AWS Public Sector Blog

Best practices for project management in the AWS Cloud

AWS branded background with text overlay that says "Best practices for project management in the AWS Cloud"

Amazon Web Services (AWS) employs project management principles to deliver public sector cloud outcomes. These principles drive successful service launches, new solutions, and workload migrations. This blog post highlights project management tools, references, and AWS Management Console tips that give public sector customers better project visibility, automate task management, and help accelerate project outcomes.

1. Develop a governance strategy

A governance strategy enables an organization to manage multiple cloud projects simultaneously in a flexible, coordinated, and interdependent way. This helps teams have a common framework, align on security and compliance requirements, and coordinate with the right personnel. The following tips can help your agency develop a governance strategy.

  • Review governance examples – The AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF) provides a detailed perspective on governance, which includes program and project management. This perspective defines a project management office, the importance of cloud-specific governance reviews, and the value in applying an agile approach to cloud projects.
  • Document security and compliance requirements – For public sector customers, minimizing security and compliance risks are integral factors to consider in the strategy to manage cloud projects. Document the requirements and then consider available solutions to meet those requirements. Review the AWS list of services in scope by compliance program to make sure to use the appropriate AWS services that meet your compliance needs.
  • Apply a governance framework – The AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) provides a comprehensive governance framework for migrating your workloads to the cloud. This framework applies project management principles to deliver outcomes, such as agile-based migration methodology, tools, and training, that can be applicable to cloud migration or other cloud-based projects. Consider the functionality required to manage tasks.
  • Develop an implementation strategy – If your organization needs an implementation approach, consider a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE). This is a multi-disciplinary team that implements the governance, best practices, training, and architecture needed for cloud adoption in a manner that provides repeatable patterns for future projects. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Infrastructure Services Division launched a CCoE with a small cross-discipline team. Over time, they expanded the skill sets to support the full suite of IT services, including adding subject matter experts, application infrastructure and development, and automating code testing and deployment. “Cloud services are entirely software-defined. This allowed us to embrace infrastructure as code and completely reimagine how we architect, manage, and deliver our services,” said Walter Rowe, NIST division chief for infrastructure services.

2. Validate requirements by working backwards

With core requirements gathered, public sector agencies then define and prioritize projects that align with the overall cloud strategy. AWS conducts Working Backwards workshops with public sector agencies to help customers learn and use Amazon’s innovation mechanisms to solve their organizations’ mission-critical problems. These workshops address five key questions:

  • Who is the customer, and what insights do we have about them?
  • What is the prevailing customer problem or opportunity?
  • What is the solution and most important customer benefit?
  • How do we describe the solution and the experience to customers?
  • How do we test the solution with customers and measure success?

In 2021, Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training collaborated with AWS on a Working Backwards process that improved transparency for unemployment insurance claims. In a second example, technology company Civix conducted a Working Backwards workshop with AWS to reimagine voter experience. The City of Bellevue, Washington, used a similar workshop to address its Vision Zero strategy to improve road safety.

With this data, project teams can generate a path and project plan to deliver project outcomes. Contact your account team if you are interested in learning more about a Working Backwards workshop.

3. Select the right project management tools

With a governance strategy, requirements, and a project plan in place, the next step is deciding the tools that aid the project’s success. Standardizing the tools can also help improve project efficiency. It reduces training time, eases stakeholder communications, and improves governance for inspecting one or multiple projects.

The following tips can help your agency select the right tool for your cloud project.

  • Status reports – Consider tools that can support reporting frequency, communicate success metrics and progress against milestones, and are accessible to the right stakeholders. Examples: Amazon QuickSight and Tableau.
  • Managing costs – Select tools that help track and manage project resources to keep the budget on track. Examples: Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) Storage Lens and AWS Compute Optimizer.
  • Task management – Consider the functionality required to manage tasks. Cloud projects have high variability in the types of tasks a project team might undertake. If your cloud project is to develop software, it may require specific task management functionality for the project’s planning, such as sprint planning, user stories, and Kanban boards. Examples: Amazon CodeCatalyst and GitHub.
  • Organizational needs – Consider tooling needs that meet your organizational requirements. For example, an organization may need a tool by a specific date, one that is compliant with an existing enterprise license agreement, or one that adheres to a specific compliance regime. Examples: Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Marketplace and AWS Marketplace.

Understanding a tool’s availability, functionality, and integration requirements can help agencies select the best tool to advance their cloud project.

4. Project management execution using AWS services

The AWS Management Console can also help augment project management activities, governance, and cost management.


Agencies can accelerate cloud outcomes by employing project management principles. At the organizational level, good governance policies and tools can support interdependent projects that align with the organization’s cloud strategies. Within a project, validating the requirements, selecting the right tools, and using automation or technology wherever possible can help agencies deliver project activities faster. AWS continues to develop tools, services, and solutions that support public sector agencies in meeting their cloud project outcomes.

Read related stories on the AWS Public Sector Blog:

Rochelle Casey

Rochelle Casey

Rochelle is a principal program manager within Project Kuiper, working closely with Amazon Web Services (AWS). She previously supported AWS technology and innovation projects, strategy, and operational planning. Rochelle has experience leading projects for federal customers such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Department of State. She is a strong advocate for bringing more women to technology.

Courtney Maatta

Courtney Maatta

Courtney is a senior customer solutions manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS). She supports AWS federal customers and partners with cloud migration strategy, planning, and delivery. Courtney has more than a decade of experience supporting federal customers and their IT programs across agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Commerce.