Presenter/Author Information

Wendy D. Welsh
Dugald Black

Keywords

stakeholder engagement, governance, users, river systems model

Start Date

1-7-2010 12:00 AM

Description

This paper describes the approach being used to engage stakeholders for thedevelopment of the River Manager river systems modelling tool, which is designed tosimulate river system hydrology and water management rules for water managementplanning. River Manager software is being developed to replace three river system models(MSM-Bigmod, REALM, IQQM) that are currently applied in different parts of theMurray-Darling Basin, Australia. Engagement is occurring as a multi-part process thatcomprises the following elements: (1) An initial round of stakeholder discussions in2005/06 that elicited the user requirements. This process was repeated in 2008/2009; therequirements were largely unchanged. (2) A governance structure organised into threelevels: (a) technical user group providing technical advice; (b) technical managerial groupdeciding requirements and approving functionality specifications; and (c) steeringcommittee of user representatives providing strategic direction. Interactions between theproject and these governance groups are mostly formal, through periodic meetings and outof-session papers. (3) User acceptance testing that is via four complex river system modeltrial applications. (4) Other stakeholder communication processes, which include bi-annualplanning meetings, monthly project update meetings, fortnightly eNewsletters and sharedfiles stored on a SharePoint site. For a wider audience, there is user documentation andtraining materials, training workshops, public seminars, exposure in the corporate magazineand descriptive fliers. This formal approach to stakeholder engagement has someadvantages: (a) encourages all identified stakeholders to be active in the decision-makingprocess; (b) provides equity of stakeholder influence; (c) provides a transparent forum fordecision making; (d) fosters cohesion of vision and commitment; (e) is important forachieving a collective responsibility for project success; (f) achieves stakeholder buy-in tothe project; (g) ensures the software is fit for purpose, technically and for policydevelopment; (h) provides a pathway for uptake and adoption; and (i) socialises projectperformance risks. The main disadvantage is that the governance gates in the engagementprocess slow project progress.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Engaging stakeholders for a software development project: River Manager model

This paper describes the approach being used to engage stakeholders for thedevelopment of the River Manager river systems modelling tool, which is designed tosimulate river system hydrology and water management rules for water managementplanning. River Manager software is being developed to replace three river system models(MSM-Bigmod, REALM, IQQM) that are currently applied in different parts of theMurray-Darling Basin, Australia. Engagement is occurring as a multi-part process thatcomprises the following elements: (1) An initial round of stakeholder discussions in2005/06 that elicited the user requirements. This process was repeated in 2008/2009; therequirements were largely unchanged. (2) A governance structure organised into threelevels: (a) technical user group providing technical advice; (b) technical managerial groupdeciding requirements and approving functionality specifications; and (c) steeringcommittee of user representatives providing strategic direction. Interactions between theproject and these governance groups are mostly formal, through periodic meetings and outof-session papers. (3) User acceptance testing that is via four complex river system modeltrial applications. (4) Other stakeholder communication processes, which include bi-annualplanning meetings, monthly project update meetings, fortnightly eNewsletters and sharedfiles stored on a SharePoint site. For a wider audience, there is user documentation andtraining materials, training workshops, public seminars, exposure in the corporate magazineand descriptive fliers. This formal approach to stakeholder engagement has someadvantages: (a) encourages all identified stakeholders to be active in the decision-makingprocess; (b) provides equity of stakeholder influence; (c) provides a transparent forum fordecision making; (d) fosters cohesion of vision and commitment; (e) is important forachieving a collective responsibility for project success; (f) achieves stakeholder buy-in tothe project; (g) ensures the software is fit for purpose, technically and for policydevelopment; (h) provides a pathway for uptake and adoption; and (i) socialises projectperformance risks. The main disadvantage is that the governance gates in the engagementprocess slow project progress.