Governance Model

The DataLink Governance Model at its core will provide a ‘partner’ to its Client’ IT group in servicing its business community and its customers. The proposed Governance Model addresses the critical components in successful engagement management and provides an effective framework for managing the complexities of change programs. The Governance Model is the keystone that holds interrelated projects of a business change program together.

Salient Features of the DataLink Governance Model

DataLink views the services contract with Client as the beginning of a strategic relationship between the two companies. This view drives our proposed governance model, which builds in significant management commitment and processes to make this relationship a success. Highlights of our model include:

  • DataLink Program Manager at Client site will hold bottom-line responsibility and will be accountable for the delivery of the program. From a program execution perspective, he will be DataLink single-point-of-contact (SPOC) for Client
  • DataLink leadership team will have oversight of this important Client program and will play a role in the governance at appropriate levels
  • The DataLink Engagement team will have direct access to the Head of Business Unit who will be the DataLink Executive Sponsor for the client account. This will promote high visibility of the Client account and provide a short escalation path

Project Level – DataLink Program Manager will work closely with the individual DataLink Functional and onsite Execution leads who will interface with Client Functional leads and other program support members to plan and execute day-to-day operations. They will mutually decide about the priority of the tasks and deployment of the suitable resources.

Performance Reviews under the Governance Model
The DataLink Program Manager will be the first level for project control, and takes corrective action for any deviations from the project plan. The DataLink Program Manager will also be responsible for reviewing and submitting weekly status reports for his team to the Client Program Manager highlighting issues that need to be addressed and resolved.

  • Status reviews
    Weekly group meetings will be held to keep a tab on progress, issues, and concerns. Weekly status report will be submitted on the progress of the program. The weekly status report will contain the following information:
    • Project schedule
    • Activities performed during the previous week
    • Activities missed during the previous week and reasons for the same
    • Activities planned for the current week
    • Issues requiring clarification
    • Escalation, if any
    • Escalate issues, which may affect the delivery schedule
  • Management Reviews
    It will be the joint responsibility of the Client and DataLink management teams to set-up and co-ordinate the above meetings with the appropriate stakeholders.

DataLink Program Management Framework organizes the Program Management processes into four main phases linked by the results they produce—the result or outcome of one becomes input to another.


A program will follow a path comprising of the following four phases:

  • Planning - During the Planning stage, the program management team defines Plans, Processes and Procedures, Tools and Techniques, and metrics to properly manage the said Core-Processes
  • Execute - During the Execution stage, the program management team executes the program in accordance with pre-defined plans set forth for the said Core-Processes
  • Control - During the controlling stage, the program management team monitors the Core-Processes by analyzing and managing the metrics defined during Planning for the initiative by:
    • Tracking the performance of the projects at milestones and recommending corrective actions as required
    • Monitoring the implementation of corrective actions
    • Tracking the program against the performance limits and taking corrective actions
  • Close - During the Closing stage, the program management team manages the completion of the initiative by:
    • Performing analysis to compare the performance of the various projects
    • Capturing learnings and updating the process documentation
    • Submitting the lessons learned document to all stakeholders
    • Capturing the project teams feedback
    • Generating, gathering and disseminating information to formalize project completion

DataLink Program Management Framework (developed primarily from DataLink engagement experiences, compliant with PMI [Project Management Institute] Body of Knowledge on Program Management) will focus on the release-based development plan as suggested in the proposed solution. DataLink will leverage its expertise on large development program management on system integration.

Standard Program Management framework has several core-processes that are performed through multiple phases of activities – Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing. DataLink will adopt tailored 6 core-processes for effective Program Management: (1) scope management (2) time management (3) cost management (4) quality management (5) communication management and (6) risk management.

Scope Management

Major activities during this process will be on scope planning, definition, verification and change management. Program management team, CCB (Change Control Board) and project teams would participate actively in this phase.

Scope changes will be tracked closely and reported to Client Program Manager as and when they are detected. Changes may occur due to specific Client requirements or due to technical issues during execution. Changes may occur in several areas. Some common changes are illustrated:

  • New set of product requirements are identified during the discovery phase
  • Functional or Non-functional requirements may change due to business or IT needs
  • Approved Design may be adjusted in response to technical constraints or opportunities
  • Addition of wish-list: better features to enhance the product capabilities
  • Coding standards may need to be changed to incorporate defect analysis findings
  • Delays in deliverables preparation or review or sign-off may cause changes to the effort baseline

Changes may impact effort, cost and schedule and may add or remove risks from the project. All changes will be logged and analyzed for impact on the program. Major changes will be taken up after approval by CCB comprising key members from Client and DataLink.

