Project Management and Transparency for Capital Projects

15 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2018

See all articles by Yael Grushka-Cockayne

Yael Grushka-Cockayne

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business; Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Rachel McKlindon

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jess Cornell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Program- and project-management best practices are typically implemented when a corporation aims to work efficiently and effectively to deliver its projects to the customers on time and to maximize shareholder value. In comparison, when looking at either the public or government sector, projects are typically funded primarily by taxpayer dollars, and reporting requirements and overall level oversight tend to be less consistent. Prior to leaving office, President Barack Obama signed into law the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act, which focuses on the program- and project-management requirements of government-initiated projects. President Donald Trump succeeded Obama in office, and continued to focus on improving project-management governance and project execution. This technical note explores government-funded capital projects, the project-management practices implemented by select government agencies, and the current reporting requirements. Best practices are highlighted.

Excerpt

UVA-QA-0899

Jun. 12, 2018

Project Management and Transparency for Capital Projects

“As with many other public agencies, far too many of the School Construction Authority (SCA) projects are over time and over budget. As this analysis shows, it is incumbent on us as a city to achieve capital project management reform and take serious steps to get them on time and on budget.” In August 2017, Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander identified overruns in 63% of large-scale school-related projects and called for a task force to implement change. Using city data published on an online dashboard, he estimated that these overruns totaled over $ 300million more than estimated. While the data does not tell the full picture, with vague explanations for project overruns such as “scope” or “other,” elected officials and the public find themselves questioning the project-management practices employed by government agencies overseeing large-scale projects and calling for increased data transparency across publicly funded projects.

At the national level, government project management practices also face a lot of scrutiny. Prior to leaving office, President Barack Obama signed into law the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA), which primarily focused on the program- and project-management officers and establishing common templates and tools. The act also mandated that each agency identify a senior executive to serve as the agency's Program Management Improvement Officer, driving project-management strategy within the organization.

President Donald Trump succeeded Obama in office, and while they represented different political parties and had vastly different views on many issues, President Trump has continued to focus on project management. Investments in areas like infrastructure are complimented by reforms related to government processes and “red tape.” In addition, Trump has been very vocal about reducing costs associated with government contracts, publicly targeting manufacturers Boeing and Lockheed.

. . .

Keywords: project management, capital projects, accountability

Suggested Citation

Grushka-Cockayne, Yael and McKlindon, Rachel and Cornell, Jess, Project Management and Transparency for Capital Projects. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0899. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3198460

Yael Grushka-Cockayne (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=263650

Rachel McKlindon

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jess Cornell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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