Yesterday, the Utah ACIO (Assistant CIO) Council had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Ernie Nielsen on the Theory of Conscious Alignment and enterprise project management. Currently the Managing Director of Enterprise Project Management for BYU, Ernie was also a founding member of the Stanford Advanced Project Management Program. Ernie talks about Portfolio Management at the enterprise level in order to get the most out of the assets that we have. Portfolio Management then drives program and project management in order to align projects with the goals of the organization. Ernie gave a similar presentation to the Utah Academic Library Consortium. Ernie mentions the cultural change that is occuring with the State in this presentation.
Several points made in yesterday's presentation:
- Get the right people and skills on a project. Frank Patrick discusses how to match people with projects.
- Availability is not a skill
- A good organization stops projects when appropriate
- All projects are scored and shared in the enterprise priority matrix
An article in last week's issue of CIO Magazine tells how Ernie implemented portfolio management at BYU. The article suggests why many companies fail when implementing new IT projects:
- 89% of companies are flying blind, with virtually no metrics in place except for finance.
- 84% of companies either do not do business cases for any of their IT projects or do them only on select, key projects.
- 84% of companies are unable to adjust and align their budgets with business needs more than once or twice a year.
We are doing a degree of portfolio management currently, but certainly have room to improve. I regularly track and monitor three project lists:
- Enterprise Projects - some of these are officially sanctioned projects by the cabinets, some are just suggestions, some are projects that impact the enterprise that have not gone through the cabinet process and some are just my ideas
- Agency Egovernment Projects - based on my challenge to the Product Management Council, this list currently has 55 projects. My goal is for 75 of these projects to be completed in the current calendar year. I would like to see these projects coordinated with enterprise projects when that makes sense.
- ITS Projects - maintained by the product management group in ITS, this list includes some enterprise projects and some projects that ITS is pursuing independent of that process
A related article in CIO presents some visualizations for portfolio project management. I have been using the red-yellow-green methodology for tracking projects since pre-Y2K when I had to track the status of hundreds of Y2K projects and agency status. Ernie talks about how the theory of conscious alignment creates organizational flexibility and enables the organization to respond to environmental changes. Individual employees and project teams are able to understand how their project and their work contributes to organizational priorities.
Ernie recently advertised for a project manager position in his organization. Here's what he looks for:
"Project Manager (Office of Information Technology) Duties: Manage all aspects of highly technical and innovative IT projects from conception to implementation and user support. Determine project feasibility. Analyze IT architecture and establish IT project specifications. Develop and maintain project documentation. Manage budgets, project teams, schedules, and deadlines. Conduct team meetings and communicate with management. Provide support for business applications systems. Stay abreast of developing computer technologies. Gather requirements from and communicate with end users. Requirements: Bachelors Degree in Information Technology or Computer Science. Four years management experience in a software development environment. Demonstrated ability to develop software, integrate systems, release timely & reliable IT products, and manage large scale data warehousing and infrastructure projects. Fluent with HTML, Java, C, SQL, industrial project management software (Microsoft Project or ABT Workbench), and at least 2 operating environments. Conversant with Stanford Advanced Project Management Procedures, engineering/test solutions lifecycle, and product management, project management, & project priority management processes. Thorough understanding of relational database concepts and design. Excellent leadership, analytical, problem solving, and communication skills."
As I was looking around, I came across BYU's Intellectual Property Policy. We have discussed the need to have some kind of intellectual property guidelines for state government. Perhaps this can help get us going. I would love it if this was even more of an issue. That would mean that we were creating all kinds of things of value which we really should be doing.