Integrated IT project management framework

a model-centric approach to managing multiple IT projects

Abstract

Various traditional approaches to managing multiple information technology (IT) projects often focus on schedule, cost, quality and scope management using inconsistent and disintegrated processes and tools with unclear alignment with the business. In most cases, these approaches result in communication conflicts, costs overrun, schedule slippage, redundant and duplicated efforts, and dissatisfied clients mainly because of the IT program manager's lack of proper understanding of how Project Management fits within the context of Information Technology Management and Business Management processes.

This model-centric approach to IT Project Management provides a framework to demonstrate how IT program managers can effectively manage multiple IT projects (program management) by integrating Project Management processes with IT Management processes with the objective of aligning with Business Management processes. The end-result is an integrated representation of consistent project management processes, tools and techniques that IT program managers can practically apply to ensure successful delivery of multiple IT projects by improving internal and external communications during the management and delivery of projects.

Background

This paper, which focuses on management of multiple projects, is based on the author's book “Integrated IT Project Management: A Model-Centric Approach”2. It highlights a practical, model-centric approach that the IT Program Manager executed at various successful implementations. The overall goal was to manage the delivery of IT solutions to support the business by ensuring effective integration with Business Management, Information Technology Management and Project Management processes and tools.

The implementation strategy at these corporations was guided by an IT applications architecture, which identified and defined a portfolio of IT projects using a model-centric approach to applications architecture development. This IT applications architecture framework represented a portfolio of projects that were closely aligned with the corporations' business processes and objectives. The main focus of this article is to present the model-centric approach to integrated project management that was successfully implemented at various large corporations in Canada and United States, which achieved the goal of improved overall effectiveness and efficiency of the business through execution of consistent and integrated processes. The materials presented in this paper provides an overview of the processes, tools, roles and responsibilities that the IT program manager executed during the management and delivery of these multiple projects, with the focus towards maximizing the utilization of people, process and technology resources. Exhibit 1.0 is a graphical representation of the Integrated IT Project Management Model.

Integrated IT Project Management Model

Exhibit 1-Integrated IT Project Management Model

Exhibit 2-“Integrated IT Project Management Component Model”, is the detailed representation that contains further details on each of the three (3) major components represented in Exhibit 1.

Integrated Project Management Component Model

Exhibit 2-Integrated Project Management Component Model

Business Management

The components of Business Management, referenced in Exhibit 2, is presented to show how the IT Program Manager manages and delivers multiple projects that integrates with the overall business budgeting and architecture processes through integration of business and IT program managers responsibilities, processes, tools and techniques.

Project Economics (Business Value/Benefits/Priorities

The value of a project to the business is based on improved performance that aligns with the corporation business. Decisions regarding information technology investments must be linked to and driven by business planning/architecture.

Business Program Manager and IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Participate in allocating resources to business and IT projects based on the value to the business.

Project Funding Allocations:

The primary objective of project funding is to control the allocation of funds to projects that have been prioritized by the steering committee and to allocate funds in increments by re-assessing the project cost and benefits.

Business Program Manager and IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Manage and monitor the portfolio of projects within the funds allocated by the steering committee.

Project Funding/Deliverables Approval:

Project deliverables approval consists of both business and IT approvals required to approve a project to the next phase of development. The key decision points will be during:

  • Beginning of each subsequent project/release via Work Request and Business Requirements Statement;
  • Transition from Project Definition phase (Project Statement/Charter) to Project Analysis phase;
  • Transition from Project Analysis phase to Project Architecture Design/RFP phase;
  • Transition from Project Architecture phase to Project Iterative Development Phases (IDP);
  • Transition from Project IDP-Construction phase to Project IDP-Integration phase, if required;
  • Transition from Project IDP-Integration phase to Project IDP-Deployment phase, if required;
  • Ending of each project/release.

