Improving Project Management at the Department of Energy

on December 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM


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Secretary Ernest Moniz has made improving project management a priority at the Energy Department. In August 2013, the Secretary established a special working group that includes project management experts from across the Department. Over the past year, this group’s in-depth analysis culminated in a new report, being released today. Titled Improving Project Management, the report provides valuable case studies and recommendations regarding funding, culture, project ownership, independent oversight and front-end planning from experienced project management leaders.

One of the important insights that arose from the working group’s efforts is the need for a stronger enterprise-wide perspective on project management. Building on this, Secretary Moniz will strengthen the Department’s Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board and transform it from an ad hoc body to an institutionalized board that meets regularly to discuss and review project management across the Department. An integral part of the improved Energy Systems Acquisition Advisory Board will be the support it receives from a new committee that Secretary Moniz has established, called the Project Management Risk Committee.

The Project Management Risk Committee will be comprised of the Energy Department’s leading project management experts, many of whom participated in the special working group. It will meet on a biweekly basis and provide enterprise-wide project management risk assessment to senior leadership.  The members of the committee will also review the recommendations in the Improving Project Management report and report back to the Department’s senior leaders with suggested actions.

Secretary Moniz has also instituted several changes to improve the Department’s lines of responsibility and peer review process for projects. The key organizational principles are 1) clear designation of a project owner who has budgetary responsibility; 2) an independent assessment function with direct access to senior Departmental officials; and 3) a direct reporting path from the federal project director to the project owner.

Secretary Moniz will continue to make project management a Departmental priority and will ensure that these project management changes are institutionalized in the years ahead. The Energy Department is charged with carrying out some of the some of the largest, most complex and technically challenging projects in the public or private sector. The Department’s efforts to restructure its project management will help improve execution of these projects and ensure that the Energy Department continues to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.