GAO Mission and Operations:

Thoughts on GAO's Project Planning and Management Approach

Published: Jan 1, 1981. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 1981.

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This article appeared in the GAO Review, Vol. 16, Issue 2, Spring 1981. The GAO project planning and management approach (PPMA) is a misunderstood concept. PPMA is not a system. It is a way of thinking. PPMA is a structured process for making a particular type of investment decision. The structure of this decision process is built around a particular logic which approaches the commitment of resources on an incremental, sequential basis. Large, costly jobs, complex jobs, innovative jobs, and sensitive jobs all require more rigor than other types of jobs. The level of documentation must be determined by other factors, such as the needs to demonstrate application of the logic, record the logic for future reference, and communicate the logic of the decision to others. Task analysis is closely related to the issues of rigor and documentation in applying PPMA. It serves a job segmentation role. It also defines the resource requirements and assumes the role of management control and accountability. Thus, management control and accountability should focus on the achievement of job objectives within the constraints of the budgeted resources, rather than on the accomplishment of specific tasks at specific times. Job objectives should be the source of the items on which the management and accountability role focuses.

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