Preliminary project funding and deliverables approval decisions are necessary, early in the life of a project, before all requirements are known. An incremental approach to project deliverables approvals allows for phased developments of project estimates that are validated against business needs at critical points in the life cycle of a project. A phased approach to project deliverables approvals also provides an understanding of the project scope, funding/cost, schedules, effort and quality that are agreed upon and supported by both the business and IT leaders.

Business Program Manager and IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Submit phase deliverables to steering committee for acceptance, approval and funding
  • Manage the portfolio of projects deliverables within the funds allocated by the steering committee
  • Perform quality assurance (QA) reviews and provide acceptance for project deliverables based on acceptance criteria/checklists, within the funds allocated by the steering committee.

Program Steering Committee

The primary objective of this committee is to establish a business (major stakeholders) and IT senior management committee with program oversight and approval responsibilities. The Program Steering Committee has oversight responsibilities for the project and have joint accountability, with the program managers (business and IT), for the overall scope, effort, cost, schedule and quality performance of the projects.

Business Program Manager and IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Attend Program Steering Committee meetings and make project related decisions
  • Keep the project working committee, business and IT Directors informed on the current status of the projects.

Business Architecture

The primary objective of this function is to establish and link the business architecture to the IT architectures (data, applications and technology) to ensure that the technology solution is aligned with the goals, objectives and strategies of the business.

Business Program Manager and IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Keep the project working committee and IT Directors informed on business architecture developments
  • Present recommendations to program steering committee on business and IT architecture integration strategies.

Business Initiatives Support

The primary objective of this function is manage and track the business projects, co-ordinate the development of business processes, ensure integration of business initiatives with IT initiatives in order to optimize resource allocations and to minimize duplicate processes and efforts.

Business Program Manager:

  • Attend meetings and make project related decisions
  • Manage the overall program (business & IT projects)
  • Develop and maintain Master Project Plan for Business Architectures:
    • Business Project Charter
    • Master Business Project Plan – Master Work Breakdown Structure (WBS); Master Dependency Diagram; Master Projects Schedule; Business Organizational Chart; Business Staffing profile; Projects Budget; Payment Schedule
    • Business Transition Plan
    • Communication Plan
    • Risk Management Plan
  • Develop Master Project Plan for business and IT support initiatives and present integrated representation of business and IT projects.

IT Program Manager:

  • Keep the project working committee and IT Directors informed on the current statuses of IT projects
  • Present recommendations to program steering committee on business and IT integration initiatives.

Project Management

The components of Project Management, referenced in Exhibit 2, is presented to show how the IT Program Manager manages and delivers multiple projects that integrates with the corporation project management processes through integration of business and IT program managers responsibilities, processes, tools and techniques.

Business and IT Project Delivery Life Cycle

The primary objective is to ensure that projects evolve in an orderly progression of achievement from the point when an initial need is expressed, to the sign-off by the user representatives and sponsor, and hand-over to production support. Every project has phases of development and a clear understanding of these phases permits managers to better control the project schedules and resources to achieve the desired goals.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Ensure that each individual project team adheres to the processes, deliverables, tools and techniques established by the Project Management Office (PMO) to ensure project management consistency, completeness and integration.

Business and IT Project Management Delivery Processes

Project Time and Cost Management

The Master Project Plan (Master Schedule and Budget & Expense Authorization) provides the framework for managing and integrating the projects and identifies the overall schedule, budget, and organization that are critical to the success of the project. It also serves as a baseline for measuring progress and reporting status, and it drives other plans. If the Master Project Plan changes, the subordinate detail project plans must change accordingly. The Project Charter, Business Case and the Master Project Plan form the contract between the project team and the major stakeholders.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Manage IT Applications Architecture master project plan using project management tools (Primavera SureTrak; MS Project, etc.) as the project planning and tracking tool and integrate with IT delivery master and detailed project plans.
  • Develop Master WBS, dependency diagram and master schedule in accordance with PMO guidelines and ensure that project teams understand/follow guidelines. (The master WBS provides a uniform structure for collecting resource expenditures in a consistent manner across projects. This allows estimates for new projects to be compared with actual expenditures of previous projects). Refer to Exhibit 3 for a graphical representation.
Master Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Exhibit 3.0-Master Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Project Scope/Deliverables Management

-Requirements Management

The Project Scope/Deliverables Management process establishes a common understanding between the project sponsors and IT as to the requirements that will be addressed by the project in the Project Charter. Project Scope Management involves establishing and maintaining an agreement with the business, IT and Executive sponsor as to the requirements of the project.

