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Phase 1: Conceptual Review

Reviewing Projects at Conceptual Stage

The first phase of Project Portfolio Management is the conceptual review, which should take place early in the development of a technology initiative or project.  The purpose of the conceptual review is to align IT investments with the state’s technology priorities and to provide agencies feedback on proposed project at the earliest and most cost efficient point.  The conceptual review will provide the OCIO with a sufficient understanding to aid in the next phase, project funding prioritization.

The benefits of the conceptual review include:

  • The OCIO can influence the agency’s proposed technical choices and, if appropriate, suggest options for better alignment with the enterprise technology strategy.
  • The identification of possible cross-agency efficiencies.  If multiple agencies are considering the adoption of the same types of technology (e.g., case management systems, records management systems), identification during this phase gives agencies the opportunity to consider collaboration.

Phase1: Concept ReviewThe conceptual review will allow agencies to gain a better understanding of how the project will be viewed in light of the state’s overall IT portfolio.  This is important since the future funding for the project may depend, at least in part, on the OCIO’s evaluation and ranking against other IT priorities.  The agency will receive input from the OCIO on how the project might benefit from similar work occurring in other agencies.

This phase is initiated when an agency identifies a business problem that can be resolved with a technology solution. Internally, the agency defines the technology project and runs it through the IT Project Assessment Tool to make a preliminary determination about whether the project would be subject to OCIO oversight.  (Projects rated at a Risk/Severity level 2 or 3 are considered “major IT projects” and subject to OCIO oversight.) 

Once the risk/severity level has been determined, the Agency submits to the OCIO an overview of the project using the Concept Briefing Document template. The OCIO and agency review this document together to determine whether the anticipated technology and project management approaches are consistent with the state IT strategy. The OCIO provides feedback and guidance, and these notes along with the materials submitted by the agency are the artifacts of the conceptual review.