Enhancing Large Software Purchases Policy

September, 2013
Campus IT Policies

The University of Texas at Austin  //  Enhancing Large Software Purchases  //  Office of the Chief Information Officer  //  Written By: Information Technology Services  //  Document Version: Approved  //  Last Edited: 9/19/2013

  1. Purpose

  2. Scope

  3. Tools

  4. Authoritative Source

  5. For Assistance

  6. Revision History

  7. Approvals


1. Purpose

UT System has issued UTS 140, which requires all component institutions to report large Information Technology efforts to UT System. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that information is shared, experiences and resources can be leveraged, and projects are appropriately managed based on their size and impact. The spirit of the policy is best expressed in this excerpt from the policy:

“Because of the costs and attendant risks associated with major software system selection and implementation and due to the varied experiences and expertise of our campus business and information technology leaders, it would seem both helpful and appropriate to maintain a process where the intent to make major software system decisions are communicated. Best practices can then be shared, consistent quality planning can be utilized, and [UT] System resources can be leveraged to reduce cost and risk.”

This document provides guidance for the implementation of UTS 140 at The University of Texas at Austin. Information Technology Services (ITS) strongly recommends that projects of significance be reported even if they may fall outside the specifications for a "large" project. This practice will help ensure transparency and sharing of information, which can benefit not only the university, but all UT System components and other public agencies in Texas.


2. Scope

In compliance with UTS 140, any major Information Technology effort undertaken by the UT Austin campus must be reported to UT System. Evaluation of size is determined using the UT Austin Project Sizing tool (see section 3.1 below). Information Technology efforts may include systems that are either purchased from a vendor or built by UT Austin.

Projects exempt from assessment and reporting are:

  • Routine maintenance of currently implemented systems OR

  • On-going licensing relationships OR

  • Software and hardware upgrades to support changing use and aging equipment/infrastructure


  • Software and hardware extensions and adaptations to currently implemented systems for which no competitive provider is available.


The result of the assessment process will be an evaluation of whether a project is a small, medium or large project. Large projects must be reported to UT System. In general, large projects can be defined as those for which:

  • Total implementation exceeds $1,000,000 (software and hardware purchase plus staff costs to integrate and fully implement) OR

  • Project length will exceed 1 year from staffing through rollout OR

  • Projects which will materially change the business or academic processes of the university.


As stated in the policy, the reporting process does not require the project to be approved by UT System. Existing campus policies for approving expenditures are still in place and are not changed by this practice.

If a project is identified as major and filed with UT System a set of project management documents pertaining to the work should also be created. These do not need to be completed prior to filing, nor is the set of documents exhaustive. The documents are intended to provide a framework based on best practices and improve the quality of the project delivery and raise the probability of success. The core elements are:

  • A project charter

  • A business case analysis

  • A steering committee and executive sponsor

  • A detailed estimated budget including ongoing maintenance costs

  • A source of funds

  • An estimated implementation schedule

  • A scope statement

  • A risk assessment

  • A project tracking plan with milestone reporting

  • A communication matrix

  • Provisions for ongoing performance reporting


See below for resources that can help you with these elements.



ITS, in conjunction with an advisory group comprised of stakeholders across campus, has implemented a project sizing tool that is appropriate to the scale of projects here at UT Austin and to the size of our population. In addition, we have provided project management tools to fulfill reporting requirements for large projects.


3.1. UT Austin Project Sizing Tool

Go to the instructions for using the UT Austin Project Sizing Tool spreadsheet and download the tool to assess your project. When you have completed the sizing process, take the following actions based on the result:

  • Large: Complete the Request for Inclusion on The University of Texas System Information System Improvement Program form (ISIP request form) and the Project Cost Worksheet. Submit all three completed documents (including the project sizing form) to the Information Technology Services UTS 140 contact at bpm73-submission@its.utexas.edu. ITS will submit them to the UT System Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer (AVC and CIO) for review and recommendations before contracts are negotiated or signed. Note: you should still submit your project if you have already signed contracts.

  • Medium or Small: Print your assessment and store it with your project files as a matter of practice. Further reporting is not required; however, as stated earlier, ITS recommends reporting projects of significance, even if they may not fall strictly into the "large" category.


You may elect to report your project and comply with this standard even if your project does not meet the large project criteria. If you choose to do so, follow the provisions laid out for a large effort and note the voluntary nature of your compliance when you file.


3.2. Project Management Tools

If your project falls into the "large" category, UT System requires you to complete certain project management elements. If your department or division already has a successful project management methodology and toolset, you may use that to document the required elements. You may also want to make use of the project management tools from the Texas Department of Information Resources.

Please note that the elements required by UT System do not comprise an entire project management methodology. Rather, each element is considered necessary to the successful completion of a large project.


4. Authoritative Source

The Chief Financial Officer has delegated authority on this policy and responsibility for its implementation to the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at The University of Texas at Austin.


5. For Assistance

Contact ITS at 512-232-5584 if you need assistance assessing your project.


6. Revision History

Enhancing Large Software Purchases


Updated links.




Converted from PDF to HTML




Converted web page to PDF




Updated visual appearance to new template. Corrected any out of date links to ensure they are pointing to the most current policy documents.




Changed title of document to "Enhancing Large Software Purchases (UTS 140)" and replaced all references to BPM 73 with UTS 140 to conform with UT System policy numbering changes. 









Linked to DIR project management tools.

"The Project Management Tools, provided through the Project Management Office (PMO), will help fulfill this requirement, simplify the management of your project, and ensure compliance with the policy. " "The PMO tools will include a variety of educational materials to help explain the purpose of each element and assist you in completing the requirement. Checklists, templates, worksheets, white papers, and examples are provided. In addition to the toolset that is specific to BPM 73, the PMO office will provide information about project management practices that can help you run your project. Regardless of the size of your project, you may find the tools and practices of the PMO helpful in managing your projects."

7. Approvals










Trouble viewing linked documents? Download Word Viewer or download Excel Viewer