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Working in Partnership: Benefits and Challenges

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Working in Partnership: Benefits and Challenges

  1. 2. Working in Partnership: Benefits and Challenges 10 June 2009 Carolyn Royston
  2. 3. What this talk will cover <ul><li>This talk is based on my recent experience with NMOLP: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits of working in partnership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working with the right partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding your partnership – gaining commitment and working with constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some lessons learnt from NMOLP </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. About me <ul><li>Currently Head of New Media, IWM </li></ul><ul><li>Project manager NMOLP until March 09 </li></ul><ul><li>NMOLP was f irst time I had worked in the public sector </li></ul><ul><li>Previously Head of e-Learning in a UK new media agency </li></ul>
  4. 5. Partnership working
  5. 6. Benefits of working in partnership <ul><li>Potential to add value and extend your existing offer </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for shared knowledge and skills </li></ul><ul><li>Can provide shared content and technology platform </li></ul><ul><li>Provide new ways of working </li></ul><ul><li>Springboard to genuine partnership working </li></ul>
  6. 7. However, to make it work <ul><li>Be aware of the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Need buy-in from senior management </li></ul><ul><li>Project needs clear benefits and value for all involved </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity about what project will deliver (and what it won’t do) </li></ul><ul><li>Capability and capacity clearly identified </li></ul><ul><li>Agreement on how you will work together </li></ul><ul><li>Legacy strategy and sustainability issues built into project plan </li></ul>
  7. 8. Different types of partners <ul><li>It doesn’t always have to be other museums or galleries </li></ul><ul><li>Work out what sort of organisation(s) will add value and fit with your wider strategic aims </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t rule out commercial partners or organisations outside your sector </li></ul>
  8. 9. Variety of approaches <ul><li>Be creative with your partnership and ways of working </li></ul><ul><li>Key Question: How can you get the most out of the partners and partnership? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phased approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different contributions as part of a whole </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smaller partnerships out of the larger partnership </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. NMOLP
  10. 11. Nine national museums <ul><li>British Museum </li></ul><ul><li>Imperial War Museum </li></ul><ul><li>Natural History Museum </li></ul><ul><li>National Portrait Gallery </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Armouries </li></ul><ul><li>Sir John Soane’s Museum </li></ul><ul><li>Tate </li></ul><ul><li>Victoria and Albert Museum </li></ul><ul><li>Wallace Collection </li></ul>
  11. 12. NMOLP – what is it? <ul><li>Large-scale UK digital learning project </li></ul><ul><li>Audiences are students, teachers & lifelong learners </li></ul><ul><li>First time national museums have worked together collaboratively on public facing project </li></ul><ul><li>3 year project launched March ‘09 </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by the Treasury, sponsored by DCMS </li></ul>
  12. 13. Funding Criteria <ul><li>‘ Invest to Save’ budget: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No new website or portal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No new digitisation or curatorial content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must be sustainable for at least 3 years post-launch </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Size of Organisations Large Medium Small British Museum IWM Sir John Soane Natural History Museum NPG Wallace Tate Royal Armouries V&A
  14. 15. What have we delivered for our audiences? <ul><li>Resources for schools (WebQuests) </li></ul><ul><li>Resources for lifelong learners (Creative Spaces) </li></ul><ul><li>Linking together 9 national collections via a cross-collection search </li></ul><ul><li>Resources that can be used & shared across all 9 national museums </li></ul>
  15. 16. This is what we made <ul><li>WebQuests </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Spaces </li></ul>
  16. 17. Managing NMOLP partnership
  17. 18. Issues when I started <ul><li>Project plan written and funding allocated </li></ul><ul><li>Partnership already determined by project funding </li></ul><ul><li>T echnical solution promised but implementation not scoped out </li></ul><ul><li>Content deliverables outlined but not fully defined </li></ul>
  18. 19. My approach <ul><li>Visited every partner for fact-finding </li></ul><ul><li>Discovered d ifferent expectations about what the project would deliver for each partner: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I nstitutional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>D epartmental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Key areas I focussed on <ul><li>Developing c ollective aims and objectives for project </li></ul><ul><li>M anaging expectations from the start </li></ul><ul><ul><li>W hat this project will deliver and what it won’t deliver </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Establishing people’s commitment to the project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not just showing up at meetings – active participation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Importance of deadlines to everyone </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying the potential barriers to success for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each institution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Departments within institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals working on the project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Legacy and sustainability </li></ul>
  20. 21. Why was this important? <ul><li>Partners needed to take responsibility for the project in their own institutions </li></ul><ul><li>I couldn’t solve their institutional issues </li></ul><ul><li>But we could discuss those issues which: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enabled us in many cases to find collective solutions and offer support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build relationships between partner representatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership of project brought more commitment from partners </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. Building commitment <ul><li>Gaining commitment from people in the project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assign different roles and responsibilities for people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different types of meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active involvement from partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set realistic deadlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledge achievements along the way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be transparent about decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PM is the leader of the project </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. Working with constraints <ul><li>Lots of constraints on this project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of stakeholders and meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>D ifferent capabilities and capacities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T echnical differences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>C opyright restrictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand conflicts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>M arketing and PR conflicts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>S ustainability issues </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Working with constraints <ul><li>Try to anticipate as early as possible what the major issues might be </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritise these issues and allocate adequate time and resource to deal with them </li></ul><ul><li>Be decisive about ways forward – need agreement on how to tackle these issues </li></ul><ul><li>Re-visit if necessary throughout lifecycle of project </li></ul>
  24. 25. Legacy <ul><li>Needs to be built into original project plan </li></ul><ul><li>R e-visited throughout project </li></ul><ul><li>S ustainability plan for technology </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability plan for partnership </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H ow will the project continue to be managed? A nd who will do it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will decisions be made? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What happens after the evaluation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you disseminate what you have learnt? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does the project impact on future developments both within the sector and outside? </li></ul></ul>
  25. 26. Key lessons I learnt <ul><li>Partnerships require work – All the time! </li></ul><ul><li>Spending time on the partnership early on will benefit you throughout the project </li></ul><ul><li>Engage your senior managers and build advocacy for project </li></ul><ul><li>Scope out the project and shape it to fit your partnership </li></ul><ul><li>Legacy and sustainability need to be discussed and agreed from the start </li></ul><ul><li>A good project manager will lead your project but implementation and delivery is a collective responsibility </li></ul>
  26. 27. Carolyn Royston [email_address]

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