Finding. The committee has observed that permanent improvement in DOE project management is impeded by high personnel turnover, inadequate numbers of project personnel, and inadequate training of project management personnel. Since its January 2001 letter report (NRC, 2001a), the committee has urged DOE to institute a career development program to improve personnel retention, to expand the inadequate staff of professional project managers (project directors), and to institutionalize best practices by implementing policies and procedures. Because change in leadership at DOE is inevitable, the project management champion should strive to institutionalize improvements in the organization, policies, procedures, and project management culture throughout the department.
Recommendation. The DOE deputy secretary is the department’s chief operating officer and chief acquisition executive. As such, the deputy secretary has been given the responsibility for assuring that projects are effectively planned and executed. To perform these functions, the deputy secretary either should be the champion for project management improvement or should appoint someone to perform this role, reporting to the deputy secretary (see footnote on page 41).
Recommendation. The DOE program heads for the Office of Environmental Management, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Office of Science have been delegated authority as acquisition executive for projects under $400 million and are responsible for project management and performance for their respective program offices. To perform these functions, the program heads should visibly and actively promote and defend efforts to improve project management capabilities and their consistent application throughout the department.
DOE (Department of Energy). 2002. Memorandum from Raymond Orbach, Subject: Office of Science Direction on Project Management. May 23.
NRC (National Research Council). 1999. Improving Project Management in the Department of Energy. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
NRC. 2001a. Improved Project Management in the Department of Energy. Letter report, January. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
NRC. 2001b. Progress in Improving Project Management at the Department of Energy, 2001 Assessment. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
NRC. 2002. Proceedings of Government/Industry Forum: The Owner’s Role in Project Management and Preproject Planning. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
NRC. 2003. Progress in Improving Project Management at the Department of Energy, 2002 Assessment. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.