The Waterways Health Investment Planning (WHIP) System (10814)
As part of its waterway management activity, Melbourne Water identified the need to improve its waterway health investment planning process, including timely reporting on dollars spent and targets achieved. It also needed a system that would increase transparency of planning, including increased customer access to and visibility of this planning. The WHIP system is made up of the high level business investment planning process and a web based GIS application to support the process. The system has been developed to plan, track and report on investment delivered as part of Melbourne Water’s Healthy Waterways Strategy (HWS). WHIP translates strategic HWS drivers and targets into ‘on-the-ground’ programs and activities. There are three key on-ground delivery mechanisms (maintenance, capital and river health grants) which all contribute to the HWS targets and WHIP integrates all of these programs into the one portal. It is a live planning and reporting tool thus enabling the 3 delivery mechanisms visibility to what targets each are delivering at any given time.
The supporting WHIP IT application needed to be delivered within a number of constraints – tight timeframes, limited funds and evolving business processes. It was clear that the normal Information Technology (IT) project delivery approach would not work and a more innovative approach was needed. The ‘Agile’ approach was determined to be the best. Unlike the traditional ‘Waterfall Method’ where business requirements were gathered, a solution was built and handed to business users to test and use; the ‘Agile’ approach sees the IT team and their customers work together. This paper will discuss the journey of developing the WHIP system, lessons learnt along the way, exploration of this innovative approach and the impact it has had on the waterway health investment planning process.