I.B.3 Project Management

An effective project management process is a key factor in a well-managed IT operation and includes applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve project objectives. The operational complexity of the institution dictates the degree of formality of project management practices. Generally, project management consists of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and completing projects. The institution's ability to manage projects drives its ability to adapt to changes in its business requirements and satisfy its strategic objectives. Management uses project management techniques to control projects for systems acquisition and development, systems conversions, product enhancements, infrastructure upgrades, and system maintenance.

Project teams should balance resource investments of time, money, and expertise with a project's priority, risk, and requirements. Management should monitor projects closely to control costs and assure adherence to project management policies. A formal project management system, if used, should employ well-defined and proven techniques for managing projects at all stages. Regardless of the system used, management should include the following elements in its project management process:

  • Oversight by experienced and skilled project managers, whether they are employees of the institution or consultants hired for specific projects.
  • Accepted and standardized project management practices.
  • Senior management support, including a review process around significant projects. The significance of projects will depend on the institution's activities and its size and complexity.
  • Defined and monitored institution-wide project risk assessment methodology.
  • Approval processes to ensure that projects are defined, go through a risk assessment process, and meet requirements.
  • Established project requirements with collaboration among stakeholders and project management staff for each phase of the project.
  • Target completion dates to track each task or phase of the project.
  • Timely project status updates to compare actual completion dates with target dates.
  • Procedures to track and measure project performance against requirements.
  • A defined change management process, including approval requirements.
  • Sufficient testing at all appropriate stages of the project to ensure that the new system or process will not negatively impact existing systems.
  • Training for end users and designated staff responsible for ongoing support.
  • A well-managed process for transition in ownership from implementation teams to operational teams.

Based on an institution's size and complexity, an institution pursuing a more-than-moderate growth path should consider establishing a project management office to promote sound management practices and principles. Refer to the IT Handbook's "Development and Acquisition" booklet for more information.

 

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