2012 Biennial Performance Report 

Report on Project Management Practices

This report addresses Section 2054.157 (b) of the Texas Government Code, which requires the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to report on state agencies’ progress in developing and implementing project management practices. 

The Report on Project Management Practices is presented in the following sections:



Background

DIR adopted administrative rules (1 TAC 216) in November 2007 that establish consistent statewide requirements for project management practices. This rule specifies minimal statewide requirements for agency management of all technology projects, not just for major information resources projects. The latter are required to use the Texas Project Delivery Framework (framework).

In preparing this rule, DIR worked with state agencies to define various requirements as the basis for effective project management practices. These requirements specify that agencies establish an agency-wide project management policy, develop a project classification system, and base the practices on accepted industry standards.

Progress

Agency progress in implementing project management practices is reported in the biennial Information Resources Deployment Review. The following observations are based on a statewide analysis of state agency and institution of higher education responses to the 2011 review. 

  • Agencies continue to advance project management practices through implementation of a standard project management methodology. Currently 66 percent of all agencies have formal methods to monitor and control project activities.
  • The number of agencies implementing program management methodologies has increased six percent since 2009. 
  • Although there has been an increase in agencies implementing a project classification system—41 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2011—difficulty with classifying information resources projects still exists. 
  • Agencies have shown improvement with implementing a methodology that integrates contract and project management practices. More than 35 percent of agencies now focus specifically on blending these practices, compared to 31 percent in 2009.
  • The Texas Project Delivery Framework has also undergone some improvements over the past biennium. Recently, nine agencies and the Legislative Budget Board collaborated on a review of the Business Case toolset. The workgroup identified the need to provide guidance to help agencies understand the relationship between the Legislative Appropriations Request, the Information Technology Detail, and the Business Case toolset. This resulted in the addition of the Project Financial Life Cycle extension to the Framework.

In July, 2012, the State Auditor’s Office issued Report 12-047 on Statewide Processes Intended to Assist State Entities in Developing Major Information Resources Projects. Although this audit addressed the development of major information resources projects, there are observations in the audit that are applicable to all projects, regardless of the size.

  • Agencies do not always have effective processes in place for the initial planning of projects. Common problems included failure to consistently involve all key stakeholders including internal auditors in the planning process or to use a phased approach to delivering projects.
  • Agencies do not control project scope effectively, allowing scope expansions that cause project delays.
  • Agencies do not consistently report estimated actual costs associated with total compensation for state employee resources expended for the project.

As a result of the Auditor’s report, the Quality Assurance Team has seen increased compliance with its planning and reporting requirements.

Next Steps

In order to further project management processes within state government, DIR will:

  • Collaborate with agencies to develop additional Framework Extensions. Extensions will address the integration of project management practices with other applicable practices and disciplines executed throughout a project life cycle.
  • Coordinate with the Framework Change Advisory Board to improve guidance and tools as recommended by agencies and as needed based on the findings in Audit Report 12-047. For example, a change request has been completed that specifies that DIR will create checklist assessment tools within the Framework for each deliverable required to be submitted by agencies to the Quality Assurance Team.
  • Continue to provide educational opportunities to agencies on statewide requirements for project management practices.
  • Provide DIR Statewide Project Delivery training materials by publishing them on the DIR website.
  • Identify and communicate to agencies DIR contracts that are available for information technology training, project management certification, and other related disciplines. Better communication will improve the skills of the state’s information technology workforce engaged in delivery of information resources projects.
  • Produce additional web-based training addressing project management practices. These modular trainings will be available on the DIR website.