Develop and Execute Program Plan for FEMA Gulf Coast Recovery Office

The Challenge:

Destruction brought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita drove a massive federal effort to support the Gulf Coast Region’s long term recovery operations. To enable the recovery operations and to ensure efficient and effective expenditure of federal resources, FEMA established the Gulf Coast Recovery Office (GCRO) in New Orleans, LA. The mission of GCRO is to support response and recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast by partnering with customers to plan, acquire and manage resources to achieve program objective success. The GCRO is supported directly by two sections of the Office of Acquisition Management, the Acquisition Operations Branch’s Gulf Coast Recovery Section and the Acquisition Program and Planning Branch’s Gulf Coast Recovery Program Management Operations (PMO) Section.

The GCRO through the PMO Section focuses on developing and employing acquisition tools that are efficient and effective. The PMO Section mission is to provide cost, schedule and quality control to the Gulf Coast Recovery Office and state Transitional Recovery Offices: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The GCRO required Program Management support including Technical Matter Expertise, Management Oversight, Technical Support and Financial Management to:

  • Evaluate program management tools and provide recommendations to increase efficiencies in program management
  • Establish, maintain, modify and update information databases/spreadsheets to support program requirements
  • Provide organizational training to program personnel in the establishment of new processes and procedures
  • Assist with the establishment of cost, technical, and schedule baselines.
  • Assist GCRO PMO Section to prepare project plans and guidance documents, including strategic plans and roadmaps
  • Prepare project management analysis reports including status on current projects in response to external or internal data calls
  • Provide financial and cost information input required to update technical resources, documentation and configuration baselines, and schedule changes in support of on- going acquisition and implementation efforts
  • Provide financial and cost information input required for the preparation of supporting documentation for program planning and milestone decisions
  • Provide financial and cost information input required to support planning and scheduling
  • Provide financial and cost information input required for the preparation and implementation of plans and processes for risk, financial, and management controls
  • Provide Subject Matter Experts to support the development of detailed requirements documents, technical specifications, and construction diagrams.
  • Assist with contract documentation planning and preparation
  • Provide financial management and cost management support services for GCRO PMO Section
  • Provide initial execution data, analysis and updates in support of mid-year and program reviews
  • Employ cost estimating techniques and processes to prepare and maintain consistent and viable cost models to articulate and defend financial requirements.
  • Assist in the preparation of life cycle cost analysis.

Action Taken:

The PMOLink Team worked with the GCRO to develop an Integrated Master Acquisition Schedule enabling accurate planning and management over hundreds of contracts for which the PMO has oversight. This has become a daily tool throughout the organization. Additionally, a comprehensive Program Management Plan was developed to documents how the PMO is organized and operates. Risk Management was incorporated into all aspects of the PMO’s activities to enable effective mitigation planning. A Performance Measurement Plan is in development to enable the Section Chief to evaluate and improve the performance of his organization.

The PMOLink Team has written and delivered Acquisition Plans, Statements of Work, Statements of Objectives, Standard Operating Procedures, and many other products for the GCRO PMO. We have also filled many short notice requests for assistance to other parts of the GCRO and to the Louisiana and Mississippi Transitional Recovery Offices. In every case, the PMOLink Team has delivered the assistance and the product with accuracy and on time or ahead of schedule.

Summary of Major Accomplishments:

  • Developed and implemented an Integrated Master Acquisition Schedule to track all acquisition actions. Enabled the PMO to look and plan ahead, ensuring acquisition actions are being completed ahead of all deadlines.
  • Developed and authored the Program Management Plan (PMP). This comprehensive document describes the PMO’s mission, strategy, roles and responsibilities, and describes the various programs and plans within the GCRO PMO. This is now the main reference document for the organization.
  • Developed and implemented Risk Management. A Risk Management Plan is incorporated into the PMP and Risk Management is now incorporated in the organization as part of the routine way of doing business.
  • Developed a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan to provide directions and identify resources to support relocation and reestablishment of essential PMO functions in an emergency.
  • Developed a Strategic Communication Plan. About to be finalized, this document will standardize, formalize, and enhance communication both inside the PMO as well as with customers and stakeholders.
  • Developed and implemented a Performance Measurement Plan. This will enable the PMO to gauge and improve its performance.
  • Developed the Acquisition Research Reporting and Tracking Tool. This database is a tool that enables comprehensive tracking and reporting of all aspects of contracts being managed in the Gulf Coast.
  • Developed Acquisition Plans and associated documents (Independent Government Cost Estimates, Statements of Work/Statements of Objectives) for a number of requirements in support of the formaldehyde-related safety program and the maintenance and deactivation of housing units including:
    • Direct Lease Agreements
    • Emergency Furniture Assistance
    • Emergency Food Supplemental Assistance
    • Emergency Packing, Transport, and Storage Assistance
    • Emergency Pet Management and Sheltering Assistance
    • Mobile Home Deactivation
    • Travel Trailer Deactivation
    • Mobile Home and Travel Trailer Maintenance
    • Septic Bladder Pumping Services
  • Prepared other acquisition-related documents including Evaluation Factors for Award, Source Selection Plans, and a Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan. Revised Contract Administration Plan for maintenance and deactivation contracts.
  • Developed comprehensive workflow and standard operating procedures for Direct Leasing and associated processes.

Due to their flexibility and expertise in program management, contract management and acquisition management, the contractors have also assisted in research required from Congressional, IG, and GAO inquiries and investigations as well assisted with review and development of best practice processes and draft policies and procedures.


PMOLink has quickly established a reputation for on-time delivery even when given a short-fused request. The PMOLink Team is quickly improving the efficiency, effectiveness responsiveness and accountability of the GCRO PMO. The results of the PMOLink Team’s efforts will be evident in the performance evaluation that PMOLink has requested be sent to the SBA evaluators.