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Project Readiness Examined at Calif. Information Technology Leadership Academy

The class pulled together leaders of tomorrow to discuss developing reliable collaboration and decision-making, according to Calif. CIO Carlos Ramos.

Last September, when California CIO Carlos Ramos kicked off the latest class of the Information Technology Leadership Academy ITLA, he said, “It comes down to being effec­tive in making decisions, having sound analytical skills. The largest problems we run into,” he said, “are not tech­nology issues — they are governance, they are decision-making. Lots of times you have to do that without complete information, and in collaboration with other parts of government. … The reason we are putting you through this,” he said to class members, “is we need a pool of people we can rely on.”

On May 30 several hundred state executives filed into the Capitol’s East End Complex auditorium for the next lesson, a presentation on project readiness. “You’re handed a project,” said Suzanne McBride, manager systems architecture for the Department of Child Support Services. “It is legislatively mandated, has high-visi­bility stakeholders, limited funding and a tight timeline.” McBride went on to paint a scenario of incorrect user validation, and a system that doesn’t process as expected. “A lot of that was due to the fact that your as-is business processes — what you do today — was virtually unknown,” said McBride. “Your stakeholders are angry, your sponsor has left the organization, and you just found out that your program is due six months earlier than expected.
“Folks, that’s why we’re here today,” said McBride. “We can get ahead of these scenarios.” She and six others then presented well-crafted segments introducing orga­nizational change management and business process modeling concepts. A handout covered the basics, with a QR code providing access to a series of detailed Project Readiness Guides. The guides include a 14-page Organizational Change Manage­ment Readiness Guide, a 60-page Business Process Modeling Readi­ness Guide, and a 12-page Business Process Modeling Quick Start Guide.
Presenters welcomed some attendees preparing for a transition to Fi$Cal which will combine 2,500 legacy accounting, budgeting, cash management, and procurement oper­ations into a single financial manage­ment system. Presenter Jacquelyn Moore of Caltrans said whatever the project might be, organizational change management starts immediately, not at implementation. Other key points — in addition to the “Six Steps of BPM” and “Five Pillars of OCM” included “develop your change management strategies early” and “document your as-is business processes.”
Many attendees seemed quite pleased with the presentation, including Vicky Sady, deputy director of the CA-MMIS Division of the California Department of Health Care Services, and California CIO Carlos Ramos.
“I thought the session was fabulous,” said Ramos. “Here we have the leaders of tomorrow thinking in strategic and pragmatic ways. The Project Readiness Kit will be a valuable asset and a resource for all kinds of different projects throughout the state. I thought they did a great job.”

This story was originally posted by TechWire.
Wayne E. Hanson served as a writer and editor with e.Republic from 1989 to 2013, having worked for several business units including Government Technology magazine, the Center for Digital Government, Governing, and Digital Communities. Hanson was a juror from 1999 to 2004 with the Stockholm Challenge and Global Junior Challenge competitions in information technology and education.