Changes requested by Client will be logged by the DataLink Program Manager, along with analysis for impact on the project. A change request form will be submitted to CCB for approval. Change requests that are approved will be attached to the project contract.

Thresholds (individual and cumulative)

Change in effort up to 40 hours for a given month will not be escalated to Client. This will be absorbed by DataLink. Any change in effort beyond 40 hours per month will be reviewed by stated change management process by CCB.

The DataLink team will use the change request process for new requirements, changes to work in progress or for changes to deliverables that have been accepted by Client.

Change Request Template

The template given here will be used to log and monitor changes during the lifecycle of the project

Request number  
Description of change  
Impact on the project
a. Schedule
b. Effort
c. Cost
Status of the change
Date requested
Date approved/rejected  
Date to be delivered by  
Date completed  
DataLink program manager Client program manager
Name Name
Signature and Date Signature and Date

Time Management

Major activities in this process are a) Activity Definition b) Activity Sequencing c) Activity Duration Estimation d) Schedule Development and e) Schedule Control.

Program Management Team and Project Team actively participate in this process. Project scheduling is done during the project initiation stage. Microsoft Project is used for scheduling and monitoring. The following general guidelines are used for scheduling:

  • To determine a Work Break down Structure (WBS), high-level activities are identified and each high-level activity is broken down into one or more sub-activities.
  • Schedule will be prepared in view of all dependencies on Client members in consultation with them.
  • Schedule is entirely driven by the program effort (by DataLink and Client) which is formed during the project sizing exercise. DataLink will bring in its expertise in highlighting key sensitive-spots in the schedule those will be useful during the risk management process.
  • Resources are identified for each portion of the activity and the effort assignment is then fine-tuned. The project schedule will be finally approved by the DataLink Program Manager and Client Program Manager and will be base lined
  • DataLink uses MS Project integrated with the in-house Time Management system. It helps in providing a quantitative and objective measure of project progress and gives continuous updates on the project schedule to keep pace with project dynamics. Schedule tracking is an important piece of program management and is managed through automated process and defined audit processes.

Cost Management

Core activities done in this case are resource planning, cost estimating, cost budgeting and cost control. Resource planning and cost estimating are being done during pre-engagement phase i.e. proposal stage. Typically, the other 2 crucial activities i.e. cost budgeting and controlling are done through out the program.

Quality Management

Core activities in this process are quality planning, quality assurance and quality control. Though the project team is typically responsible for the entire quality management, management council and Program Management Team also have the responsibility of providing direction and taking the right decisions.

The Quality Department (QD) maintains and enhances this repository every quarter, based on experience gained from project implementations and benchmarking international practices. The Quality documentation is available to all project personnel through the Intranet. It includes checklists, document templates, and standards and guidelines for forms and coding.

Each program executed at DataLink has a dedicated program manager at onsite and offshore who oversee the program management aspects. DataLink’ philosophy of instilling quality as part of the work culture rather than having quality as an independent aspect has resulted in integrating management aspects with quality aspects of the project. The program manager is responsible for defining the excellence goals for the projects and confirming that these goals are met. He or she is provided with resources and authority to use innovative approaches in meeting these goals.

  • Each new program executed is backed by the knowledge and experience gained from the earlier program implementations. A repository of information on previous experiences is made available to projects through tools and systems that have been established.
  • As part of quality management DataLink emphasizes strongly on configuration management process. It is highly recommended that a structured configuration control process is defined for the entire program. Intent is to avoid use of the wrong version of any file. Version mismatch may result in additional programming effort, features inconsistent with requirements, extension of deadlines, performance-related issues, or inconsistency across different modules of software delivered.
    To avoid these pitfalls, DataLink will follow a well-defined Configuration Management (CM) Process involving the process of identifying, organizing and controlling modifications to the software being developed and the related work-products being created.

Changes to configuration items could be triggered by requirement changes, enhancement requests, trouble reports, or modification requests for documents. In case the configuration items are under revision or review, the previous version of the document and the software that is currently being modified will always be maintained in the baseline.

The DataLink configuration management methodology is flexible, process-driven, and not tool-specific. However, based on Client configuration management needs appropriate CM tools will be adopted. Every member of a project or program undergoes CM training on start-up that covers both principles and specific tools. DataLink can easily accommodate any specific tools, which Client may mandate.

DataLink has wide experience in managing concurrent development by multiple teams at multiple locations. The configuration strategy will be decided in concurrence with Client during the project planning stage.

