Department of Energy:

Project Management at the Rocky Flats Plant Needs Improvement

RCED-93-32: Published: Oct 16, 1992. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the adequacy of the implementation of the project management process at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado, focusing on: (1) whether DOE and a contractor's implementation of the project management has led to problems affecting any additional projects; (2) what DOE and the contractor have done to identify project management problems; and (3) what corrective actions DOE and the contractor have planned or taken.

GAO found that: (1) inadequate implementation of the project management process has adversely affected certain projects; (2) the supercompactor and upgrades to the plant's low-level waste transfer system have experienced substantial cost growth; (3) the cost of the supercompactor program increased from $1.9 million to $10.5 million, and the cost of the waste transfer system increased from $1.5 million to $14 million, because project managers did not properly oversee the early stages of the projects' development; (4) two other Rocky Flats programs lacked sufficient documentation to assess the extent to which project management implementation may have caused cost increases or schedule delays; (5) since November 1991, DOE and the contractor have issued four separate studies identifying numerous strengths and weaknesses of the implementation of the project management process at Rocky Flats; (6) in response to the studies' recommendations, the contractor developed a 15-point corrective action plan to resolve its management problems; and (7) Rocky Flats has not developed a comprehensive corrective action plan of its own with detailed tasks and specific milestones.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE reviewed and approved EG&G corrective action plans and has been receiving monthly status reports.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct DOE Rocky Flats officials to review existing EG&G corrective action plans to ensure that all major problems are being addressed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has developed a comprehensive corrective action plan with detailed task priorities and completion milestone dates. Most of the corrective actions have been completed and the remaining actions will soon be completed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct DOE Rocky Flats officials to develop and implement a comprehensive DOE Rocky Flats corrective action plan with detailed tasks and completion milestone dates. At a minimum, such a plan should prioritize and review for possible implementation all recommendations from previously prepared project management studies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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