Oregon Expands Monitoring of IT Projects to Increase Quality
Sometimes the best thing project teams can do is to learn from past mistakes. And if the biggest mistake was not checking on project quality throughout the process, then the lesson learned should be to use a better project management oversight process! The state of Oregon is doing just that as they recover from the challenges of their Cover Oregon website, a project that is intended to serve as the state’s implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Oregon is now looking ahead at its current and planned IT projects with the lessons learned from Cover Oregon in mind. Eugene, Oregon paper The Register-Guard reports that the state has increased its list of monitored IT projects from 12 to 80. This is a response that clearly echoes Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s statement that, “It is critical that we learn from this project and adopt whatever changes are necessary to improve project management and safeguard public investments.”
Numerous state reports have made it clear that during the Cover Oregon project, the disjointed leadership overseeing the project made it difficult for workers to report project issues and receive clear guidance as to how to address them. This is a byproduct of shoddy quality processes within the management of the project. This meant that as the project went on, no one working directly on the project was empowered to make decisions about it, including stopping the project or redirecting efforts when necessary to address challenges and budget questions or redefine scope.
As examined in Management Concepts The 77 Deadly Sins of Project Management, to avoid shoddy quality, project plans and parameters may need to be reset to bring the project back on track. But someone needs to be empowered to monitor the project along the way to help workers make those calls and approve those decisions. Which is exactly what Oregon intends to do for its IT projects going forward.
The process of closely monitoring these projects will help the state to better track the progress of the projects, identify problems early on, and tie funding to project milestones along the way. Furthermore, the state hopes to create a central point of accountability for IT projects, which will hopefully lead to better communication between project teams and leadership as well as increased sharing of information across projects.
To learn more about how shoddy quality project management processes can impact projects, check out the complete book The 77 Deadly Sins of Project Management from Management Concepts Press.