Information Technology Project Management

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University Policy Number 1310


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This policy applies to all academic and operational departments and offices at all George Mason University (Mason) locations owned and leased. The policies and procedures provided herein apply to all University faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors.


The University is committed to continuously improving the delivery of information technology (IT) solutions within budget, on schedule, within scope and in such a way as to best contribute to accomplishing the University’s strategic mission.  This policy furthers that goal by establishing the common and consistent application of project management best practices in the management of IT projects.  A uniform project management framework promotes consistency and better control of IT projects, thereby reducing risks and increasing project successes.

Information technology projects will be managed in accordance with best practices promoted by the nationally recognized Project Management Institute (PMI), appropriately tailored to the specific circumstances of the University.  For example, project managers shall possess professional credentials and/or an appropriate level of project management training or experience.  Projects that engage leading IT consulting or software development firms to assist with project management may apply additional best practices provided by these firms.

Methods used for project auditing, such as Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V), are aligned with industry best practices, consultant expert guidelines, and known industry accepted standards such as Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 1012-2004 for Software Verification and Validation, International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000-2000 series, and Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (SEI-CMM).  These methods are tailored to the Higher Education environment by internal departments and in coordination with consultants as warranted.

Exclusions:  The scope of this policy does not extend to research projects, research initiatives or instructional programs.

An overview of the University’s IT Project Management Framework, along with procedures, templates, and tools is posted at


IT Project:  A project having as its primary purpose the creation of a unique information technology product or service.  Research projects, research initiatives and instructional programs are not included in the scope of this policy.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) – Third Edition. Project Management Institute. October 2004.

The Project Management Institute is the world’s leading not-for-profit professional association in the area of project management.

:  A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result (PMBOK, Third Edition).

Project Management
:  The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to mitigate risk, control budget and manage a scope of tasks.

of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 1012-2004 for Software Verification and Validation – Software Verification and Validation (V&V) processes determine whether the development products of a given activity conform to the requirements of that activity and whether the software satisfies its intended use and user needs.  Software V&V processes includes analysis, evaluation, review, inspection, assessment, and testing of software products.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – Quality Management Principals (ISO 9000:2000)
ISO 9001:2000 – The ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good quality management practices.  It consists of standards and guidelines relating to quality management systems and related supporting standards.  ISO 9001:2000 specifies requirements for a quality management system for any organization that needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products that meet customer and applicable regulatory requirements and aims to enhance customer satisfaction.

Software Engineering Institute – Capability Maturity Model Integration (SEI-CMMI
) – The CMM outlines the methods to obtain software process maturity.  Several levels of maturity can be reached as an organization’s software project management evolves from that of chaotic non-repeatable performances to repeatable mature disciplined software processes.  The model focuses on key attributes of each improved maturity level and provides guidance on the best practices used to achieve each level.  The goal is to reach an efficient and disciplined approach to software management.


The Vice President of Information Technology and CIO, along with the Executive Director, ITS Security and Project Management Office will review and update, when necessary, procedures, documentation requirements and approval processes on an annual basis. These procedures and documentation requirements are posted on the IT Project Management Framework web site


The Commonwealth of Virginia Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005 grants institutions additional authority over financial and administrative operations, on condition that certain commitments to the Commonwealth are met.  Furthermore, HB1390, effective July 1, 2008, allows institutions of higher education to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the appropriate Cabinet Secretary or Secretaries, for additional operating authority in two of the following three areas: information technology, procurement, and capital projects (Higher Education Restructuring Level II).

The university’s memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth provides full delegated responsibility for management of the institution’s information technology project management methodology.  This delegation includes the authority to conduct these activities in accordance with industry best practices appropriately tailored for the specific circumstances of the University, in lieu of following Commonwealth-determined specifications.  This policy documents the industry best practices with which the University will align its IT project management methodology.


All IT projects that are classified with a complexity rating of High, Medium or Low must fulfill the documentation and approval requirements as described in the IT Project Management Framework found at


The policies herein are effective October 20, 2008.  This Administrative Policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.


Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

Peter N. Stearns

Date approved: October 31, 2008

Date of most recent review: January 29, 2013