Name: Mary Lou Urquizo
Beginning and Ending Dates of Involvement:
December 1, 1996
October 31, 2009
Project Description :
The MIS/DSS Project Office is responsible for the overall administration, oversight and operation of the:
• original $67 million contract,
• an interim system during the MIS/DSS re-procurement and replacement with $1.3 million for contract staffing, and
• the new $80 million contract for the replacement NextGeneration (NextGen) MIS/DSS
The MIS/DSS is a very large relational database, containing over 3.5 billion Medi-Cal eligibility, claims, and provider
records. The MIS/DSS was designated by the Department of Finance as an approved, ongoing IT operation. The MIS/DSS
is used by program staff and managers throughout the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and other Health and
Human Service Agency Departments, i.e., California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Department of Mental Health
(DMH), etc. and Control Agencies, i.e., Office of the Legislative Analyst (LAO), Federal Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS) for both day-to-day monitoring of the $38 Billion Medi-Cal Program, as well as for modeling
future strategic initiatives.
I have in excess of eleven (11) years “hands on” experience in Project Management, Data Processing Systems
development, and the management of operations. I have eleven (11) years of experience directing all phases of the
operation of two large electronic data processing procurements, installations; the original and the new NextGen MIS/DSS.
One hundred percent of my time over the last eleven (11) years has been spent continuing to function as the MIS/DSS
Project Lead. My work required that I exercised discretion and independent judgment in planning, organizing, directing
and managing the critical MIS/DSS project. Additionally, I served in “Out-of-Class” capacity as an Acting Data Processing
Manager III, Acting Section Chief and Acting Senior Information Systems Analyst (Specialist). My vast “hand on”
experience makes me confident that I possess the experience to meet California Project Management Methodology (CA-
PMM) Qualified (CalQ) requirements for Project Managers.
Role and Activities on this Project
I was the Procurement and Project Implantation Lead for the MIS/DSS project. I have “hands-on” involvement in the
management of the “System’s Development Life Cycle” for both the original and the replacement MIS/DSS IT projects and
operations, including the initiating processes of the replacement system through development, implementation and closing.
My experience in systems development life cycle work includes:
1) Initiating Activities—Evaluation of the need for the system. For the original system I developed the Special Project
Report(s) (SPR) Advanced Planning Documents (APD) and all control documentation. For the NextGen MIS/DSS I
accomplished through two steps:
a. an Independent Assessment of the original Project, followed by
b. agreement to move forward to develop a new FSR for the NextGen MIS/DSS.
Because the developed document was extremely thorough as well as detailed from a systems perspective, we were
able to use the APD document created for the federal government as the FSR for the NextGen project. I
contributed as the major author to this document as was responsible for its eventual finalization.
2) Project Planning-Development of project planning documents, defining of new system requirements. I was in
charge of evaluating and determining needed specifications/changes between the older existing system and what
would be needed in terms of new system functionality. I participated in the establishment of the Executive Steering
Committee to evaluate this issue and met with the group once monthly for over two years. For the NextGen
MIS/DSS, I reviewed the Independent Assessment, direct staff to investigate use of the original system through
initial surveys to stakeholders and held Joint Application Development (JAD) sessions. As part of the development
of the project planning, goals and objectives, in coordination with the Executive Steering Committee (ESC), I
evaluated the project planning and staffing needs. I created the control documents, human resources plan and
received the buy-in and identification of staff assigned to the project from the ESC. As part of the Request for
Proposal process, I developed project budgets, schedules, the actual Request for Proposal itself with the project
scope, schedule and the “winning bid” contract. I trained Subject Matter Experts (SME) assigned to the RFP
process in necessary and objective review procedures for the procurement. I managed the SME team of thirty plus
(30+) persons to completion of the RFP process.
3) Executing/System Implementation- Designated as Procurement and Project Lead for both systems, I was
responsible for all work products and staff assignments associated with development of the proposed systems. I
managed the staffs hired to design, and create development plans; purchased hardware and software. I coordinated
the development of the site at the Office of Technology Services (OTech) Cannery for the original system and Gold
Camp campus for the NextGen MIS/DSS. I ensured that the OTech sites were ready on schedule and fully
functional, that communication plans and security issues regarding the MIS/DSS were routed through the DHCS
Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) for review and approval. I development the control documents
for implementation including the Implementation Advanced Planning Document (IAPD) for the DHCS and the
a. I was responsible for the implementation of Project Management in accordance with the project plan
including evaluation, schedule and risk management tools used on both the original and the replacement
NextGen MIS/DSS. I developed and evaluated alternatives, made decisions and took appropriate actions to
establish and maintain project priorities. I participated in the selection and coordination of services of an
Independent Project Oversight Consultant and Independent Verification and Validation Consultant firm to
assist in risk management of the project. I provided training to our users and developed an ongoing training
plan for both projects. I participated in the User Acceptance and Performance Testing of both systems and
because of the flexibility built into the new MIS/DSS, extensive effort was made to push performance
testing to the systems limits with a successful outcome due to the vision and work performed by the section
4) Closing--Maintenance and Operations-The NextGen MIS/DSS went into operation on the 28th
of March 2008. I
was responsible for the formal product acceptance. Development with DHCS’ Project Management Office of
acceptance criteria, lessons learned and development of the Post Implementation Evaluation Report. I was
responsible for the maintenance and operation of the NextGen MIS/DSS until mid-September 2009.
a. The original MIS/DSS had been in operation for over 10 years. For the original system I was responsible
for control reporting including Special Project Reports (SPRs) and reports to the legislature, contracts and
amendments, project budgets, personnel, staff assignments, work review, training and support. I have
evaluated, planned the budget and acquired qualified contract staff, for maintenance of the original system
as well as for close out activities of the original system.
For the last eleven (11) years I have been responsible for the follow functions:
• Procurement and Project Team Lead, Acting Chief Management Information Services Branch (Data Processing
Manager III), Acting Section Chief MIS/DSS (Staff Services Manager II) and Acting Senior Information Systems
Analyst (Specialist) MIS/DSS.
Planning, organizing, and directing the implementation of two large Department of Finance (DOF) approved
Information Technology (IT) procurement projects-the original MIS/DSS and the new NextGen MIS/DSS.
Supervision of five (5) State and eleven (11) IT contract staff in the MIS/DSS Section. Planned and directed staff
workloads. Made assignments and prioritized work of the MIS/DSS Project Office staff. Provided guidance for both
State and contract staff in setting goals, objectives and priorities; workload management and monitoring.
Developed duty statements and job descriptions, recruited and interviewed new staff.
Prepared and presented staff performance appraisals and Individual Development Plans. Reviewed training needs and
recommended staff for classes with upward mobility, improvement of job performance and expansion of work skill sets
Responsible for timekeeping functions and attendance/absence reports for the MIS/DSS staff under my authority or
Provided regular feedback on level of performance, including counseling, when necessary. Evaluated employees in
terms of annual performance review. Counseled employee(s) having personal crises or problems that impacted work
Performed team building and staff development to ensure a high performing, effective project team, and a successful
implementation. Directed and provided guidance to employees in communication skills, meeting deadlines, and
achieving set objectives; i.e., project initiating, planning, executing and closing. Provided recommendations for staff
seeking job promotion or other assignments.
Served as the Procurement and Project Team Lead for two major multi-million dollar IT procurements. Responsible for
writing, reviewing and evaluation of various Requests for Proposals (RFP’s), Statements of Work (SOW’s) and
contracts or contract amendments. Provided direction and guidance to the Evaluation Team of IT and multi-
disciplinary staff to ensure fairness, objectivity, and accuracy in review of multi-million dollar proposals. Contributed
and participated in defense of the State position related to an administrative and judicial protest of the contract award.
Provided contract and procurement management in accordance with the project plan procedures.
Planned, organized and directed the performance of thirty plus (30+) staff in identifying business needs, requirements,
confidentiality provisions, assured all State contracting regulations were followed during the procurement process. As
part of this process, dealt with many team dynamics and difficult employee situations and the assignment of employees
to the proper role or function.
Participated in planning, management and Executive Steering Committee meetings. Presented status reports and
provided input and information regarding significant project risks or issues which could affect the MIS/DSS a valuable
Contact Person for this Project:
Nyla J. Christopher, DPMIII –retired
Kim Ortiz, Chief Office of Health Information