Programs Delivery Analysis Division Aims to Drive “Winning” Projects & Programs Delivery at SPD

South Pacific Division
Published May 2, 2024
"Programs Delivery Analysis Division Aims to Drive “Winning” Projects & Programs Delivery at SPD" AI Graphic Illustration of Programs Delivery Analysis Division at South Pacific Division.

"Programs Delivery Analysis Division Aims to Drive “Winning” Projects & Programs Delivery at SPD" AI Graphic Illustration of Programs Delivery Analysis Division at South Pacific Division.

SAN FRANCISCO, California – By its nature U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a very technical and complex creature -- delivering a mission with a breadth and depth that rivals the many sea channels and reservoirs it maintains. Wading through these complexities to meet the Chief of Engineer’s definition of winning by “safely delivering quality projects on time and within budget,” can require a balancing act of many variables that impact project success. South Pacific Division has been looking for ways to improve their approach to winning – and their Programs Delivery Analysis Div­ision (PDAD) may hold some of the answers.

Lt. Col Kevin Arnett, SPD projects officer, has recently taken the helm of PDAD and feels the division has a lot of possibility for improving how SPD tracks division data in support of districts’ project and program delivery.

“The consolidation of talent in managing information within the PDAD is paying dividends today in improving measurement and visibility of key metrics within the command,” says Arnett. “This streamlines staff work, and executive decision making and will directly contribute to SPD winning.”

The PDAD is comprised of subject-matter experts well-versed in data analytics, knowledge management, data visualization, scheduling, and cost engineering. The team works with division offices, supporting their performance analytics and making it easier to understand the overall “health” of their respective projects by using new and existing quantitative systems.

“We're taking care of a lot of efforts and so to have an idea of how well we're performing and if we need to shift resources or workload or people around to effectively manage and execute those projects is important,” says Tom Bueno, program manager for Project Delivery Business Process & Regional Workload Workforce. “That's why we created the PDAD organization.”

“We use dashboards or data visualizations so we can see in those areas of safety, quality, cost, schedule, and budget management,” explains Bueno. “Just like a pilot has instruments on their dashboard so when they fly and see a storm or mountain, they can redirect and safely deliver you to your destination.”

Despite its moniker, Geoff Chatfield, a PDAD program manager, says SPD’s PDAD spans beyond data collection and reporting, transcending data for projects and program information, a feature not built into similar program delivery and data analytics divisions from other USACE major subordinate commands.

“So, PDAD as a group is fairly unique,” explains Chatfield. “Despite the program-delivery piece, PDAD actually has reporting that extends beyond civil works and military projects and programs and can look at things like executive office decision making, data sets required for human resources, and other data sources that deals with non-project reporting.”

Kelley Campbell, deputy director of SPD’s Civil Works Integration Division, is already seeing positive impacts on project delivery with the piloting of PDAD, particularly how it is improving their program’s scheduling approach.

“PDAD has been really instrumental in helping us develop not only visualization tools that can help us do some analysis in a very quick amount of time but has also helped us develop what we're calling our SACR tool, which is scope, schedule, and cost change request.”

“The SACR tool will allow us to try to work through the change management processes in a more automated manner,” adds Campbell. “It will be a system that allows root cause analysis of the schedule changes that we have and try to identify if there's some trends that could help us inform future contingency to build into schedules…having PDAD has really revolutionized the way that we're able to look at our program and make sure that the district's data in the systems is of a much higher quality.”

With the billions of dollars of work at South Pacific Division spanning through four districts all the way from California to the border of Texas, it’s nice to have one program that's consistently looking at the information that sets up the standards and helps with governance of projects and programs says Bueno.

“It's easier if we do it as a central team,” explains Bueno. “so we're consistent and can distribute the information, standards, policies, guidance, and measurements consistently across the region.”

With the program kicking off in June 2021 and in many ways still in its infancy, word is already spreading to other divisions about the benefits of PDAD.

“Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” says Bueno. “And we’ve heard other divisions are looking to restructure and create their own PDAD programs, so other divisions and USACE headquarters are already taking notice. This is how it should be…we should proudly adopt other ideas that make sense and collaborate on the best methods that benefits everyone.”

Honey Nixon

Release no. 24-001