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Audit of Information Technology Project Management

June 2, 2015

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Office of Audit and Evaluation

Executive summary

AAFC has established a standard Departmental Project Management Framework (DPMF), with the last major revisions in 2013, that encompasses the structure within which projects are initiated, planned, executed, controlled and closed. The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment (OPMCA), which measures the capacity for departments to deliver on their investments, rated AAFC at a level 3 (Evolutionary), on a scale from 0 to 4.

There is a Departmental Information Management and Information Technology (IM/IT) Portfolio Management Framework (the FrameworkFootnote 1) that aligns to the overall AAFC DPMF. The Framework defines a project as "a temporary endeavour of an activity or series of activities that has a defined beginning and an end. A project is required to produce defined outputs and realize specific outcomes in support of public policy objectives, with a clear schedule and budget. A project is undertaken within specific time, cost, and performance parameters. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast to operations, which are repetitive and on-going work. Projects are undertaken in addition to operations to assist the department in implementing the strategic priorities."

The objective of the Information Technology (IT) Project Management audit was to provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the IT Project Management processes in place including benefit realization and outcomes.

The scope of the internal audit included an assessment of the overall IT project management governance processes and framework implemented by AAFC against Treasury Board requirements and leading practices. A sample of IT projects that were recently completed or currently in progress were selected for further examination to determine the extent to which the projects adhered to these requirements and leading practices.

As identified throughout the report, AAFC has taken a number of positive steps related to IT project management. The Framework that has been implemented for IT projects is comprehensive in nature and includes a consideration of all major aspects of project management. The audit noted that projects are completing the deliverables as outlined in the Framework. Furthermore, there is a well-defined governance structure that reviews and approves project deliverables at each project management gate as defined by the Framework.

In addition to the positive practices noted above, the audit found that there are opportunities for improvements in the current IT project management framework. The opportunities for improvement for AAFC's project management practices are related to: ensuring a portfolio approach is taken to the management of IT projects; ensuring the IT project management framework is flexible enough to ensure both the effective and efficient governance of IT projects, including those of varying complexity; and, formalizing the process to identify and measure the benefits realized from completed projects.

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

1.2 Audit objective

1.3 Audit scope

1.4 Audit approach

1.5 Conclusion

1.6 Statement of conformation

2.0 Detailed observations, recommendations and management responses

2.1 Portfolio management approach to projects

2.2 Information management/information technology project management framework and governance

2.3 Benefit realization

Annex A: Audit criteria

Line of Enquiry 1

Line of Enquiry 2

Line of Enquiry 3

Line of Enquiry 4

Annex B: List of Acronyms

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Assistant Deputy Minister
Advance Payments Program
Director General
Departmental Project Management Framework
Corporate Management Branch
Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology
Horizontal Management Committee
Information Management and Information Technology
Investment Planning Committee
Information Systems Branch
Information Technology
Monitoring & Reporting Data Collection Pilot & Deployment
Monitoring & Reporting System
Office of Audit and Evaluation
Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment
Project Complexity and Risk Assessment
Project Front Office
Project Management Body of Knowledge
Project Management Office
Project Review Committee
Renewal of Advance Payments Program Electronic Delivery System
Risk-Based Audit Plan
Science Management Systems
Shared Services Canada
Treasury Board Secretariat
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