Projects

Our Project and Portfolio Management Office (PMO) provides project and portfolio management support for GW IT and for IT-related projects throughout the university.

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Current Projects

Single Sign-On at GW

GW IT is currently working on an access management project to provide a new single point of access to all GW web applications, authenticated through a Single Sign-On (SSO) method. 

Project Management

  • Assignment of managers to projects
  • Management of assigned projects
  • Assistance with troubled projects

Project Portfolio Management

  • Executive reporting
  • Project status and risk
  • Quarterly portfolio reviews
  • Project portfolio maintenance

 

Consulting

  • Mentoring
  • Project management best practices
  • Knowledge transfer

Training

  • Lunch and learn sessions
  • Project Management Lifecycle (PMLC)
  • Systems Development Lifecycle (SDLC) methodology

Methodology and Standards

  • Consistent project management approach
  • Project management standards
  • Project management methodology
  • Accessibility to templates
  • Project and portfolio management (PPM) tool
  • SDLC methodology/waterfall and agile project management approaches

Roles

There are five defined roles in the project management lifecycle and each one has a specific set of responsibilities:

  • Project executive sponsor: Executive leader who has sanctioned the project. This role monitors the overall progress of the project at a very high level and assists the project owner in escalations when necessary.
  • Project owner: Accountable to the executive sponsor for delivery of the solution and is often a director-level leader. This role provides regular decision making and direction for the project, manages the overall timeline at a milestone level and ensures that the necessary resources are included in the project team, including the project manager.
  • Process initiator: Manages the Idea and Proposal phases of the project, provides the appropriate analytical work to creat the idea summary, proposal and charter documents and coordinates the Idea and Proposal Gate Review Board reviews.
  • Project manager: Manages the overall project team, the PMLC documentation from the Planning, Analysis and Design through Closing phases and the detailed schedule and timeline for the entire project. This role is accountable for project execution from planning through closing, directs appropriate Gate Review Board reviews, regularly reports project statuses and escalates issues as appropriate to the project owner(s).
  • Project team: Includes resources from functional groups and a vendor, when required. This team owns related pieces of a project from each member's respective areas, coordinates functional and technical resources to complete tasks, supports the project manager in developing and maintaining applicable documentation and provides necessary updates to the project manager regarding the statuses of tasks, risks and schedules. 

The Project Management Lifecycle (PMLC) is a project governance model used for project initiation, planning and execution at the George Washington University. PMLC offers a clearly defined process for how to take a project from idea stage through closing, while using project management principles that clarify expectations, streamline communications, and ensure thoroughness in planning and execution.

PMLC was developed in 2009 as a joint effort between GW Information Technology and Finance Division. Purposed to drive standardization of methodology, documentation, reporting and approval across GW organizations, PMLC also enables clear ownership and empowerment of project leadership. At GW, PMLC is used for any complex cross-functional initiative that requires the use of a trained project manager for a division- and/or university-wide technology initiative.

Benefits to using PMLC during project management include:

  • Clearly defined roles, requirements and responsibilities, which allow for greater ownership, buy-in, coordination and efficiency of process
  • Clear communication with project sponsors, project owners and project team
  • Standardized methodology and templates that allow for clear expectations and more streamlined training and process

When to use

As a general rule, any effort that is considered a “project” should follow PMLC unless otherwise specified by senior management.

Within GW IT, anything that meets the following criteria must follow PMLC:

  • A project that involves external customers, vendors, and/or multiple internal DIT teams
  • A project that is complex and/or high priority

Most projects will require some but not all PMLC processes and artifacts. The minimum for all PMLC projects is as follows:

  • Idea Document (DIT) and/or Proposal/Charter (Finance)
  • Idea/Proposal Phase Gate Review
  • An accountable project manager or functional manager
  • A project schedule that is built and kept current by the accountable project manager or functional manager

The project/functional manager should determine the applicable processes and artifacts (beyond the minimum) and propose that to the project sponsor and Phase Gate Review Board for approval.

Phases

  • Concept/idea: Short evaluation of request to determine 1) if resources should be expended to pursue and 2) if it is actually a project versus an operational request
  • Proposal: Detailed business case, solution description and comparison of alternatives; includes business requirements, estimated resource requirements and funding requirements.
  • Planning, analysis and design: Charter approval, project kickoff, schedule development and project planning
  • Development: Begin solution/change development and plan for testing, readiness and deployment.
  • Testing and readiness: Test solution/changes in controlled environment; begin readiness activities for go‐live of solution; go-live
  • Cutover/post-go-live: Monitor implementation of the solution/changes for a predetermined period
  • Closing: Review lessons learned; formally transition the solution/changes to permanent owner; release project team

 

The templates and tools included below have been developed as part of PMLC for use on any GW project or initiative. Each downloadable template includes the appropriate sections along with instructions of what information to include. Due to the unique nature of each project, the ways in which these templates are used will vary from project to project.

Concept/Idea Phase

Project Request Form/Idea Summary Template: Used to document preliminary information about the proposed idea/request for review by senior management

Business Requirements Document Template: Details the business requirements in a manner sufficient to support the design and development of the proposed product/solution

Proposal Phase

Project Proposal and Charter Template: Used to authorize the project, define high-level scope/objectives, list major assumptions/constraints and establish key roles/resources for the project

Project Definition Document Template: Used to establish the overall plan for the project, provide reference subsidiary plans and establish clear roles and responsibilities of the project team

Planning/Analysis/Design Phase

Sample Project Communications Plan and Guidelines: Defines the plan for communications internal and external to the project

Development Phase

Test Plan and Procedures Template: Describes the methodology and coordination that will be executed for testing such that the solution can be adequately tested against the stated business requirements

Deployment Plan Template: Describes the steps and precautions that will be taken to deploy the product/solution to the intended stakeholders

Testing and Readiness Phase

Requirements Traceability Matrix and Test Results Tracking Document Template: Used to demonstrate and track the correlation between business requirements and associated testing

Cutover Post-Go-Live Phase

Project Transition Document Template: Serves as the final project acceptance document and documents how services produced by the project will be transitioned to the operational support organization

Lessons Learned - Facilitator Questions Template: Used to facilitate a lessons learned session

Closing Phase

Lessons Learned Final Report Template: Used to document the lessons learned input and final conclusions

Monitoring and Controlling Phase

Agile refers to a group of development methodologies that utilize an iterative and incremental approach which helps teams deliver products in short cycles, enabling fast feedback, continual improvement, and rapid adaptation to change.

  • Agile is based on the agile manifesto.
  • “Scrum” is a widely used agile framework.
  • Agile is most often associated with software development but can be applied to many types of projects.

Agile Considerations

While some GW projects can benefit greatly from employing an agile methodology, many are better suited for a traditional/waterfall approach. Using an agile methodology does not necessarily equate to a quicker finish; in fact, the overall duration of an agile project may often be longer due to the iterative nature of this methodology. Agile should not be considered unless there is customer buy-in and someone on the project team with the expertise to guide the use of agile methodology.

Project stakeholders should carefully evaluate the following factors when considering the use of an agile methodology.

Factor

Characteristics

Traditional / Waterfall

Agile

Requirements

Stakeholders already have a good idea of what the final product should look like

X

 

Stakeholders only have a general idea of what the final product should look like and need assistance in developing the idea (prototyping, etc)

 

X

Scope of Work

Scope is well defined in the Proposal/Charter - it is clear what is to be developed

X

 

Scope is only defined at a high level – iterative delivery will help clarify scope along the way

 

X

Objectives

Quality and completeness of the entire feature set is the highest priority

X

 

Speed of delivery, even with partial feature set, is the highest priority

 

X

Product Delivery

The entire product must be delivered all at once or in significant phases

X

 

The product is delivered incrementally

 

X

Customer Involvement

Project / Product Owner unable to commit to extensive involvement throughout the project

X

 

Project / Product Owner highly and actively involved in daily activity throughout the project

 

X

Project Team

Core project team is temporary & cross-functional – composed of groups brought together only for this particular project

X

 

Core project team is dedicated – composed of groups who frequently work together on this type of project

 

X

 

PMLC for Agile Projects

Projects that use agile development methodologies involve different processes and artfacts than do projects using a traditional/waterfall methodology; however, both agile and traditional/waterfall projects can be executed within the PMLC governance. The minimum PMLC process and artifacts for agile projects are as follows:

  • Idea document (GW Information Technology) and/or proposal/charter (Division of Finance)
  • Project manager, functional manager or ScrumMaster
  • Idea/proposal phase gate review
  • Project planning and execution, including the following:
    • Product backlog or similar tool to document and manage business requirements
    • Team charter or similar document that describes how sprints/iterations will be structured, the team member roles and the team "ground rules"
    • Acceptance criteria or similar guidelines to provide a basis for testing and approval of delivered products/features
    • Release strategy or similar guidelines that define the approach to be followed for each deployment of new products/features
  • Lessons learned final report
  • Project closing phase gate review