Requirements are initially identified at a high level in the Project Charter with additional details added as the project progresses through the life cycle. Project scope/deliverables management is concerned with establishing specific project requirements during the project definition and analysis phase and maintaining the requirements through the remaining phases of the project delivery life cycle.

After the requirements have been approved a change control process must manage all changes. The effect of the change on the project's scope, effort, cost, schedule and quality must be documented and all plans and deliverables modified to meet the updated requirements. The components of Project Scope/Deliverables Management consist of:

  • Establishing a Baseline- Defining all business, technical and non-technical components of the project and establishing a baseline for estimating, planning, tracking, and verification purposes
  • Change Control – Making changes to the requirements in a controlled manner.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Provide sufficient resources to achieve the project deliverables
  • Provide sufficient tools and resources to support the activities of managing the deliverables.
  • Verify that PMO guidelines are followed
  • Review Project Charter for completeness, consistency and integration and provide recommendations.

- Project Management File

The Project Master File provides a repository of project documentation. It shall be utilized to:

  • Provide transition information when there is a change in project managers
  • Provide project team members and informed individuals on the current status of the projects
  • Provide a history of the project decisions made and the trade-off that were evaluated
  • Provide information for quality assurance reviews
  • Provide a history of project estimates that can be used in future projects.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Maintain a project file for all IT and business projects with the following folders:
    • Program Management
    • Master Project Plan
      • Project Charter
      • Master Project Plan (Master WBS; Master Dependency Diagram; Master Schedule; Master Org. Chart; Resources; Master Budget; Payment Schedule)
      • Quality Assurance/Acceptance Procedures
      • Quality Plan
      • Risk Management Plan
      • Change Requests and Management Plan
      • Issue Resolution Procedures
      • Project Close-Down Plan
      • Other Correspondence
-Project Planning

Project planning provides the basis for performing and managing the project activities and represents the project manager's commitments to the business according to the resources, constraints and capabilities of the project. The project plan is based on the established project requirements baseline with support for the plan from the functional groups, business and consultants.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Provide tools and techniques to support the project planning activities
  • Verify that budgeting and all PMO administration are complete for project tracking
  • Ensure that the Project Plan contains sufficient details and adheres to PMO guidelines.

-Project Tracking

“Plan the work – now work the plan”. After the project has been properly planned in the project definition phase, the project manager enters the project management execution and control cycle where the key questions to answer include the following:

  • Where are we? An assessment of the current status of the project
  • Where do we want to be? A comparison of the actual progress made against the baseline project plan
  • How do we get there? A consideration of possible corrective actions that could put the project back on track, if necessary, or keep it there
  • Are we getting there? An analysis of the impact these corrective actions are having on the project.

Here are the 6 key steps to the execution and controlling process:

  1. Updating the plans including scope, effort, cost, schedule and quality
  2. Updating the status
  3. Analyzing the risk impact
  4. Monitoring and acting on the variances or % for (scope; effort; cost; schedule; quality)
  5. Publishing the corrective actions, revisions or changes: PM score card
  6. Communicating with and informing stakeholders.

During the project management control cycle, the approved baseline project plan will be used as the basis for tracking the project, communicating status, and revising plans. Progress is primarily determined by comparing the actual scope, effort, cost and schedule to the baseline project plan at selected milestones/deliverables/work-products or at month-end. When it is determined that the project plans are not being met, corrective actions are taken. These actions may include revising the plan to reflect the actual accomplishments and re-planning the remaining work or taking actions to improve the performance.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Review the performance of the project at appropriate milestones with respect to schedule, cost, effort, scope and quality to ensure adherence to PMO guidelines.
  • Verify that the score card represents objective results
  • Verify that all IT PMO project tracking mechanism has been completed.

