A Pragmatic Approach to Project, Program, and Portfolio Management
By Rex B. Reagan
Washington, DC area, USA
The narrative describing the administration, management, and monitoring of U.S. Federal Government projects continues to grow. The approach to describing the tremendous cost of non-oversight of the underlying elements of our major projects often rests with the Acquisition contracts and a critical need for a method, tool, or technique for measurement of the contractor’s performance that may predict success of these increasingly complex projects. The author will introduce a tool that could aid significantly for executing the contract portion for successful project management.
At the heart of most projects, programs, and portfolios there exists a document that initiates that entity to begin work. That document is most often the “Contract”. In the world of contracting, there are contract vehicles that require pronounced oversight, regular and strict reporting, and contractually required deliverables that provide detailed accounts of those accomplishments and contributions by the contractor. However, a tangible tool has been absent from much contract administration that presents a clear and present technique that will capture the performance observed by the customer. That tool is essentially a “scorecard” that is comprised of relevant criteria or standards that the contractor will be measured against.
Is it not time to entertain the thought of revising the venerable Earned Value Management (EVM) formulas, or at least introducing a variable that might be an option for those who require a comprehensive approach to realistic performance? 1967, the Department of Defense established a criterion-based approach, using thirty-five criteria, entitled the “Cost/Schedule Control Systems Criteria (C/SCSC). Afterward, until additional attention was placed on this much-need approach, C/SCSC was viewed as a financial control technique that could be placed in the hands of financial analysts. Frequently, these techniques did not reach the in-box of Project Managers, in its early days. Much of earned value management (EVM) methodology has remained (for fifty years) the bedrock of project performance report, in particular for cost-contracts. During this time, project, program, and portfolio complexity has evolved to warrant addition of an application, or at least a tool, that would address performance.
This article provides an outline of the “Contractor Assessment of Monthly Performance” (CAMP), a brief, one-page, non-software-driven effort with multiple criteria or standards that are based on traditional work elements. It is designed to capture the levels of proficiency, on a monthly basis, encountered within the main factors that are active during execution of a contract. The CAMP has been used on contracts for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security and has been well received by both the contractor and government with appreciation. These assessments have resulted in mutual benefits from early upfront notification of concerns or content of contract performance. This article will explore the benefits from employing a standard, uniform, yet concise tool to capture contractor performance. A suggestion of the usage of this CAMP will appear later in illustrations and how this index would support, strengthen, and increase information for regular and consistent reporting on contracts and projects that the customer requires.
About the Author
Washington, DC, USA
Rex Reagan is a Senior Project Manager with ICF, Inc. He has been a senior Federal Manager for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security and a senior Naval Officer (SC, SCWS, CDR, Ret.). He is a graduate of East TN State University, American University, and the Naval War College. He is PMP certified and a global consultant.
Rex has a 24 year career with the Federal Government, primarily in the Department of Defense (DoD) and culminating at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with a parallel career with the U.S. Navy, as a Reserve Supply Officer. Establishing a foundation of knowledge in Acquisition, and financial management at DoD, transition to DHS in 2004 at the Under Secretary of Management, Office of Chief Financial Officer, Budget Division. He has held subsequent assignments as the Acquisition Chief of Infrastructure for the US VISIT Program Office with final role as the Business Financial Manager at the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office at DHS. Leadership positions were maintained in both the Federal Government and U.S. Navy (CDR, Supply Corps, SCWS, Ret) from various Reserve units as Executive. He retired from the Federal Government as GS-15 after qualifying for SES, and as Commander from the U.S. Navy. This experience has been merged with consulting experience from IBM, BearingPoint (Deloitte), and small business in various Program Management positions supporting the Federal Government and commercial entities.
Experience attained in civilian and military leadership positions have encouraged human capital improvement and innovative strategic thinking to improve performance in acquisition and program management. This focus has been demonstrated by architecting a Commander’s Development and Leadership Program for a major Department of Defense Acquisition Command. Rex has introduced continued process improvements, with forward vision, to influence constant organizational improvement. Demonstrated excellent communication skills by writing, and publishing professional articles (“Earned Value Management, Its Place in the Federal Budget Process”, “Preparing for a Global Acquisition Environment”) in the DoD Acquisition Technology & Logistics (AT&L) Magazine, published by DAU involving acquisition, financial, and program issues, and other articles..
His formal education includes his Bachelors in Business Administration and Psychology from East Tennessee State University, Masters in Financial Management from American University and a graduate of the Naval War College.
Rex has been President of American Association for Budget and Program Analysis, (2004), Vice-President of American Society of Military Comptrollers (Quantico Chapter, 2001), and is active in the Program Management Institute (PMI) Board Member for Professional Development at PMI Silver Spring, Chapter. He is a consistent contributor to professional development efforts and designated Mentor for the American Corporate Partners for the past three years He resides in Silver Spring, MD with his wife Margy of almost thirty years. He has two children who have entered their professional careers.