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Integrating Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement to Support Informed Decision Making

NNSA Performance Measurement

A key business process for any organization is to know how well it is accomplishing its goals by measuring performance and progress. The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation (IMPC) needed a comprehensive solution to identify, quantify, and track its progress in accomplishing its overall mission and goals as well as planning and predicting future progress a decade into the future.

Project Performance Corporation met this need by supporting a program-wide strategic planning initiative and developing and deploying a web-enabled metrics tracking system.

IMPC manages a ~$3 billion national security program to upgrade nuclear material security infrastructure in Russia and other former Soviet states and to deploy systems to detect smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials at border crossings and cargo shipping ports worldwide. Nearly 20 IMPC managers monitor progress of a diverse portfolio of well over 100 distinct projects. Progress can be measured in many ways, including the number of sites and buildings upgraded, the amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material protected, or through the gradual and quantifiable deployment of initiatives to improve and sustain security infrastructure.

The IMPC senior management sought a solution that would provide managers with a desktop tracking capability that measured progress consistently across all projects and provided the Office Director with the latest rolled up results across the entire program. These program wide results are used to support a variety of business requirements, including budget formulation and justification, lifecycle planning, scenario analysis, and responding to Congressional and other external stakeholder inquiries. Because the program requires the consent and cooperation of foreign governments to achieve progress and because year-to-year budgets frequently change, project activities and schedules also are frequently subject to revision.

Comprehensive Solution Using Project Management Best Practices

To develop a solution, PPC gathered information on the different types of projects and performance measures and the defined roles of various IMPC staff. PPC worked closely with subject matter experts to develop and validate the definition of each performance metric. As part of the validation process, the metrics were aligned with individual program goals and objectives documented in the IMPC Strategic Plan. PPC used this research to create a data model and to specify requirements for system access, reporting, and functionality.

PPC provided a comprehensive solution that included deployment of a prototype system in less than two months followed by a more extensive research and analysis to support preparation of a strategic plan and deployment of a production level system in six months. PPC's turnkey support also included temporary network hosting, training and help desk resources, system maintenance, and performance briefings to management.

Initially intended as a tool to manage a single lifecycle plan, PPC built in enough flexibility into the tracking system to allow analysis and comparison of multiple scenarios. Recognizing that reporting needs and metrics were likely to evolve, PPC included the capability to change metrics and modify reports through the user interface in a matter of minutes, eliminating the need for hours of coding and testing.

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