For Portfolio, Programme, Project, Risk and Service Management Using PRINCE2™ to Manage US Federal Government IT ProjectsApplying the PRINCE2 project management method to support Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) Richard Tucker, PMP ICOR Partners, LLC White Paper September 2009
2 Using PRINCE2 to Manage US Federal Government IT ProjectsAbstract each agency to institute effective and efficient capital planning processes forThis paper shows how the PRINCE2 project selecting, controlling, and evaluating theirmanagement method supports US Federal investments in IT projects. These projectsgovernment project managers as they represent the strategic investment in ITdeliver IT investments while satisfying capital assets that define an agency’s Select Controlrequirements of the Clinger-Cohen Act and IT portfolio.Capital Planning and Investment Control. OMB requires each agency to instituteSince enactment of the Clinger-Cohen Act effective capital planning.(CCA) in 1996, the US Federal government Evaluaterequires its agencies to improve their The CCA references use of a three-phasemanagement, oversight and control of cycle for capital asset management toinvestments in information technology. provide oversight of investment budgetingCentral to the CCA is an obligation for and spending. First, by selecting IT capitalagencies to select, control, and evaluate asset investments that will support core IT Investment Management Cycletheir portfolio of IT projects in accordance mission functions performed by the Federalwith the principles of Capital Planning and Government; Next, through controllingInvestment Control (CPIC), an approach to The Control phase is an ongoing their projects effectively through theIT investment management referenced in investment management process designed application of best practices in project andthe CCA. to monitor the progress of IT projects performance management; And then, by against budgeted cost, schedule,In the same year the CCA was signed into evaluating investment results through a performance goals, and expected missioneffect, the UK government released demonstration that the return on benefits. The Control Phase helps to ensurePRINCE2™, a principles and themes based investment is supporting initial business that each investment is properly managedproject management method designed to case objectives. CPIC links the strategic toward the intended objectives defined byprovide direction and oversight of planning of mission attainment to the the investment’s business case. However,government/contractor projects. Project tactical performance of project delivery the Control process does not manage themanagers can find it difficult to meet the and IT systems operations. The three investment project. The responsibility torequirements of CPIC while running a project. phases of CCA’s IT Investment define a project management governanceIndustry leading project management Management process are performed model is left to the agency and the projectguides suggest one approach, contractors annually, and applied to IT investments manager. It is not defined by CPIC.have another, while investment oversight continuously, throughout the life of angroups within the agency reinforce the asset’s existence within the agency’s In the Evaluate phase, project outcomesadditional requirements of CCA onto the IT portfolio. are measured, and systems are determinedproject team. to be fit for purpose. Performance results are assessed to: (1) identify needed Select, Control changes to products or systems to maintainCapital Planning and Evaluate optimal business operations; (2) measure the project’s effect on mission and strategicand Investment During the Select phase, the agency goals; and (3) continuously improve the agency’s investment managementControl determines investment priorities according to their mission needs, and makes decisions processes based on lessons learned, self-assessments and benchmarking.The Information Technology Management about which technology initiatives (newReform Act of 1996, commonly referred to and ongoing) they will fund for the nextas the CCA, requires US Federal agenciesto “identify and collect information fiscal year. The Select Phase determines which projects are to be included in the The Challengesregarding best practices” for managing ITrelated projects. The CCA identifies the agency’s IT portfolio for the coming year. Projects identified as significant to the of CPICgovernment’s approach to information mission (a major investment) must include Interpretation of the CCA and CPIC hastechnology investment management as a comprehensive business case that led to conflicting and competing solutionsCapital Planning and Investment Control supports the IT portfolio selection process. to satisfy its many requirements. OMB(CPIC). Specifically, the CCA, through continues to amend their supportingoversight from the President’s Office of Circular A-11, which keeps agencies’Management and Budget (OMB), requires reporting requirements a moving target.
