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Review Gate: Project Planning 

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Description

The Project Planning Review Gate includes planning for both project management and technology-related activities and deliverables. Planning involves definition and sequencing of activities and resources to actually deliver the product and/or service. From a project management perspective, methods for managing the planned project activities over the life of the project are included. From a technology perspective, technology aspects of the product or service, such as requirements and descriptions for translation into an actual product or service, are also completed as part of the project planning activities. Planned activities that relate directly to technology aspects of the product and/or service vary according to the desired project results.

In addition, decisions regarding procurement are made during the Project Planning Review Gate. An assumption regarding each procurement decision may have been made in the Business Justification Review Gate in order to develop project estimates. For technology projects that require management of solicitations and contracts to achieve the business goals and objectives, the agency head must make the final determination on the procurement decision.

Project management activities identified during the Project Planning Review Gate are communicated in terms of: what tasks will be performed; who will perform the tasks; when will the tasks be performed; what resources will be applied to accomplish the tasks; how the tasks will be sequenced; how will the product and/or service performance be measured and are the measurements aligned with the stated business goals and objectives; how will the project performance be measured; how will project changes be monitored and controlled; and, what risks are involved and how will they be managed. Time spent developing the appropriate structure for organizing, managing, and implementing project activities and deliverables improves performance in later review gates of project delivery.

Project planning results must be finalized, approved at the agency level, and forwarded to the QAT prior to spending more than 10 percent of the funds allocated to the project and/or prior to an issuance of a vendor solicitation for the project. Project status information for statewide monitoring purposes must be forwarded to the QAT based on the reporting frequency as determined by the QAT.

Technology-related activities identified during the Project Planning Review Gate are communicated in terms of: what are the requirements for the product or service; how will the product or service be tested and deployed; and how will the technology deliverables, including the product, services, and associated documentation, be reviewed for correctness and accuracy. Time spent developing the best foundational structure for implementation of the product and/or service improves performance in later review gates of project delivery. A key emphasis is placed on obtaining technology results that align with the business goals and objectives.

Before issuance of a vendor solicitation (if necessary) and implementation activities can occur (next two review gates), the agency head must approve the business outcomes at that specific point during project delivery. Approval indicates the agency head agrees the state should further invest in delivery of the project.

Key Questions

Key questions that must be answered during Project Planning include:

  • What business needs used to justify the project changed?
  • What project management and technology-related activities are planned in order to solve the problem?
  • What are the quantifiable outcomes that can be used to measure success?
  • How was an achievable scope defined?
  • How are the cost, schedule, and performance baselines complete and thorough?
  • What are the project risks that have been identified and ranked?

Tools and Deliverables

Several deliverables are completed during the Project Planning Review Gate. Templates, checklists, and guidelines are provided as tools during development of these deliverables.

Deliverables     Description  Tools 
Project Plan Includes general planning information, monitoring and control methods, and quality, communicaiton, configuration, performance, and risk management.
  • Project Plan Instructions
  • Project Plan Template
  • Project Plan Supplemental Tools:
    • Project Contact Register
    • Work Breakdown Structure
    • Change Control Request
    • Issues Tracking
    • Project Status
    • Quality Register
    • Quality Project Areas, Categories, and Measures
    • Communication Register
    • Configuration Items Register
    • Performance Register
    • Performance Project Areas, Categories, and Measures
    • Risk Assessment Tables
    • Risk Register
    • Risk Checklists
    • Risk Item
    • Risk Status
Monitoring Report Provides project status information to QAT for monitoring purposes. Is delivered based on the reporting frequency (e.g., bi-monthly, quarterly) defined by the QAT.
  • Monitoring Report Instructions
  • Monitoring Report Template
Project Planning Review Gate Approval Agency head approval of business outcomes at that specific point during project delivery.
  • Review Gate Approval Instructions
  • Review Gate Approval Template

Activity Flow

The Project Planning Review Gate Activity Flow shows each major activity, the tools for use during this stage of project delivery, required approvals, and required submittals. Refer to the Framework Quick Reference to identify required approval authority for each deliverable.

Project Planning Review Gate Activity Flow  

For more information about the Texas Project Delivery Framework, contact projectdelivery@dir.texas.gov.