Portfolio & Project Management Office

Overview

Project management is a set of principles, methods, tools, and techniques for the effective management of objective-oriented work (projects). The methodology provides repeatable processes and is used in the context of a specific and unique organizational environment. Project management is the method used to bring a project to a successful conclusion.

Project Definition

A project is directed at achieving a specific result, involves the coordinated undertaking of interrelated activities, has a limited duration (a beginning and an end), is unique, and involves risk. 

Project Standardization

The ITS PPMO's project management process will be operationalized through the use of standardized templates, training and review sessions. This creates a repeatable process to be used across the university and increases the university's capacity to do project work. 

Project Documents Required

  • Charter
  • Risk Matrix
  • Project Schedule/Plan
  • Project Roles Definition (should be listed in the Charter)
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

See Template and Job Aids folder for other project related documents.

New to Project Management?

If you are new to project management, and have a project to get started, you may want to consider the following:

  • Contact the PPMO to arrange to meet with a Sr. Project Manager to understand process and how to navigate the PPMO resources
  • Learn the ITS Prioritization Process and how that impacts the project schedule
  • Determine size and appropriate project management rigor needed to successfully assist throughout the project lifecycle
  • Have access to application that best suits the project needs for tracking project schedule (MSProject is preferred application)
  • Work with Sr. Project Manager to develop Charter, Work Breakdown Structure or Project Schedule (set of tasks and completion dates), and Total Cost of Ownership   
  • Each project should have a project sponsor, a project manager, and an ITS lead when there is an ITS component. The roles and responsibilities of the sponsor and project manager are defined in the PPMO Roles & Responsibilities document. 

The project sponsor sets the project goals. Once established, the goals are the sole measure of the project's success or failure. The project management process and project plans hold project managers and team members accountable to reach those goals. The ITS PPMO may help with how to measure if the project is progressing toward meeting the project goals.

Project managers are found in every kind of organization -- as employees, managers, contractors and independent consultants. They make project goals their own and use their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team. Project managers cultivate the people skills needed to develop trust and communication among all of a project's stakeholders: its sponsors, those who will make use of the project's results, those who command the resources needed, and the project team members.

Project Manager Competencies

Project manager competencies describe a set of behavior skills, knowledge, and traits applicable to project managers.

Below provides an understanding of the critical skills any individual playing the project manager role should have while steering the project to success and handling day-to-day challenges that may arise during the management of the project. 

Project Planning

  • Applies a structured, systematic project planning and control process to individual projects to achieve project goals.
  • Displays good organizational skills that fosters excellent time management.
  • Uses project management software and templates to effectively support the project planning and control process.
  • Effectively evaluates and prioritizes project tasks and options to ensure overall success.
  • Develops contingency plans for the project.
  • Tracks performance against measurable goals and standards.
  • Ensures that processes and procedures are audited to test their effectiveness over time.
  • Identifies and assesses areas of risk in a project and plans mitigation for high risks.

Project Decision Making

  • Accepts responsibility for consequences (both positive and negative) of own actions and decisions.
  • Gathers relevant data and information before making decisions
  • Is willing to make unpopular decisions in the best interest of the project and the university.
  • Stays focused on the big picture and business objectives when making decisions.
  • Understands the limits and constraints that exist at the University of Idaho and considers them when pursuing objectives.

Project University Acumen

In addition to technical project management knowledge, a person needs industry or solution skills are necessary:

  • Effectively manages contradictory or conflicting requirements.
  • Seeks ways to control project costs while achieving overall objectives.
  • Understands the overall university environment and how the project fits into that environment.
  • Understands the needs, priorities, expectations and agendas of project stakeholders and uses this understanding to make decisions.
  • Understands the specific unit dimensions of the project, including the processes and systems it touches and the implications for unit performance.

Project People Management

  • Coaches, mentors, and supports project team members to achieve optimum performance.
  • Ensures individuals have the training, development, and preparation they need to perform their jobs to the highest level.
  • Inspires others to get work done and accomplish results often in challenging and difficult working situations.
  • Recognizes and rewards individual and team achievements.
  • Addresses individual and team performance issues to correct behaviors, attitudes, or actions.
  • Responds to conflict and difficult behavior in ways that maintain constructive relationships and allow the work to move forward.
  • Effectively balances the priority of achieving goals/completing tasks and the feelings/needs of the people performing those tasks.

