Archived [2015-11-10] - Implementation Strategy for the Policy on Investment Planning - Assets and Acquired Services and the Policy on the Management of Projects

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1 Executive Summary

This implementation strategy is intended to assist departments[1] in developing their own implementation plans for transitioning to the new Treasury Board (TB) policies on investment planning and management of projects. The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) is committed to working with departments while they transition to these new policies.

The transition of each department is expected to take approximately one year to complete, and consist of four logical stages, as follows:

  1. Learning stage
  2. Planning and implementing stage
  3. Challenging stage
  4. Treasury Board submission stage

Prior to beginning this transition across the Government of Canada, TBS led an initial pilot implementation phase with four departments electing to participate as early adopters of the new policies. All four were reported benefits in adopting these new policies during the pilot period; however, all four also reported that the transition required more effort and coordination than had initially been estimated. Two key observations from the pilot departments were the importance of:

  • Communication – Pilot departments clearly identified continuous, ongoing communication both internally and between the department and TBS as one of the major keys to success.
  • Guidance and Assistance – Departments identified the assistance provided by TBS as being critical. As a result, TBS has made available a number of resources to assist in transition efforts, including guides, standards, tools, strategies, and answers to frequently asked questions.

2 Purpose and Scope of this Implementation Strategy

This implementation strategy was developed to assist departments in transitioning to Treasury Board's Policy on Investment Planning - Assets and Acquired Services and Policy on the Management of Projects.

An initial (pilot) phase of implementation took place between June 2007 and March 2009. Each of the four pilot departments – National Defence, Canada Boarder Services Agency, Environment Canada and the RCMP – committed to participate in this initial phase of implementation and transition as early adopters of the new policies. These departments reported considerable benefits throughout the pilot period. The feedback and insight provided by each to TBS was invaluable in developing the necessary supporting instruments to enable future departments to transition to the new policies.

As a result of this pilot experience, the TBS implementation strategy has been updated to provide an overview of the tactics, timelines, roles and responsibilities for both TBS and departments & agencies participating in the next phase of transition to the two new TB policies.

This strategy should provide departments and agencies that are subject to the new policies with sufficient information to develop their own implementation plans and establish the overall timeframes and level of effort required to successfully implement the new policies over the scheduled 12 month transition period.

3 Policy Background

TBS, through the Investment, Project Management and Procurement Policy Division (IPMPPD), has introduced two new Treasury Board policies for the Government of Canada under the Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services. These policies respond in part to recommendations made in the 2006 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada in the chapter on large information technology (IT) projects, and support the Federal Accountability Action Plan (see ) objectives to "reduce the number of Treasury Board policies by more than half, clarify the management responsibilities and accountabilities of ministers and deputy heads, and clarify the responsibilities of functional experts". The renewed policies also establish clear compliance requirements and consequences, provide a comprehensive management framework for an investment planning process, and ensure that appropriate systems are in place to manage investments and projects in a manner that is commensurate with their risk and complexity.

The new Treasury Board policies approved on June 7, 2007 are:

The Policy on Investment Planning - Assets and Acquired Services

The policy objective is to support value-for-money and sound stewardship through effective investment planning that ensures that available resources are allocated in a diligent and rational manner which considers the areas of greatest risk, supports departmental priorities and maintains the existing asset base while considering opportunities for new investments.

The Policy on Investment Planning—Assets and Acquired Services

Replaces the Policy on Long-term Capital Plans.

The Policy on the Management of Projects

The policy objective is to ensure that the appropriate systems and controls for managing projects are in place at a departmental level, and that they support the achievement of project and program outcomes while limiting the risk to stakeholders and taxpayers.

The Policy on the Management of Projects

Replaces the following policies:
Project Management, Management of Major Crown Projects, and Project Approval.

4 Implementation Overview

4.1 Policy Transition Period

Due to the substantial changes in policy direction, a phased approach to incrementally transition the Government of Canada to the new policies was adopted. This phased approach entails departments transitioning to the new policies in four separate, sequential 'phases'. The initial pilot phase took place over 21 months, while each subsequent 'phase' will have approximately one year to complete the transition to the new policies.

TBS welcomes departments to begin their transition (in whole or in part), ahead of their designated implementation phase. However, if a department is considering an early start, they are encouraged to contact TBS to discuss the best approach to make the transition.

4.2 Developing the transition schedule

In assigning departments to the various phases of the transition schedule, TBS sought to balance the schedule using a number of factors, including:

  • The size of the organization (asset and acquired services spending);
  • The status of the departmental Long-term Capital Plan;
  • MAF assessments in Line of Evidence 14.1 – Investment Planning and Areas of Management 15 – Effective Project Management and 16 – Effective Procurement;
  • Expressions of interest and readiness by departmental officials; and,
  • TBS capacity and workload.

4.3 Overview of departmental expectations during their transition period

During the transition period, each department is expected to:

  • Learn and understand the new policy requirements, through the policy instruments and their supporting documentation;
  • Determine how best to implement the new policies within their organization and establish an implementation plan;
  • Develop an internal framework within appropriate governance to support implementation; and
  • Monitor implementation progress and compliance with the policy requirements.

