March 2009

Greater Consistency, Greater Success: CHI’s Enterprise Program Management Office

The Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) brings consistency and discipline to CHI projects and initiatives, resulting in better outcomes. “The EPMO represents a positive change in how we manage hundreds of projects in progress,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief information officer. “Michael Rowan and I see the EPMO as an excellent example of how standardization adds to the value proposition across CHI.” Project management uses standard repeatable processes, practices and tools to create comprehensive plans, evaluate progress, make corrections and achieve better outcomes. John Kocon, vice president of the EPMO, leads a team of project management professionals across CHI. In addition to providing project management support, the EPMO’s portfolio management and process functions focus on development, implementation and continuous improvement of standard processes and tools. “The EPMO provides structure and experience for CHI to do the right projects and do projects right,” said Kocon. “We facilitate the project request and selection process, develop detail plans and deliver those projects to meet project scope, timeframe and budget objectives.” The Project Life Cycle The EPMO has established a Project Life Cycle (PLC) for CHI projects. “The PLC’s phases connect the beginning of a project to its end,” said Kocon. “It is an integrated business process developed with various core business functions.” The PLC has seven phases:
  • Preliminary Proposal – A project request to meet a business need.
  • Business Case – High-level project estimate that includes cost and business value.
  • Initiating – Acknowledges project approval, project resources committed.
  • Planning – Project needs translated into a detail performance measurement baseline project plan.
  • Implementing – Perform project work, monitor and control the plan.
  • Closing – Formally accept the project: administrative closure.
  • Benefits Harvesting – Measure actual benefits versus the business case.
At Home in ITS While the EPMO will eventually support all enterprise projects, it currently resides in the ITS organization. “CHI determined that ITS could initially benefit most from EPMO services,” said Kocon. “It was the logical place to start.” One of the first projects to use the EPMO’s standardized approach was the SurgiNet operating room application implementation at Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, WA. “The project life cycle ensures that you don’t skip steps or do anything out of order,” said Bruce Elkington, regional chief information officer. “It also ensures the involvement of a project sponsor. Our SurgiNet project sponsor helped make the implementation a functional, as well as a technical, success.” “The EPMO helps ensure that the projects we work on are those that have the greatest value, operationally and strategically, for CHI,” said Tom Wittman, regional chief information officer. Outside ITS The EPMO has also supported projects with limited ITS components, such as CHI’s Healthy Work Community initiative. “This disciplined approach required us to think through the project life cycle, document our approach, then meet key dates and deliverables,” said Herb Vallier, chief human resources officer. Kocon meets with regional and national leadership groups to discuss EPMO services. For more information, contact John Kocon at