Project Quality Assurance (QA) Management

Quality Assurance ensures that the appropriate level of authority has been applied to the project and that project quality has not been reduced to inappropriate levels due to other project pressures. QA verifies that the project adheres to corporation IT policies, standards and procedures in areas such as:

  • Compliance to organizational policies
  • Compliance to guidelines and requirements imposed by the project delivery guidelines
  • Compliance to PMO guidelines that are appropriate for use by the project

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Conduct QA reviews of the approved project plan
  • Verify that the project meets IT PMO policies, guidelines and procedures
  • Verify that the project meets the project specific quality goals by utilizing the checklists
  • Report variances to the appropriate management team and recommend solutions
  • Change QA process as needed to keep it effective.

Project Contract Management

Project Contract Management ensures that documented guidelines and procedures are used to select and manage contractors for fixed priced and/or time-and-materials contracts.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Ensure that IT PMO contract management guidelines are followed.

Project Change Management

Changes that are made to plans, work products, deliverables, product or services, specifications, applicable standards, schedules, budgets, and resources and asset utilization are:

  • Identified and documented
  • Evaluated and assessed for risk impact
  • Communicated to the affected groups and individuals
  • Tracked to completion in the change request log

Changes in project scope refer to additions, modifications, or deletions made to the end product or services. Changes in scope occur in the areas of: business processes, data, applications, and technology.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Define what the project managers can and cannot do when a change of scope occurs
  • Establish an agreed-upon process for submitting the change and evaluating its impact on the current baseline
  • Ensure that the IT PMO change control process is followed.

Project Issue Management

Issue Management maintains a focus on resolving issues by documenting, prioritizing, developing action plans, and reporting status on a periodic basis. Issue log shall be reviewed at team status meeting and used as a communication vehicle with team members. Issues shall be prioritized, action plans developed, due dates established, and responsibilities assigned. Action items shall be managed using an integrated issue and change management tracking system.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:
  • Manage the program issue management log.
  • Ensure that the IT PMO issue management guidelines are followed
  • Verify that issue management activities are included in the project plan.

Project Risk Management

Project Risk management identifies and quantifies risk during each phase of the project and develops mitigation actions that will maximize the results of positive events and minimize the consequences of adverse events. Each project will have a different tolerance to risk associated with the project. The project manager will understand the risk tolerance level associated with the project. Project risk tolerance is influenced by project characteristics such as:

  • Is it a mission critical project?
  • Does it require 7x24 operational capabilities?
  • Are optimum business and technology performance necessary?
  • What is the business impact of not being operational?

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Ensure that the IT PMO risk management guidelines are followed
  • Verify that risk management activities are included in the project plan
  • Review Risk Management Plan and recommend action.

Project Communications/Status Reporting Management

Project Communications Management provides formal written communication between the project team and senior management. The project bi-monthly and monthly status reports will be compiled by the Project Manager and represent the project team progress. The reports for each project will be compiled by the PMO into a portfolio and will be distributed each month to the steering committee and to others as appropriate.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Attend working committee meetings to review project status
  • Review project bi-weekly and monthly status reports.

Project Management Office Infrastructure Support
Methodology; Processes, Tools and Techniques

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Communicate PMO policies and ensure project teams adhere to IT PMO methodology, processes, tools and techniques.

Information Technology (IT) Management

Project Economics (Cost)

The costs of a project to the business are based on benefits to be realized in line with the corporation business and budgets. Decisions regarding information technology investments shall be linked to and driven by business planning/architecture and budgeting process.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Participate in determining cost performance measurement to business and IT projects based on the value to the business and budgeting constraints.

Resource Allocations (Labor)

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Participate in allocating labor resources to business and IT projects based on the value to the business.

