Hey everybody! So I wanted to try to make at least one blog post a week before we leave Nauru on the 31st. I can’t believe it but we only have 13 days left on the island. Needless to say we have a looooot to do.
Hans and I got to Skype with Professors Mertz, Hills, and Weinberg on Tuesday, which worked surprisingly well, and we decided that we definitely needed a timeline to figure out what we were going to do with our last few weeks of the project. After discussions, we came up with the following timeline:
- Week 9: July 20 – 24
- July 20: Formulate and report on Information Management Policy
- July 21: Finalize report on Information Management Policy. Meet with Marcus
- July 22: Prepare Cabinet Secretary’s workstation based on Information Management Policy.
- July 23: Document Information Management NPF work process. Outline NPF server hierarchy and access. Show NPF how to e-email attachments. Create documentation template. Begin formulating department recommendations
- July 24: Formulate and report department recommendations (Continue in weekend if necessary).
- Week 10: July 27 – 30
- July 27: Meet with departments
- July 28: Meet with departments
- July 29: Meet departments. Hold ICT system demonstration. Finalize Final Report
- July 30: Meet with departments finalize Final Report
So to give you a background on what all that means our project will be finalized with five main areas. This part is also from our timeline:
(1) National ID: In order to facilitate cross-departmental communication and increase accuracy of citizen personal information, the student consultants propose to create a National ID Number for all Nauruan citizens.
(2) Documentation of work practices: in order to increase accuracy and reliability of government work practices, the student consultants plan to create the foundations of documenting employee work practices.
(3) Information Management: finalizing an Information Management Policy to be used throughout the Nauruan government will serve as the focal point of our Final Report. Research has been done and discussions have taken place to create the foundations of this project.
(4) Department recommendations: the final part of the Information Management Report will be to outline our observations with Departments, note areas that could use improvement, and make recommendations to specific departments on how they should manage their information in the future.
(5) Workshops: the student consultants will utilize the ICT Department’s training room to hold workshops for the following subjects
Each of these areas involve a lot of smaller steps, and as you can see from our timeline, we are packed from now until we leave. Hopefully everything will go to plan (which I doubt it will), and we overestimated some of our time to formulate things so that we have enough time to finish everything.
Looking back, I wish we hadn’t spent so much time during the middle of our project on our Excel fuel ration and timesheet systems. Although the projects will help standardize and automate processes for the Chief Secretary office, I think we lost track of our main goal of the Information Management Policy. After talking with some coworkers, I wish we would have worked with them more on establishing a network environment on the Nauruan servers.
For now, it seems like a lot of our work will be typing reports and meeting with the Head of Departments. Our main focus for our reports will be to (1) outline the department and our observations (2) describe the problem and why they cannot continue allowing it to be a problem (3) make our recommendation (4) plan a timeline on how they can achieve the recommendation. The 4th part is crucial because Nauru has received reports from consultants on ICT before, but they all have been recommendation without any plan on how to initiate them, making it hard for the government to do anything. We will also do some case studies to show the Heads the benefits of some of our ideas.
Part of our recommendations will also be a lot of plans for transitioning, looking for ways to improve current practices until they can initiate formal solutions in the future. For example, Nauru currently has about 5 servers, but only one of them (the Hospital’s) has an actual server environment (usernames, access rights, etc) set up, which was done by an Australian group. The other servers are used to store documents, but anyone can access the server and edit or delete documents on it. While setting up a server environment throughout the government would be ideal, given the current state of the ICT department – ie using almost their whole day answering calls and going out and doing maintenance – there isn’t a lot of time to set up the servers, even though some employees would be capable of doing it. Therefore, in the meantime, we will be recommending government-wide file management policies such as naming conventions, folder hierarchy and access, and security measures. I never realized how much of an issue file naming can be for an organization, but after doing a lot of research, many businesses these days are going having issues locating the thousands of electronic documents stored on their company’s and employees’ computers. There’s also a vast amount of software that could help, Document Management Software and Desktop Searches, but unfortunately we will not have time to implement this software and therefore we will have to put less emphasis on them.
Anyways, so much to do in so little time! I’m sure that all the TCinGC projects are feeling the same way. How much longer does everyone have in their respective countries by the way??