2

Project Structure and Management

The committee finds that it was wise, and even necessary, to dividethe CCAM into more manageable subsections or modules. The time constraintsalone require such a breakdown, but the range of required technicalexpertise is also too great for any single team to cover. The companionto this decentralized approach is a need for detailed planning andfrequent communication between the module teams. This kind of coordinationappears to be missing. As a result, there were duplicated efforts(e.g., in water modeling), gaps in coverage (e.g., inadequate coverageof mangrove areas), and a serious lack of clarity about what inputseach module needed from the others and what outputs each was expectedto provide. Seeing this kind of disconnect almost halfway throughthe life of the project is cause for concern and calls for immediatechanges in project structure if a functional product is to be deliveredby the June deadline. The various module-specific teams should bebrought together as soon as possible to hammer out a roadmap detailingthe needed inputs to and outputs from each module and precisely describingthe connections and feedback between them. Frequent and regular contact(at least monthly and possibly weekly) should then be maintainedto compare notes, discuss unforeseen difficulties, and amend theroadmap as needed. High-level planning and inter-module coordinationshould receive attention and resources from the study sponsors andthe contractor on a par with the investment being made in each module.If it does not already exist, an appropriate task should be createdunder the Corps contract to cover coordination efforts.

The committee was impressed by the caliber and dedication of thelarge group of experts who attended the initial planning sessionsand participated in the January workshop. These individuals representan invaluable resource that has not been used as thoroughly and effectivelyas it might be. Although frequent large workshops may be impractical,an efficient and highly cost-effective approach might be for eachmodule team to meet and/or hold conference calls regularly with small(2-4 person), subject-specific advisory groups who could offer technicalinput, criticism, and encouragement along the way. Of course, allexperts will not agree on every issue; however, the broad discomfortexpressed with basic aspects of the CCAM modules during the Januaryworkshop was surprising and reflected a lack of ongoing communicationbetween the contractors and the expert advisors.

Due in part to the factors mentioned above, the rate of progresson the CCAM has been slower than will be needed to meet the ambitioustimeline. The committee was not presented with a comprehensive pictureof the level and distribution of resources for the project, so itis not possible to comment on this aspect. Some workshop participantssuggested that the “task order” contractual arrangement between the contractorand the Corps may create a drag on progress by emphasizing sequentialrather than parallel tasks. If this is the case, a serious effortshould be made to initiate multiple, overlapping tasks, includingsome open-ended tasks that address overall coordination and long-rangeproject planning. Whatever the solution, the pace will have to increaseconsiderably, or the goals will have to be scaled down, if the projectis to be completed in a satisfactory manner by the completion date.Alternatively, the Keys Study sponsors might consider amending the timeline.



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Interim Review of the Florida Keys Carrying Capacity Study 2 Project Structure and Management The committee finds that it was wise, and even necessary, to dividethe CCAM into more manageable subsections or modules. The time constraintsalone require such a breakdown, but the range of required technicalexpertise is also too great for any single team to cover. The companionto this decentralized approach is a need for detailed planning andfrequent communication between the module teams. This kind of coordinationappears to be missing. As a result, there were duplicated efforts(e.g., in water modeling), gaps in coverage (e.g., inadequate coverageof mangrove areas), and a serious lack of clarity about what inputseach module needed from the others and what outputs each was expectedto provide. Seeing this kind of disconnect almost halfway throughthe life of the project is cause for concern and calls for immediatechanges in project structure if a functional product is to be deliveredby the June deadline. The various module-specific teams should bebrought together as soon as possible to hammer out a roadmap detailingthe needed inputs to and outputs from each module and precisely describingthe connections and feedback between them. Frequent and regular contact(at least monthly and possibly weekly) should then be maintainedto compare notes, discuss unforeseen difficulties, and amend theroadmap as needed. High-level planning and inter-module coordinationshould receive attention and resources from the study sponsors andthe contractor on a par with the investment being made in each module.If it does not already exist, an appropriate task should be createdunder the Corps contract to cover coordination efforts. The committee was impressed by the caliber and dedication of thelarge group of experts who attended the initial planning sessionsand participated in the January workshop. These individuals representan invaluable resource that has not been used as thoroughly and effectivelyas it might be. Although frequent large workshops may be impractical,an efficient and highly cost-effective approach might be for eachmodule team to meet and/or hold conference calls regularly with small(2-4 person), subject-specific advisory groups who could offer technicalinput, criticism, and encouragement along the way. Of course, allexperts will not agree on every issue; however, the broad discomfortexpressed with basic aspects of the CCAM modules during the Januaryworkshop was surprising and reflected a lack of ongoing communicationbetween the contractors and the expert advisors. Due in part to the factors mentioned above, the rate of progresson the CCAM has been slower than will be needed to meet the ambitioustimeline. The committee was not presented with a comprehensive pictureof the level and distribution of resources for the project, so itis not possible to comment on this aspect. Some workshop participantssuggested that the “task order” contractual arrangement between the contractorand the Corps may create a drag on progress by emphasizing sequentialrather than parallel tasks. If this is the case, a serious effortshould be made to initiate multiple, overlapping tasks, includingsome open-ended tasks that address overall coordination and long-rangeproject planning. Whatever the solution, the pace will have to increaseconsiderably, or the goals will have to be scaled down, if the projectis to be completed in a satisfactory manner by the completion date.Alternatively, the Keys Study sponsors might consider amending the timeline.