Building an IT Governance Process

In this post, I will describe the IT governance committee for small and medium projects, their terms of reference and the scoring system for ranking projects. In September 2007, we started a process to use IT governance to help us manage the flood of proposals and project requests. Thanks to my colleagues Gary Lake and Dave Cresswell who did the heavy lifting and put the process in place.

The Business Applications Advisory Committee (BAAC) gives advice and guidance to IT Services on which project requests would be the “right things” to do; recognizing that we have limited resources and want to focus them on the work that will deliver the most value to our community. 

BAAC Terms of Reference

Business Application Advisory Committee advises Information Technology Services on the priorities for small to medium sized business application proposals that will further the goals and strategies of BCIT.

We define two types of business application projects: Major and Minor.  Major projects are referred to the BCIT Executive Leadership team for governance. Minor projects are referred to the BAAC for ranking. 

Minor projects are defined as:

  1.  projects that will improve BCIT business processes and are not part of routine maintenance or operational activities of IT Services
  2. projects that are not large enough or significant enough to meet the criteria of the BCIT Executive Leadership project approval process.

Committee Goals

The BAAC represents the interests of the entire Institute. Specifically the committee will:

  1. facilitate submission and review of proposals and business plans of small and medium business application projects from across the Institute
  2. prioritize those projects through criteria that are viable and directly support the strategic goals of BCIT
  3. ensure that the lifecycle process of a proposal is transparent to the Institute community

Membership

The BAAC is made up of representatives from across our community at the middle management level:

  • Student – Registrar’s Office, Learner Services, Alumni
  • Education – School Operations Managers (2)
  • Research and International – Technology Centre Operations Manager
  • Finance and Supply Management
  • Human Resources and Labour Relations
  • Facilities Management
  • IT Services
  • Foundation

The committee will be chaired by the Manager, Program Management Office, IT Services.

Project Proposal Ranking Criteria

Compliance Risk to the Institute

Simple Yes/No.  If yes, indicate whether the project is directly or indirectly related to a compliance issue (cite compliance source).  Include outcomes if the Institute does not comply with regulation.

Compliance source could be a legally binding agreement, regulation, contract, inspection order, court ruling or law.

Other Risk(s) to the Institute

Indicate any risk to the institute.  These must be clearly stated and describe any outcomes if the project is not completed.  Examples of risk may be decline in enrolment, lost opportunity, fines, legal challenges, loss of revenue, public image.

Alignment to Institute Strategy, Goals or Policy

Describe the project’s alignment with, or support of a specific Institute strategic plan/service plan or policy.  (E.g. Connectivity, Smart Learning Environment, Best Teaching Practices, Applied Research Agenda or The Business of BCIT).

Beneficiaries

Indicate who the beneficiaries are and how they benefit.  Should be brief and in point form. Provide numbers or cohort (e.g. customer, department or organization – students, staff or faculty). Rank –  In terms of numbers how many people will this affect?

Qualitative benefit

Indicate other benefits to the Institute that cannot be easily measured such as quality of education/quality of graduates, marketability and image of the Institute.

IT Costs and Timeframe

Indicate the estimated hard costs and soft costs, and estimated time to complete the project.  Costs should be broken out accordingly:

·         Hard costs: hardware, software, external resources – in dollars (something you will be prepared to give up in the budget to pay for this project?

·         Soft costs: ITS FTEs by type – in hours

·         Timeframe: in months

Use of Technology

Describe whether the proposed solution utilizes existing or new technology – if new include evaluation of system, vendor specification and interactions with existing systems.

Quantitative benefit

Indicate how the project will be measured.  E.g. increased enrolment reduced hard/soft costs, improved workflow.  Quantities, benchmarks or Key Performance Indicator figures should be included.

Payback period

Indicate the payback period for the IT portion of the project.  Note, this may be measured and factored in the overall success of the project.

In a future post, I will describe the work process of the BAAC and some detail some of the things we learned along the way.  In the meantime, I really welcome your feedback and suggestions on how to improve our IT Governance.