Business Practices for Technical Services

Managing for Excellence

In February 2006, Reclamation published the "Managing for Excellence Action Plan" as a result of the "Managing Construction and Infrastructure in the 21st Century Bureau of Reclamation" report published by the National Research Council which examined several facets of reclamation's organization, practices, and culture. Reclamation conducted an extensive examination of core capabilities in a number of key areas, and Reclamation's ability to respond in an innovative and timely manner to future needs.

The "Managing for Excellence Action Plan" outlined a process and timeframe for identifying and addressing the specific 21st Century challenges Reclamation must meet to fulfill its mission. A total of 41 teams were established to address specific action items identified in eight key functional areas. The work done by Team 12 evolved into Reclamation's new business model for managing engineering and technical services work and established the Coordination and Oversight Group (COG).

Coordination and Oversight Group

Team 12 recommendations included:

  • Adoption of a new business model to provide agency-wide processes and procedures for obtaining and managing technical services in collaboration with customers

  • A new Directive and Standard (D&S) in the Reclamation Manual be issued to specifically address collaboration processes with customers on the engineering and other technical services required for construction work on existing Reclamation facilities.

In a March, 3, 2008 memorandum, the Commissioner approved these recommendations and assigned responsibility for their implementation to the Deputy Commissioner, Operations (DCO).

The Coordination and Oversight Group was created by the DCO to guide the implementation of the new business model. The COG is comprised of representatives from service providers and program offices throughout Reclamation.  This diverse representation provides the breadth of perspectives necessary to ensure successful implementation of the business model.  A charter was developed and approved in February 2009 for the COG, setting forth the group’s objectives, roles and responsibilities, and membership.

Through the work of the COG, Reclamation will ensure that it maintains the technical capability to fulfill its responsibilities for delivering water and power, while executing program and project requirements within scope, budget and schedule in a manner which fosters Reclamation-wide collaboration, coordination and sharing of technical services.  To meet this objective, the COG has developed a business model where program responsibility is retained by regional offices and Reclamation-wide program offices.  A monitoring component is being included to ensure that Reclamation maintains appropriate levels of expertise in mission-essential capabilities.

Ensuring appropriate levels of technical staff can be facilitated by having sufficient data on workload distribution.  To address this, the COG has developed methods for advance planning of work, a uniform system for administering fee-for-service agreements, and procedures for gathering and analyzing cost and performance data.  As a result of these processes, the data necessary to adequately assess workload distribution and organizational staffing levels will be more readily available. A charter was developed and approved for the COG in early 2009. The key elements of the charter are listed below:


Last Updated: 6/15/15