Monitor progress and track hundreds of state IT projects captured in legacy project management tool.
The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) is responsible for the IT functions of many state agencies. With 1,500 staff, it supports approximately 50,000 state employees. The DoIT Enterprise Portfolio Management Office (EPMO) employs 10 project managers, supported by business analysts, to provide IT project management and governance skills to the various agencies. IT projects can be large long-term application modernization initiatives, or enhancements and upgrades to current systems. They can vary in length and complexity from a couple of months to over five years with the appropriate schedules and budgets.
The team worked with an in-house developed SharePoint-based system, as described by Patrick O’Malley, who worked with Amy Delcomyn, Director of the Enterprise Portfolio Management Office at Illinois DoIT. “Our solution gave us limited workflow options and we struggled to monitor or track the hundreds of projects logged in the system. The system didn’t differentiate between proposals and projects, and it became a confusing repository as many proposals don’t actually progress to live projects. It was hard to extract accurate data from the system and we wanted more visibility and clarity for stakeholders as projects progress. We felt it would be great to distinguish between proposals and projects so appropriate resourcing with a dedicated project manager can be allocated as soon as a proposal is approved.”
Through PPM we have a real-time view of the status of all proposals and projects, and can filter and report on active, closed, on hold, cancelled, or approved projects. PPM has really enhanced our reporting, and this is now a valuable tool for our project managers.
State business and IT leadership was encouraged by a finding of the Project Management Institute* stating that organizations who establish an enterprise project management office (EPMO), with the goal of aligning projects and strategy, suffer 33 percent fewer project failures. Through an existing collaboration with OpenText™ (formerly Micro Focus), the EPMO team found OpenText Project & Portfolio Management (PPM). PPM proactively manages programs, projects, and proposal requests. With configuration and development support from OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) Professional Services, PPM was implemented, upgrading after about a year to take advantage of OpenText’s AWS cloud hosting platform. “We chose the AWS hosting option to easily remain version-current and improve our performance,” says Patrick.
Proposals are submitted to PPM and are checked against alignment with strategic State key initiatives. If the proposal aligns it is reviewed and analyzed, including an architectural review that covers application security, infrastructure, data, and network requirements. Once the final proposal is approved, it moves to the project management office and is allocated a project manager. The PPM implementation provides the opportunity to size projects, depending on their impact and importance. A small project need not have the same number of steps and approval levels as a large project. It is helpful to make this distinction early so that resources are allocated accordingly, and the governance process is streamlined for smaller sized projects.
With over 100 projects live in PPM, the team enjoys the transparency it now has. “Through PPM we have a real-time view of the status of all proposals and projects, and can filter and report on active, closed, on hold, cancelled, or approved projects,” comments Patrick. “Project status reporting used to be inconsistent. PPM has really enhanced our reporting, and this is now a valuable tool for our project managers. We can also see how the projects align with our initiatives. We suspected much of our time was spent on core, or keep-the-lights-on, projects. However, it turns out nearly half of our projects support new and innovative technology, which is great news. We have also included our auditors within the PPM project workflow. This is a huge benefit as it gives them a single location to review all associated project documentation in a consistent process across all projects for a particular agency.”
The DoIT team benefits from OpenText’s (formerly Micro Focus) concurrent user licensing strategy. With over 300 PPM users and a lot of people moving across various state agencies, named user licensing would have created much more overhead and administration. Instead, all PPM users receive a minimum set of licenses supported by a dynamic security layer providing broader transparency. Having implemented the PPM portfolio, program, project, issue, financial, and risk management modules, Patrick comments on the benefits: “PPM has given us true transparency, accountability, and strategic alignment. We enjoy great support from Micro Focus (now OpenText™) with knowledgeable guidance.”
We chose the AWS hosting option to easily remain version-current and improve our performance.
Who is The State of Illinois? The State of Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the USA with almost 13 million residents. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub.