Virginia Tech™home

Overview and Best Practices


For any project, the goal of the project manager and project leader is to take appropriate actions to ensure the success of the project. This includes the preparation of documentation, and the establishment of a plan for oversight, both of which are appropriate to the risk and complexity of the project.

Assessment of project risk and complexity are the responsibility of the decision authority and project manager, in consultation with the project's sponsor. The Project Scorecard is intended to help project teams assess the risk and complexity of a project and recommend the appropriate level of project management. Project Management Process Guidelines outline a process for each level of project complexity. Project Management Methodology, which can be customized to fit each level of project complexity, gives further details on suggested project management techniques.

The project manager should provide project documentation that is appropriate to the risk and complexity of the project. High risk projects are supported with documentation that is substantially more detailed and thorough than would be expected for a medium-risk, or low-risk project. For many low-risk projects, the full documentation package could be as brief as two to three pages, using the low risk project form. Whereas, the documentation for high-risk projects could easily run to hundreds of pages.

Project oversight and periodic approvals are also designed according to the level of project risk and complexity. The process guidelines forms show when approval is required, and the approval and oversight section of the guidelines shows who are appropriate approvers.

Best Practices

Regardless of the specific project management methodology used, best practice requires competent project managers and good project documentation. Recommended best practices for most information technology projects includes:

  • Every information technology project covered by Policy 7210 should have a project manager.
  • Every project manager should review and understand the Virginia Tech component of project management training in addition to having other qualifying training and experience appropriate to the complexity and risk of the project.
  • One of the following collections of documentation, or something similar, should be used, completed, and retained:
    • Uncomplicated, low-risk projects:
      • IT Project Scorecard
      • IT Project Low Risk Project Form
      • IT Project Security Initial Review Form
      • IT Project Security Final Review Form
    • Medium to High-risk projects:
      • IT Project Scorecard
      • The IT Project Initiation Form, Product vision statement, Project Charter
      • Project Plan, Work breakdown structure, Software requirements specification, Sprint, Epics, User Stories
      • IT Project Security Initial Review Form
      • IT Project Scope Form, Release plan, Product backlog
      • IT Project Integrated Change Control Form (unless there are no changes), Requirements Trade-off
      • IT Project Security Final Review Form
      • IT Project Closing Form, Final Retrospective
      • the Process Guidelines Checklist

Additional guidelines and resources are available in this standard for information technology project management website. Guidelines are best practices that should be followed wherever feasible. Resources are additional aids that are neither mandatory nor necessarily "best practices."