A balanced framework for LMS success…

While it is technically feasible to deploy a Learning Management System within a few months, it is often the human component of the project that can take much longer to change than the technology itself. A balanced framework focused on both stakeholders and technology is recommended. Our methodology to achieving LMS success consists of five distinct project phases designed to achieve a balanced approach to implementation.  Our technology workstreams include system policies, system administration and course migration while our stakeholder workstreams include communication, training and support.


The five phases of our LMS Success methodology include:


Initiate is the first phase in the Phased Approach and essentially involves starting up the project. We initiate a project by defining its purpose and scope, the justification for initiating it and the solution to be implemented. This phase consists of a cooperative cross-sectional team, with members of administration, IT, and faculty working to together to achieve the following:

  • Identify & engage stakeholders
  • Identify team structure & roles
  • Facilitate project kick-off meeting
  • Jointly develop the Project Charter
  • Develop high-level project plan & WBS elements


The Plan phase involves the describing the steps we will take to plan the project in detail. This phase drives decisions to be made during the project, such as training and education programs, course conversion and content management , and potential customizations and integration points. The support model for the distributed or centralized administration of the system is also defined. Objectives of the Plan phase include the following:

  • Define system requirements and scope
  • Develop detailed project plans (i.e. configuration, content conversion, admin, training, support, etc.)
  • Conduct core team training and education
  • Identify support resources


The development phase is the execution of the plan laid out by the team during the planning phase of the project. Objectives of the development phase include:

  • Develop launch communications
  • Create training & education materials
  • Document admin and support procedures


A pilot project is a small-scale, short-term project that helps project team members learn how a large-scale LMS implementation might work in practice. A good pilot provides a platform for the organization to test assumptions , prove value and reveal deficiencies before spending a significant amount of time, energy or money on the large-scale implementation. Objectives of the pilot include:

  • Conduct a controlled live test
  • Deliver communications
  • Conduct pilot participant training
  • Conduct course conversion, clean-up & review
  • Complete admin procedures
  • Obtain feedback & make revisions


In this final phase, the LMS configuration is deployed across all colleges and programs, training is completed, and course migrations are prepared for live instruction. The support network should be completed and in place for the initial launch to support the entire institution. Objectives of the Deploy phase include:

  • Conduct post-pilot review
  • Refine configuration, support, training & communications
  • Complete phased migration
  • Support the system


How Darby Consulting helped a top ranked university convert to a cloud-based LMS.



When a top-ranked university in the United States decided to migrate the university’s learning management system (LMS) platform to a cloud-based system, Darby Consulting provided project management and conversion support based on our LMS Success framework.


Darby Consulting’s LMS consultants utilized disciplined project management skills, tools and techniques to lead the LMS Course Conversion initiative and worked collaboratively with stakeholders to gather Learning Management System requirements and to assemble and coordinate project workstream teams, conduct regular project meetings, and celebrate successes.  Benefits from the switch to a cloud-based LMS include increased reliability, usability and lower costs based on the successful completion of course conversion within two years.


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