the Information Processing Analyst. The back-up Rapid Insight user can give applications to student workers to process. Even without participating in this project, a back up to all staff should already be in place in the event of an illness, vacation or some other event that takes up a large amount of time.  Information from inquiry sources (purchased, recruiting websites, etc) could be inaccurate. 1. This would be a low level risk. It is inevitable that aspect of data of applications/inquires may have some inconsistencies and errors. This wouldn’t damage the project but could cause issues for mailings. If addresses/phone numbers are incorrect, those applicants will be hard to communicate with. One way to reduce this is when receiving an inquiry/application the counselor should always ask for a back up number or email address as a back-up plan. Counselors should double check all information and compare it to what is in our student database. Another issue is duplicate records. The support staff is supposed to check to make sure there are no duplicate records.  The pool of applicants may not meet criteria for admissions. 2. This risk would be low level risk. Without seeing transcripts and ACT scores, it is impossible to know the quality of each applicant. People can apply without sending these things but need to them for an Admissions decision. The proactive thing to do would for anyone who communicates with an inquiry to encourage them to send in transcripts/act scores early on. In addition counselors can get a ‘feel’ for a inquiry by asking how they are doing in school or what their grade point average is. Hopefully before a less ideal inquiry applies, they can be encouraged to take classes at Milwaukee Area Technical College first before they are refused from XYZ College.
  6. 6. Karen Pilarski Change in Management of Undergraduate Inquiries 6 Resources Who Role Constraints VeronicaCarrillo Director of Information Technology Training for Admissions (Expert) Sponsor of project Time/Availability RapidInsightSoftware Generates models and graphs based on analytical reporting and scoring of potential student inquiries Limitedlicenseavailability Lack of experience usingit Director’sOffice Locationof RapidInsight Limitedaccessibilitytobackup user Back up RapidInsightUser Createsreportsoff of Rapid Insight,backup forsponsor Time/Availability Datatel Studentdatabase usedtorun reportsand collectdata Datatel updatescoulddelay reportsfor an hourto 5 hours. Overloadof toomany Datatel licensesduringaheavypeak time. SupportStaff/Counselors Data processors, communicators Time/Availability Mailings/ViewBooks/Packets Vehicle forcommunication Lack of supplies,otherstaff membersmayneedthemfor variousotherXYZ typesof recruitmentevents. Lightburn Online formatforAdmission Applications The servercouldgo down,notall applicationsare 100% completed.