The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a draft manual designed to help federal, state, and local government agencies develop more reliable schedule assessments for government projects of all sizes. The draft, Schedule Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Schedules (GAO-12-120G), is available online, and it applies to civilian and defense projects managed by either government entities or private contractors.
Drawing on scheduling concepts introduced in GAO’s March 2009 Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide (GAO-09-3SP), the draft Schedule Assessment Guide presents ten “best practices” for developing and maintaining a reliable, high-quality schedule. It is designed to assist not only GAO auditors in evaluating the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of government programs but also all government agencies in developing, managing, and evaluating capital programs. The draft will be available for comment for a full year to allow GAO to collect a wide array of feedback before completing the final guide. Comments on the draft may be submitted at https://tell.gao.gov/schedulecommentguide.
Developed with help from industry experts as well as federal officials, the 221-page draft Schedule Assessment Guide lays out a multi-step process for developing high-quality, trustworthy schedules; explains how to manage schedules once they have been developed; and presents nineteen case studies drawn from GAO’s published audits that illustrate typical pitfalls and successes in scheduling and schedule risk analysis. The guide stresses sound scheduling practices, such as setting realistic program baselines and managing risk. GAO plans to use the Schedule Assessment Guide to assess the accuracy and realism of agencies’ schedules in its future audits.
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