Friday, 2 July 2010

Project Plan Post 3 of 7: Risk Analysis and Success Plan

General risk analysis

The biggest threat for DURA not to have a meaningful impact is a lack of user base using Mendeley as reference management tool. This risk is mitigated by several factors:
  • (1) There are very low barriers to adoption: Mendeley solves an urgent problem for researchers (document and data organisation), it is available on multiple platforms, and it is available for free (and future planned paid- for features will not take away anything that is free now); 
  • (2) Universities and libraries, with librarians being the advisors for many researchers, already have and will have an increased incentive to motivate their researchers to use reference management software, even more so if this software is integrated with repository and reporting software, such as Symplectic.
Risk analysis WP 1: Open/Standardised interface
This carries a very low risk that the delivered interface will be confusing to the end-user, which could result in incorrect documents being deposited or none at all. To prevent this, user interface designs will be tested and prototyped with selected end-users prior to full implementation. There’s also a risk that the interface for other institutional repositories isn’t understandable and thus inaccessible – however, the project will make sure to adhere to common industry practices and standards (example).

Risk analysis WP 2: Symplectic interface
There is a low risk that authentication models will fail due to complexities within existing client institutions. To address this, Symplectic will work with Mendeley to ensure that a variety of authentication modes may be possible and will work with client organisations to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to ensure that authentication is possible.

Risk analysis WP 3: Integration in institutional repository systems
There is a low level risk that authentication could fail. Standard practice would be to attempt re-authentication until a success response is returned. There is also a low level risk that the transmission from Mendeley to Symplectic could fail. This could be due to bandwidth issues or general connection errors. To address this, large files will be throttled to ensure that all bandwidth needs are met and that system resources are not overloaded.

Collaboration risk
A final, significant risk, is that this is a collaboration between two commercial companies, and a university.  We will be working with our university Legal Services team to ensure that a simple, readable but effective agreement is put in place.  We will also use a range of online collaboration and project management tools (ideally ones which the project team are already familiar with and using in other work) to ensure that the three partners stay in close contact, and that the project manager can detect any problems at the earliest opportunity. Regular communication between the active team members and senior management at all three organisations will also be used, to make sure that problems get tackled early and don't fester. Most of the project team have worked on collaborative projects before. Kickoff meetings to allow as many of the team to meet face to face as possible will also be used.  With all partners in London or Cambridge, this should be fairly easy logistically :)

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