4.4 Communication

Communication has proven to be critical for the successful transition of departments to the new policies. As such, TBS is committed to working with the departments throughout the implementation period to ensure a smooth transition. This commitment includes:

  • TBS / Departmental Meetings
    Representatives from TBS will be available to meet with departmental transition teams to discuss challenges, opportunities, potential solutions to problems, progress, schedule and other transition related topics.
  • Interdepartmental Working Group (IWG) Meetings
    Throughout transition, TBS plans to host, as required, IWG meetings in which representatives from some or all of the transitioning departments will meet to discuss topics of common interest.
  • TBS Point of Contact
    A department's primary point of contact with TBS will be their program sector analyst; however, other areas of TBS can, and will, be engaged over the course of transition, as required, in order to provide guidance, advice or policy interpretation.
  • Department Point of Contact
    Departments are encouraged to assign a dedicated point of contact to engage with TBS, and to establish clear lines of communication with TBS to facilitate coordination. Departments should be prepared to work closely with TBS throughout the transition period.

4.5 Transition Roles and Responsibilities

4.5.1 The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) program sector analysts are a department's primary point-of-contact for clarification, assistance and direction throughout the transition period.

TBS is responsible for:

  • Maintaining communication with both their department's point of contact and other relevant policy areas within TBS;
  • Providing implementation expertise based on lessons learned from previous transition phases;
  • Assisting departments in clarifying expectations, roles and responsibilities;
  • Assisting departments in developing implementation plans and approaches;
  • Assisting departments in identifying high-risk and highly complex investments and/or projects (including those within the department's assessed capacity) to be profiled in the investment plan;
  • Reviewing and challenging the department's;
    • Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment,
    • Investment Plan,
    • Project Complexity and Risk Assessments,
    • Treasury Board submission, and
    • Supporting evidence for the plan, submission assessments and project proposals.
  • Providing policy leadership, direction and feedback opportunities for departments on departmental implementation plans, challenges and opportunities in transition;
  • Developing and maintaining supporting policy instruments (i.e., standards, directives, user guides, templates, training modules, communications tools, and other materials);
  • Gathering and documenting lessons learned and providing departments with access to best practices;
  • Assessing the effectiveness of the policies and the impacts on departments;
  • Reporting to TB Ministers on the effectiveness of the policies and the transition process.

4.5.2 Transitioning Departments

Since the scope of the new policies is now broader and more inclusive than the previous policies, implementation will require a greater level of collaboration and integration at an enterprise level within a department. As such, the investment planning process should incorporate individuals and groups across the entire organization in order to ensure an integrated planning process which collects and compiles information about investments, assets, and acquired services, and to effectively plan the transition period.

Departments are responsible for:

Managing their approach to transition, including establishing internal resource requirements, schedule and milestone objectives.

During the pilot phase, numerous activities were identified by departments as being important to supporting transition. These included:

  • Establishing an implementation plan and schedule for their department;
  • Assigning resources to the transition implementation team;
  • Defining and assigning roles and responsibilities for transition within the department;
  • Setting and tracking transition progress milestones;
  • Appointing a point of contact to establish expectations, maintain communication, regularly update TBS on progress, and discuss key challenges and opportunities;
  • Communicating internally and conducting training and information sessions as required;
  • Developing and implementing a change management plan;
  • Conducting any needed departmental restructuring, establishing common standards or sharing of best practices;
  • Ensuring that the departmental groups that manage both projects and the planning process are engaged throughout the transition process;
  • Establishing the role of Access Control Officer to manage departmental access to the on-line assessment application (OPMCA & PCRA);
  • Developing departmental working groups to coordinate the organizational project management capacity and project complexity and risk assessments;
  • Developing the key deliverables:
    • Investment Plan;
    • Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment;
    • Project Complexity and Risk Assessments;
    • Treasury Board submission; and
    • Documentation of supporting evidence for the plan and assessments.
  • Participating in transition-related activities (information sessions, workshop events, etc.) and consulting TBS issued guidance and information materials (Lessons learned report, guides to the OPMCA and PCRA.)
  • Providing comments and feedback on the policies and the transition-related materials to TBS.

Departments are also encouraged to share best practices and lessons learned with TBS and other departments or to become mentors to one or more departments.

4.6 Transition Schedule (Generic - One Year Cycle)

Each of the transition phases will occur over a twelve month period beginning in April. Each transition phase should generally consist offour distinct stages, with each stage to include a series of associated activities. To help departments begin their transition planning, a series of milestones for each stage have been listed below as a guide.

