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Framework Overview 

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Introduction

Technology projects can be delivered successfully using the Texas Project Delivery Framework (Framework). The Framework establishes a consistent, statewide method for project selection, control, and evaluation based on alignment with business goals and objectives. Utilizing the Framework will ensure that agencies heads have the tools and information to guide technology deployment towards the right business outcome.

The Framework consists of five review gates with guidance and tools for each of the gates. A review gate is a distinct division of effort for a specified purpose during project delivery. Each review gate is intended to synchronize the state’s investment in a project based on approval of business outcomes at a specific point during project delivery. Completion of a review gate requires agency head approval based on careful assessment of whether a project is ready to proceed to the next project delivery stage. The review gates are: 

  • Business Justification – initial review gate for selection and approval of the project
  • Project Planning – planning for both project management and technology-related activities and deliverables
  • Solicitation and Contracting – development and management of technology solicitations and contracts
  • Project Implementation – development, testing, and deployment based on project planning deliverables
  • Benefits Realization – final review gate for measurement and evaluation of all project outcomes

The Framework also consists of Framework Extensions. Framework Extensions interpret and extend the base set of practices found in the Framework by providing a standard set of guidance and tools for various types of technology projects and project delivery environments. Framework Extensions, when specifically referenced, are separate and distinct extensions of the base Framework. Submission of Framework Extension deliverables is not required. In addition, Framework Extensions can be proposed and developed by any agency. Refer to Texas Project Delivery Framework Extensions for a list of current extensions.

Note: Various types of technology projects may require different practices, processes, and strategies to successfully deliver the expected business outcomes. These practices, processes, and strategies defined within agency project management practices (Texas Government Code, Chapter 2054, Information Resources and Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 216) must align with use of the Framework.

Audience and Intent

The Framework provides guidance and tools for development of deliverables, and review, assessment, and approval of project outcomes during each review gate of project delivery. The Framework provides guidance to agency heads by presenting fundamental information on delivery of technology projects to help them assess the agency’s ability to manage state investments. The Framework was developed to assist agency heads with deciding whether the project is ready to proceed to the next review gate. Additionally, the Framework should function in concert with existing project management practices established at the agency level.

The Framework also provides a toolset for practitioners directly involved with delivery of the project. Agencies must use required Framework tools as defined in statute. Agencies must use supplemental tools or replace a supplemental tool with an equivalent tool that serves the same purpose and intent. When an equivalent tool is used, it must include, at a minimum, the information identified in the Framework supplemental tool it is replacing. Regardless of whether a Framework supplemental or agency-equivalent tool is used, certain project deliverables must be submitted. Refer to Submission and Approval to identify required agency-level approval and state-level submission processes for each deliverable.

Use of the Framework tools is designed and intended to be customized to fit specific agency and project needs. The toolset includes templates, questionnaires, checklists, and guidelines that are consistent with other statewide efforts that overlap with the Framework, such as the Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA) Contract Management Guide and Quality Assurance Team (QAT) processes. A primary focus of the Framework is to reuse project information for multiple statewide purposes and to include only the information that is necessary to convey changes from the previous review gate.

Currently, the Framework is intended for use during delivery of major information resources projects as defined in Texas Government Code, Chapter 2054, Information Resources, and for certain major contracts. Refer to the CPA Contract Management Guide for guidance on which major contracts are required to use the Framework. Agencies may choose to use the Framework for non-major information resources projects.

In summary, the Framework is intended to: 

  • Provide guidance to agency heads by presenting fundamental information on delivery of technology projects for use during assessment and approval of business outcomes
  • Identify a clear line of accountability within an agency for business outcomes
  • Provide generic tools that can be used to fit specific agency and project needs
  • Establish a consistent, statewide method for project selection, control, and evaluation based on alignment with state and agency business goals and objectives
  • Work in concert with existing agency-level project management practices and structures
  • Provide comprehensive guidance on which project activities and deliverables should be included as part of project delivery from a statewide perspective
  • Integrate overlapping project activities and deliverables that span across multiple statewide entities such as Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) and CPA
  • Reuse project information for multiple purposes (e.g., for both QAT and Framework)
  • Minimize redundancy of project delivery information

Roles and Responsibilities

Several roles are involved in the completion of review gate deliverables; however, the agency head plays a critical accountability role. The agency head is the top-most senior manager with operational accountability for an agency such as an executive director, commissioner, university president, university chancellor, comptroller, or board president. Project delivery responsibility must not be delegated to a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or an Information Resources Manager (IRM), for example. Although the agency head is not unilaterally responsible for all business outcomes, the agency head must approve review gate deliverables based on ongoing involvement, assessment, support, and input by agency staff.

