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Attorney General’s Dept embraces UK Govt project management tools

by Aleks Vickovich •
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Whole-of-government adoption of the Portfolio Program Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) will have benefits for the Attorney General’s Department’s ICT functions according to the (AG) 2009-10 Annual Report.  The report highlights the P3M3 as part of a list of upcoming initiatives that will “strengthen its (AG’s) information technology governance”.

The P3M3 is a project management assessment tool developed by the UK Government’s Office of Government Commerce (OGC).   The tool has been endorsed by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) within the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) and the Secretaries’ ICT Governance (SIGB) for use by Australian government agencies.

The AG annual report makes clear that the department will also be supported by the UK OGC’s PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) project management methodology – which has been widely adopted by UK government agencies – and the IT governance framework, COBIT, which has been developed by  not-for-profit information system developer ISACA. 

The adoption of these project management methodologies is in direct response to the recommendations of Sir Peter Gershon’s review of the Australian Government’s use of ICT.

Recommendation 5.2.1 of the Gershon Review suggests improving agency capability through “implementing a common methodology for assessing agency capability based on self-assessment and periodic independent audit. 

“The development of this methodology should utilise and integrate existing off-the-shelf methodologies,” Sir Gershon adds.

Furthermore, the Gershon Review endorsed the project management programs developed by the UK OGC, singling out the P3M3 and PRINCE2 as appropriate methodologies for Australian government agencies.

According to the AGIMO website, the P3M3 will be implemented by agencies as a “common methodology for assessing their organisational capability to commission, manage and realise benefits from ICT-enabled investments.

“This initiative...aims to strengthen governance of the lifecycle of ICT investment including business domain activities such as requirements definition and benefits realisation,” AGIMO says.

To assist in the implementation of these project management tools, Finance has established a whole-of-government panel of accredited P3M3 consultancy services providers.  All nine panel members are accredited by the APM-Group to undertake P3M3 assessments.

Beyond the adoption of new project management methodologies, AG intends to improve its ICT capabilities in the coming years through a range of new initiatives including:

  • Enhancement of the Project Management Office;
  • Review of AG Enterprise Architecture; and
  • Development of an ICT Strategic Plan (another of the Gershon recommendations).

The report also lauded a number of ICT initiatives undertaken by AG in 2009-10.  “Information technology services and infrastructure delivered by the People, Information and Technology Division contributed directly to managing emergency crisis responses, access to justice, the Personal Property Securities Register, the National Security Hotline, AusCheck, film and literature classification, and a range of collaborative interagency exercises”, the report states.

The report also explained that “the Department improved delivery of services to internal and external clients by creating a more sustainable information and communication technology (ICT) environment, improving our green ICT profile, and reducing expenditure on infrastructure replacement while maintaining and improving capability”.

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