Optimizing the Management of Infrastructure Projects in State and Local Government

The 2009 economic stimulus package that has been dubbed by President-elect Obama “the biggest public works investment since the federal highway system” marks a unique opportunity for state and local governments to enhance capital project performance while creating jobs and expanding regional infrastructure. This white paper describes how government agencies can maximize funding capacity through increased project automation and visibility. In this paper: • Challenges in managing public works projects • Automating processes to achieve cost savings • Increasing visibility to optimize performance • GoalMindTM improves infrastructure project management

Challenges in managing public works projects
State and local governments face numerous challenges when initiating and overseeing public works projects. These include the rising cost of administrative overhead, poor visibility into project operations, and inaccurate forecasting of project cost. Unaddressed, these challenges lead to runaway cost escalation and loss of control over project operations. Administrative overhead includes payroll processing, vendor payment processing, and time and expense tracking. These activities require compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and union requirements. The resultant business requirements increase the complexity of management and shift attention away from missionfocused projects. In addition, as the private sector largely automates these processes, they become relatively more expensive for public agencies to execute in a manual fashion. Even larger contributors to cost escalation are inadequate project visibility and inaccurate cost forecasting. One staggering example is the Big Dig in Massachusetts, originally budgeted at $2.6 billion but ballooning to $22 billion. Smaller projects also exceed budget. Since 2005 in Massachusetts, 84% of highway projects required more time, 61% came in over budget and 21% of projects more than doubled their original cost. In these cases, cost escalation and schedule delays were caused by scope creep and systemic underestimation of project costs. Rising administrative costs, poor project visibility, and inaccurate cost forecasts result in a seemingly insurmountable risk of project failure. These challenges can be addressed, however,

vDoc ID 167

Page 1 Proprietary and Confidential © 2009, Vecna Technologies, Inc.

January 5, 2009

by implementing systems and practices that automate administrative processes and expose essential project data in real-time, enabling early problem intervention.

Automating processes to achieve cost savings
To reduce both the complexity and the cost of administrative activities like payroll processing and time and expense tracking, state and local government agencies can automate these processes electronically. Time and budget saved can be redirected to mission-focused projects, maximizing funding capacity of the expected 2009 economic stimulus package. In 2006, Vecna Technologies successfully automated time reporting processes for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), reducing what was once a manual and complex process into a simple web-based system. Prior to Vecna’s help, MDOT underwent a costly and manual process every 2 weeks that required the printing, completion, and storage of 8,500 paper time sheets in triplicate. The process was simplified with an electronic time entry system that tracks the time of over 9,000 employees according to project and work performed. Solutions like MDOT’s quickly reduce costs by simplifying and automating complex processes and by managing staffing schedules in real-time to reduce indirect and overtime charges. This solution also builds a solid foundation for increased project visibility by collecting and making available essential project performance data.

Increasing visibility to optimize project performance
Once administrative processes are automated, state and local agencies can use captured data to gain deeper visibility into project performance. This visibility can lead to significant benefits, including increased contractor accountability, early alerts of performance issues, and more accurate cost forecasting for future projects. Increased contractor accountability is achieved by requiring contractors to capture time and task completion via the public agency’s system. As this data is exposed, activity-based and projectbased costing along with Earned Value Management (EVM) can accurately measure project health. EVM has been a requirement for federal projects over $20M and is gaining adoption amongst state and local governments. In addition, hierarchical tasking and drill-down capabilities help identify and isolate cost escalation issues early in the project lifecycle. Capturing project performance data at a granular level also enables better forecasting of project costs in the future. By implementing activity-based costing, a reference class of cost data categorized by activity, project, and vendor is created. Government officials can use this data to more accurately plan for project costs and to achieve a higher project success rate.

vDoc ID 167

Page 2 Proprietary and Confidential © 2009, Vecna Technologies, Inc.

January 5, 2009

GoalMindTM improves infrastructure project management
GoalMindTM is a solution platform developed by Vecna Technologies that enables automation of administrative processes and deeper visibility into project operations. It is a versatile solution that has been utilized in state government agencies, military hospitals, and professional services firms. GoalMind includes the following features: • • • • Time and expense modules automate the capture of essential project data and simplify payroll processing, vendor payments, and compliance to labor rules. Project and task management functionality utilizes essential project data to enable cost accounting by project and task, and project tracking methodologies like EVM. Historical costing data is also stored and intelligently categorized to enable more accurate forecasting of future project costs. Issue and case management modules track and allow searching of project issues centrally, reducing response times and automating workflows.

Combined, these modules help reduce project costs, enhance project performance, and ensure a higher likelihood of success for state and local infrastructure projects. Vecna Technologies looks forward to working with your organization to optimize project management and maximize the funding capacity of the 2009 economic stimulus package.

About Vecna Technologies
Vecna Technologies is a CMMI Level 3-certified provider of IT and management consulting services for the public sector and healthcare organizations. Vecna is a woman-owned small business and one of the few small businesses to have achieved CMMI Level 3 certification via external certification from SEI evaluators. Vecna employs an expert management team with proven experience in creating, integrating, and managing effective teams and complex projects of all sizes. As a prime contractor, Vecna has managed and supported large, medium, and small contractor teams while successfully completing hundreds of task orders exceeding $54 million in total contract value for civilian, Department of Defense (DOD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Veteran Affairs (VA) and other Government agencies. Our projects encompass a wide range of strategic initiatives, to include: Systems Engineering & Enterprise Architecture, eHealth Portals, HIPAA Compliance & EDI, and much more.

For more information about GoalMind, please feel free to e-mail Ron Urwongse at rurwongse@vecna.com or dial at 617-682-4670.

vDoc ID 167

Page 3 Proprietary and Confidential © 2009, Vecna Technologies, Inc.

January 5, 2009

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful