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Quapital: quality in IT projects at the Luxembourg State (quapital)

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Published on: 08/06/2009 Document Archived

In the context of the strategic plan for the implementation of eGovernance put in place in 2004, there was an important need to have a framework able to manage and steer the different projects and the complete portfolio of projects in line to the strategy and to create a project culture within the State.

Based on these issues, QUAPITAL (Qualité dans les projets d'implémentation des TIC dans l'administration luxembourgeoise) was defined. In the beginning, the objectives of the project were the following:

  • Increase quality in projects in general, in gaining in efficiency (quality in the execution of projects) and getting more effective projects (quality in results)
  • Provide to all the stakeholders a common framework with the same terminology and concepts in order to facilitate communication
  • Increase maturity in project management and put in place a project culture
  • Define and develop the job of "project manager"
  • Put in place transparency for decision makers.
The project has been started with a defined scope to put in place a common and unique project management methodology which fits to the specificities of the public sector in Luxembourg.
A first change of the scope came very rapidly as the project team recognized that it was not sufficient to put in place a project management methodology but it was also necessary to have a framework and a permanent organization (Project Management Office) to manage the complete project portfolio limited by resources which are finite (in terms of manpower and finances).
The objectives were expanded with the following:
  • Be able to prioritize the right projects at the right moment based on the strategy and the limited resources
  • Having well defined and optimized portfolio management processes
  • Provide a reporting framework which gives accurate and up-to-date information in terms of costs, quality and time
The project QUAPITAL was therefore modified to constitute a program consisting of several projects:
  • Quapital-Methodology: putting in place common and unique project management methodology. The swiss project management methodology HERMES has been adapted to the specificities of the luxembourgish administration and implemented.
  • Quapital-Tools: putting in place the adequate tools to manage the project portfolio and the projects in a coherent way
  • Quapital-Organization and procedures of the Project Management Office (PMO): a complete framework and organization has been put in place to manage the project portfolio and the whole lifecycle of the projects from the initial evaluation based on prioritization criterias through the project controlling throughout the project until the project conclusion and the lessons learned capture. 
  • Quapital-Deployment: a detailed introduction concept had to be defined and implemented.
  • Quapital-Extranet: a website has been created accessible to all stakeholders within the state to have a complete information and collaboration platform related to Quapital.
HERMES has been introduced in January 2006, the PMO and the tools globally in September 2006. The Extranet is in place since end 2007.
The project portfolio managed with Quapital consists in approximately 50 projects managed in parallel, more than 100 projects have been concluded based on Quapital.
More than 150 people are trained in project management, the different methodologies and tools and we can observe a significant increase in project management maturity.
Projects are defined in a coherent way, they are decided or rejected on objective criteria's, managed and controlled in a standard view (relating to cost, quality, time, risks) and concluded with capture of lessons learned.

Policy Context

Quapital is fully integrated in the strategic framework of eGovernance. The strategy is materialized in the master plan for electronic Governance which defines the national eGovernance policy. This plan sets out the strategic objectives which are:

  • Transparency
  • Inclusion and participation
  • Public effeciency
  • Increased competitiveness of both the public and private sector
  • Increase of knowledge and know-how in Luxembourg
The master plan is subdivided in the following areas:
  • Organisation and management (where focus in on simplification of procedures and the development and use of norms and standards
  • Content and services (where state presence on the internet is promoted)
  • Education and training (where tools for the use of ICT and internet services are provided)
  • Technologies and infrastructure (to ensure interoperability between the state's information systems)
  • Security and privacy (where the main issues resolve around the electronic signatures and data privacy regulations)
Quapital figures under the area "organisation and management" given its objectives (simplification and optimization of procedures, creation of a standard in project and portfolio management, tools for management).
From 2004 until 2009, Quapital has been managed at "Service eLuxembourg", at that time responsible for all eGovernance projects of the State of Luxembourg. In May 2009, Service eLuxembourg and the central IT infrastructure
Finally, Quapital directly helps implementing the strategy giving the decision makers the necessary tools to authorize the projects at the right moment and providing the project managers and team members with the tools, methodologies and concepts to professionnally execute their projects.

Description of target users and groups

Project managers and team members

The main target group of Quapital are the project managers and team members which are executing the projects.

One of the main objectives of Quapital is to create a project culture among the project staff. There is a very strong need to train and develop professional and highly skilled project managers which are able to manage projects in a coherent way, ideally on time, on budget and with a high level of quality.


Decision-makers have to decide what projects have to be done when, with what resources (human and finance) and have to take the right decisions during the execution of the projects.

Quapital aims at deliver a high level of transparency on the project portfolio to the decision-makers. It is very important to have the possibility to decide based on standardized reports reflecting the most important facts presented in a objective way.

Private sector

The majority of our eGovernance projects are done in collaboration with external contractors from the private sector. It is therefore highly important that these stakeholders are aware of Quapital and are trained to the concepts and methodologies. Beyond this fact, Quapital tries to promote in general project management in the Luxembourg region.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Quapital was managed as a programme with the following interdependant projects


The overall objective of this project was to implement a common and standardized project management methodology applicable for all IT projects of the portfolio. First of all, the needs of the different stakeholders have been analysed in detail. Therefore, interviews have been held with the different stakeholders (among them project managers and external firms having worked with the state on IT projects). An analysis of the past projects has equally been done. Based on these results a SWOT analysis has been done to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threads. A "market analysis" has equally been conducted where the principal project management methodologies have been identified and analysed. Finally the project management methodology chosen was the Swiss methodology HERMES. Once the choice of the methodology done, the most important step of the adaptation has been realized. The different concepts, the lifecycle, roles and results of HERMES have all been analysed and then been adapted to be coherent to our specifications. An introduction concept, training concept and a marketing concept (communication plan) have been defined to support the implementation in all the public sector in Luxembourg. This was done in strong collaboration with a national research center (CRP Henri Tudor). The deployment itself has been managed in a seperate project (see below). The final result (Quapital-Hermes) has been validated by the CCME (Comité de Coordination de la Modernisation de l'Etat) chaired by the Minister responsible for eGovernance in January 2006.

