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Project Management Toolkit

This site outlines a shared project management methodology for the central IT organizations of the University of Illinois System. It was produced as a collaboration between IT project manager leaders within ACCC, AITS, CITES, BIS, and ITS. A consistent project management methodology, developed, endorsed, and used by central IT organizations will improve predictability, understanding, and performance of our project initiatives.

The project management methodology outlined is based on the Project Management Institute’s approved standards that are accepted and utilized widely by the project management community in both business and education.  The goal of the project management methodology is to provide a consistent approach to project management that improves project predictability, project communications, and overall project performance across the U of I System.

This methodology provides a minimal framework to assist project managers, as well as managers functioning as project managers, in the planning and execution of projects. Additionally, the methodology provides a repeatable and documented process for use in communicating a roadmap for both project team members and management.

In addition to the project management methodology, supporting product development processes are required for the project management processes to be highly effective.  While product development processes are an essential and integrated part of successful project execution, this web site does not address the product development processes.

This material is provided as reference and as a starting point for other System organizations wishing to adopt a simple set of project management practices.   For information on our service offering, please see the Project Management Service Description.

Project management phases

Project management activities are typically divided into 5 phases. These standards address all five:

  • Originating:  Transforming project ideas to a documented business case and project proposal for review and approval.
  • Initiating: Developing the project charter and communication plan.  Formalizing and communicating goals, deliverables, participants  and roles. 
  • Planning: Developing a detailed and complete work plan. This includes finalizing tasks, assigning resources, setting schedules, and gathering estimates.
  • Execution, Monitoring and Controlling:  Doing the project work:  executing the project plan and executing the communication plan .
  • Closing: Tie up loose ends, hand off results, assess project performance and release team.

A full list of project artifacts by phase is available as is some starter definitions for projects and work requests.

While product development processes (waterfall, agile, prototyping, etc) are an essential and integrated part of successful project execution, this web site does not address the product development processes.  

Project Methodology

Recommended implementation

While the tools and techniques can be used successfully on individual projects, the most benefit will come from implementing a standard for all projects within your organization.  The recommendations for implementing a project management framework or set of standards such as these are:

  • The project management process outlined is used on all projects.  This includes projects that are led by staff that do not have the title of Project Manager.
  • Training is provided to Project Managers, Line Managers, and other staff who lead and request projects. 
  • Each group is responsible for developing and documenting their specific product development methodologies. 
  • Senior leadership will support both the project management and product development methodologies as the approved way for successful project execution.
  • Projects will not begin until they have been through the project origination process outlined in this document. 
  • The person filling the role of the Project Manager does not fill an additional role on the project such as business analyst, technical lead, developer, or tester.  Exceptions may be made for an extremely lean team or small projects.