Configuration Management Activities

The configuration management covers the following activities:
  • Version control
  • Base lining procedure
  • Change control procedure
  • Reconciliation procedure
These CM procedures ensure that:
  • The software conforms to requirements
  • The software has undergone reviews and tests
  • The correct version of any work product is used at any point of time
  • All components of the delivered software are consistent with each other
  • Correct version of the software components are shipped to Client site

DataLink recognizes that Quality is vital, essential and critical to Client satisfaction on the program delivery. On that line DataLink proposes key quality performance reviews that are discussed in detail in the performance metrics process section of the program management. Few of the review measures are Milestone reviews, SQA Audits, Project Review by DataLink Senior Management and Configuration Management audit.

Communication Management

Activities covered in this process are planning, information distribution, performance reporting and administrative closure. Project Team and Program Management Team have very important roles in managing this process during the program.

DataLink has created a set of best practices based on prior large program experiences in dealing with the coordination challenges created by time zone differences, distance, lack of face time etc. These are enumerated below:

Communication Management Plan

DataLink will craft a well defined Communication Management Plan based on the suggested governance model for the Client’ program. The Communication Management Plan defines the various touch points between the key project stakeholders (from Client and DataLink) in terms of the type of communication, objective and frequency. This plan is updated and published to all stakeholders on a regular basis. Optimum use of different forms of communication is made based on the communication requirement. (E-mail, Video/Teleconference, in-person meetings, messenger, etc)

DataLink Program Team Structure
The program management structure defines the communication path between DataLink on-site team and the offshore team of the Client’ program. Each member of the team is clear on whom they interact for what. All the program team members will have email, tele-conference and video conference facilities and we use this to maximum for communication between DataLink staff as well as with client.

Status reports and review meetings between the on-site team and the offshore team keep the complete team updated with the current information. The Client Relationship Manager and the DataLink Program Manager maintain a constant communication with their counterparts at Client and provide them with up-to-date information.

Managing the time difference

Tele-conferences are scheduled in advance (morning and evening, if required) to effectively manage the hand-offs between the project locations in US and DataLink India. DataLink teams make extensive use of our internal VOIP infrastructure to connect between the proposed US and India locations. This is very cost-effective and allows team members at all levels to connect to team members across locations, as and when required.

The DataLink team at Client site plays a key role in ensuring that Client and the offshore team get the appropriate communication at the right time.

All the key Program Management tools (including defect/issue tracking and time tracking) are available on our intranet. This gives a single view of the project to all the team members. It allows the teams to be more productive and reduce non-value add co-ordination activities resulting in cost savings to Client.

Off hours Communication
The DataLink Client Relationship Manager, Program Manager and other on-site project consultants will have direct communication with respective Client stakeholders during Client’ normal working hours.

Type of Communication Stakeholders Objective Frequency
Project Status Meeting DataLink Program Manager, Client Program Manager Status check and outstanding issues discussion. Weekly
Project Team Meeting DataLink Program/Track Team, Client Program/Track Team Discussion on specific issues. Work product review, Detailed Status review. Weekly or As Required.
Program Team Lead’s Meeting DataLink Onsite Functional and Execution Leads, Client Functional Leads
Inter project Issue resolution.
Inter project Dependency and Risk Identification.
Knowledge sharing Status check.
Program Team Meeting DataLink Program Team Members under the Program
Client Program Team members under the Program
Big Picture View and update to help members identify how their work contributes to the program objective.
High Level update from the project team leads
Knowledge and Information Dissemination
Program Management Oversight Meeting DataLink Program Manager, Client Program Manager
Address major program issues
Program status check
Gain/Sustain Commitment
Keep Program visible
Ensure necessary resources are available
Daily hand-off call between onsite and offshore DataLink onsite team members, DataLink offshore team members To facilitate collaboration of work between onsite and offshore teams Daily
Written documents, letters / E-mail DataLink Program Manager, DataLink Offshore Program Lead , DataLink Analyst, Client Functional Lead, Client Architect / Tech Lead, Client Business SME To disseminate information as and when required All project related document as soon as ready; Status reports weekly

DataLink’ reporting strategy for the engagement with Client intends to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Ensure tight coordination between multiple project teams from Client and DataLink working on different segments/components of the system
  • Provide Client / DataLink Management with clear visibility into progress on deliverables at all development locations (onsite and offshore)
  • Provide the Program Management Office with current information on project and program progress against stated objectives (in terms of functionality, timelines, effort and quality)
  • Permeate the program objectives and Client’ expectations to build a common understanding of purpose across the project teams

The following chart shows the sample reports, frequency of update, reporting responsibility, recipients that DataLink proposes to use to communicate to Client management:
Report Category Sample Report Frequency Reporting Responsibility Recipients
Project Information Status Report Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly DataLink Program Manager - (Engagement Level)
DataLink Lead(s) – (Project Level)
Client Program Manager and selected key stakeholders
Project Information Milestone Reports Monthly DataLink Program Manager Client Sponsor(s) and Program Manager
Project Information Information repository -
Project docs and collaterals
Online DataLink Program Manager (Engagement Level)
DataLink Lead(s) – (Project Level)
All stakeholders
Customer Issues / Complaints Escalation Reports
As per need DataLink Client Relationship Manager, DataLink Program Manager Client Sponsor(s), Program Manager

Risk Management

In this process risk/issue assessment is done followed by their control. Management Council, Program Management Team and Project Team are responsible for managing the activities under this process. An effective approach to risk identification and management, in the form of a risk management plan, is crucial to the success of our engagement with Client.