Using PRINCE2 to Manage US Federal Government IT Projects 3Agency responses to these changes are when CPIC reporting is a pre-defined of CPIC while controlling and delivering theoften seen as adjustments in the project output designed into the project method, project. You must use a method that definesmanagement processes and tools used to CPIC becomes integral with the other daily how and when to apply project managementcontrol the investment. Such a response management and decision-making processes and techniques. The methodweakens an agency’s ability to mature their activities of project management. must be scalable to the size of theproject management practices. Instead, investment, and it must define governance,agencies should continue to develop and Additional challenges face government tools and techniques that can balance themature their project methods and tools, project managers. The goals of CPIC are pulling forces that may exist betweenwhile adjusting reporting output to match focused on budget management, not government and contractor. PRINCE2 is athe OMB A-11 annual requirements. project management, which creates conflict de facto standard project management in tactical management objectives. IT method from the UK government. It isPractitioners often confuse the cyclical phases Investment Management support offices public domain, available for anyone to useof the CCA’s Select–Control–Evaluate as a within the agencies are tasked with collecting to manage a project, it can support theproject management lifecycle, for example, and reporting financial information from many requirements of CCA and CPIC, andthinking that a project is in development the agency’s projects, while project it can be tailored to fit most any size project.activities only during the Control phase. managers focus on performance to costThis is inaccurate. The three phases of the and schedule milestones, earned valueCPIC IT Investment Management lifecycledefine the sequence of when budget and management, risk and issue status, and baseline change control logs. Too often, What is PRINCE2?investment management activities occur to the data and information that reports PRINCE2 is a structured projectplan, monitor and report the progress of IT project status is gathered using tools and management method recommended forinvestment dollars. The “project” lifecycle techniques that are in contrast with the use on all projects commissioned by the UKof CPIC has a linear progression, from investment management reporting government. In 1989, the Central ComputerPlanning and Acquisition, to Management requirements of the CCA, CPIC and OMB. and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) ofIn-Use and Disposition. It starts when a the UK government first established PRINCEbusiness need is first defined and IT systems (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) forplanning activities warrant a new projectinitiative, then continues to product Finding a Solution controlling information systems projects, but the method soon realized a greateracquisition/development, systems operation(production), and then asset retirement. In to CPIC following. The UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC), continued developmentresponse to this, agencies should define Project managers are searching for a of the method into what is now PRINCE2and operate an enterprise lifecycle governance model that can support both (2009). Improvements include greatermanagement framework that integrates the day-to-day needs of project delivery clarity of seven principles that guidegovernance, processes and information into and the requirements of CPIC investment behavior of the project team as they perform,a decision model that includes the management reporting. While the PMI’s streamlining of the processes definedrequirements of investment and acquisition Guide to the Project Management Body within the method, and instruction on howmanagement, enterprise architecture of Knowledge® is clear in identifying to tailor PRINCE2 to suit most any project’splanning, project management office tools and techniques for performing needs. PRINCE2 has gained wide acceptance(PMO), IT systems operations and project management activities, it is by its throughout Europe and Africa, and ismaintenance, and capital asset control. own admission “a guide rather than a quickly gaining popularity in North America. methodology”, and it is not designed to CPIC defines the activities of budget address compliance requirements, such and investment management. as those defined by CCA. To operate a project in a way that will achieve the ™Project managers react to the oversight needs of CPIC, project managers mustand governance of CPIC as a set of tasks utilize a method that supports sustainmentand requirements that are in addition to of an investment business case, clearlytheir effort to running the project. This has identifies a governance process, and lendsled to frustration while project mangers itself to regular reviews for “Go/No-Go”work to deliver their projects. Project decisions, as required by US government ITmanagers sometimes view CPIC reporting investment management budget cycles.as a “check the box” activity. Maintainingcompliance to CPIC reporting can take Satisfying the requirements and objectivesconsiderable effort if it is not integrated to of CPIC is not easy. However, with the rightthe project governance approach. However, project management method the project manager can easily achieve the requirements