Project Communication

Having the best resources on the job, producing the most technically advanced system, or having fancy reports will not result in success unless the project manager communicates well with the stakeholders and team. A good communicator:

  • Adapts one-on-one discussions, meeting communication, and style for maximum effectiveness with different audiences.
  • Uses effective presentation skills and techniques when delivering information or ideas.
  • Actively listens to others to gain mutual understanding of a problem/situation.
  • Keeps project stakeholders informed about progress and problems important to them with appropriate frequency and detail.
  • Gives individuals honest, straightforward, and timely performance feedback.
  • Communicates news (good or bad) in an open, honest and timely manner.

Project Team Building

Team building becomes more important when projects can be long and drawn out, become tough and can get everyone very stressed. Establish trust with project team by stating clear expectations and showing support for members’ decisions and actions.

  • Is aware of individual and group morale and takes action to protect it or build it when necessary.
  • Conducts regular, formal interactions with team members to keep abreast of progress and issues.
  • Identifies skill and competency needs for project success and seeks competent personnel to be a part of project team.
  • Creates a sense of camaraderie and excitement to take on the challenges of a project.
  • Builds consensus.
  • Recognizes own weaknesses and attempts to fill these skill gaps when selecting team members.

Project Influence and Persuasion

  • Develops good working relationships with the key people necessary for the accomplishment of project goals.
  • Has the ability to sell ideas and initiatives to both peers and management
  • Uses informal organization and key people to get things done or leverage ideas.
  • Without formal supervisory authority, engages people in the project, enlists support, and gets things done.
  • Works effectively with all levels of the university to solve problems and resolve issues.
  • Handles conflict management by:
    • Understanding the disagreement or miscommunications
    • Communicating at all levels to include appropriate parties in discussions around resolution
    • Setting up meetings to discuss each party’s viewpoints
    • Bringing all parties to agreement on a solution that moves the project forward
    • Demonstrating an approach to find a creative compromise to the solution

Project Leadership

  • Effectively manages multiple tasks and changing or competing priorities.
  • Sets a strong example of competence, integrity, dedication, fairness, and concern for individual stall and the University of Idaho as a whole.
  • Establishes and communicates vision, purpose, and goals that provide a clear picture of the project and its value and benefits.
  • Maintains appropriate level of involvement in delegated tasks (doesn’t micromanage nor stay too removed).
  • Works well
  • Holds others accountable for setting goals, making decisions, and achieving results.

Project Commitment

  • Takes personal responsibility for ensuring successful achievement of project goals and accountabilities.
  • Has a passion for the project, its schedule, and its impact on stakeholders.
  • Produces extraordinary effort when required to get the job done and meet project commitments.
  • Works well in situations requiring self-direction and initiative.

Project Resilience

  • Adjusts quickly and positively to changing work priorities and business conditions.
  • Remains calm and focused in stressful situations.
  • Tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty associated with own role, the project itself, or the environment in which the project is managed.
  • Displays stamina when faced with long, intense work hours.
  • Learns from failure and/or critical feedback by acknowledging and accepting it without reacting defensively.

Project Risk Taking

  • Supports team members who take initiative and reasonable risks in seeking solutions.
  • Stands up for values, principles, and decisions despite personal or political risk.
  • Challenges the ideas and positions of others, regardless of status.
  • Tries new approaches, tools and resources in the pursuit of project goals.

Project Management Overview

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques applied to project activities in order to meet the project requirements. Project management is a process that includes planning, putting the project plan into action, and measuring progress and performance. Projects need to be performed and delivered under certain constraints. Traditionally these constraints have been listed as scope, time and cost. See Triple Constraints. Project processes fall into the following 5 phases (click on the titles for more specific details.)

Assess Phase - define problem or opportunity in enough detail to establish the case for change and need for investment.

Initiate Phase - determine nature and scope of the project.

Plan Phase - project is planned to appropriate level of detail.

Execute/Control Phase - coordination of people and processes to complete work defined in the project plan to accomplish the project Charter.

Transition Phase - delivery of system or product to owner including process development and training.

Close Phase - formal acceptance of the closing of project based on agreed upon success factors.

