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When city officials in Virginia Beach, Va., recognized the need for better project management training, they would not settle for a half-baked job.

They saw the potential for project management software to help them get a better grasp on the time and cost of information technology projects. But they also wanted their staff to learn basic project management skills.

Not satisfied with the available classes, Virginia Beach officials worked with Old Dominion University to develop a semester-long course that integrates training in project management tools and tenets. Courses began in late 2000.

All application developers and project managers must take the course, said David Sullivan, Virginia Beach's chief information officer. The initiative has paid off. "We are seeing projects stay on time and within budget," Sullivan said.

One improvement has been the use of regular executive project team meetings. These meetings, which last 30 minutes, include the project's IT manager, the contractor's program manager and the program manager for the agency that is involved.

As part of the initiative, city officials also took an inventory of ongoing IT projects, identifying 138 programs.

"It was the first time I was able to get a look at where all our resources are and what we are working on," Sullivan said.

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