6 Using PRINCE2 to Manage US Federal Government IT ProjectsBusiness Case Quality RiskA project initiates with a need to drive The criteria under which project products Risk management is a key tenet oftransformation through an organization are verified and accepted must be PRINCE2. It identifies, assesses, andto fulfill new or evolving mission established early in the project lifecycle. controls uncertainty that may affect projectrequirements. The business case defines PRINCE2 applies the tenets of quality outcome. Risk planning starts early in thewhy a project exists. PRINCE2 uses the management at the start, where they PRINCE2 method, where it is first used tobusiness case to carry requirements are central to project delivery, making mitigate project threats while initiating thethrough to fulfillment, while maintaining the final product fit for purpose. This project. Where other project managementthe project team’s focus on objectives. supports achievement of desired benefits standards offer a model for managing risk, defined by the business case. A robust PRINCE2 defines the procedures, tools, andOrganization quality management approach reduces techniques for performing the risk process.The PRINCE2 method defines roles and the likelihood of discovering productresponsibilities at multiple levels for performance issues when it is too late. Changedirecting, managing and delivering a Since change is inevitable for almost anyproject. A PRINCE2 project’s organization Plans project, controlling variance to plan muststructure includes the executive oversight, A plan is not just a schedule, but also a be included in the management approachproject board, program sponsorship, senior holistic approach to governance. PRINCE2 for maintaining the project baseline.users, suppliers, team managers, support projects follow defined and approved PRINCE2 identifies an approach to changestaff, and project assurance personnel. plans that integrate requirements, cost, control that addresses issues that enterProjects must often share resources with schedule, quality, risk, roles, resources, the project plan. PRINCE2 integratesother parts of an organization. Clear and communications. Performance to plan change control of the project lifecycleidentification of the extended project is measured in each stage of the project. phase to configuration management of theteam reduces confusion and minimizes Exception Plans define deviation from operations and maintenance phase.conflicting demands on staff as they serve baseline, which are integrated into themultiple requirements across the business. master plan to steer performance back Progress toward cost, schedule and quality goals. The PRINCE2 method establishes mechanisms to monitor, compare, review, and report actual performance to baseline objectives. Risks are mitigated, while Business quality issues and problems are addressed and corrected. Upon successful completion Case of scheduled goals, the next stage plan is authorized, progressing the project toward completion. Numerous reporting templates are defined by PRINCE2, that include Progress Organization definitions of each report’s contents and use, all supported by the various processes within the method. PRINCE2 The Capital Change Processes Quality Planning Lifecycle of CPIC So, let’s go back. The Clinger-Cohen Act directs agencies to manage their IT budgets by measuring the return on investment Risk Plans using a Select-Control-Evaluate process. CCA also directs OMB to perform oversight of agency IT spending. In response to CCA, OMB recommends that agencies apply planning, acquisition, management, and disposition lifecycle controls to their majorThe PRINCE2 Themes Support Performance
Using PRINCE2 to Manage US Federal Government IT Projects 7 Integrated Project Team Business Planning Management IT System Acquisition Disposition Requirement & Budgeting In-use Retirement IT Investment Management Cycle Select Control EvaluateThe Capital Planning LifecycleIT projects. Simply put, each agency must assurance and control, and other project proposed budget to OMB during the Selecthave a defined plan for buying, building, management techniques. However, these phase. Approved through the President’soperating and retiring their IT assets, and are only broad brushstrokes of guidance for budget, the initiative receives funding fromthey are accountable to report project the project manager. The CPG does not Congress to become a sanctioned projectstatus timely and accurately. define a project management method that ready for acquisition. must exist beneath these phases. So then,OMB annually releases Circular A-11, how can project managers lead their Quality and risk management are central toa budget management directive that projects toward success while meeting the PRINCE2, initiated during the Starting up arequires agencies to report their annual requirements of CPIC? Project and the Directing a ProjectIT budget (using the Exhibit 53 form) and processes of the Pre-project stage. Thereport progress toward goals within the Planning and Budgeting PRINCE2 method supports the CPICbusiness case of each major IT project The CPG’s objectives of the Planning and Planning and Budgeting phase through(using the Exhibit 300 form). However, Budgeting phase are designed to support IT development of the project business case.A-11 does not