COST Office – Continuous Process Improvement

VMS was retained to perform a comprehensive process improvement study for the Office of Cost Management (COST), which is responsible for the management of costs for the delivery of approximately $2 billion in projects annually.  The purpose of this three-phase study was to improve the accuracy of cost estimates on OBO projects, enhance how cost information is communicated, establish opportunities to integrate risk-based estimation and contingency allocation practices, improve forecasting and data-driven trend analysis, and to accelerate the delivery of cost estimation products of various types. 

The multi-phase study first analyzed current estimating processes and products and evaluated the current organizational structure and estimating practices relative to industry standards.  Process flow charts and function-logic diagrams were developed detailing all major estimating activities after meeting with various stakeholders and customers.  After completing the first phase which identified major areas of opportunity, the second phase was completed which identified nearly 300 ideas for process and organizational improvement in the refinement and delivery of the COST office’s core estimation products.  These ideas were evaluated and condensed down into 20 specific initiatives organized in four categories:  Cost Management, Communication, Organization Development; and Data Management strategies.

Phase 3 is focusing on implementing the initiatives and developing supporting standard operating procedures (SOPs) and an OBO COST Guidebook which details all processes, procedures, standards, refinements in estimating products, and risk-based estimation practices pertaining to the delivery of cost estimating services and products.

Return to Client Work page

Return to Department of State page