The University of Edinburgh hosts start of term open days for new students joining the University twice a year; September and January.  September intake amounts to ca. 10,000 new students from across the world.  Professional Services concentrate on administrative, IT and joining activities to ensure the best experience possible.  ISG is responsible for IT Services readiness, new cards, personal IT (Wi-Fi), Library tours, as well as learning and teaching technologies.

This project will be split into two distinct workstreams;

IT Readiness - which will focus on all the services and related projects going on across the university that has an impact on the start of term.

Welcome Week - which will deal will everything that needs to be set up for a successful welcome week including IT access (WIFI) and Card distribution.

This document sets out the scope and accountabilities ISG undertake in the preparation for the new academic year. The objective is to ensure ISG has a consistent, repeatable and coordinated process in place. 


The scope of this project covers:

  • deliver a framework to allow the monitoring of collective readiness across Information Services for the start of term.
  • will leverage and build upon service-based work already carried out over the last three years.
  • will seek to highlight areas of potential uncertainty or hot spots in terms of resource requirements.
  • will seek to build upon and support the excellent work already done around the start of term period, and showcase best practice and lessons learned for future years.
  • continue to improve engagement in areas including the following, noted in the closure report from last year's project:


  • Get Connected - On site support over international weekend in Pollock and O’Shae was a success and improved the experience for the moderate number of students who had issues connecting to eduroam in those halls. We should consider deploying more resources directly in the Halls in 2023.
  • Card Distribution in Halls - It emerged that some of the cards delivered to hall were not distributed to students. In future we should secure a nominated person in each hall who can confirm that the cards have been distributed.
  • Main Library Exit Gates - It would be helpful if Facilities can plan staff to manage the library exit gate. This will allow an additional student helper to assigned to the card collection event.
  • IT Readiness Tracker - The new Readiness Tracker worked very well across the board and should be used in future years. This proved to be a good tool to focus discussions at local management meetings.
  • Student Assistant  - The employment of a student to work on the project was very successful. We were particularly lucky in that Zuza brought a lot of social media experience which proved invaluable in developing  a comprehensive social media strategy. Also, it was noticeable during the Principal's visit that he was particularly engaged in speaking to the students. It is recommended that next year a student leads the Principal's list. This should be taken into consideration during the recruitment. 
  • Experiential and Giveaways - While the apple and tote bags giveaways this year were very popular, the numbers taking up the contests were not that good. While some of this is down to the limits on our social media during welcome week, we should consider if other ideas for experiential offerings are more suited to students on their first visit to the Main Library. One suggestion is to offer students a lanyard and card holder. 
  • Project Organisation - The core project team have been working together for several years now, this is noticeable in how well colleagues from across various areas in ISG work seamlessly together. If possible, this should be continued in 2023. 
  • Student Helpers - Again this year our student helpers were generally good, 3 or 4 were exceptional. It is recommended to deploy a few additional helpers next year so that during international Welcome Weekend we have more helpers available. 
  • Floor Planning - It was commented that the handover from the previous year was inadequate. This can be attributed to staff changes and staff unavailability. One result was the comms issues and follow up this year leading to some late requests for stalls which were problematic to fulfil.
  • P&M - An error in P&M which resulted in 18,000 invoices being sent to students despite a delay in releasing MyFinance and without explanatory information led to massive load on frontline virtual help during start of term.
  • Other lessons learned not listed above, are documented here: ISG022 Project Feedback (EASE Login required).

Out of scope

  • This project does not replace existing activities for the start of session within the ISG Divisions or across the University as a whole.
  • Any areas of uncertainty will be communicated via the appropriate IS Divisional representative for management within the division (or service, or project as appropriate).
  • Improvements technical or non-technical to the Student Photo Upload.
  • This project does not take on the project delivery responsibilities of any of the projects identified within the IT Readiness workstream. These remain with the assigned project managers.

Objectives and Deliverables

As this project is split into two distinct workstreams the objectives have been separated  and fall into the following workstreams:

Objective 1 - IT Service Readiness 

Objective 2 - Welcome Week 

Objective 3 - Both 






   IT Service Readiness Workstream    


To reduce disruption to services as far as possible and to ensure that impacts on users is minimised.


Gosia Such


Business context for 2022/23 start of semester 1, in particular, any changes in student numbers, business processes, people or systems which may impact on risk.


Project Manager


Deliver a 'Start of Semester 1' Communications Plan for the start of semester 1


Project Manager


Confirmation and visibility of the staff responsible for the start of semester 1 readiness in each ISG Division, and staff people needed to deliver support services over the start of term period; this includes out of hours support, and readiness RAG status.


