A project is a means to achieve a defined result. It has a start and end date (unlike operational work that is on-going/continuous). Projects need to be managed in an organized fashion to be successful (i.e., on time, in scope and on budget). The EPMO offers two different repeatable project management approaches. One is currently an approach that the EPMO is piloting (See Scrum Pilot and the EPMO's Scrum Process for more information). The other is our standard approach and is described below.*
Exploration is about defining and justifying the business need, proposed solution, and estimated solution costs. The Business Lead (or Project Manager if already assigned) works with the EPMO to obtain the State Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) approval on the Business Case/Cost Analysis (IT ABC form).
During Initiating, the Business makes a commitment to move forward with the project and a Project Charter is created. The Project Charter is signed by the Project Sponsor which provides the formal authorization to complete the project and commit the resources (funding and people). Key project roles are also determined/ assigned during the Initiating phase including the Project Manager and key Stakeholders.
The bulk of all project management planning takes place during this phase along with the documentation of detailed requirements, the procurement of the solution, and the project Kick-off meeting. Project Managers should ensure their planning includes a means for managing and/or tracking scope, schedule, budget, risks, issues, quality, resources, organizational change, and project documentation. Additional project management planning activities (including updating and enhancing existing project management plans) will occur throughout the project.
The Executing phase is about doing the work as outlined in the Project Schedule; monitoring and controlling the project activities; and managing project resources, risks and issues. The Project Manager follows the project management plans (as outlined in the Planning Phase) and ensures Stakeholders stay updated with project Status Reports. The Executing phase concludes with testing, training, and go-live/implementation of the solution.
The heavy lifting is done and it is time to wrap up the project by gaining formal User Acceptance (that the project work is complete based on the requirements); completing a Lessons Learned and Customer Survey; holding a Close-out meeting and completing a Close-out report; finalizing and archiving project documentation; and transitioning to Operations.
6. Monitor and Control:
Monitor and control is not a project phase, it occurs throughout the project to ensure it stays on track. Project Status Reports keep all interested parties informed on the project's health and progress. Scope, schedule, budget, risks and issues are all formally tracked and managed by the Project Manager. A change request process prevents additions to scope without a review of impact to scope, schedule, and budget.
Click for a phase by phase To-Do List.
*Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing are the Process Groups defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and often referred to as “Project Phases.” The EPMO made some modifications to these phases for use by the State of Vermont. The EPMO has added the Exploration phase up front to describe tasks to be completed prior to the Initiating phase.