Project Intake & Governance


What do I prepare when I am asked to present my concept proposal request at a governance meeting?

When presenting a concept proposal, you should be prepared to give a brief (approximately 5 minutes) overview of the project request and answer questions about your request, like what the business need is, why a technology solution is needed, and how your department plans to pay for the system.

The entire document will be forwarded to the meeting attendees prior to the meeting so that they can review it, and it will be printed and available for all attendees to peruse at the meeting. You will not need to prepare a PowerPoint presentation or other supporting materials.

Who should sponsor the request?

IT requires sponsors to be at the Vice-President or Dean level because most projects require a significant investment of budget or time in order to proceed. It is helpful if you can find someone who meets this requirement who is also passionate about your request, able to support the project idea in governance and among other stakeholders, and in a position to help secure funding for it.

Why define a budget now?

This helps the IT professionals identify options that will be a good fit for both your budget and your business need. If you have minimal, or no budget, IT will try to focus on those solutions, if any, which are already available on campus and can be extended without additional spend.

Projects proposed to IT require the requester or sponsor to secure funding to pay for those projects which are not covered under existing services. Many projects require incremental funding in order to be completed.

A decision has been reached about my concept proposal. What happens next?

If governance approves the concept proposal, it will be stated if the request will go into an IT team's local agile backlog, or if it will proceed to a business case or investment proposal.

  • If it goes to a local agile backlog, it will be assigned to an IT team to prioritize with other projects and requests that are in queue. An assigned IT team member will be in touch when it is time to start work on your project.
  • If governance recommends the creation of a business case or investment proposal, it will be prioritized on the backlog with other pending requests. When it is ready to start, a team will be formed of both functional subject matter experts and technical experts to begin working on through the business case or investment proposal process.

What is a business case?

A process for the purpose of analyzing technology options that might meet the needs expressed in a concept proposal. The deliverable from the process is a document that includes a full description of each solution option with details like cost estimates, timelines, resource estimates, risks, benefits, etc. to help the stakeholders determine the best-fit. Functional stakeholders and technical experts form a team to go through the process to create the document, participating in vendor demonstrations, requirements gathering sessions, and technical calls as needed.

What is an investment proposal?

In those cases where the solution is apparent, and after the concept proposal is approved through governance, the next step is the investment proposal process. Sometimes, an investment proposal will be done after a business case in order to solidify the total cost of ownership (TCO) estimates or divide implementation and support costs for the recommended solution among multiple stakeholder groups.

The investment proposal includes a detailed description of the selected solution, including information about the scope, resources, timelines, costs, and savings for budgetary purposes.

What do I prepare when I am asked to present my business case/investment proposal at a governance meeting?

You should be prepared to give an overview of your request, the solutions considered, and the recommended/chosen solution in a short presentation (around 15 minutes). The governance members may ask questions during the meeting about the solutions you and the team evaluated and why you recommended a particular solution over another. For these meetings, the full document will be provided to the attendees in advance of the scheduled meeting to allow them to review it.

The executive summary will be printed and available for all attendees at the meeting, and a full version of the document will be projected/shared on the screen by the coordinator in case there is need to reference any of the details in the course of the discussion. You will not need to prepare a PowerPoint presentation or other supporting materials.

Why do I have to go through this process?

Your request is going through this process because it requires a significant investment and/or analysis of its risk and complexity to the university. This will help ensure that the solution(s) that solve your problem are appropriately resourced and meet the technical standards required to be sustainable.

This process also helps ensure that USF invests in projects that are aligned with the institution's strategic goals, helping the university to prioritize and focus resources on the highest value projects. It ensures that the solutions which are implemented are a good fit for both the functional and technical environments at the University.

What is UTSB?

UTSB stands for University Technology Standards Board. It is a group of IT professionals who review and vet potential technology solutions for purchase by university groups. USF Purchasing requires approval from the UTSB before they will approve any non-standard technology purchases. To find out what purchases are allowed without the approval step, please review the guidelines.

Some requests that are entered into the UTSB technology exception process end up going through Intake because of the type of request and/or they meet certain thresholds.

The team is ready to start my business case/investment proposal. Now what?

The team of functional and technical members will first have a kick-off meeting where the group will discuss the process, the deliverable document, who will participate, and establish team expectations. Preparation prior to the business case or investment proposal kick-off is not required, but can be helpful.

Ensure that all of the relevant people who will be involved in selecting the system and making critical decisions about what features will and won't be included are invited to the kick-off itself. The team will be going over requirements and prioritization and answering key questions about the project and options, so it is key for the right people to be included. It is often helpful if you can reach out to other colleges in the Florida State University System or other peer universities in your area to find out what systems/solutions they use for the same purpose. This can help the team identify products that should be evaluated as part of the discovery.

In addition, you can review sample business case and investment proposal documents in order to get an understanding of the kind of information the team will need to gather and deliver to the governance group.

How long does each stage of the process take?

The length of time varies depending on the request. There are many factors, including the priority of the request within the IT and governance queues, the availability of functional and technical resources, and volume of requests. Concept proposals are typically turned around within days/weeks of IT first holding a meeting between the business analyst and the requester. For business cases and investment proposals, these can be completed within 2-3 months with dedicated resources.

If a project requires a Public Bid (Invitation to Bid or Invitation to Negotiate), then the timeline is dependent on the purchasing process, which can take 6 months or more.

When/How will we be notified of outcomes/decisions made for each stage of the process?

Governance meetings typically take place monthly. After a document is reviewed at governance, its next steps will be decided. Since the sponsor and/or requester should be present at the governance meeting when these are presented, they should be able to relay decisions back to the other stakeholders. If there are extenuating circumstances, then the business analyst or other responsible technical lead assigned should be able to inform you of the decision within a week of the governance meeting.

For IT meetings where stakeholders are not present, the business analyst or technical lead should be in touch with the stakeholders about next steps within a week of the meeting. When in doubt, do not hesitate to reach out to your IT contact on the project.