On November 29, 2010, the United States Department of Energy released Order 413.3B (DOE O 413.3B), governing program and project management for the acquisition of capital assets. This order provides the DOE and its contractors with program and project management guidance, and works in tandem with circulars issued by the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that DOE projects comply with government accountability standards.
One of the most significant additions appearing in DOE O 413.3B concerns the Department's new Program Assessment and Reporting System (PARS II). Built on Program Management Information System (PMIS) technology from Dekker, Ltd., PARS II is a web-based project reporting system that allows contractors to upload project performance data to a centralized location from which DOE personnel are able to access and evaluate project status and progress. DOE 413.3B establishes threshold values above which projects must begin reporting to PARS II, and outlines protocols for monthly reporting into the system.
Since organizations implement strategy through programs and projects, PARS II follows the Department of Energy's established Critical Decisions protocols, allowing program and project tracking from initial strategic decisions, through execution, to delivery. Notated as CD-0 through CD-4, these Critical Decisions provide gateway points for the DOE to assess the merits and health of a project. At each gateway, the Department can elect to either allow the project to continue or to terminate it, in accordance with how well the project addresses the strategic needs of the Department. As defined in DOE O 413.3B, the Critical Decisions through which each project must pass are Approve Mission Need (CD-0), Approve Alternative Selection and Cost Range (CD-1), Approve Performance Baseline (CD-2), Approve Start of Construction (CD-3), and Approve Start of Operations or Project Completion (CD-4).
PARS II offers the Department of Energy a way to evaluate project health from the organizational and program level down to individual work packages in each specific project (see Dekker Gold Card). The system collects performance data from multiple contractors, so that Federal Project Directors (FPDs), Program Managers, and the Office of Engineering and Construction Management (OECM) can enter monthly status assessments, view up-to-date project data in dynamic drilldown dashboards, and generate any of over 100 built-in reports or custom reports. In this way, the Department can shepherd its projects through the Critical Decisions that make up the lifecycle of every Department of Energy project. DOE 413.3B stipulates that every project with a total project cost (TPC) of $10 million or above must report into PARS II at CD-0, and that beginning in CD-2, all projects with a TPC of $20 million or above will begin reporting Earned Value data into PARS II.
DOE 413.3B cancels the earlier DOE O 413.3A, Chg 1, issued on November 17, 2008. The purpose of the new Order, and the structural and procedural changes it outlines, is to continue improving project and contract performance within the Department of Energy, in keeping with ongoing efforts to get the DOE off of the Government Accountability Office's High-Risk list.
Dekker, Ltd. Is a program and project management consulting, software, and training company headquartered in Ontario, California. A provider of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software solutions, Dekker's latest product offering, Dekker iProgram™, offers government contractors and commercial organizations the same functionality as PARS II, and can be configured for each organization's specific projectized environment.