CDT’s Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) Celebrates Its Birthday with a Gift of Success

As part of the reforms to the state’s Information Technology project approval process, the California Department of Technology (CDT) released the final stage of the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) Framework in August 2016. PAL was originally designed to improve the planning, quality, value, and likelihood of IT Project Success. Three years later, PAL has proven to have done just that. As documented in a recent Legislative Analysis Office report, PAL has shown to provide much more realistic cost and schedule estimates while ensuring organizational readiness to launch a major change initiative.

Before PAL, project baselines were established prior to identifying a vendor or solution through IT project procurement activities; sometimes resulting in projects starting out behind schedule and over budget. The reformed PAL framework establishes cost and schedule baselines after procurement activities are completed and a vendor solution has been selected. This method provides for better budget and schedule estimates and helps ensure projects get started with realistic baselines. These changes have paid off and show a track record of success. Through the first 3 years, none of the 20 projects approved using the PAL framework has required a new baseline due to significant changes in project cost or schedule.

Such an achievement makes this a birthday worth celebrating.