Exploration (Starting An IT Project)

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You’ve identified a business need and want to pursue a technology solution. Do you need to involve the EPMO in your IT project? The answer is yes, if the lifecycle costs of your IT Activity (consider implementation, on-going annual operating and State labor costs) are expected to be $500K or more. The first phase in the Project Process is called Exploration. 

Exploration To-Do List:

1. Identify the Project Sponsor

The Business needs to identify a project Sponsor, who will act as the primary decision maker, marshal resources as needed, and ensure funding is available. Some projects have both a Sponsor and an Executive Sponsor.  See Project Roles.

2. Define High Level Requirements

The Business Lead (with assistance from subject matter experts) is responsible for identifying high level requirements for the solution (i.e. what are your “must haves”.) See Requirements Gathering for more information and templates.

3. Determine Potential Solutions & Estimated Costs

In order to obtain approval to move forward with your IT project, you need to propose a solution and provide estimated costs. Here are some resources to help if needed:
• Check with other states and/or industry contacts to find out what solutions they have employed and their estimated costs.
• Determine how other Vermont State agencies/departments are meeting similar business needs and/or consult with ADS’s Enterprise Architecture group for information and solution suggestions. See Enterprise Architecture.
• Use the Request for Information (RFI) process to find out what products/solutions are available in the marketplace and to obtain cost estimates.  See RFI.

4.  Complete a Business Case & Cost Analysis (IT ABC form)

The CIO’s approval on a Business Case/Cost Analysis (an IT ABC form) is a prerequisite for any procurement action. The Business Lead (or Project Manager if already assigned) emails the completed IT ABC form to DII.EPMO@vermont.gov or to the project’s Oversight Project Manager (OPM) if known. See the IT ABC Form Instructions for detailed information on how to complete the form.

Why is it necessary to complete a Business Case & Cost Analysis?

  • Vermont statute requires the collection of a lifecycle cost analysis for all IT activities over $500K (increased from $100K) as of 7/1/15. 
  • The Business Case/Cost Analysis is an important tool for substantiating the benefits of an IT activity/project and for providing the justification for the investment of State dollars and labor.  
  • Completed IT ABC forms provide transparency into technology spending, including ensuring the business understands the immediate and long terms costs of their proposed IT activity before committing to it.
  • The State CIO is responsible for review and approval of all State IT activities with a cost in excess of $500K (increased from $100K) as of 7/1/15. The Business Case and Cost Analysis provide the context the State CIO needs to make an informed decision on whether or not to approve an IT activity (information that can’t be derived by just reading an RFP, contract or contract amendment).
  • Information provided to ADS in the IT ABC form is used to meet annual Legislative reporting requirements.

5.  EPMO Assigns an Oversight Project Manager (OPM)

The OPM’s job is to ensure State projects are well managed for scope, schedule and budget. Oversight is required by Vermont statute for IT Activities over $500K. The OPM also shepherds the Business through the ADS review and approval processes for the IT ABC form as well as all procurement activities. See Project Oversight.

6. OPM Creates a SharePoint Project Site or Other Document Repository

The SharePoint project site populated with the required minimum project management deliverables templates. On-going, all project documentation should be stored in this central repository. The Project Manager may add other folders to the SharePoint site as needed to best meet their project’s documentation management needs.

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