In the final months of 2020 the Portfolio and Project Management office sent a survey to WashU IT employees asking for feedback, in order to improve project management practices. Free text responses were curated by the Project Management team and reflect feedback themes.

Overall, we found objectives of the project aligned with the responses we received — current state perception and recommendation for improvement. Participant feedback has been vital and will be incorporated into the new practice.

Breakdown of Participants

Project team notes: While 191 participants began the survey, only 102 met the minimum acceptance criteria for being included in this data set. In order to meet minimum acceptance criteria, participants needed to complete a single answer after completing the branching question.

Survey Results:
Participant totals
Enterprise Applications - 41
Portfolio and Project Management - 19
End-User Services - 14
Network Engineering - 7
Project Support - 5
Platform Engineering - 5
Enterprise Engineering - 5
IT Admin - 4
Information Security - 2
Click to enlarge.

Please choose one of the following that fits your departmental position:

Project team notes: This question begins a branch, segmenting participants into two unique user groups. Part 1 and Part 2 of the survey lay out results by group below.

Participants were almost evenly split with slightly more project managers than project consumers.

Survey Results:
People who manage or direct project work - 53
People who consume project deliverables - 48
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Part 1: Respondents Who Consume Project Deliverables (status reports, test plans, etc.) for WashU IT

Do you manage resources in WashU IT?

Survey Results:
Yes - 19
No - 29
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Do you feel consistent templates are used for projects?

Project team notes: While survey participants were split on whether consistent templates are used for projects, Enterprise Applications and Portfolio and Project Management, two teams with the greatest share of dedicated project managers, do not feel consistent templates are used.

Survey Results:
Yes - 24
No - 24
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Do you feel that the project documents (status reports, test plans, scope, etc.) provide clear, value added information about the project?

Project team notes: A simple majority of respondents gave an answer in the affirmative; however, the negative responses present an opportunity for improvement, while not critical.

Survey Results:
Yes - 30
No - 18
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Do you know how to get information about projects which you or your staff are involved in?

Project team notes: A simple majority of respondents gave an answer in the affirmative; however, the negative responses present an opportunity for improvement, while not critical.

Survey Results:
Yes - 34
No - 14
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Please select from the following what you understand the Project Manager’s roles and responsibilities are? (Select all that apply)

Project team notes: There is no consistent understanding of project managers’ responsibilities. One of the project objectives is to clearly define responsibilities of project roles across WUIT.

Survey Results:
Schedules meetings, takes notes, and provides status reports - 38
Defines and controls project scope, schedules, goals and deliverables - 36
Creates and controls schedules and project timelines - 35
Estimates cost, develops and controls the budget - 28
Analyzing and managing project risk - 34
Defines task and assigns to the project resources - 26
Allocates project resources, has administrative authority over project resources - 14
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Short Answer: Please provide feedback about the value you currently receive from the existing project management practice.

It varies tremendously from project manager to project manager. Some are very involved and they request resources as needed to make deadlines and make sure everyone on the project is aware of the deadlines and the scope of work. Others add nothing to the project, they add for a status so they can complete their reports and that is the only interaction you have with them.

Provides direction and targets for the project, acts as liaison between developer(s) and upper management and business users, serves as a resource for getting help if needed.

Keeping scope in line, maintaining schedule and timeline… without these total chaos.

Please indicate if you or your staff would be interested in attending a training session regarding Project Management practice.

Project team notes: We recommend making training available for interested individuals or groups.

Survey Results:
Yes - 23
No - 25
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Short Answer: Please provide your recommendations on opportunities for improvement to our existing project management practice.

Project team notes: Main themes were training, consistency, and flexibility based on the type, size, and complexity of the project.

Provide consistency between EA PM methodology and the rest of WashU IT PM methodology.

To align all departments to follow the same framework and allow PMs to adjust per the needs of the project.

Framework must be kept flexible to allow for variations in project needs.

Some sort of portal to show high level tasks where other projects are currently at would be helpful.

Select a PMO tool that will simplify the administrative tasks, provide updates on projects, and be able to tailor the tool to meet your maturity level.

More “scaled” document requirements: both in terms of heavy/moderate/light as well as maybe template sets for specific types of non-project activities to build consistency. You might take the approach of starting from what groups already do for those activities and build upon that.

