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What is a Project


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What if you are unsure if your planned work is operational or a project needing PMO involvement?

The ITS PMO understands that identifying an endeavor as a project to be managed by the ITS PMO is somewhat subjective. Please contact Robert Pietras ( to discuss in detail.

Project Approval Process:

For any ITS project to be undertaken, it must be approved by Sharon Hayes and her direct reports and/or the SCIO.

In order for the project to be approved, a project charter must be submitted to the ITS PMO for review via the Innotas Portfolio Mgt solution. Please contact us for Innotas access. Working with the project sponsor and/or product/service owner, the ITS PMO will update the charter and submit it for review by DSCIOs and direct reports.  The project charter document provides a brief summary of the expectations of the project and of the context within which the project should be delivered.  It helps to provide a definition of the project and it serves as an input for the project during start up.

If an endeavor is deemed a project, no additional effort should be expended against that endeavor until a project charter has been completed and approved by the ITS CIO.

Also, if an endeavor or effort is deemed a project, the project must follow the SB991 process regardless of project size and requires entry into the PPM tool.  For efforts greater than $500,000 (5yr TCO), detailed monthly status reporting is required by the EPMO.  By the EPMO’s definition, the projected total cost of ownership includes project costs plus five years operations and maintenance costs.  Before a project may be entered into the PPM tool for initiation, a project charter must be completed and approved via the process noted above and a project manager agreed upon between the sponsor and ITS PMO.


The ITS PMO was established to provide formal project management for ITS projects meeting certain requirements. It does so on a cost recovery basis so these charges must be addressed in the project budget.  The purpose of this page is to provide guidance to ITS staff on the definition of a project, when formal project management is required, the process to get a project started, and the work efforts that are excluded from the definition of a project.

What is a project and what does managing a project include?

  • Identifying the business issues to be addressed by the project
  • Clarifying/Identifying requirements
  • Establishing clear and achievable objectives
  • Balancing competing demands for quality, scope, resources, time and cost
  • Adapting to different concerns and expectations of stakeholders

So how is a project defined and what endeavors would be deemed a project and therefore managed by the ITS PMO?

A project is a sequence of tasks bounded by time, resources and required results; has a defined outcome and deliverables; has a deadline; and has a budget limiting number of people, supplies and capital.  Project characteristics include:

  • Accomplishment with shared resources often only available on part-time basis
  • Cross-functional team work may be required
  • Uncertainty and potential change during execution
  • Specific deadlines, time and resource constraints

How do operational efforts and projects differ?

  • The purpose of a project is to attain its objective and then terminate.
  • The objective of an ongoing operation is to sustain the business.  Ongoing operations involve permanent or semi-permanent functional work to repetitively produce the same product or service. A repetitive job is not a project.

An example of ongoing operational work would be the on-boarding of a customer to the Exchange Service for e-mail and calendar.  The Exchange team has a defined process for on-boarding customers to their platform and has successfully proven the process through on-boarding of ITS to the service offering.  However, the actual development of the service offering, including the testing of procedures for on-boarding customers, was a project. Ongoing operations are excluded from ITS PMO oversight.

In order to help identify operational efforts from projects, we have gathered information from ITS management regarding efforts that would not be considered projects.  These examples include:

  • Server provisioning and refreshes
  • Increasing the network capacity for an existing client
  • Application patch release updates
  • Operating system patch release updates
  • Desktop integration release
  • Application or data updates to maintain industry compliance requirements
  • Problem identification, research, and resolution for daily issues due to program, technical, or business errors
  • Operation and application security updates
  • Process / procedure updates
  • Database reorganizations and general house-keeping

Assignment of Project Managers Process and Rates:

The ITS PMO will assign a project manager based on current staffing levels and ability to contract project management personnel.  If an ITS PMO project manager is not available to manage a project and the project must move forward given specific constraints and/or risks, the ITS PMO will utilize the short term IT staffing contract vehicle to hire a contractor. 

Given the ITS PMO is receipts-based, a bill code must be provided to the PMO. The project management services will be charged back via the bill code on a time-and-materials (T&M) basis at the current rates.