committee identified specific aspects of project management at DOE that need improvement in order to bring the department’s project management procedures and project performance to an acceptable level of competence. The three previous NRC reports (NRC, 1999, 2001b, 2003) include 76 findings and 94 recommendations that the committee believes are still applicable. (See Appendix D for a compilation of findings and recommendations.) The previous findings and recommendations as well as those in this report address 10 recurring objectives for the changes needed to improve project management at DOE. The recurring objectives include the following:

  • Develop policies and procedures to define the DOE method of managing projects;

  • Create a project management culture across the agency that supports the consistent implementation of policies and procedures;

  • Provide leadership that ensures disciplined planning and execution of projects as well as support for continuous process improvement;

  • Provide a project management champion at the highest level of the department to ensure that a focus on the importance of project management is established and maintained;

  • Develop competence in fulfilling the owner’s role in strategic planning, front-end project planning, risk management, and project execution;

  • Apply rigorous project reporting and controls that include earned value systems; link day-to-day management data to periodic reporting and forecast time and cost to complete; and maintain historical data with which to benchmark project performance;

  • Document processes and performance to support benchmarking and trend analysis;

  • Invest in human capital by providing training and career development to ensure an adequate supply of qualified, skilled project directors and support staff;

  • Continue, refine, and document a program of external and internal project reviews; and

  • Employ innovative approaches to capital acquisition and the use of performance-based contracting.

This chapter provides the committee’s assessment of DOE’s progress in achieving these objectives and actions needed to continue progress toward an appropriate level of excellence in project management. Although the committee has provided suggested approaches, it believes that DOE senior managers have the responsibility to identify and apply metrics to define the appropriate level of excellence and to drive continuous process improvement.

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