Completion Report

Project Summary

The website search function used across much of the University has not been actively managed for a significant period of time. In recent years, it has relied on the free Google service.

Concurrently, delivery of EdWeb, the new central CMS, and the Edinburgh GEL, a design framework to be used as the branding and design guidelines for developing web applications within the University, provide opportunities to provide a better user experience, with the search engine certainly being able to take advantage and implement a better and more usable service. The use of a responsive design to work in various devices is an important benefit as well.

This project was developed to undertake the requirements gathering and procurement process for this new search engine.


The scope of this project was to gather and document the requirements for a University-wide search engine. The scope also included deciding on the best procurement strategy and following this approach through to conclusion of a signed contract ready for implementation. Early on in the project, the team investigated how viable an option non-paid solutions were, to ascertain if these offered an alternative to the current approach. 

Objectives and Deliverables









Procure a university-wide search engine that meets the business requirements. The procured solution will be implemented in the follow on project. The procurement defined the business requirements and evaluation questions which will were listed in the Contract Notice, ESPD and Invitation to Tender document (ITT).





Gather and document business requirements (Must)





Document business requirements in appropriate functional categories and prepare ITT documentation in addition to generic categories

  • System accessibility and usability

  • Implementation and training

  • Product development

  • Support and maintenance

  • Technology





Decision on whether to include or exclude open source solutions





Completed tender and evaluation process





Contract is awarded, contract negotiations completed





Success Criteria

All the success criteria were met.

  • Requirements

    • Relevant stakeholders were identified and engaged with throughout process

    • Stakeholders engaged in the requirement gathering process

    • The requirements were documented and signed off

  • Procurement

    • The procurement process is complete

    • Contract with the vendor is awarded and signed

  • The implementation project can commence

Analysis of Resource Usage

Staff Usage Estimate: 100 days

Staff Usage Actual: 112 days

Staff Usage Variance: 12%

Other Resource Estimate: 0 days

Other Resource Actual: 0 days

Other Resource Variance: 0%


Explanation for variance

The resource usage was slightly higher than initially estimated for a number of reasons including:

  • There was a change of Project Manager mid-way through.  Additional resource was required for handover of the project.
  • A review of the project estimate was undertaken mid point and this identified a change was necessary to reflect updated project estimates from the project team for completing the evaluation stage of the procurement project.  This was approved by WIS and funded from the existing 2017/18 programme budget.

The project was successfully delivered within the tolerances and expectations of the Project Sponsor / Team and Programme Manager.

Key Learning Points


The project had two changes of Project Management throughout the project.  With a robust handover and consistency provided throughout by the Programme Manager this had a minimal impact to key milestones or budget. 

The project faced a number of challenges which were overcome due to good teamwork and support across the project team and wider stakeholders.

Contingency - time and budget

Although it was expected that the timescales to award and sign off the SaaS Agreement would be lengthy (with contingency being built in), milestones were extended  (issue 8  and 9)  due to the lack of clarity on budget ownership for set up and development costs in year one of the implementation project.  Assumptions were made that ongoing costs would align with previous budget arrangements however no discussion or agreement had been undertaken in relation to the additional year one (initiation and roll out) costs prior to initiation of procurement activities. The lesson in relation to this is:

  • Responsibility within the project for budget agreement / ownership - Project Sponsor

  • Additional checks throughout procurement project on alignment to initial budget agreement / assumptions - Project Manager

Procurement - process

This project included a number of staff across service areas who were undertaking the UoE procurement process / use of SaaS Agreement for the first time.  It may have been useful to build in more detail of the process, timelines, and role / requirements for participants (i.e.  scoring process and continuity requirements) or have a separate generic procurement flow / timeline document / wiki. Despite this, the project team worked very well together, delivering a successful procurement. 

Sign Off Consistency

Sign off for the SaaS Agreement was not a straightforward process and lacked a clear approach which resulted in changes to milestones (issue 11).  This was further impounded by the issues in relation clarity of budget.  To resolve issues identified a project checklist was developed which can be used by future projects to ensure all the information needed to sign off the contract is provided to the senior manager responsible. 

Outstanding Issues

There are no outstanding issues.

Project Info

New University Search Engine: Requirements Gathering and Procurement
Z. ISG - University Website (UWP) (Closed)
Management Office
Project Manager
Emma Mcnab
Project Sponsor
Stratos Filalithis
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Programme Priority
Overall Priority