As with most public sector organizations, Environment Canada strives for continuous improvement in all aspects of its operations, and works hard to use public funds judiciously. One area where Environment Canada was actively looking to improve their performance was in their management of IT projects. IT Projects undertaken by the Canadian Government are required to follow the guidelines established by the Treasury Board Secretariat, as outlined in the Management Accountability Framework (MAF). These guidelines set the performance requirements of senior public service managers for achieving acceptable management of projects. Part of the guidelines called for an explicit project management accountability framework which addresses decision making, oversight, effective monitoring, and ongoing review. It requires that projects be properly resourced with the right skilled individuals, including project managers.
However, Environment Canada did not have a uniform methodology for managing projects. Instead, individuals within IT exercised different approaches for project management. As a result, there was no common and consistent method of managing large IT projects within the Department.
A study by the CIO's office within Environment Canada identified a number of problem areas that resulted in adverse impacts including;
- An insufficient focus, during up front planning and execution, on project requirements, resources, and organizational roles and responsibilities
- Insufficient ongoing engagement of the program (business) owner during the project lifecycle
- Cost and schedule overruns on most projects
- Unnecessary levels of coordination and governance
- A lack of clarity about when a project was ready to transfer from development to operations, and
- An inability for Project Managers to transition readily from project to project or to easily manage a suite
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