The plan for Year 2 and beyond

1. Introduction

The Y2+ plan presented here covers not only the second year of APARSEN, which at the time of resubmission of this report is already half way through, but extends into the third year. The aim is to show that the Network of Excellence has clear objectives for the coming period, building on the results of the first year and compatible with the goals laid out in the Description of Work, as well as a new impetus and concrete improvement measures towards securing the achievement of those goals.

Essentially there are three ways through which the APARSEN network has reacted to the reviews of the first year and the Month 16, as well as its own findings during the first year. These are:

  • Detailed reconfiguration of the work in the various streams of activity, with rationalisation of effort
  • Reinforcement of consortium management structures: the General Assembly and Project Management Board including a deeper involvement of the WP leaders
  • Qualitative and quantitative reinforcement in the administrative management tasks for the coming months to ensure that the network functions much better and that all deliverables are systematically delivered on time and meeting adequate quality standards

The overall structuring of the activities, as set out in the Description of Work, is confirmed, as the structure of streams (comprising individual WPs) and the four topics of trust, sustainability, usability and access have proven to be well suited for achieving the goals. The topics give structure to the network over time, as the focus of activities passes from one to another. Each topic should be broad enough to cut across a number of silos while being of manageable scope. Meanwhile the streams provide a way of organising and conceptualising the work at a higher level than the individual WPs.

The Project Quality Management Plan is being revised where appropriate in the light of experience, to ensure among other results a more comprehensive quality control of deliverables through internal reviews. This had in fact happened in the early stages of the project but the consistency and visibility will be continuously improved along the remaining period.

Extra management effort will guarantee more timely and efficient responses to formal and contractual requirements.

The 'vertical‘ structure of streams corresponds to the management structure of the consortium. The Stream Leaders and Coordinators are working together in the operational management of the project. The WP leaders are responsible to engage partners in their WP, oversee the work and ensure that deliverables are produced in a timely manner. The overall direction of the WPs is monitored and guided by the Stream Leaders and PMB. The General Assembly, which has met twice since the beginning of the project, decides on major issues of importance to the whole consortium such as reallocation of effort or recommendations for management procedures.

The refocusing and re-planning of the work for the second year and beyond takes the Description of Work as its baseline. Whilst it is not the intention to introduce wholesale changes, the aim is to optimise the activity of the network by reacting and adjusting the plan in the light of developments that have occurred and experience gained in the first year of the project. There are four important considerations in this replanning:

  • Delays, deviations and adjustments that occurred in the first 12+ months
  • The recommendations of the reviewers
  • The findings of the consortium itself in carrying out the work to date
  • Opportunities to maximise the impact of the project results towards the VCoE

In the period up to the second review, the replanning will be implemented through focusing of individual partners‘ effort without changing their overall budget. This will be achieved through for example a partner withdrawing from a WP where it has only a small amount of effort, and transferring that to another WP where it can make more of a difference. These changes are set out in detail below in section 3.4.

Furthermore, it is likely that some internal budget allocations will be transferred from staff to travel costs, to allow for more face-to-face meetings.

A contract amendment will be initiated quickly to take account of the departure of Philips Consumer Lifestyle and Microsoft Research Ltd from the consortium. In the short term, these departures will be compensated by the existing expertise of partners within the consortium. However additional industrial partners will be identified during the second year, with a view to introducing them formally during the third year. At that point some other transfers of effort and budget between partners might be implemented.

The APARSEN action plan main strategies and approach to work in Years 2 and 3 of the project can be summarised as follows.

  1. Focusing of the activity – Cease a small number of WPs that are not crucial to the project (e.g. WP12 is closed and unused resources are moved to WP43) and focus on tasks, or create new activities, in order to achieve the goals of the project (as defined in the DoW) and the sustainability of the VCoE.
  2. Common vision and terminology – Continue developing the common vision among consortium partners both in terms of defragmentation activities and the definition of the plan for the VCoE: a number of internal workshops will be instrumental in this task. Stream leaders will step up cooperation among WPs (during the various phases of integration) and also with external initiatives, supported by a common terminology. The relationship between APARSEN and APA will be further clarified, led by STFC to ensure impartiality.
  3. Project management structure – New management strategies with a stronger role of the Project Management Board (PMB) including stream leaders nominated by the General Assembly (GA) and the WP leaders in the global management and decisions making process, ensuring that the WP leaders will be more motivated and support the new impetus and management drive in APARSEN. New instruments to support the management of the project will be developed and the internal communication will be enhanced.
  4. Training and demonstration – As the project results accumulate, dissemination and training activities will become the vital mechanisms for consensus building and awareness about APARSEN‘s goals. Internal and external workshops including webinars will be important components of these activities. Demonstrators of results, such as the persistent identifier interoperability framework from WP22, will provide tangible outcomes which can attract participation and stimulate discussion and agreement by other experts.
  5. Communication and Dissemination – Web and other communication mechanisms, including social media, will be strengthened throughout the project (and beyond) to help in the defragmentation activities and the outreach to other experts beyond the consortium. The web will play a crucial role in our training activities. Cooperation agreements with other initiatives and centres, such as Impact Centre, PrestoCentre and OPF, which are working on similar topics, will be further developed.

These activities will help us, in year 4, to bring the VCoE into existence. In particular the governance and business plans of the VCoE will be in place at the end of year 3 so that in year 4 we can formally launch the VCoE and build up the membership. The results from the WPs form the basis of the VCoE offerings in terms of training, consultancy, services and tools. In addition the integrated view of digital preservation research will provide consistency and coherence in the expertise which the VCoE brings in from its members.

In the following we introduce the high level view of the project and the common vision activity, practical activity is introduced at the 4 streams level and then we present the detailed plans for each WP with objectives, results, cooperation, dissemination, resources plan and deviations.

-- SimonLambert - 2012-09-04

Topic revision: r1 - 2012-09-04 - SimonLambert
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