NAVSEA Warfare Centers (NSWCs), like NSWC Crane in Indiana, supply the technical operations, people, technology, engineering services and products needed to equip and support the Fleet and meet the warfighter’s needs. The Warfare Centers are the Navy’s principal Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) assessment activity for surface ship and submarine systems and subsystems. As such, Warfare Centers operate much like a for-profit company where they have many DoD and Industry clients with differing vernacular and reporting requirements.
NSWC Crane required standardization across the various line management and project management organizations, and had a range of estimating and reporting maturity varying from back-of-napkin-and-email to highly complex spreadsheets and forecasting mechanisms. Internal direct costs (such as security or transportation) were often forgotten and were the cause of overruns. Senior leadership were unable to accurately respond to both internal and external data calls due to the inconsistent methodologies used by each division and branch. Customers and resource sponsors were consistently pushing back on Crane’s estimates and demanding additional data.
We worked with Crane to document and define their project management process, and facilitated process improvement discussions between various groups and roles (including technical project managers, contract specialists, branch and division managers, and financial analysts). We helped Crane document a standard process that allowed for flexibility between the different groups, while still applying an appropriate level of standardization and rigor. We implemented those processes into a Crane-specific online program management tool that automated Crane’s project management and estimating process, enforced a standardized workflow, streamlined communication and task approval, and provided Crane-specific reports, metrics, and performance measures.