Quapital-Organization and procedures of the Project Management Office (PMO)

This project aimed at formalizing the portfolio management for all eGovernance projects and putting in place the Project Management Office. Prioritization criteria based on the strategy (master plan for eGovernance) have been put in place.  The goal is to "choose the right projects at the right moment considering the limited human and financial resources". Defining indicators for managing and controlling the projects was a second result put in place. These indicators cover budget, time, resources, risks and quality issues. Documented and optimized portfolio processes have been issued. The organization itself (PMO) has been installed and its responsibilities defined. This covers the whole framework, from demand evaluation, through coaching and training as well as the management of the project management methodology.


To be able to manage the projects and the portfolio in a coherent way, a unique project and portfolio management tool had to be procured, adapted and implemented. A detailed specifications document has been established based on the needs of the different stakeholders (project managers, team, decision makers, PMO) and a market analysis has been conducted. The final choice (Planview - of the platform has been validated by a proof-of-concept. In January 2006, the realization phase started (this project was already executed based on QUAPITAL-HERMES). The project was introduced in September 2006 after a pilot phase.


A detailed introduction concept has been put in place which defined in detail how Quapital has to be deployed. This introduction concept consisted in four axis:

  • Prepare the introduction
  • Promote the methodology, concepts and tools
  • Train the users
  • Assure the support


An Extranet, based on the web presence norm of the State (ReNo), has been put in place which offers to the users all the informations needed to execute their projects (guides, processes, etc.) and access to the tools implemented (Planview, forum, etc.)

After the deployment, the Quapital initiative is now managed via the PMO who is there to promote the initiative and is responsible for all the activities related to Quapital (training, evaluation, etc.)

Technology solution

The project management methodology which has been put in place is Hermes, the Swiss project management methodology ( It is completely free and has been adapted to the specificities and needs of the administration in Luxembourg.

The business processes have been documented and optimized using the tool ARIS, which helps modelling processes. These business processes rely on best practices in the field.

The project and portfolio management tool which has been implemented is Planview PPM ( It is completely web-based. The database used is SQL Server. For reporting issues Business Objects is used.

The Extranet Quapital is developed under the generalized CMS tool of the State. It is realized in conformance with ReNo, which manages the ergonomy and accessibility issues of the Website. For more details about ReNo, please refer to the specific case submitted.

An interface has equally been developed between SAP and Planview to import and ventilate the different engagements and payments on the projects.

Technology choice: Proprietary technology, Standards-based technology, Mainly (or only) open standards

Main results, benefits and impacts

As already described above, project management maturity was very low prior to the initiative, there was no real project culture and the job of "project manager" was not identified at all. 

After 5 years, significant progress has been achieved. 

 The project portfolio managed with Quapital consists in approximately 50 projects managed in parallel, more than 100 projects have been concluded based on Quapital.

Quality in general has progressed in projects, due to a better initial definition of projects, a proper evaluation based on the overall strategy and a project controlling helping to anticipate problems and take corrective actions.
Over 150 people are trained in project management, the different methodologies and tools and we can observe a significant increase in project management maturity. 10 internal persons are at the moment Hermes certified, the goal is to have more and more project managers certified.
Projects are defined in a coherent way, they are decided or rejected on objective criterias, managed and controlled in a standard view (relating to cost, quality, time, risks) and concluded with capture of lessons learned.
Decision-makers have a transparent view on the complete project portfolio and on every project in particular based on standardized indicators (costs, time, etc.)
In the private sector, more and more firms use Hermes as project management methodology, working with the state but equally for other projects. Nearly 100 persons from the private sector in Luxembourg are Hermes certified.


Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

This case can be transfered, adapted and implemented in other organisations or governments. 

We are very open to share our initiative with others and have contacts with Swiss, Belgian and French actors to share our experiences with them.

We were chosen as best practice case and exchanged with peers at the 4th Quality conference in Tampere, Finland in 2006.

A lot of contacts and exchanges are equally held with actors from the private sector in Luxembourg (mainly banking sector) and we are very active in the field of project management in general in Luxembourg (speaker at project management conferences, etc.) trying to promote project management in Luxembourg. 

Lessons learnt

Lesson learnt 1:

When putting in place a project management system, the most important success factor is management support. A common project management methodology and a portfolio management system means that you have to do a lot of change management and therefore you need a very strong management which supports you throughout the whole project and beyond.

Lesson learnt 2:

It is not sufficiant to put in place a project management methodology. You have to build the structures around which can manage the whole framework. If this is not the case, the project cannot succeed. A strong Project Management Office is needed, installed at the right level in the hierarchy (on the strategic level), that manages the initiative through the project lifecycle and once it is in operations. 

Lesson learnt 3:

An integrated informatic tool is needed for the planification as well as the controlling of the project management portfolio and every project in particular and equally has to be the same for every stakeholder. But it always has to have a supportive character, first you have to define your project management methodology, your portfolio management processes, criterias and indicators. It is possible to manage projects without a tool but it is very hard to manage a project in a professional way without well defined project management principles.

Scope: National