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Progress in Improving Project Management at the Department of Energy: 2001 Assessment
any policies and procedures depend on a commitment by DOE leadership to the task of continuous improvement of DOE project performance using the proven project management methods and techniques set out in these documents.
DOE POLICY P413.1 AND ORDER O413.3
Order O413.3 provides direction for program and project management for the acquisition of capital assets within the department. The order supplements P413.1, which established OECM, and provides additional detail on the office’s roles and responsibilities to support the deputy secretary as the secretarial acquisition executive in oversight of capital asset acquisition (DOE, 2000a, 2000d).
As a part of the process of implementing Order O413.3, OECM has conducted a number of meetings and workshops to respond to questions and comments and to obtain recommendations for improvements to O413.3 and related documents. The committee has reviewed O413.3 and conducted meetings at which DOE personnel and contractors gave presentations on the implementation of O413.3. The committee observes that O413.3 has proven effective in defining and implementing a number of fundamental and beneficial changes for the department that will improve long-term project performance; however, there are several clarifications, improvements, and adjustments that, while not changing the basic policy, would improve it. The committee therefore offers the following observations:
DOE should define the term “baseline,” as used in O413.3, to reflect the exact use of this term by Congress and the departmental obligations to manage projects to baseline values for scope, cost, and schedule.
The relationships among the department’s procurement, acquisition, and project management processes need clarification. The integrated project team (IPT) provides a framework for both acquisition and project management processes, but the policies and procedures on the IPT organization and requirements should be clarified and strengthened.
O413.3 should make it clear that there are no exceptions to the requirement that each project have a thorough, documented project plan to support every step in its approval process.
As recommended in the Phase II report, to increase the uniformity of information across the complex, the policy should require that all projects apply an earned value management system (EVMS) for reporting project performance. The policy should define the department’s EVMS reporting requirements and the cost accounting systems necessary to support EVMS so that they can be applied to all types of projects. Only short projects with total durations of less than 6 months should be excluded from this requirement.