The template would address ongoing maintenance, licensing and other requirements germane to the individual division. The division head or project manager will work with the Project Management Office staff prior to project implementation to ensure all requirements are addressed in the template.

In creating the Project Management Office, the State Police followed in the footsteps of the state's Department of Information Technology (DIT).

Project Management Pays Off

Even before the DIT's creation in 2001, project management offices were developed in other state agencies.

"I really see it is something all state agencies will have to do because they're going to run into the same issues we did in terms of these competing interests at a division level," Miller said.

George Boersma, director of the DIT's Office of Technology Partnerships, said having a centralized project management office simply makes sense. "You've got to have somebody in charge of these large projects who understands project management," he said.

Before the Project Management Office's creation, the person chosen to head IT projects knew little or nothing about project management, Boersma said. "You [the head of the project] know everything about the program, but you know nothing about how to run a project of that nature," he said. "It's not their fault they don't understand the whole concept of project management. We're trying to raise the level of people managing these projects to the point where they can just go out and do it."

As with DIT's Project Management Office, the State Police office will include certified project managers, who will either be hired, or existing employees could get project management training to become certified.

The DIT has taken the lead in encouraging state agencies to develop project management offices, has developed standards and methodology for project managers, and provides certification training, according to Boersma.

"We're trying to take project management and basically get it out there to the agencies so we can get these projects done on time and on budget," he said. "When you have shortfalls in your budget, you have to look at everything and see what you can and can't do."

Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor  |  Justice and Public Safety Editor