define, nor prescribe, investment decision-making. Alignment of The project manager justifies the businessa project management method or strategic planning to project performance case to ensure that the investment isapproach for tactically controlling and goals is determined by utilizing an agency- planning to build the right product, isdelivering the project. Circular A-11 is level enterprise architecture plan. An fulfilling the right business need, and that theonly a process for reporting status of the Integrated Project Team (IPT) is established final products will serve the organization’sbudgeted and funded investments. to manage the project. The IPT formulates mission. Once the business case is reviewed a clear definition of system functional and accepted by the investment board, theOMB provides agencies additional project is authorized to proceed to the requirements, performs an analysis ofdirection in their A-11, Part 7 Supplement: Initiation Stage. alternatives to select the best technologyCapital Programming Guide (CPG). The solution, and establishes operating andobjective of the CPG is to show agencies reporting baselines. They must apply PRINCE2 keeps a focus on the businesshow project management activities relate risk management techniques to reduce case to maintain IT business value.to IT investment management. It helps to the chance for incurring costs associatedanswer the question, “Will this with delivery failure, and integrate earned CPIC’s requirement for EVM necessitatesinvestment drive transformation of the value management (EVM) into the a “deliverables-based” work breakdownbusiness toward the agency’s mission?” contract acquisition strategies. The agency structure to define project scope. DuringThe CPG defines a Capital Planning implements an executive review process the PRINCE2 Initiation stage, the productLifecycle: a four-phased approach to IT to oversee investment performance and breakdown structure becomes theinvestment management. The lifecycle adjust the investment as the needs of the framework for managing solution delivery.identifies strategies to achieve greater mission change over time. Activities of the PRINCE2 Directing aservice delivery and move programeffectiveness toward mission goals. The Project process establish oversight and Upon completion of a comprehensive governance to lead investment plansCPG recommends use of risk management, planning effort to define an integratedearned value management, quality toward mission goals. project plan, the agency presents its
8 Using PRINCE2 to Manage US Federal Government IT Projects PRINCE2 Stage-Gate Project Management Subsequent Final Pre Project Initiation Delivery Delivery Stage Stage(s) Stage Integrated Project Team Planning Management Disposition Acquisition & Budgeting In-use IT Investment Management Cycle Select Control EvaluatePRINCE2 Project Management for CPICAcquisition and actual results of both government decision. The ERC recommends correctiveIn the Acquisition phase of the Capital and contractor resources applied toward action plans where necessary to keepPlanning Lifecycle, the project team development activities. Once the integrated the project moving toward its strategicvalidates decisions and objectives from the project plan is approved by the ERC, a and mission goals. Solution acceptancePlanning and Budgeting phase. The team baseline is recorded as the project plan. activities of the Acquisition phase includere-examines the mission needs to affirm a complete review of delivered products The Control phase of CPIC is used to measure to affirm that they meet all requirementsinvestment justifications in the business and improve investment performance. It and objectives defined by the businesscase to determine a “build versus buy” instructs project managers to perform case. Product quality reviews, systemacquisition strategy. The IPT addresses regular monitoring of product development testing, and recording IT assets into aacquisition risks, and then the project is progress, cost, schedule and performance configuration management baseline alsoinitiated. Teams are established, contract variance, review of scope within the work happen. Any product deviations discoveredsupport secured, and then development breakdown structure, and assessment of during solution acceptance are addressedactivities of the Acquisition phase commence. risk to the investment. Change control must through rework or an accepted variance toAn Executive Review Committee (ERC) be applied to maintain progress toward plan. Additionally, contract performanceassesses the project team’s plan for contractual scope. Investment control and requirements are assessed to determine thesolution delivery. Following a successful oversight is in the hands of the project contractor’s success to the cost, scheduleprocurement, the IPT operates project manager during the Control phase. Periodic and performance goals of the contract.governance that integrates scope, cost, status reports are brought to the ERC.schedule and quality into a comprehensive PRINCE2 uses a stage-gated approach to As part of the CPIC Evaluate Phase, theproject management approach. EVM controlling project progress. IPT and ERC conduct reviews of projectis used to monitor and control planned progress to reaffirm the acquisition
