GOVERNANCE: Company Is Strengthening Project Cost Management but Can Better Organize Costs and Improve Guidance
Our objective was to identify any challenges with company systems and processes that could impede the Capital Delivery department’s ability to effectively track and manage costs for capital projects.
Amtrak’s Capital Delivery department is strengthening its ability to track and manage costs. For example, the company is developing a single project management system that it anticipates will replace or integrate at least 12 systems to address the challenge project teams currently have tracking costs across multiple systems. We identified additional challenges, however, with the systems and processes that the department uses for project cost management. Specifically, detailed and standardized cost data are not readily available to project teams, and project cost management guidance is outdated. These challenges hinder project teams and company executives from obtaining consistent, detailed cost data to manage the company’s portfolio of capital work—foundational capabilities that are critical to effectively managing costs on billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded projects.
We recommended Amtrak study how it can develop and use more detailed and standardized costs for effective project cost management and then create a plan specifying the people, processes, and systems it needs to do so. While that study is ongoing, we recommended Amtrak develop and implement rules in the short term that define how project teams should categorize costs using existing systems and processes. Finally, we recommended that Amtrak update and implement project cost management procedures to reflect current processes and requirements.