Position Summary - The Program Launch & Continuous Improvement (PLCI) Project Manager is responsible for the end-to-end successful launch of new programs and offerings at WGU; as well as, the continuous improvement of existing programs and offerings in terms of enhancing student success performance. The PLCI Project Manager works directly with the leadership teams of each college and the leadership of all the supporting departments and practices at WGU, which are essential to the successful development and launch of new market offerings such as stackable degree programs, micro-credential offerings, standalone learning events, and corporate partnership personalized training services. The PLCI Project Manager is both a business leader and a project manager. They will author the initial New Program Launch Charter document in coordination with their cross-functional, cross-university, project team and then own the execution of the plan. The PLCI will work with all the major departments of the university (Marketing, Institutional Research, Portfolio Strategy, Program Development, Communications, Enrollment, Student Success, Compliance & Accreditation, Finance, State Affiliates, and Academic Engagement) to construct a new program launch project plan and to execute the project plan by leading the cross-functional core team. The PLCI Project Manager is also responsible for leading the bi-monthly meetings of the Program-Level Continuous Improvement Solver Teams organized under each college. Each Program-Level Continuous Improvement Solver Team is composed of key leaders in the college, including the Program Chairs, which directly own the student success performance of a well-defined group of programs and offerings. The PLCI Project Manager will coordinate the activities of Program-Level Continuous Improvement Solver Team(s) through direct leadership of their bi-monthly meetings and driving forward their rolling action item list. The PLCI Project Manager will also present results and action plans alongside their colleagues during Monthly Student Success reviews and Quarterly College Business Reviews. Overall, the PLCI Project Manager position is a highly visible role at WGU, which is directly responsible for driving forward new programs and new strategies aimed at improving WGU student success and student outcomes.
Essential Functions and Responsibilities –
- In collaboration with the colleges and major university practices/departments, the PLCI Project Manager is responsible for authoring the New Program/Offering Launch Charter documents, which includes the overall business case for the new program/offering, project timeline, and expected impacts and outcomes.
- Responsible for leading the new program/offering cross-functional project team assembled to execute the new program launch charter using a combination of traditional and agile project management skills.
- Oversees and leads one or more project teams composed of department or practice level project managers and cross-functional individual contributors (the core team) assembled to own the execution of all program lifecycle phase which include market research, program design, program launch, and program sunsetting.
- Directly coordinates with university executive leadership in both the colleges and the practices/departments to communicate future plans, risks mitigation actions, and current status to both internal and external stakeholders.
- Organizes, leads, and manages the bi-monthly Program-Level Continuous Improvement Solver Team meetings for one or more groups of programs and or educational offerings.
- Participates in strategy and design events focused on defining and delivering the Next Generation (Education Technology) Platform at WGU in coordination with academic business partners and technology experts.
- Uses problem solving skills based on Lean Six Sigma statistical techniques and problem-solving methodologies (such as DMAIC – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) to lead the Program-Level Continuous Improvement Solver Teams forward in their identification of root cause and corrective action.
- Uses Change Management skills and tools to best implement the action plans and project plans.
- Utilizes the WGU Program Lifecycle Management system and tools to manage the launch, maintenance, and retirement of courses, programs, and offerings.
- Collaborates with other professionals, both inside and outside of the university, to promote a positive, “student-obsessed” work environment.
- Consistently exhibits WGU’s Leadership Principles.
- Responds with urgency to organizational needs and exhibits excellent judgment, while delivering results.
Required Education and Experience –
- A Master’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Quality, Computer Science/Software/Information Management, Business Management, or Higher-Education Leadership. Education must be from an accredited institution. Education is verified.
- Minimum 5 years professional experience in a role that required extensive Project/Change Management skills in a large organization (5000+ employees).
- Excellent understanding of Project Management theory/techniques and demonstrated execution.
- Strong understanding of Lean Six Sigma problem solving tools and techniques.
- Strong understanding and skills in Change Management or the ability to be certified to Prosci ADKAR.
- Project Management qualification (PMP) or equivalent.
- Professional experience in strategic planning, risk management and/or change management.
- Proficiency in project management software tools related to waterfall and or agile methodologies.
- Excellent leadership and project management skills.
- Works well in a team environment.
- Ability to influence change and motivate others.
- Strong oral and written communication abilities.
- Ability to stand up and present results and action plans to large groups at internal meetings.
- Solid technical and problem-solving skills.
- Ability to plan and meet schedules.
- Ability to record and publish meeting minutes, rolling action items, and status reports.
- Ability to use all related computer equipment and applications
- Understanding of statistics and statistical analysis techniques related to continuous improvement.
- Green Belt, Black Belt or Master Black Best certification
- Lean Silver or Gold certification
- Experience working in a university or institution of higher education.
- Experience developing and or launching new educational programs or offerings.
- Experience with program or product lifecycle management systems.
Special Position Requirements
- Light travel required, 10% to 15% of time, at maximum.
- This role is full-time (5 days a week) in WGU’s Salt Lake City office and remote (home) office is not possible.
- Problem solving skills: Investigates appropriate resources and involves partners when appropriate. Future oriented. Assesses what will help or hinder achieving goals. Focuses on what is important.
- Interpersonal skills: Deals with others in a considerate, respectful, and unbiased manner. Approaches conflict proactively. Solicits and shares feedback openly. Listens with empathy and maintains composure.
- Accuracy: Draws on facts collected from a broad knowledge of WGU’s goals and processes.
- Adaptability: Corrects behaviors and communication styles to meet the needs of a wide range of situations. Tackles obstacles appropriately. Comfortable with ambiguity.
- Reliability: Accountable to others; does what it takes to get the job done. Actions are consistent with words. Follows through on commitments. Exhibits exceptional integrity.
- Attitude: Displays commitment to the organization and to personal growth. Is self-motivated and able to motivate and inspire others. Asserts self appropriately to champion ideas. Tells the truth in a direct and constructive manner.
- Initiative: Self-directs, with a strong tendency for action. Leads the way to improve performance or processes. Displays keen interest in students and organization.
This Job Description has been designed to indicate the general nature and essential duties and responsibilities of work performed by employees within this classification. It may not contain a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees to do this job. This Job Description does not constitute a contract of employment and the University may exercise its employment-at-will rights at any time.
Complex Problem Solving
Lean Six Sigma