Applying Project Management Principles to Key State Government Processes


Amanda Arriaga, Esq. and Jessica Iselt

Texas Department of Public Safety

Austin, Texas, USA


In 2012, the Texas Department of Public Safety established its first ever Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) to ensure that the Department focused on key priorities, maintained visibility on executive level initiatives, and completed projects successfully.

After a successful implementation of the EPMO, the principles related to the EPMO were applied to other important processes throughout the agency, including strategic planning, the legislative process and procurement.  Each new process has benefitted greatly from utilizing project management principles.

The authors will share their lessons learned on how they have effectively translated basic project management processes like planning, scheduling and cost analysis throughout the Texas Department of Public Safety. They will also share examples, tools, and techniques the audience can turn into actionable items within their organizations.


In December of 2011, the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety established an Enterprise Management Office to ensure that all of the Department’s priority projects were completed efficiently and effectively and to ensure he had visibility into the process along the way.

To accomplish what the Director wanted, the new EPMO leadership had to do more than establish a charter. They also had to market this concept to the various stakeholders within the agency to prove the value of the new process. In theory, most stakeholders agreed that transparency, communication, prioritization, resource alignment and risk mitigation were valuable goals for the agency. However, in practice, those concepts translated into new processes and seemingly “more work”.  This required the EPMO leadership to not only institute a new project management philosophy that had not typically been utilized by the organization, but also required an extensive use of change management skills.

The EPMO leadership systematically met with every group of stakeholders, tailoring the communication style to the audience.  They had to determine how to properly “sell” the concept.  For some stakeholders, it was enough that the Department is a para-military organization and the head of the organization said it needed to be done. Others listened to the sales pitch and nodded their heads and silently decided that they were not going to participate. After acknowledging the concerns of all stakeholders, the EPMO began implementing their new processes.


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 1st Annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium in College Park, Maryland, USA and included in the conference Proceedings in June 2014.  It is republished here with permission of the author and the Project Management Center for Excellence at the University of Maryland.

About the Authors

pmwj25-aug2014-Arriaga-AUTHOR1 ARRIAGAAmanda Arriagaflag-usa

Austin, Texas, USA

Amanda Arriaga is the Chief Administrative Officer at the Department of Public Safety, State of Texas, overseeing the functions of Human Resources, Facilities, Procurement & Contracts and Enterprise Projects.  She is also the co-chair of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication (TASSCC) Special Interest Group in Project Management, and President of the Austin Young Lawyer’s Association.  Amanda earned her BBA in Management from Texas A&M University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  She has served as Governor Rick Perry’s Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Border Affairs, and DPS Chief of Government and Media Relations.  Amanda can be contacted at[email protected].

pmwj25-aug2014-Arriaga-AUTHOR2 ISELTJessica Iselt flag-usa

Austin, Texas, USA

Jessica Iselt is the Deputy Assistant Director for Policy and Planning at the Department of Public Safety, State of Texas, directly overseeing the delivery of enterprise projects and agency procurements.  She is co-chair of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication (TASSCC) Special Interest Group in Project Management. She has leveraged her education in Communications through Arizona State University along with her experience as a software developer and information technology manager to manage multiple large-scale information technology and business projects and programs throughout her tenure at DPS.  Jessica can be contacted at [email protected].