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ePortfolio update, January 2021

An update of the work that has been undertaken during 2020 to remedy issues experienced, and provide a fit for purpose platform to support O&G training.


Dear colleagues –

 

In January 2020, we wrote to you all to apologise for the issues being experienced with the training ePortfolio platform, which had been implemented in autumn 2019. There had been a series of system problems that impacted usability and security.

Twelve months on from writing to you, we are pleased to write to you again with an update of the work that has been undertaken during 2020 to remedy the issues experienced, and provide a fit for purpose platform to support O&G training.

At the beginning of 2020, a Project Board was formed to oversee the remediation of the ePortfolio. This board was comprised of senior RCOG staff and trainer and trainee representatives. In identifying the system issues, it was imperative to have trainee and trainer representation to ensure end user feedback was the primary tool driving improvements. We are hugely grateful to Alec McEwan and Caroline Prentice, who undertook these pivotal roles and gave up their valuable time each month to help us navigate the project.

Indeed, thank you to you all, firstly for your patience whilst we have worked on improving the platform, and secondly for the invaluable feedback you gave us throughout the year that has helped to direct our efforts. This included some colleagues joining user workshops, which were used to develop a comprehensive end to end view of platform usage for both trainers and trainees.

 

The following is a summary of the work undertaken:

Platform audit and documentation

A full audit of the platform was carried out and a gap analysis produced identifying areas lacking in documentation. This enabled a retro fit of the technical specification and completion of a code analysis by an external consultant to check for vulnerabilities. This gave us confidence that the system has been built in-line with technical best practice.

Governance

New processes and documentation were introduced with the supplier to improve project management and decision making. The RCOG team continue to hold weekly operational meetings with the supplier to monitor progress. In addition, monthly health check reports provide status updates on security, functionality and usability of the platform.

Testing and quality assurance

A total of 45 test scripts have been written covering 66 critical and high level user journeys identified based on the most common journeys for each user type accessing the platform. Rigorous user acceptance testing was carried out across the platform before deployments to the live site were made.

Developments and system improvements

A full user experience review was undertaken by an external agency involving interviews with all user groups. The high level summary indicated a number of key points in the system relating to the assessment process, form functionality, general navigation and accessibility of the platform. The outputs were distilled into critical and non-critical issues and triaged alongside existing known bugs in the system, as well as information governance recommendations. During 2020, 53 bugs were fixed, 17 new pieces of functionality were developed based on user feedback and 12 security updates made.

End user support

Ensuring the platform was fit for purpose and improving the end user experience were key objectives and as such the project focused on rebuilding trust with stakeholders. A communications plan was developed to provide regular updates and transparency on development progress, the RCOG team also had regular engagement with the national trainees’ committee, and encouraged regular feedback from all users.

“How to” webinars were held in advance of ARCPs to support trainers and deanery administrators, and training events were held virtually. The ePortfolio team have replied to over 16,000 email queries since the launch of the platform. Recent months have seen a steady decline in enquires from 100 per day to 20 per day on average. The queries are now predominately related to access, rather than system problems.

Feedback from end users has been increasingly positive over recent months and once again we thank you all for your patience as we fixed issues during 2020. We are delighted that the platform is now delivering what we had originally intended, and are hugely apologetic for the disruption caused by the original roll out. The recovery has been truly collaborative, and we would not have been able to address the platform issues were it not for the time many of you took in providing us feedback and ideas for improvement. We are truly grateful.

 

Further developments will take place iteratively over 2021 and beyond, but for now we are pleased to be able to confirm that the major defects experienced last year have been corrected.

With best wishes

 

Miss Sue Ward, Vice President, Education

Gary Waltham, Executive Director, Education, Quality and Projects