Using PRINCE2 to Manage US Federal Government IT Projects 9The PRINCE2 Controlling a Stage process In Summarycontinues to provide justification ofAcquisition phase activities performed Since introduction of the Clinger-Cohen Authorduring Subsequent Delivery Stages. The Act in 1996, agency CIOs and project Richard Tucker is a managementPRINCE2 processes provide oversight of managers across the US Federal consultant with more than 20 years ofproduct development activities, guiding government have been working to improve experience in IT project managementthe project team as they fulfill business their IT investment management practices. and Federal capital investmentcase requirements. The project manager The OMB A-11, Part 7 Supplement: Capital management. He provides practicalconducts a review of the investment’s Programming Guide provides project knowledge and advice to US Federalstatus to the detailed business case. Impact managers guidance on the four phases of agencies and departments. He is aassessments are performed on any new the Capital Planning Lifecycle, while certified PRINCE2 Practitioner andor existing risks and issues. The project oversight performed using Capital Planning a Project Management Professionalmanager assesses progress towards cost, and Investment Control monitors the value (PMP). He is an active member of thetime, quality and benefit goals. Exception returned from the dollars invested in IT Federal CPIC Forum and contributor toplans are introduced to address and correct assets. However, without a project delivery numerous online communities wherevariances to baselines. The project manager method that supports the control and he shares his interest and experiences inreviews completed work packages against reporting requirements of CCA and CPIC, project management methodology anddefined specifications. Configuration teams continue to struggle to operate tools implementation.records and stage plans are updated upon projects that exhibit best practices that Richard Tucker, PMPacceptance. Then, following the Managing produce the right measures required by OMB. Certified PRINCE2 Practitionera Stage Boundary process at the end of Best practices defined in commercially ICOR Partners, LLCeach Delivery Stage, the Project Board driven project management guides fail to www.icorpartners.comauthorizes continuation to the next stage provide an approach that connects projectplan for the project. management methods to the IT portfolio results defined by CPIC business cases. Trademarks andManagement In Use Acknowledgementsand Disposition In contrast PRINCE2 is a scalable and proven • PRINCE2™ is a Trade Mark of the OfficeOnce the IT system goes into production, project management method, having of Government Commerce.the Evaluate Phase of CPIC prescribes that supported government and commercial • The swirl logo™ is a Trade Mark of thethe project manager performs regular projects for more than two decades. It Office of Government Commerce.Operational Analysis (OA) to measure supports continuous justification of the IT investment by focusing on sustainment of • PRINCE2 content, diagrams and logo’sinvestment performance to predefined the business case, driving results to the are correct at time of going to press butgoals, and to determine, measure and organization’s mission. may be subject to change without notice.report on the return on investment.Operational Analysis requires regular • PRINCE® is a Registered Trade Mark ofmonitoring of achievement toward original PRINCE2 is scalable to the enterprise, has no the Office of Government Commerce inbusiness objectives. Performance goal cost to use and supports US government the United Kingdom and other countriesbaselines are defined, thresholds set and IT Investment Management controls. For Further Information:measurements taken to improve service overtime while driving operational costs down. The processes of PRINCE2 are scalable to www.ogc.gov.ukThis continues until the asset is taken out of suit various sized projects, ranging from www.best-management-practice.comservice (retired) during the Disposition Phase. only thousands of dollars to those that are www.usergroup.org.uk tens of millions in scope. Project team www.apmgroup.co.ukManagement in Use involves post project performance is governed through stage-operations of the IT system. To enter this Our White Paper series should not be taken gated project plans, measuring progress ofphase of the Capital Planning lifecycle, the as constituting advice of any sort and no product delivery, not activities. Mostdelivered IT solution must meet the defined liability is accepted for any loss resulting important, PRINCE2 defines the roles ofrequirements of PRINCE2’s Product from use of or reliance on its content. stakeholders, the project board andDescriptions. The IT solution must also While every effort is made to ensure the delivery teams. It establishes governance,perform to the objectives of the business accuracy and reliability of the information, process and controls to bring thecase. The PRINCE2 Managing Product TSO cannot accept responsibility for errors, investment from concept to fulfillment ofDelivery (MP) and Closing a Project (CP) omissions or inaccuracies. the mission objectives, all the whileprocesses ensure that the project has met improving the project managementits requirements and is ready to enter the Content, diagrams, logos and jackets are practices of the agency.final phases of the Capital Planning lifecycle. correct at time of going to press but may be subject to change without notice.