What is a project Charter?

A document that describes what the project is, how it will be approached, and it lists the names of all stakeholders. It's a critical component of the project management and it will be referred to it throughout the life of the project.

Why do we measure and manage Risk?

Project risk is defined as any threat to the project's successful delivery of the desired business outcomes, benefits, or value. Measuring risk provides the decision makers with information as to how much effect a risk may have on the organization, what the probability is that the risk will occur, and what will the project do to mitigate the risk. Managing risk is a proactive approach that happens from beginning to end of a project. See Project Risk Management.

Roles and Responsibilities

The chart below describes typical roles and responsibilities for projects. Roles may be assigned to one or more individual and individuals may play one or more roles. Specific projects may pull in other roles not listed below, so project managers must understand when those roles are required for the success of each project.

Executive Sponsor Responsibilities

  • Assure project delivers outcomes aligned with University's vision, mission, and objectives (including risk tolerance)
  • Oversight and accountability for the project.
  • Accountability for the project and risk management decisions
  • Approves changes requests relative to schedule, scope and budget.
  • Manages issue resolution escalation as needed

ITS Lead Responsibilities

  • Provides technical leadership and sometimes maintains the IT portion of the project plan. 
  • Coordinates all ITS roles and is responsible for ensuring tasks and deliverables are completed as outlined in the project plan.
  • Communicates with Project Manager on project schedule, including status reporting, risk identification, and reporting issues.

Portfolio Prioritization Committee (PPC) Responsibilities

  • Provide structured, transparent and objective process to recommend best allocation of University technical investments
  • Serve as review committee for cross-university projects
  • A broad representation of the University to assure both perception and reality of objective scoring

Project Manager Responsibilities

  • Prepares all documentation necessary to manage project (i.e.,Charter, Risk Matrix, project schedule, Total Cost of Ownership, etc.)
  • Ensures the, project team completes the project.
  • Develops the project plan with team and manages team's performance of project tasks and completion of deliverables.
  • Responsible for communication to Sponsor and team, including status reporting, risk management, escalation of issues that cannot be resolved in the team, and, in general, making sure the project is delivered in budget, on schedule, and within scope.

Project Sponsor Responsibilities

  • Provides leadership on culture and values
  • Owns the business case
  • Keeps project aligned with University's strategy and portfolio direction
  • Governs project risk
  • Focuses on realization of benefits
  • Recommends opportunities to optimize cost/benefits
  • Ensures continuity of sponsorship
  • Reviews and has approval authority on project deliverables (i.e., Charter, Risk Matrix, project schedule, Total Cost of Ownership, etc.)
  • Responsible for communication to Executive Sponsor and team, including status reporting, risk management, escalation of issues that cannot be resolved in the team, and, in general, making sure the project is delivered in budget, on schedule, and within scope.

Project Requester Responsibilities

  • Individual submitting a project for prioritization

Senior Manager Responsibilities

  • Active sponsors on portfolio projects
  • Work with PPC
  • Work with Portfolio & Project Management to establish supporting strategies

Stakeholder Responsibilities

  • A person, group, or organization that has direct or indirect stake in the solution and can be affected by the university's actions, objectives, and policies.

Subject Matter Expert

  • A person proficient in a particular area or topic.
  • Responsible for ensuring the subject matter tasks and deliverables are completed as outlined in the project plan. 
  • Communicates with ITS Lead to establish subject matter related tasks, status updates, risk identification, and issues reporting.

Project Risk Management

Summary

A project risk is defined as any threat to the project's successful delivery of the desired business outcomes, benefits, or value. Project risk management includes processes concerned with conducting risk management planning, identification, analysis, responses, and monitoring and control on a project; most of these processes are updated throughout the project. The objectives of project risk management are to increase the probability and impact of positive events, and decrease the probability and impact of events adverse to the project.

There are two types of project risks: execution risks and business risks.

  • Execution (residual) risks include factors such as scope complexity, technical complexity, realism of project plan and cost estimates, and reliability/availability of resources and their independence.
  • Business risks include factors such as; business case soundness, sponsor commitment, organizational impact and user readiness, and external aspects (political, regulatory, environmental, social, etc.).

Key Actions

As noted above, the project Risk Management Process (managed with the Risk Matrix) involves the following activities:

  • Risk Management Planning: describe how to approach, plan, and execute the risk management activities for a project.
  • Risk Identification: determine which risks might affect the project and document their characteristics.
  • Qualitative Risk Analysis: prioritize risks for subsequent further analysis or actions by assessing and combining probability of occurrence and impact.
  • Quantitative Risk Analysis: numerically analyze the effect on overall project objectives of identified risks.
  • Risk Response Planning: develop options and actions to enhance opportunities, and to reduce threats to project objectives.
  • Risk Monitoring and Control: track identified risks, monitor residual risks, identify new risks, execute risk response plans, and evaluate their effectiveness throughout the project life cycle.

Details

The Project Manager (or designator) shall create a project Risk Matrix. The matrix should capture a unique risk ID for each entry, a brief title of the risk, a description of the mitigation or action plan, the probability of it occurring, the impact to the project if it occurs, a status, who it is assigned to, a due date, and any special comments. The Project Manager is responsible for communicating the availability, purpose, location, expectations, and uses for a risk log to the project team.

Requirements

Requirements are necessary in a project to better describe and understand the outcomes that are described in the Charter. Requirements define the customer needs, assist in identifying and/or preventing defects early in the project, and provide a mechanism for thorough testing. Requirements identified, detailed, and analyzed at the beginning of a project provides a cost savings, shortened development cycle, a product that meets the customer needs, and reduces rework and potential system conflicts.

Requirements management is the process of documenting, analyzing, tracing, prioritizing and agreeing on requirements and then controlling change and communicating to relevant stakeholders. It is a continuous process throughout a project.

Below are three documents that may help during planning, managing and testing of requirements:

Requirements Management Plan

This is used to document the necessary information required to effectively manage project requirements from definition, through traceability, to delivery. It is created during the Planning Phase of the project and its intended audience is the project manager, project team, project sponsor and any senior leaders whose support is needed to carry out the plan.

Requirements Analysis Document (RAD)

A requirements analysis document (RAD) encompasses activities conducted to determine the needs or conditions for a new or altered product. It commonly takes place after a request is received. It is the process of gathering information about business and technical requirements supporting a request, consolidating this information into a cohesive document, and assisting stakeholders in prioritizing these needs and conditions.

Requirements Specification

The purpose is to articulate the extent of work desired relative to the billing processes associated with. Include a description of what is within the scope what is outside of the scope of these specifications. 

Requirements Traceability Matrix

A tool used to assist in ensuring all requirements defined for a system are tested and not lost during requirements validation.

Project Change Management

Change management is the process of controlling any changes to scope, budget, or time line that were outlined by your project Charter. Without a process to manage changes to current schedules or tasks or scope, your project quickly can struggle with scope creep and exceed the planned deadline or costs.

For small changes to a project the Project Manager has the discretion of approving and documenting the change without the formality of invoking the change control procedure. Whenever there are changes to the scope, budget, or time line, Sponsor and sometimes Executive Sponsor approval is needed and the complete change control procedure should be used. 

Depending on the rigor determined for your project, and/or the desires of the project Sponsor and Executive Sponsor, the following documents are available to assist in managing project change.

Change Management Plan -  Defines activities and roles to manage and control change during the project.

Change Request - Document defining the change that needs to be accomplished, its affect on the project, and the consequences should the change not be implemented.

Change Request Log - the record of requests or changes submitted for the project.  This form tracks status and comments relative to each change effort.

The following roles play an important part in management of change throughout a project:

Project Manager is responsible for:

  • receiving and logging change requests
  • monitoring project and recognizing changes that result from realized risks and issues
  • tracking and facilitating the timely evaluation of change requests
  • tracking and facilitating timely decisions on changes
  • incorporating changes into the appropriate project documents
  • communicating changes to the project team and others as the communication plan below dictates
  • reporting change management activity
  • analyzing patterns in change requests to identify underlying systemic causes
  • ensuring the team is appropriately staffed to meet the volume and expertise requirements of the changes

Project Sponsor is responsible for:

  • applying expertise and judgment to the evaluation of changes
  • developing options and recommend courses of action for these changes

Executive Sponsor is responsible for:

  • approving, rejecting, or parking of changes
  • requesting further evaluation, if insufficient information is available to support a decision.