Reviewing Authority Data Call – Not Just a Wish List

by Humphreys & Associates on June 20, 2014

Authority Data CallOne of the most important items needed to prepare for an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) review is the data call. This is not just a list of random data that the reviewing authority wants to receive prior to the review; it is experienced at creating the data call, and that data is used to evaluate EVMS implementation and compliance.

Over the years the reviewing authorities have fined tuned the review process and created a very specific list of artifacts required. They will use these items to pre-determine the review focus areas and be prepared to get right to the soft spots in the system and processes.

The project has just been notified that it will have a formal review conducted by the reviewing authority. This could be a Validation Review (VR), a.k.a. Compliance Review (CR); an Integrated Baseline Review  (IBR); standard Surveillance; or one of many other reviews conducted to determine the implementation or continued compliance of the EVMS processes and reports. One of the key items is the data call request. The data call is used to request project information and could consist of 12 reporting periods, or more, of data. This will vary by agency and type of program. In most cases a minimum of three months of project data will be required; typically 6 – 12 months is requested.

Some of the basic reports that will be requested are the Contract Performance Reports (CPRs) or Integrated Program Management Reports (IPMRs) and the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) from the beginning of the program.  The Baseline Logs are often also requested.

It is essential to provide quality data in response to the Review Authority data call; the entire review process can be derailed if the data call items are incomplete or inaccurate. Some of the things to consider are:

    1. Make sure the list of requested items is fully understood (some nomenclature issues could cause an issue).
    2. The data should be available in the format required in the call.
    3. Determine the best way to support the data call delivery if it is not specified in the request. The data can be provided in electronic media (CD, DVD, thumb drives…), as attachments to emails (typical data size generally prohibits this) or possibly establishing a safe-site to store the data for customer retrieval.
    4. Contact the requesting reviewing authority to establish a meeting to discuss the data call.  This meeting should be used to resolve or clarify any issues regarding the requested information, negotiate potential equivalents of the project data if it does not exactly match with the requested information, and establish a method to transmit all data files.
    5. Develop an internal plan to monitor the progress of data collection. Be sure to have non-project personnel review the data for accuracy and compliance with the specifics in the data call.
    6. Submit the data call to the customer, follow-up with a phone call or meeting to verify the reviewing authority received the data, can open all the files, and agrees that the data is complete.
    7. Follow-up with another call a few weeks before the review to check if the reviewing authority has any issues or problems in evaluating and understanding the data call information. Be willing to work with them until the authority is comfortable with the data.

Some of the basic items typically requested in the data call are:

    1. Earned Value Management System Description including the matrix of the System Description and related system documentation mapped to the 32 guidelines in the EIA-748 Standard for Earned Value Management Systems as well as to the current version of the DCMA EVMS Cross Reference Checklist.
    2. EVMS related policies, processes, procedures, and desktop instructions.  Examples include organizing the work, scheduling, budgeting, work authorization, details about earned value techniques and how each is applied, change control, material planning and control, subcontract management, and risk management.
    3. Organization charts with levels down to the Control Account Manager (CAM) level.
    4. Accounting calendar.
    5. Project directives including the Statement of Work (SOW) pertaining to Program Management or Statement of Objectives (SOO), EVM clauses, and EVM Contract Data Requirements List (CDRLs) or Subcontract Data Requirements List (SDRLs).
    6. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) Index and Dictionary.
    7. Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) including budget detail at the CAM level.
    8. Project and internal work authorization documents.
    9. Integrated Master Plan (IMP) and / or milestone dictionary.
    10. Contract Budget Base Log, Management Reserve Log, and Undistributed Budget Log.
    11. Risk identification and assessments, risk management plan.
    12. Contract Performance Reports (CPR)/Integrated Program Management Reports (IPMR) (all applicable formats) or equivalent internal or external performance reports.
    13. Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) submissions (Native Format preferred). This includes the IMS summary report if required.
    14. IMS Data Dictionary.
    15. Most recent Contract Funds Status Report (CFSR) or equivalent funding status report.
    16. Variance Analysis Reports (VARs) or equivalent progress narrative reports as well as the internal and external variance thresholds.
    17. List of subcontractors including value and type (such as cost reimbursable, firm fixed price, time and materials) including the  applicable purchase orders.  When EVM requirements are flowed down to the subcontractors, provide a copy of subcontractor EVM related contractual requirements (CDRLs and DIDs).
    18. Major subcontractor CPRs/IPMRs or equivalent performance reports.
    19. Major subcontractor IMS submissions.
    20. Previous audit or surveillance findings, resulting reports, corrective action plans, and resolution and tracking Logs.
    21. List of specific software toolsets used for accounting, scheduling, cost management, resource management, risk management, or performance analysis.
    22. EVMS Storyboard and flowcharts.
    23. Chart of accounts, including cost element definition.
    24. Staffing plans or weekly/monthly labor reports.
    25. List and/or copy of contract modifications.
    26. Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) disclosure statement or equivalent internal corporate procedures.
    27. Baseline Change Requests.
    28. Any other data previously provided to the customer as part of a data call.
    29. Basis of Estimates (BOE) or historical data/productivity rates and efficiency factors.
    30. Estimate to Complete (ETC) and Estimate at Completion (EAC) documentation.
    31. Budget reports or control account plans by element of cost (labor hours and dollars, material dollars, and other direct cost dollars) and associated burdens or overhead costs.
    32. Actual cost reports.
    33. Open commitment reports.
    34. Bill of material including cost detail.
    35. Quantifiable Back-up Data for percent complete work packages including MRP Reports for production work packages.

The list includes items that are used frequently as well as items that are used only at specific times during the project and will probably be less familiar to the team. As the collection of the data call items progresses, be sure to establish quick refresher sessions on the less frequently used documents and any other items where the team might be having difficulty.  Examples of positive results in gathering the data call items are the program data are revisited, internal reviews are conducted to ensure accuracy and traceability, the users of the data are familiar with it, and have the latest versions at their disposal.

NOTE:  This Data Call List is intended for general guidance in preparation for a DCMA Review.  The DCMA has a Compliance Review Data item List containing 102 specific items.

The data call items will provide the first look at the project’s EVM data and process for many of the review team members. If the data are incomplete, contains errors and does not trace well, the team will form a more negative opinion of the EVMS application. Since the review authority will have the data several weeks prior to the on-site review,  multiple validation checks using various analytical software tools will be performed,  including  hands-on analysis of the information.

The data analysis results will be a basis of where attention is focused during the on-site review, as it emphasizes areas that contain anomalies and/or indicates a lack of system integrity.  Significant emphasis should be devoted to the data call items to ensure accuracy and compliance with the review authority’s requests, as it is a very positive way to begin the data call review.

A Humphreys & Associates EVM specialist is always avail to answer questions. Give us a call or send an email.

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