To better manage costs of future IT projects, the AOC should employ appropriate budget and cost management tools to allow it to appropriately budget, track, manage, and estimate costs.
The AOC has two artifacts for budgeting, tracking, managing, and estimating costs, the business case and the project assessment forms, both developed as part of the Enterprise Methodology and Process (EMP) program. A key component of the EMP program is development and implementation of a standard Solution Development Life Cycle (SDLC) that describes a phase-by-phase methodology for projects categorized as medium or large, including standards, processes, and artifacts. While no new projects in either category are currently envisioned in the current budget environment, upcoming applicable maintenance and operations (M&O) efforts and future projects will be required to adhere to the SDLC. The Business Case and Project Assessment Form templates are attached.
In addition to completing the business case artifact itself, development of which supports Judicial Council-approved recommendations for AOC realignment, the SDLC calls for revisiting the business case after project inception to facilitate cost management and tracking once an effort is underway.
Another key tool used for budgeting, tracking, managing, and estimating costs is the Information and Technology Services Office's (formerly Information Services Division) zero based budgeting process. Specifically, Information and Technology Services prepares a five-year budget for each Information and Technology Services program. Each program budget is shared with the Fiscal Services Office (formerly Finance Division) and other business partners before being used as a basis for the Information and Technology Services' annual budget allocation. The core purpose of this process is to identify key needs for each project going forward while providing sufficient funding for baseline activities. The other purpose is to provide a budget monitoring tool for project managers throughout the fiscal year. The budget projections produced through this process are also used to inform the Judicial Council, related working groups, and advisory committees. To develop, track and monitor their budgets, each program uses information provided by the Oracle Financial system, which captures all AOC allocations, encumbrances, and expenditures for Information and Technology Services programs.
Finally, the AOC makes use of a project portfolio management (PPM) tool for weekly project reporting, one element of which includes budget health. Formal criteria for the budget health indicator have been established, and are as follows: green, project is tracking to approved budget, which may include one that has been re-baselined per a formally approved change; yellow, a budgetary risk has been identified for which a mitigation strategy is in place; red, a budgetary risk has been identified for which there is not a mitigation strategy in place. An explanation of any yellow or red budget indicators must be provided in writing, and a justification for any indicators that were previously yellow or red but have been reset to green must also be noted.
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.