Agency Head Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the agency head include:

  • Ensures careful assessment of business outcomes during each of the review gates
  • Approves all business outcomes that result from activities during each of the review gates
  • Decides whether a project is ready to proceed to the next project delivery stage
  • Ensures business solution is aligned with state and agency business goals and objectives
  • Ensures key questions regarding business outcomes can be answered accurately based on supporting project evidence
  • Makes the final recommendation on procurement decisions involving management of solicitations and contracts
  • Approves business case analysis, statewide impact analysis, project planning, and procurement planning results
  • Approves contract amendment and change orders if the amendment or change order changes the contract amount above 10 percent or significantly changes the contract completion date as determined by the QAT

Other Roles and Responsibilities

Roles may vary based on the needs of each agency and technology project. Roles may be designated specific to each of the review gates and, when specified, are identified in instructions associated with the tool. Unless specifically identified and required as part of the Framework, approval signatures are defined by each agency. The roles and associated responsibilities include:

Other Roles Responsibilities 
Executive Sponsor
Non-IT senior-level manager
  • Oversees project delivery from a business perspective
  • Signs off on results during project delivery, including business case analysis, statewide impact analysis, project planning, and procurement planning
Technology Sponsor
IT senior-level manager, typically the agency IRM
  • Performs quality assurance review
  • Reviews business case analysis and statewide impact analysis results
  • Reviews project planning, procurement planning, and post-implementation results
  • May approve projects identified in an agency’s Biennial Operating Plan
  • Determines if a contract completion date has changed significantly
  • Approves contract admendments for contracts having a total value above $1 million if contract costs increase above 10%
Legislative Budget Board (LBB)
  • As part of legislative process, approves project funding requests
State Auditor’s Office (SAO)
  • As part of statewide auditing process, audits projects
Department of Information Resources (DIR)
  • As part of statewide technology impact process, assesses projects
Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA)
  • As part of statewide procurement process, post solicitations
  • Coordinates Contract Advisory Team activities
CPA Contract Advisory Team
Consists of a representative from the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Facilities Commission, the Health and Human Services Commission, the Office of the Governor, DIR, and an agency of fewer than 100 employees
  • Assists agencies with improving contract management practices, in part by reviewing solicitations for major contracts
Other Participants
  • Business process owners who support project activities from a business perspective
  • Contract Managers who manage project activities from a contract management perspective
  • Project Managers who manage project activities from both a business and/or technical perspective
  • Technology staff who perform functions such as systems deployment, software development, analysis of statewide technology impact, business case analysis technology estimates, and other technology activities

Core Principles

A set of core principles underlies development of the Framework which ultimately affects use of the Framework by agencies. These underlying principles establish a basis for how the Framework guidance and tools fit together from a broad, foundational perspective. For example, the Framework guidance and tools are assessed against the principles to determine whether the Framework consistently ties together. The core principles are:

  1. Avoid imposing on agency-level project management practices unless mandated

    The Framework is intended to frame existing project management practices, structures, and processes (e.g., governance, project management methodology, authority) at the agency-level by providing guidance at the statewide level which is deemed one level higher.

  2. Include deliverable content based on a minimum data set approach.

    Each Framework tool is designed to provide the minimum set of data needed to accomplish the specific purpose of the associated deliverable. Some project delivery data may be excluded and instead included in a different tool during tool design to avoid content redundancy that does not add value to the intent of the deliverable that is developed using the tool. For example, project risks are excluded in the Project Charter deliverable which is used to fulfill the purpose of initiating/authorizing a project whereby risks can then be identified and analyzed as part of the Project Plan.

  3. Assume project delivery information evolves over the life of the project.

    Each Framework tool is designed based on the expectation that the deliverable developed using the tool will be approved, baselined, revised, and re-baselined. Project delivery is an integrative and iterative effort.

  4. Minimize redundancy of deliverable content within and across review gates.

    Each Framework section is designed to be updated only if the information contained within that section has changed. Although project delivery information evolves over the life of the project, if the information within a section has not changed, the agency may reference an existing baselined project deliverable that contains the information.

  5. Demonstrate deliverable section linkage among the various Framework tools.

    A Framework tool may have sections that are identical with other sections in a different tool (i.e., in order to satisfy core principles two, three, and four). A future iteration of the Framework will provide a cross-reference of content among the various Framework tools.

  6. Indicate the review gate in which development of deliverables is initiated.

    Each Framework tool identified in each review gate represents the initiation of development for that particular deliverable. In some cases, the actual project level approval and execution of activities associated with the deliverable may span across review gates. Project delivery is an integrative and iterative effort.

  7. Include Framework Extensions that provide guidance and tools for different types of projects and project delivery environments.

    By extending the base set of practices provided by the Framework, Framework Extensions provide a basis for integrating and further aligning the Framework when varied project requirements, needs, and conditions exist at the agency level.

  8. Reconcile Framework with project management practices.

    Agencies must manage information resources projects based on project management practices. Information resources projects that meet the threshold for a major information resources project or certain major contracts (refer to the CPA Contract Management Guide) must use the Framework and align project management practices with the Framework.

  9. Work for different project sizes and types.

    The Framework is intended for use with major information resources projects and certain major contracts (refer to the CPA Contract Management Guide), but can be used for smaller size projects as deemed appropriate by the agency. The Framework is intended for use with all types of technology projects, including systems operations, telecommunications, software development, and others.

  10. Clearly identify who receives deliverables expected at the state level.

    Specific Framework deliverables must be provided to various statewide entities as identified in an Activity Flow for each review gate and the Framework Quick Reference. Specific conditions for when the deliverable is provided are identified in the respective review gate information.

  11. Create separate instructions for each standalone Framework tool.

    Each standalone tool has separate instructions. Some tools are included in the tool's appendices without separate instructions. The instructions provide a description of the content required within each section and subsection of the tool. 

For more information about the Texas Project Delivery Framework, contact projectdelivery@dir.texas.gov.