The California Project Management Office (CA-PMO) has designed the California Project Management Framework (Framework or CA-PMF) to provide California organizations with a solid foundation for project success. This new Framework replaces the project management guidance and tools that were previously included in the California Project Management Methodology (CA-PMM).

The CA-PMF offers guidance and insight on project management methods and approach (through the use of resources, tools, and templates), as well as narratives detailing the justifications for why specific activities should be performed. Icons, colors, and other graphic elements throughout the Framework are intended to promote ease of use.

An IT project lessons learned study found that many IT projects faced challenges in several areas. An overview of these findings led to the Top Issues Projects Face.

Purpose and Use of the Framework

The CA-PMF is a practical and useful guide to lead a Project Manager and team through the Project Management Lifecycle (PMLC) for projects of all sizes, so that they achieve expected outcomes and thereby project success. The Framework focuses on Information Technology (IT) projects, but it can be used by project teams for other types of projects as well.

The Framework highlights important project management priorities. It offers recommended practices and lessons learned regarding method and approach (through the use of resources, tools, and templates). The Framework supports project management practices that conform to industry standards as defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and are adapted to the context of California State government. For deep dives into a particular project management discipline discussed in the CA-PMF, refer to PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

The intended audience for the Framework is Project Managers and project team practitioners who are responsible for directly performing or overseeing project management processes and activities. The CA-PMF will also provide useful information to Project Sponsors, project participants, and Stakeholders regarding the effective and efficient management of projects. The guidance and advice contained in the Framework emphasizes the importance of people skills, good judgment, and effective communications in the successful delivery of projects. These are critically important and relevant to all project Stakeholders.

The Framework includes all major project processes and activities, from initial project definition to project closing. These will equip the Project Manager with the tools necessary to consider the needs of the project and how its organization can be structured and managed to deliver the intended result.

The Framework also provides models for the management tools and plans used to document and manage the project. Project management practitioners are encouraged to leverage the tools and templates by modifying them for the needs of their respective projects. Each plan describes some aspect of how the project team conducts its work. This includes how to control the operation of the project team, assess project progress, and evaluate the quality of products created by the project.

The CA-PMF aligns with state policy, identifies the connections to the project oversight and project approval processes, and directs practitioners to the appropriate resources for further information on those processes.

A key objective of the CA-PMO is to keep the Framework relevant over time by updating it with additional guidance and tools as they become available for the state’s project management community to leverage in future projects. This is one of the reasons that the CA-PMF included templates under the broader term “tools.” Although many of the CA-PMF tools are currently templates, a range of different kinds of tools will be added to the CA-PMF toolset over time. This objective also highlights the importance of state Project Managers and teams having easily available and current reference material for project management.

Varying Project Sizes and Complexity

Information technology projects vary in size, type, and complexity. Sponsoring organizations embark on projects with varying levels of project skills, experience and process maturity. A project may impact a small number of stakeholders, or it can affect the lives of millions.

No matter what a project’s size or complexity, the project management objective to work through each project management discipline is consistent. For example, not every project needs a stand-alone governance plan. As long as the Project Manager includes a clear description of how decisions will be made in the Project Management Plan (PMP), the project management objective of documenting a governance process is met. The Project Manager and project team should address all of the industry standard project management disciplines, but at the same time adjust the level of complexity and rigor to match the needs of the individual project. The CA-PMF framework provides guidance and adaptability for what is required relative to each project management discipline.

The Framework focuses on a product development and service delivery approach that follows a traditional waterfall methodology, which is presently the predominant methodology used by the state for projects. However, the use of an iterative or adaptive lifecycle strategy, such as Agile development, still requires the Project Manager and the project team to work through the project management disciplines and determine how the processes should be adapted to the needs of the development approach. To help with this adaptation, the CA-PMF includes guidance on what types of projects are suited for an Agile delivery approach, how to assess the readiness of  organizations for an Agile delivery effort, and recommended practices related to Agile. An ongoing development effort will provide guidance for how the Framework elements can be adapted for efforts that use an Agile delivery approach.

Discussion of Lifecycles

During the delivery of IT projects, the PMLC and the System Development Lifecycle (SDLC) are tightly integrated and must be simultaneously managed. The successful management of each lifecycle greatly affects the other, and both directly determine the level of success of the overall project.

Additionally, California has adopted the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) to improve the quality, value and likelihood of success for technology projects undertaken by the State of California. The PAL is intended to ensure projects are undertaken with clear business objectives, accurate costs, and realistic schedules.

While the CA-PMF is not intended to provide in-depth guidance on SDLC or PAL activities, processes, or requirements, the CA-PMF is designed to assist practitioners in understanding the relationship between the PMLC, SDLC, and PAL by providing project management practitioners with specific information and tools that are critical to management of an IT project.

The Project Management Lifecycle (PMLC) is a model for managing all activities associated with a project from inception to completion. The Framework divides the overall project lifecycle into five main process phases to provide management and control of the project.

The graphic below displays the relationship between the PMLC, OCM and BPR lifecycles, PAL, and the SDLC. Note that while OCM and BPR show their corresponding knowledge areas, there position within the graphic does not accurately portray when each knowledge area is to be conducted.