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A Real-World Success Story: UT System Scales Execution of Strategic Initiatives Across its 14 Institutions

UT System Scales Execution of Strategic Initiatives Across its 14 Institutions

UT System provides a multitude of establishments that provide high quality education for students across the state. With a total of 14 institutions, UT System works hard to improve not only Texas, but the world through education, research, and health care. They unify these diverse establishments through this single mission, which calls for a unified system of record to support their strategic initiatives.

This blog provides a summary of the recent case study that shares the challenges UT System faced with the lack of a project management culture, the little communication of progress, and difficulty in making informed decisions.

The University of Texas System (UT System) is a state university system with a governing body over eight academic institutions and six health institutions, including world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. The UT System employs 105,000 employees across Texas with 839 personnel in System Administration.

Challenge: Align Institutions toward Organization-wide Strategic Initiatives 

In 2015, UT System board of directors appointed retired Admiral, William McRaven, as Chancellor. With the support of students and faculty, McRaven and his staff defined eight bold, strategic initiatives called Quantum Leaps. McRaven realized UT System lacked a project management culture and the tools to manage the Quantum Leaps. There was no way to communicate the progress of these initiatives or how they were being operationalized.

Donna Thomas was hired as director of project management to establish repeatable project management processes. “Our goal was to implement an easy, intuitive solution that our education professionals – without a project management background – can use to manage projects and leverage that data to make informed decisions,” she says. “It was imperative that the solution offered enterprise reporting capabilities to ensure strategy execution can be communicated across the 14 institutions.”

Solution: Planview Enterprise to Operationalize Strategy and Drive Transformation

Planview was able to deliver ease of implementation deployment with Planview FastTrack and personalized configurations and reports, getting the organization on board and realizing outcomes quickly. “We agreed that within two weeks, we wanted our first status report and by the end of the month, a monthly status report that was robust and detailed enough to be sent to executives and presidents,” explains Thomas. Thomas was able to aggregate all of the project data, summarizing program and project financial data for all strategic initiatives into a quarterly assessment. Planview helped Thomas and her team personalize many additional reports so they are consistent with the look and feel of the manual reports that the higher education professionals were used to.

By configuring Planview Enterprise to the unique specifications of a higher education institution, UT System was able to evolve to a team-of-teams approach within the institutions that allowed them to manage projects by milestones and deliverables (versus project plans) and incorporate agile decision processes to communicate status and make decisions quickly. This approach has brought visibility into project status, issues and risks, budget, and schedule in real time which gives insight into the health of each Quantum Leap. UT System has now established a central location for all of the Quantum Leap outcomes and measures, giving leaders the ability to determine if value is being delivered for strategic initiatives down to project level detail, and identifies areas that may need leadership attention.

“Planview Enterprise gives us a single source for all of our program and project data. Equally valuable is that we can finally connect our strategy execution to projects and can communicate how we are operationalizing the strategy.” The team-of-teams culture has fostered higher collaboration across the institutions, enabling capabilities such as cross communication, forming integrated tactical project teams, greater participation in outcome delivery, and sharing best practices. UT System continues to scale Planview into new departments and institutions, gaining a holistic view of strategic initiatives, and creating capacity to deliver new Quantum Leaps.

Results: Delivery of Quantum Leaps Bringing Strategy to Life

Since deploying Planview Enterprise, the University of Texas System can:

  • Connect strategy execution to projects and communicate how it is being operationalized
  • Summarize program and project financial data to see financial health of projects to proactively address risks and issues, see which projects are delivering on value
  • Access institution-specific data in real-time
  • Align project goals and measures to desired outcomes
  • Identify resources participating by institution on all projects, optimizing resource capacity and improving utilization
  • Collaborate across the institutions, sharing data, and best practices

Using Planview Enterprise, UT System has transformed its institutions by executing strategy into initiatives called Quantum Leaps. The Chancellor and decision makers at its 14 institutions have status into the health of projects and programs, realizing benefits that drive strategic initiatives which allow them to advance into a university system with global impact. Here’s a link to the full case study PDF.

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Cetiera Carmona
Written By

Cetiera is the customer marketing specialist with a focus in the portfolio and resource management, product innovation, and capability and technology management solutions. She is currently responsible for supporting sales enablement, demand generation efforts, and customer advocacy and engagement. In addition to managing the Planview Customer Community, Cetiera is on the Planview Horizons Customer Conference committee. She is passionate about engaging and building relationships with customers. She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio.