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California Finishes New Approval Process for IT Projects

The California Department of Technology on Monday issued a policy letter announcing that the state's management manuals have been updated to include the fourth and final stage of a new approval process for IT projects.

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The California Department of Technology on Monday issued a policy letter announcing that the state's management manuals have been updated to include the fourth and final stage of a new approval process for IT projects.

The four-phase Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) was initiated in July 2015 and has been rolled out gradually the past 12 months. PAL has replaced the old Feasibility Study Report (FSR) approval process that had been in place for decades.

PAL's four-stage process includes a business analysis (Stage 1), alternatives analysis (Stage 2), solution development phase (Stage 3), and project readiness and approval (Stage 4). At the conclusion of each stage, project managers and oversight staff reach a go/no-go decision point where a project can be halted if more work is needed.

The Department of Technology said in a memo Monday that Project Readiness and Approval (Stage 4) has now been completed. The intent of Stage 4 is, in part, to establish "realistic schedule and cost baselines."

"Previous to the PAL, project baselines were established before a vendor/solution was identified through IT project procurement activities, resulting in projects starting out behind schedule and over budget," the department wrote.

State agencies and departments have said PAL has forced them to change how they make the business case for a project or do market research.

As part of the process reforms, the Department of Technology also is tracking and updating "conceptually approved" IT projects on a quarterly basis, rather than yearly, and listing what stage of PAL they have moved through.

Matt Williams was Managing Editor of Techwire from June 2014 through May 2017.