Data Architecture

The primary objective of this function is to support the project teams in the management and delivery of databases, coordinate the development of business data, and ensure integration of business data with IT databases. The Data Architecture group will have oversight responsibilities for both the business (logical) and IT (physical) data models and have joint accountability, with the program managers, for the overall scope, effort, cost, schedule and quality performance of these data models.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Review and communicate IT (physical) data architectures/models and ensure linkage with business data architectures.
  • Communicate data models to project teams.

Applications Architecture

The primary objective of this function is to support the project teams in managing and delivering applications, coordinate the development of applications and ensure integration of business processes with IT applications. The Application Architecture group will have oversight responsibilities for both the business (logical) and IT (physical) application architectures and have joint accountability, with the program managers, for the overall quality performance of these applications.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Review and communicate business (logical) and IT (physical) application architectures and ensure linkage with business and data architectures.
  • Communicate Application Architecture policies and ensure project teams adheres to Application Architecture methodology, processes, tools and techniques

Technology Architecture

The primary objective of this function is to support the project teams in managing and delivering Technology (hardware, systems software and network) solutions, co-ordinate the installation of technology and ensure integration of technology with IT applications and data. The Technology Architecture group will have oversight responsibilities for both the business (logical) and IT (physical) technology architectures and have joint accountability, with the program managers, for the overall quality performance of these technical solutions.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Review and communicate business (logical) and IT (physical) technical architectures and ensure linkage with business, application and data architectures.
  • Communicate Technology Architecture policies and ensure project teams adhere to Technology Architecture methodology, processes, tools and techniques.

Applications Services Support

The primary objective of this function is to support the project teams in installing, implementing and deploying the applications, co-ordinate the deployment applications, and ensure effective integration of existing with new IT applications. The Applications Services Support group will have oversight responsibilities for the deployment and have joint accountability, with the program managers, for the overall quality performance of these applications.

IT Program Manager responsibilities:

  • Communicate Application Support Services policies and ensure project teams adhere to methodology, processes, tools and techniques.

Conclusion

In summary, senior business and IT functional managers and project managers involved in the management and delivery of multiple projects should consider the following recommendations, as a framework or guideline to assist in ensuring successfully management and delivery of multiple projects.

  • ❑    Develop an Applications Architecture that shows the alignment with the Business Architecture and Technology Architecture. The end-result is a series of projects that supports the business objectives and processes.
  • ❑    Define a portfolio of multiple related projects and manage these multiple projects as a program
  • ❑    Establish and communicate PMO methodology, processes, tools and techniques to business and IT staff.
  • ❑    Define clear objectives, roles and responsibilities of the business and IT program managers.
  • ❑    Communicate and ensure project team members adhere to Project Management policies, processes, standards/guidelines and procedures.
  • ❑    Ensure that IT Program Managers understand the linkage between Information Technology Management, Business Management and Project Management, as presented in this paper.

References

Bainey, Kenneth R. (2004, April) Integrated IT Project Management: A Model-Centric Approach, Boston and London, Artech House

Project Management Institute. (2000) A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK), Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute

About the Author:

Kenneth Bainey is currently the director and chief information officer (CIO) of information technology at Alberta Transportation for the Government of Alberta, Canada. With 28 years of industry experience, he has been a consultant and has held leadership positions in project management and applications development, as well as strategic planning and enterprise architecture development in Canada and United States. Mr. Bainey has contributed to numerous conferences and seminars and has published extensively. He holds the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential, the CCP in IT management from the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP), and the CIM in management and administration from the Canadian Institute of Management. He is a member of the ICCP Certification Council.

Mr. Bainey is the author of the book titled: “Integrated IT Project Management: A Model-Centric Approach”, published in April/2004 by the world-renowned Engineering publisher, Artech House Publishers, Boston and London. Please refer to www.artechhouse.com.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI or any listed author.

© 2004, Kenneth R. Bainey
Originally published as part of 2004 PMI Global Congress Proceedings-Anaheim, California

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