Risk management process will be extremely important to the overall program control and success. DataLink will adopt the suitable risk management framework that addresses project objective related risks (quality, cost and schedule), people risks, end-user risks, technological challenges/risks and any other operational risks.

The risk management plan will be dynamic in nature as the risks identified by the program keep changing with time; new risks emerge, the severity of identified risks may increase or decrease. Therefore, the risk management plan has to be regularly tracked and modified to reflect the changing realities of the program by both DataLink and Client program managers.

Key activities in risk management include:

  • Risk identification
  • Risk prioritization
  • Risk mitigation

Risk mitigation tasks are executed during the project and risks are re-evaluated at project milestones and more frequently if necessary. Additional risks, if any, are also identified and risk mitigation steps are executed. The status of risks is continuously tracked/reviewed using the regular status reporting mechanism.

Probability and Impact will be assessed for all the above possible risks during initiation and subsequent phases and a firm mitigation plan will be in place. Risk Exposure is calculated as a product of the assessed values for probability and impact.

During program execution the mitigation steps are executed and the effectiveness of the mitigation is continuously tracked, and if any additional risks appear during the project lifecycle, they are put through the same cycle as described above. The status of risks is continuously tracked/reviewed using a regular, standardized status-reporting mechanism. DataLink and Client Program Managers will classify the project as a High or Low risk type for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Issue Tracking

DataLink program manager will be responsible for tracking, escalation and reporting status of issues raised by the all stakeholders. An issue management plan, which defines the categorization of issues into different severity levels (Critical, Major, Minor) and appropriate follow up, tracking and reporting process to be followed, will be created for the program. Critical and major issues will be highlighted in the status reports and status meetings along with ageing data to facilitate attention from appropriate level of the governance team. An appropriate issue management tool can be decided during the Planning phase.

For managing issues internal to the DataLink team, DataLink follows an issue management process called IssueRegister. This tool is also available on DataLink intranet to facilitate single view of the system to all the team members. The tool has a host of features which makes it very effective in reducing the issue resolution cycle time leading to minimal impact on the project delivery.

DataLink Program Management Tools and Techniques

DataLink believes that program management tools are a critical component in the overall program delivery services. For a Client’ engagement, DataLink will subscribe to the use of a variety of tools that will assist all aspects of the program.

In order to achieve productivity improvements and improved quality, DataLink will deploy several of these tools as part of the overall solution. Furthermore, over the duration of this engagement, DataLink will work with Client in evaluating other third party tools/in-house tools that Client is currently using, to come up with a best of breed set of tools for managing the MMP program.

Activity Tool Update Frequency
Project Management One Point Project, MSP Ongoing basis
Activity Tracking TimeSheet Management Tool Daily
Issue Tracking IssueRegister Daily
Defect Tracking MS Excel
Ongoing basis
Revising estimation guidelines
SMC/FP Methodology
As required
Training Requirements and Compliance MS Excel Ongoing basis
Resource Allocation and Skill Tracking Intranet-based Allocation Tool Ongoing basis
Knowledge Management Document Management Ongoing basis

Some of these tools have been developed internally at DataLink based on our rich understanding of program management practices for application development and maintenance projects.

Most of the tools that are represented here are based at offshore which are accessed by the DataLink consultants from anywhere in the globe and reported to the clients.

Onsite-Offshore Engagement Model

Business Security

Physical Security

  • Security against fire hazards
  • 24x7 perimeter and building-level security provided by Group-4 Securicor
  • Photo ID and Proximity Card-based entry access
  • Access restrictions for sensitive installations like Data Centers, backup storage rooms

Network Security

  • Restricted access to networks where required by clients including isolated networks
  • Internet-traffic controlled by Firewalls, Proxies, Router Access Control Lists
  • Anti virus controls
  • Implementation of policies on Logical Access Control during project/program execution

Data Security

  • Data back-up process (with offsite storage) and file restoration process
  • Restriction to data repository (physical and logical through Access Control Lists)
  • Restriction to use of Data Transfer Devices
  • Restricted access to building and the data center as well
  • Controlled access to project data through effective Configuration Management