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Progress in Improving Project Management at the Department of Energy: 2001 Assessment
excellence in project management. The committee appreciates the cooperation and support of the Office of Engineering and Construction Management (OECM), the project management support offices (PMSOs), and the other elements of DOE.
DOE has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve project management since the 1999 NRC report, Improving Project Management in the Department of Energy (the Phase II report), was published. In 1999, DOE established OECM and the PMSOs in three program secretarial offices (PSOs): the Office of Science, the Office of Defense Programs, and the Office of Environmental Management. The release of DOE Order O413.3, “Program and Project Management for the Acquisition of Capital Assets,” and the DOE-wide Program and Project Management 2000 Workshop, both in October 2000, were also notable steps in the right direction and indicative of greater interest and involvement on the part of the deputy secretary and the chief financial officer (CFO) in project management.
As stated in the Phase II report, effective and accountable project management should be a continuing priority for DOE and its leaders at all levels. Through actions taken to date, DOE has begun to address some of the core issues. However, a number of issues have not been resolved. The most important unresolved issues are: (1) the definition of the authority and scope of OECM; (2) the provision of adequate financial and staff resources to improve project management; (3) the development and implementation of contract performance-measurement systems; (4) the design and implementation of an information-management system that can track contracts and contractor performance and feed information back into key decisions; and (5) continued emphasis on close cooperation and trust within DOE and with its contractors that will be fundamental to the long-term effectiveness of project-management reforms.
Although the committee considers the organizational changes made so far as generally positive, they are only beginnings. In the 18 months since the Phase II report was published, DOE could not possibly have implemented all of the necessary project-management reforms or achieved a high level of excellence. Much more time and attention will be necessary to achieve the goals set out in the Phase II report, and the committee recognizes that, until reforms have taken effect throughout the organization, project-management failures can be anticipated. As stated in the Phase II report, there is no “quick fix” for DOE’s problems. Improving project management in DOE will require changes in organizational structures, documents, policies, and procedures, as well as substantial changes in the culture of the department. In order to be effective, these changes must be embraced at all levels of the organization, especially in field and project offices.
Based on information provided by DOE, the committee believes that OECM and the PMSOs do not have adequate resources to perform their many functions