The Work Measurement System of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Has Potential but Needs Further Work to Increase Its Reliability

FPCD-77-53: Published: Jun 15, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1977.

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began developing a system for work measurement standards in 1972, in order to establish a basis for manpower requirements for budget submissions and allocation of personnel.

HUD's original claims of extensive standards were not justified, as revised statements showed that standards were used to develop estimates for only about 42% of staff requirements. The reliability of standards varied because of weaknesses such as: (1) lack of studies on methods for achieving work efficiency, (2) variation in data produced by the questionnaire/interview procedures, (3) insufficient definition of tasks, (4) use of subjective judgments, (5) lack of documentation, and (6) lack of procedures to review and update standards. Discrepancies were noted in workload forecasts with some appearing excessive and some being understated when compared with prior years' accomplishments. The budgeting process seemed to inhibit reliable staffing estimates and led to use of contract personnel.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: HUD should improve practices for developing work measurement standards by (1) performing methods studies on task efficiency, (2) improving data collection and analysis, (3) defining tasks in greater detail, (4) assuring independence of individuals setting standards, (5) improving documentation, (6) formalizing a process for reviewing and updating standards, and (7) reevaluating staff resources to develop and maintain the system. The Subcommittee on HUD-Independent Agencies should encourage HUD to develop a more objective and reliable work measurement system, and require that the budget submission include a comprehensive plan and statement on the progress made in the system's development.

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