  • Learning Stage  (April to May)
    Milestones include:
    • Information sessions: Introduction to the transition (March),
    • Official kick-off / launch of the transition phase (Early April)
    • Implementation plan & schedule, assigned responsibilities (April – May)
    • Identification of a departmental Access Control Officer (ACO) (May)
  • Planning Stage (June to September)
    Milestones include:
    • Planning process & governance finalized, OPMCA / PCRA approval process established (June)
    • Draft version of the investment plan (September)
    • Draft versions of the OPMCA and PCRAs (September)
  • Challenge Stage (October to January)
    Milestones include:
    • Finalized investment plan (November)
    • Finalized OPMCA and PCRAs (December)
  • Treasury Board Submission Stage
    Milestones include:
    • Finalized draft of submission for TBS review (January)
    • Investment plan and OPMCA class Treasury Board submission (February)
    • Treasury Board submissions for projects above department's approval level (end of February, beginning of March)

Description of Schedule Stages

4.6.1 Learning Stage

Departments will be expected to begin their transition with a learning period. During this period, information sessions and learning opportunities will be offered to enhance the understanding of the policies and the new requirements.

TBS will actively engage departments to encourage their participation in various fora that promote a common understanding of the policies and the new requirements. Learning Stage Available Resources

The following guides, publications and learning opportunities are available during this stage:

4.6.2 Planning Stage

Departments will launch their investment planning process, leveraging existing planning and decision-making mechanisms, and complete their OPMCA and PCRAs.

During this stage of implementation, TBS will support effective planning by collaborating with departments in establishing clear expectations for transition and an implementation plan.

During the planning stage, departments will be encouraged to develop a community of practice in support of each policy, and to engage departmental officials involved in coordinating the process. These communities of practice should include officials responsible for:

  • Compiling the planning information required to support investment decisions; (i.e. PCRAs, business plans, project proposals, financial information, etc)
  • Supporting and implementing investment planning decisions;
  • Completing the OPMCA; and
  • Coordinating the completion of the PCRA for all projects.

Throughout this stage, departments will also be encouraged to ensure that performance measures are established to evaluate both the effectiveness of the policy instruments and departmental transition efforts. Planning Phase Available Resources

The following guides, publications and learning opportunities are available to support activities during this phase:

  • Guide to Preparing Treasury Board Submissions;
  • Project Management Repository;
  • Project Complexity and Risk Assessment Tool and Guide;
  • Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment Tool and Guide;

4.6.3 Challenge Stage

During this stage, TBS will continue to work with client departments to support them in achieving compliance with TB policies by providing a challenge role on all relevant deliverables. This includes reviews of draft versions of department's investment plan, OPMCA, individual PCRAs and supporting evidence. This review will be done in consultation with other areas of TBS to ensure that department's receive comprehensive feedback from all parts of TBS.

Near the end of this stage, and once the investment planning process has been completed (along with the OPMCA), the department will develop a TB submission seeking approval of the investment plan and the organization's project management capacity (OPMC) class. Once the departmental OPMC class has been approved, departments will be able to determine which projects exceed their project management capacity and therefore will require approval and additional oversight by TB Ministers.  The department's investment plan will identify investments in assets and acquired services that may also require Treasury Board approval depending on the limit for the particular transaction (service, lease, real property, and contract investments) over the planning horizon.

4.6.4 Treasury Board Submission Stage

During this phase, each department will finalize its PCRAs, OPMCA and the TB submission which will include a proposal seeking approval of the investment plan and the OPMC class by Treasury Board Ministers. TBS will review these deliverables and work with departments to ensure that the content of each submission is accurate and make a compelling case to support the proposals, and that the department is in compliance with relevant TB policies.  TBS will provide policy advice and encourage departments to consider opportunities to enhance project management–related systems, skills, processes and management practices within their organizations.  This should inform decisions to improve organizational project management capacity and increase the likelihood of the successful achievement project outcomes.

4.7 Data Repository: Available Resources

TBS will develop and maintain a repository of information and resources that may be helpful to departments in transitioning to the new policies. This repository can be found on-line at:

The repository contains information such as:

  • Policies and standards
    Links are provided to relevant documents
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
    FAQ documents are provided that address implementation requirements of the policies.
  • Guide to preparing Treasury Board Submissions
    A guide, (plus examples), to preparing a Treasury Board submission.
  • OPMCA / PCRA Tools
    Links to the most up-to-date version of the assessment tool set
  • Guides to both the OPMCA and PCRA
    Guides, that provided additional information on the Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment and Project Complexity and Risk Assessments tool.
  • OPMCA / PCRA Training
    Training material and schedule information.
  • Plus other useful documents including business case templates and project charter templates

5 Conclusion

The successful implementation of the policies on investment planning and the management of projects across the Government of Canada will support improved accountability and strengthened management practices and controls across government.

The policies encourage departments to manage project risk as efficiently and effectively as possible, and identify at the planning stage those projects that are more complex, and that would benefit from additional oversight.  The OPMCA and the PCRA tools will also help deputy heads and Treasury Board Ministers identify complex and risky projects, regardless of estimated costs. This approach will ensure that projects seeking TB approval consider the specifically identified areas of risk, and proposed effective monitoring and mitigation strategies to ensure better information to support more tailored and focused oversight.

Overall, the policies provide and reinforce integrated management controls across the Government of Canada and establish a framework that will support the achievement of value-for-money and sound stewardship across the Government of Canada.

6 Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy instrument to the organizational unit in your department responsible for this subject matter. For interpretation of this policy instrument, the responsible organizational unit should contact: TBS Public Enquiries.