IT project management

Project management is a methodical approach to planning and guiding the processes of a project from start to finish. It is a recognised discipline with associated resources and tools.

ANU is a diverse organisation that does not lend itself to a one-size-fits-all project management methodology. For this reason, ANU has adopted a generic, staged, project lifecycle model with an emphasis on understanding the components of project management. This approach is aimed at empowering project managers with the knowledge needed to tailor processes to suit their particular project.

Information Technology Services (ITS) operate a continuous improvement program across its project management methodology. Your feedback is welcomed.

Projects at ANU mostly progress through a four-step lifecycle that starts with initiation, progresses through planning to execution and reaches closure once project outputs are delivered. 

Documents

Governance

Project governance is the control mechanism to ensure consistent delivery of projects against financial and business outcomes in a managed environment that is aligned with corporate strategy and stakeholder expectations. The whole project lifecycle requires governance to ensure intended outcomes of the project are measured against the expected benefits. Project governance provides the structure which helps define the objectives of the project, the means of attaining those objectives and the means of monitoring performance throughout the project lifecycle.

Proposal / Initiating stage

The first stage of the project lifecycle is initiation, which builds the foundation of a project. Initiation is often triggered when an individual identifies the need to solve a problem, improve a process, or implement a new service. It defines what the project will attempt to achieve and the business justification for doing so. There are several document templates which are required to be completed and submitted in order to gain funding approval. The University Information Communications Technology Committee (UICT) has authorised an approvals process for all ICT projects.

Planning stage

The planning stage of project management process determines how the project will be done. Using the business case as its foundation, the planning phase has three objectives: 1. production of a detailed model of the work required to achieve the project outputs (e.g. the activities needed to create project deliverables, the dependencies between activities, the resources and time needed for all activities) 2. reconfirmation of the earlier in-principle funding decision 3. establishment of the project environment, and a basis for monitoring and controlling work. At commencement of the planning stage, a project governance structure will be implemented. The major planning phase activity is creating the project plan—the project manager in conjunction with key stakeholders drafts a blue print for how the project will be conducted. The project plan details the intended approach to stakeholder management; project governance; executing the work (workplan); managing resources; dealing with issues, and risk. The completed project plan is submitted to the steering committee for approval, which triggers the establishment of the project environment. Once the project environment is in place, the project moves into the execution stage of the project lifecycle.

Execution

Once project approval is granted, there are two aspects to executing the project. The first is the work done to create and deliver the project outputs, the second is the work done to manage creation and delivery of the project outputs. Both are essential to successful project execution. During execution, the project manager will manage risks and issues; communicate regularly with stakeholders; manage and support the team; report to governing bodies; review and rework the project plan; process change requests, and track and assess the project finances.

Closing

The closing phase is the formal closure of the delivery component of the project. The key elements to closing out a project are the handover of project outputs to the operational areas responsible for ongoing support and maintenance, and the evaluation of project management success.