Department of Energy: Office of Science Has Kept Majority of Projects within Budget and on Schedule, but Funding and Other Challenges May Grow
The Department of Energy (DOE) has long suffered from contract and management oversight weaknesses. Since 1990 DOE contract management has been on GAO's list of programs at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. In 2003 DOE's Office of Science (Science) unveiled its 20-year plan to acquire and upgrade potentially costly research facilities. In light of DOE's history and the potential cost of this ambitious plan, GAO was asked to examine Science's project management performance. GAO determined (1) the extent to which Science has managed its projects within cost and schedule targets, (2) the factors affecting project management performance, and (3) challenges that may affect Science's future performance. GAO reviewed DOE and Science's project management guidance and 42 selected Science projects and also interviewed DOE and laboratory officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Energy||To help improve the potential for projects throughout DOE to achieve their cost and schedule targets, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Director of the Office of Engineering and Construction Management, which develops DOE's project management policy and facilitates project management oversight, to consider whether other DOE program offices would benefit from adopting selected practices from Science's independent project reviews, such as the frequency and focus of reviews for technically complex projects.||
In July 2008, DOE issued its Contract and Project Management Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Action Plan. The plan's Corrective Measure No. 7 recognized shortcomings in DOE's oversight and included a step to strengthen existing external and internal independent reviews to ensure project and contract oversight compliance. In September 2010 DOE's Office of Engineering and Construction Management issued its updated External Independent Review Standard Operating Procedure. In November 2010, DOE's revised Order 413.3B Program and Project Management Policy was issued with updated requirements for project reviews.
|Department of Energy||To lessen the possibility that changes in work scope could undermine some projects' ability to meet their mission need, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Office of Engineering and Construction Management to review DOE's project management guidance and consider whether it could be strengthened to help ensure that each project's technical goals, including the project's expected scientific performance and corresponding facility requirements, are clearly and sufficiently defined.||
In July 2008, DOE issued its Contract and Project Management Root Cause Analysis and Corrective Action Plan. The plan's Corrective Measure No. 8 included a plan to modify project management guidance to ensure that requirements are well understood and uniformly implemented across the agency. In September 2010 DOE's Office of Engineering and Construction Management issued its updated External Independent Review Standard Operating Procedure which includes guidance on project definition and work scope. In November 2010, DOE's revised Order 413.3B Program and Project Management Policy was issued with updated requirements for project definition and work scope.