A key to successful IT management is a solid project management methodology that incorporates best government and commercial practices through a consistent and repeatable process, and provides a standard structure for planning, managing and overseeing IT projects over their entire life cycle. The HHS Enterprise Performance Life Cycle (EPLC) framework provides that methodology for HHS.
The EPLC framework consists of ten life cycle phases. Within each phase, activities, responsibilities, reviews, and deliverables are defined. Exit criteria are established for each phase and Stage Gate reviews are conducted through the IT governance process to ensure that the project’s management quality, soundness, and technical feasibility remain adequate and the project is ready to move forward to the next phase. The EPLC framework provides a guide to Project Managers, Business Owners, IT Governance Executives, other Stakeholders, and Critical Partners throughout the life of the project.
The EPLC framework is designed to provide the flexibility needed to adequately manage risk while allowing for differences in project size, complexity, scope, duration, etc. Examples of flexibility include the ability (with IT governance approval) to tailor the framework where particular phases or deliverables may not apply, to aggregate phases and deliverables when appropriate, to provide for conditional stage gate approvals that allow progress to a subsequent phase in a manner that identifies and controls for risk. The EPLC framework also accommodates iterative development methodologies.
Implementation of the EPLC framework will allow HHS to improve the quality of project planning and execution, reducing overall project risk. Reducing risk, in turn, increases HHS’ ability to move IT projects that best meet business needs into the production environment more quickly and with established cost constraints. The framework also provides an effective vehicle for adopting and propagating best practices in IT management. Finally, the framework provides a solid foundation for Project Manager training and certification and more effective IT capital planning.
The EPLC framework implementation is likely to shift more time and resources to the planning phases for projects and require additional resources from Project Managers, Business Owners, and IT governance participants for review and approval activities. This increased investment in planning and oversight is expected to be more than offset by reduced resources spent in duplicative efforts and rework of avoidable errors.
Industry and government experience demonstrates that the quality of IT investments is directly proportional to the quality of the management processes used to acquire and operate the IT products those investments produce. Implementing the EPLC framework will help ensure the quality of HHS IT products through improved project management processes.