The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration also
dealt with a black swan that caused a huge increase in
scope and budget. The agency’s work developing G2, a
state-of-the-art project management information sys-
tem to manage the Global Threat Reduction Initiative,
earned it the PMI 2010 Distinguished Project Award.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included EERE’s provision,
was signed into law in February 2009. The
legislation outlined how the funds were to
be spent and a deadline to allocate all of it by
September 2010. That meant that within the
next 18 months, the office had to announce
its grant programs, solicit and collect applications, perform merit reviews, negotiate and
award grants and cooperative agreements,
and get the money out to the recipients.
“The biggest risk was managing the
magnitude of the work in the time allotted,” says Mr. Hine, who was the acting
EERE was apportioned US$2.5 billion
for discretionary projects, with the rest
falling into the agency’s 10 base programs:
biomass, geothermal technologies, building technologies, federal energy management, industrial technologies, solar energy
technologies, vehicle technologies, fuel-cell
technologies, and wind and hydropower
technologies. As part of the allocation process, the project team had to make sure the
funds went to initiatives that met the goals
of the Recovery Act—which included creating long-term jobs and bolstering the U.S.
economy—and that the recipients had the
ability to deliver the promised results.
All of this had to be accomplished under
intense public scrutiny in a political envi-
ronment divided over the Recovery Act,
Mr. Hine notes. “It was a key platform for a
newly elected president, and there was a lot
of political pressure.”
He turned to his own military back-
ground to deal with the pressures and risks
in those early days. “Things happen all the
34 PM NETWORK APRIL 2011 WWW.PMI.ORG
time on the battlefield that you don’t expect.
But if you can stay calm and respond rapidly, you can accommodate any necessary
course corrections,” he says.
NOT JUST PROJECT
MANAGEMENT AS USUAL
Allocating the money was only the first
step. The black swan boon led to another