California Department of Transportation

Project Management

Chronology of Project Management in Caltrans

Chronology in 2003
Date Description
January 2003 Project Management Certification Program
Lam Nguyen was first to complete the new Caltrans Project Management Certification Program in January 2003.
This program was first announced in July 2002, reference chronology for 2002.
February 2003 The Department published the Project Communication Handbook, 1st ed., February 2003.
Project management demands a free flow of communication with and among project team members, and internal and external project stakeholders. The project team needs frequent information from each of its team members to complete and improve the project and to understand the needs and expectations of the project's customers. Project communication management involves project communication planning, information distribution, reporting performance and formal project closeout.
Consultant, Kimley-Horn and Assoc. Inc., published report on the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge Quality Assessment Review Contract 44A0025.
  • Quality Assurance & Risk Assessment Final Report
  • Addenda A - Mitigation Management Matrix
March 2003 WBS 6.0 Abbreviated Activity Names published 3/7/03 on the Project Management website.
April 2003 Updated Caltrans Guide to Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS), release 3.1, published August 1998, updated April 2003
The Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) is a standardized list of personnel resources related by function and arranged in a hierarchical structure. It is a resource-driven system that identifies "who" is doing the work. The total resources define the Top Level, and each subsequent level is a subset of the resource category (or level) above it. Each descending (lower) level represents an increasingly detailed description of the resource until small enough to be used in conjunction with the WBS to allow the work to be planned, monitored and controlled. The hierarchical structure also allows "roll up" analysis at a variety of levels for Top Management, Project Managers, Functional Managers, or for staff.
A standard RBS has many benefits including:
  • Consistent elements for planning and monitoring
  • Efficient collection of data
  • Simplification of expenditure reporting
  • Facilitation of comparative analysis
  • Effective communication relative to project level work throughout the Department
  • Reduction of "culture shock" when employees transfer to different locations and work assignments
Staff Central
The Department begins using "Staff Central", the Department's implementation of Peoplesoft for time reporting. On line reporting for Staff Central began 4/1/03.
May 2003 On May 21, the Department issued its Architectural & Engineering Handbook, First Edition
This handbook provides guidance and a structured process for the planning, procuring, and managing of A&E consultant services contracts. These procedures ensure that specific steps involving both California Department of Transportation (Department) staff and consultants are utilized to successfully plan, procure, and manage an A&E contract.
June 2003 On June 26, Chief Engineer Brent Felker and Deputy Director for Finance Bob Garcia issued a memo on “STIP Project Support Cost Management” with an Attachment: 20 percent rule
SB45 of 1997 requires that the support allocation for each phase of a STIP project be listed in the STIP and requires the Department to plan and manage project costs by phase. This law has been in force since the adoption of the 1998 STIP.

The Department published the Project Risk Management Handbook, 1st ed., June 2003
This handbook provides an overview of risk management at the California Department of Transportation (Department).This document describes the basic concepts and processes that guide risk management planning and implementation during project development.
July 2003 On July 7, Chief Engineer Brent Felker issued a memo on “Safety Project Programming and Resourcing” with an Attachment: G13
All programmed safety projects identified in the district delivery plan prior to fiscal year allocations will be resourced as part of each district's allocation. Within the budget year, safety projects will be resourced through redirection within the district's allocation, and impacts on delivery of other projects will need to be identified. If district staff is unavailable to proceed with work on a project, flexible resources should be used to assist in the project's delivery.

The Department published the Guide to Project Delivery Standard Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), release 6.1
The Project Delivery Standard WBS is a set of standard Work plans that represents the scope of any transportation improvement project. The standard is developed to facilitate the planning, execution and control of individual projects, as well as to provide the same capability for managing groups of projects (programs) on a statewide or district-wide basis.
Successful project management depends in a large degree on the project manager's ability to specify the work content of the project in terms of its products (deliverables) and activities. One of the principal tools for planning and controlling the work content of a project is the WBS.
The WBS is a product-oriented grouping of project elements that organizes and defines the total scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of a project component. Project components may be products or services. The WBS defines the work elements only, not the sequence or duration of work nor the resources required. The elements at the bottom of the hierarchy are called work packages (Work plans). A Work plan is a "deliverable at the lowest level of the WBS". A work package may be divided into activities. Thus, the work contents of the project can be viewed as the set of Work plans obtained by applying the WBS.
August 2003 Caltrans Project Management Certificate Program team receives a Caltrans, Innovation in Transportation award. Recognition was given to both Caltrans staff and their partners at California State University Sacramento, College of Continuing Education (CSUS, CCS). The innovation recognized was the cost-effectiveness of utilizing the on-line method of delivering a significant program of Project Management training.
September 2003 Established FY03/04 Baseline Delivery Plan 9/3/03

On September 17, the Department unveiled an online Caltrans Lessons Learned Application.
The purpose of the Lessons Learned Application is to capture and benefit from the lessons learned during the course of a project, and to continuously improve and correct Caltrans documents (manuals, handbooks…etc). All project team members are encouraged to record the problems they have encountered during project delivery, and to provide their suggestions and solutions for resolving those problems.

On September 29, the Department posted web pages on Project Closeout processes.
Project Managers need to close out each component (phase) of the project in a formal and consistent manner. Proper Project Close-Out process should provide:
  • Systematic documentation and archive of project records.
  • The capture of Lessons Learned during project execution, so that these lessons can be used to improve future projects. A formal process would be used to amend guidance and manuals.
  • Formal acceptance & delivery of the closeout products.
This Project Close Out tool documents the various steps needed to close out each component (phase) of the project, by drilling down to the close out tasks of each component. A typical close out task provides a brief description of the task, the procedure that needs to be followed, the roles of various individuals involved, a flowchart of the process, and links to further documents.
October 2003 On October 14, Chief Engineer Brent Felker sent a memo to the Regional Transportation Planning Agencies on “Implementing Agency Responsibilities for State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) projects on State Highways.
Several local agencies have recently become “implementing agencies” for components of State Highway projects funded from the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The implementing agency is responsible for the successful completion of each project component.

Published Guide To Using The STIP Project Delivery Report
Purpose of Report:
  • The STIP Project Delivery Report provides current cost and schedule information at the SB45 component level for projects programmed in the 2002 STIP.
  • Not included in this report: PSR or Project Initiation Document (PID) development costs. Costs associated with this effort are pre-programming.

Established PM Board Charter 10/25/03
Standard Business Process Committee
In addition to prioritizing the improvement efforts, this committee plays a vital role in ensuring consistency, integration and usability of the various business process improvement efforts. Committee recognizes the variety of methods that improvements are being developed. This includes dedicated teams resourced from headquarters and multifunction teams with district representation. The goal of the team is to improve project management business processes statewide and to ensure district involvement on improvements.


On October 31, the Department issued WBS 6.1 Abbreviated Activity Names and WBS 6.1 Long Activity Names.
The purpose of this Guide is to provide a statewide standard, information regarding the Project Delivery Standard WBS, Release 6.1, and its use to plan and control the work content of capital projects.
November 2003 Risk Management Presentation by Rick Guevel to PMI Luncheon Group in Sacramento.
  • Risk Management is a systematic approach for making informed decisions while minimizing adverse impacts to project scope, cost, and schedule.
  • Risk Management Focuses on identifying risks and managing their outcomes.
  • Risk Management Process occurs in each phase of the project lifecycle and provides numerous methods for identifying risks.
December 2003 Director Jeff Morales Memo of December 17, 2003:
“Effective Jan 2, 2004, Mike Leonardo will become the Acting Chief Engineer. Brent Felker, Chief Engineer and Deputy Director for Project Delivery of the Department, will leave State service on January 2, 2004 to continue his career in private industry.”