Regional LMS implementation and expansion projects: capturing the learning

Published on 13 October 2022, by Helene Gorring

Library management systems, Resource Discovery

About the learning so far from the regional LMS projects

A phenomenal amount of LMS-related work has taken place in different regions over the last 12 months. Libraries in the East of England and Kent, Surrey & Sussex completed a migration to Koha from SirsiDynix, and there were phased expansions of the shared Koha consortia in both the Midlands and London.

After Action Reviews for KLS staff have been held in three of these regions, with the aim of capturing actionable learning for HEE, for PTFS Europe as supplier, and for KLS teams involved in upcoming implementation and expansion projects.

Key messages for HEE and PTFS

The key messages and recommendations for HEE and PTFS emerging from the reviews are:

  • Consider the timing of LMS projects in relation to other changes taking place; with the implementation of the NHS Knowledge Hub and the closure of HDAS also taking place during the last 12 months, services involved in these projects had a lot to contend with
  • Get dedicated project management support in place in good time
  • Ensure sufficient supplier-side capacity, especially when projects are taking place in parallel
  • Allow longer for the planning and testing phases to give KLS teams sufficient time to do the necessary work around their other commitments
  • Ensure that key documents such as template terms of reference and GDPR guidance are available at the outset. To date these have tended to be developed iteratively, based on learning in each region (the regions going last will undoubtedly benefit!
  • Be realistic about system limitations and beware of over-promising: it is for good reason that digital projects should focus first on the ‘minimum viable product’ then tackle enhancements
  • Help all parties avoid ‘scope creep’: implementation of a new shared system is a good opportunity to review existing practice, but resist trying to address all related issues
  • Ensure training is appropriately tailored and not overly technical
  • Provide more support for smaller services and those which for whatever reason have not engaged or become disengaged
  • Ensure that all KLS managers receive regular updates via managers' meetings

Key messages for KLS colleagues

The key messages for KLS colleagues embarking on similar LMS projects are:

  • You will have to invest time participating in meetings and groups and doing testing.  Consider this in the context of other demands and priorities
  • Specialist working groups (e.g. for circulation, cataloguing, etc.) work well for discussion and decision-making: get involved – or get members of your team involved - where you can, but also trust group members to make informed recommendations which reflect the needs of all
  • Don’t forget the bigger picture!
  • Read the lessons learned from other projects!

On the basis of these recommendations, HEE and PTFS have made adjustments for upcoming projects, which include further extension of the Midlands and London consortia, and phased implementations in the North West and in Yorkshire and the Humber.