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Internal review of Project Management Monthly reports,
Weekly critical issues meetings/reports,
Monitoring month-end close results,
Review of monthly Budget, Cost, Commitment and Forecast reports, and
Daily progress reports and follow-up.
In addition, the project director receives feedback from the FHWA staff who are involved in the daily monitoring and oversight of the project.
Owners and project managers of complex engineering projects often use independent peer review as a means of quality assurance. Project managers recruit qualified professionals with related experience to review the project team’s assumptions, procedures, and decisions. They challenge the project team members to defend their work and in the process rethink decisions to assure that the optimal choice has been made.
Peer review, which essentially provides an outside perspective to identify issues that may have been missed, has been used to review technical decisions as well as project-management decisions. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy has used this process to address problems on projects ranging in size from $5 million to several billion dollars (NRC, 1998). Independent advisory boards have also become customary for projects, such as large dams, that could seriously impact public safety.
The committee was told that the CA/T project team conducted peer reviews. However, they were undertaken by employees of the joint venture organizations from offices outside the Boston area and thus were not truly independent.
At this point most, if not all, of the technical-design decisions for the CA/T project have been made, which essentially renders moot the value of technical reviews. However, with almost $2 billion in construction still to be completed, a focused independent peer review of project management decisions could yield meaningful savings.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Integrated Project-Management Oversight
Finding 10: The integrated project organization (IPO) structure currently utilized by the MTA to direct the design and construction of the CA/T project appears to be functioning reasonably well. Although most of the contracts are now under way or completed, the committee observed that a detailed plan for downsizing and ultimately eliminating the management consultant staff was not in place.
Recommendation 10: MTA should implement an aggressive plan to downsize the B/PB staff members who are not essential to completing contracts and resolving claims. At the same time, the MTA should ensure that key staff members remain in place to finalize and close out all contracts and claims.