Consistency in documentation, understanding of variable project dependencies and consistency in resources availability.

Because of the level of detail required and the complexity, projects that require TTO, Pack Folder and CAB should always have a project manager & BA assigned to meet auditing and reduce overhead for technical resources.

We probably need a couple different work streams (methodology maps) with required deliverables:

a. Application work stream projects (ex. MyDay)

b. Infrastructure work stream projects (ex. One Campus)

c. Support and maintenance work stream projects (ex. MS Office software version upgrade, Server software upgrades)

It’s also helpful to break down by project size; small, medium, large. (Taking into account risk factors) Ex. A small project < 500 hours with low risk only needs minimum required (signed) deliverables. Large and/or high risk projects require more deliverables, etc.


Part 2: Respondents Who Manage or Direct Project Work in WashU IT

Are you aware of the PPMO Project Management Framework?

Survey Results:
Yes - 49
No - 4
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Indicate how often, if at all, you use the PPMO Framework to manage your WashU IT projects?

Survey Results:
Sometimes - 17
All the Time - 14
Not at All - 11
Seldom - 11
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

If you do not use the PPMO Framework, but are aware, please indicate the main reason you don’t use it.

Survey Results:
Use my departmental framework - 13
Other (Please explain) - 11
Too cumbersome - 5
Follow the process enforced by the customer / vendor - 3
Does not meet the needs of my project - 3
Follow my own methodology - 1
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Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

If or when you use the PPMO PM Framework, does the framework add value?

Survey Results:
Yes - 36
No - 3
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Indicate how often if at all when you use the PPMO Templates to manage your WashU IT projects.

Survey Results:
Sometimes - 9
All the Time - 10
Not at All - 12
Seldom - 8
Click to enlarge.

If you do not use the PPMO PM Templates, but are aware, please indicate the main reason you don’t use it.

Survey Results:
Other - 10
Use my departmental template - 9
Use the vendor template - 4
Too cumbersome - 3
Follow my own templates - 2
Does not meet the needs of my project - 2
Click to enlarge.

If or when you do use the PPMO PM Templates, do the templates add value?

Survey Results:
Yes - 23
No - 5
Click to enlarge.

Do you have a clear understanding which PM documents are required and which are recommended?

Project team notes: Most respondents know which documents are required and which are recommended. We recommend adding clarity around the process.

Survey Results:
Yes - 24
No - 15
Click to enlarge.
Alternate data visualization broken down by department.

Which type of work would benefit from a project framework or do you currently support as a project (vs. an operational change)?

New Application Implementation - 32
Complex System Changes - 22
Application Enhancement - 20
Business Process Change - 18
Vendor Upgrade - 17
Life Cycle Replacement - 17
New Product or Service Offering - 16
Upgrade Network - 15
Change/Enhancement to existing Service Offering - 13
New Hardware - 13
Other - 9
New report - 9
Simple system change - 8
Operational Changes/Upgrades - 7
Click to enlarge.

Short Answer: Which type of work would benefit from a project framework or do you currently support as a project (vs. an operational change)?

Project team notes: Comments have been curated based on applicability to project scope. Project teams want structure. Project managers want to be empowered in decision making. Overall, efficiency and effectiveness of a project should be our goal.

I am working with the Service Now team on requests for the Service Catalog. It is considered Ops and is simple and we do have a PM, but I wonder if handling the requests and development might benefit from a little more structure. There is currently no process oriented way to tie the requesting customers into what is happening. It is a black box for them.

All would apply and benefit from a framework, that is flexible and not overly complicated for the PM to apply at their discretion based on the project needs. it is the “required” deliverables per change that is the conflicting part.

Processes seem to be under constant revision and seem to be non-binding, leading to poor adoption. When followed they are very heavy and add small value relative to investment of time. Often not sponsorship or governance to properly align needs of various teams. Teams get weighed down in multiple systems – Jira, HRMS, Confluence, Innotas, Excel.

It depends on the scope/nature of the effort. While rigor is needed (improve efficiency and effectiveness), overkill can be costly. For example, what differentiates a simple fix versus a more complex enhancement versus a full-blown project (etc.)?

System retirement.

My thoughts are that the current framework can be adapted to fit the needs of the project. Empower the PMs to make the decisions that are best for the project.

There should always be a process. Just not necessarily the same one for every type of project.