ISG Division Contacts 


Confirmation and visibility of the staff responsible for the start of semester 1 readiness in associated Business Partner areas e.g. Student Admin, Estates and staff people needed to deliver support services over the start of term period; this includes out of hours support, and readiness RAG status.


Partner Area Contacts


Visibility of planned changes to existing services from Change Management, and from projects in progress with their delivery RAG status.


Change Manager


Visibility of planned new services required by Start of Semester 1 delivered by projects in progress and their delivery RAG status.


Project Manager


Risk and dependency management at portfolio level for all ISG projects needed for the start of semester 1. This will mean regular monitoring of all risks on projects with links to Start of Term. The risk management will still sit with the Project managers but this project will escalate anything that has an impact on Start of Term.


Project Manager


Visibility of Risk and dependency management at the portfolio level for any USG, Estates projects needed for the start of semester 1. This will mean regular monitoring of all risks on Estates projects with links to Start of Term. The risk management will still sit with the Project managers but ISG020 will escalate anything that has an impact on Start of Term.


Project Manager


Visibility of the IT and Library Business Services needed for the start of semester 1 (based on the Service Catalogue) and their readiness RAG status.


Project Manager


A single site providing an overview of projects, services, teams, and RAG statuses; this site should be accessible by anyone in IS to assess the position of the start of semester readiness; This will help establish the status of deliverables D2, D3, D4, D6.


Project Manager


Processes for reviewing the readiness of services, projects and people at least fortnightly during the period June to October 2022.


Project Manager


Ensuring clarity and effectiveness of the change management process focusing on the rules, process and details of the change control period before and during Start of Semester 1.


Change Manager


Ensuring measurement and reporting of Start of Semester KPIs with a comparison against the equivalent data for last year. These KPIs will include but is not limited to:

  • Service availability and reliability
  • overall student-facing systems availability over the Start of the Semester period
  • usage stats
  • change requests requested and approved during the change control period All these should be compared against last year's data.
  • overall satisfaction score (introduced by IS Change Manager)


Project Manager

  Welcome Week Worksteam    


To ensure that Welcome Week, weeks 0, 1 and 2 are planned and delivered successfully, so that the experience of new and returning students is a positive and welcome one.



Coordinate and deliver activities around  Welcome Week in the Library including:

  • Financial estimate for all activities
  • Card Services (including cards distribution)
  • Coordination with other University activities
  • The printing and delivery of Banking Letters is to be discussed with relevant stakeholders if this is required with most banks now accepting a digital copy.
  • Improvements to student access to WIFI (Eduroam)


Project Manager

D2.2 Ensure that a fallback plan to cover the eventuality that a resurgence of the pandemic impacts WW activities is developed and agreed upon.  M Project Manager
  Both Workstreams    


To ensure that communication and reporting across ISG and other areas within the University are clear and timely 



Report to SLT Operations Meeting on a monthly basis from April 2022 and weekly from August 2022


Project Sponsor/Project Manager



  • Improved visibility across ISG and the University promoting awareness of service changes and improvements.
  • Improved data on the impact of previous and planned changes to assist in making better decisions during the start of term period.
  • Improved student experience.
  • Reduction to cost in ISG staff time resolving incidents resulting from service changes.
  • Reduction in costs to IS and the University of managing Major Incidents.
  • Establish and maintain the start of term statistics and information which can be used for future years.


Success Criteria

Supporting the start of semester 1 with improved overall visibility of:

  • the readiness of services and any expected issues.
  • staff resources required to support start of term activities and services, and their availability.
  • improvement in overall satisfaction score.

Project Milestones

Stage Milestone Due Date
Plan  Planning review 09-Mar-2023
Execute  IS Staff Involvement Agreed (D1.2a, D1.2b, D3.1) 19-May-2023
Execute  Established List of Projects, Services, Teams and Reporting/Tracking (D1.1a, D1.1b, D1.7) 26-May-2023
Execute  Welcome Week Planning Complete (D1.3, D1.4, D1.5a, D1.5b, D1.6, D1.8, D1.9, D1.10) 18-Aug-2023
Deliver  Start of Welcome Week (External Milestone) (D2.1) 09-Sep-2023
Deliver  Start of Teaching Week 1 (External Milestone) 18-Sep-2023
Deliver  Start of Teaching Week 2 (External Milestone) 25-Sep-2023
Deliver  Delivery Sign Off Review following Start of Session 17-Oct-2023
Close  Project Closure 01-Dec-2023

Project Info

IT & Library Business Service Readiness for Start of Term 23/24
ISG User Services (USD)
Management Office
Project Manager
Tim Gray
Project Sponsor
Gosia Such
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority