U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Engineering and Construction Division
20 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20314-1000
D R A F T #2
December 18, 1998
Memorandum For The Record
Com Metrics Supports USACE Strategic Vision
The San Francisco District reports initial success using Communication Metrics,
consideration for wider study and pilot testing
by the Corps. ref 1 - 4.
We concur and request comment from the Information Management
Directorate and others.
(see Questions for Implementation Planning, below)
Communication Metrics is a generic
role that supports daily management, like the CIA's function to organize,
align, analyse and summarize daily information for the President. New skills
and technology may comprise a new management science that makes this role cost
effective on a broader scale, down to the District level.
USACE's conversion to all electronic media makes
Communication Metrics a next logical step to achieve cost savings of a
New science necessarily requires new terms and using familiar phrases in
new ways that require experience to grasp meaning and implications.
(see Question #3)
in this context means information from meetings,
calls, email and documents that is linked by chronology into
patterns of cause and effect to reveal alignment with requirements
and commitments so that planning and decisions are adequately
as set out in the
CESPN report on Mar 28, 1997, ref 1.
The Communication Metrics web site defines
The Chief Engineer's Strategic Vision charges the Corps to prepare for
new realities of the 21st century. A critical new reality is the increase in
the flow of information from meetings, calls, email and documents. Everyday,
documents and email pile up causing mistakes and missed opportunities due to
Large organizations and projects require a lot of meetings, memos, email and
reports that spawn information overload. There is not enough time to obtain
feedback and produce analysis that yields shared meaning for coordinated and
complementary action. The result is diverse meaning and conflicting actions
that cause rework, lost time and extra expense, as explained in NWO. A study
by US Air Force Institute of Technology reviewed on July 7, 1977 found that DOD
procurement fails to meet time and cost targets because management degrades to
entropy when traditional information management systems are overwhelmed,
Leadership requires focused understanding and clear direction aligned with
organizational vision, goals, objectives, policies, regulations, law,
contracts, correspondence and memos. Getting things done requires clear Action
Items that can be systematically followed up. This is a big job due to new
realities of information overload in the 21st century.
Experience in the San Francisco District shows the scope of services for
Communication Metrics provides the tools, skills and allocation of
time for a new work role to deliver
that solves this problem.
On Oct 7, 1997 CESPN reported
savings of 6:1
relative to the cost of
Communication Metrics. In a test evaluation over three months, the district
estimated direct savings of $317K at a cost of less than $50K, based on
analysis of avoiding
due to mistakes arising from limited span of
attention. More recently district counsel reported with "certainty" that
Communication Metrics saved the government an
additional $190K by avoiding
liability for a regulatory fine. This savings in the range of
10:1 warrants further investigation to determine sustainable cost/benefits.
USACE problem areas that can be helped by Communication Metrics include staff
meetings, inter-agency meetings, projects, regulatory and environmental
management. Issues in the latter areas often stretch out over years. Linking
chronology of disparate events to maintain continuity, and to obtain context of
rulings, is vital to avoid misapplication, extra cost and delay. Communication
Metrics tools and methods provide a solution.
Intelligence work requires a combination of technology and
good communication skills for preparing
analysis and obtaining feedback. Skill sets are identified by the prototype
scope of services
in the CESPN report issued on Mar 28, 1997. Training would be
provided to use technology that automates in substantial degree tasks to
organize, align and summarize information, so that a few people can produce
to build and maintain shared meaning for a lot of people,
such as a project or command group, e.g., Division, District, Branch, etc.
Support technology, called the Schedule Diary System (SDS), integrates time and
information management by building webs of related chronologies based on
subject content. SDS manages documents, contacts and action items using a
unique environment that connects what is planned and actually done, with its
predicate or history. Linking cause and effect in this way meets
established management standards that require
traceability to original sources. (see
ISO criteria for PM)
CEMP-EC has not worked directly with this software. We have used
work product prepared by SDS, i.e.,
delivered via Internet
that makes available, more or less instantly, decision support chronologies
using hypertext links.
The links in this report illustrate the methodology.
Correspondence in ref 6,
below, further demonstrates using Communication Metrics on the Internet.
The developer, Rod Welch, explains that SDS integrates planning and scheduling
tasks as daily action items based on regular analysis of management decisions
and work activity. This is a broader effort than traditional "information
management." One unique feature is the ability to link backward and forward in
time to show patterns of cause and effect that impact decisions, results and
costs. Since pattern recognition is a powerful part of human intelligence,
this capability might be said to leverage human acuity in a new and powerful
way that can help the Corps.
Like "Project Management" that has evolved over the past 20 years as a new
professional discipline, Communication Metrics is a process to improve
management effectiveness. One way management is improved is through continual
analysis of daily details for issues that require action. A key part of
"analysis" is linking new information with law, regulations, policy,
procedures, requirements and commitments. The SDS program automates this
process in substantial degree, and it enables custom linking more or less
instantly, as a matter of volition using "point and click" technology available
in most PC operating systems. The ability to maintain chronology based on
subject content, and to link between diverse instruments, such as a book, a
regulation, a meeting, a phone call, a letter, memo, magazine, and so on, that
emulates human mental thought, is unique to the SDS program. This capability
can be experienced by following links in this report, and in the correspondence
under ref 6, below.
For example, the Corps uses Lotus Notes. It cannot do any of these integrated
management support tasks that link cause and effect to produce
Cost savings in the range of 10:1 reported by CESPN resulted from using
Communication Metrics for daily "intelligence" and support for proactive risk
management. Work product was provided by email and conventional printed media.
Over the past year, SDS has been enhanced to automate creation of linked web
pages so that intelligence can be delivered and accessed via Internet using
ordinary web browsers. This adds value to the Internet by providing timely
content that is needed for daily management, and it adds value to our managers
and commanders by providing instant, world-wide access to intelligence for
effective decisions, without having to carry, distribute, retrieve and maintain
mountains of paper nor wade through email directories. Summaries save time by
enabling people to quickly and accurately assess large amounts of information,
then drill down into details when needed. It is a major step toward the cost
and time advantages of a
Additionally, SDS converts diverse information materials into professionally
formatted web pages for delivery via Internet, more or less instantly, which
can then be accessed for decision support.
CESPN staff who were supported by Communication Metrics have tried the new
Internet support, and report this added capability adds
significant value. ref 3 and 4.
Traditional use of the Internet requires a dedicated "web master" or even a
team of people to create and maintain useful Internet content for daily
management. Posting information to a web page requires lengthy preparation
and submission to the web master, tying up management and administrative
resources. The SDS program eliminates this cost and the time lag that is
entailed in posting useful content to web pages.
On Dec 2, 1997, Dr. Moonja Kim, Chief of CERL-PL-B, observed in a meeting at HQ
USACE, the process of creating links in the SDS program, and found that it is
much faster than other products.
The Chief Engineer's recent order to convert all USACE information to
electronic media positions the Corps to use Communication Metrics. This new
environment should increase cost savings by providing instant access to
relevant information, so that managers can improve the timeliness and accuracy
of their work. Communication Metrics can help make this happen. Since the
21st century is just 12 months away, now is the time to start preparing.
of Communication Metrics, including recent innovations applying the Internet,
is available on the
Welch Company web site at
Background on hiring Welch to evaluate Communication Metrics is in the
issued by the San
on Mar 28, 1997, ref 1.
HQ USACE learned about Communication Metrics in a
between Chuck Shoer
and Rod Welch on Mar 3, 1997. At that time we requested a copy of the
District's report that was in preparation. On Aug 18, 1997 CEMP received the
report, and on Sep 4, we requested an estimate of
which was issued on Oct 7, 1997, ref b.
Rod Welch, who developed Communication Metrics, and Tom Keesling who sponsored
contract and issued District reports, were
invited to HQ USACE to demonstrate the methodology. The demonstration occurred
Dec 2, 1997. Ed East, who has since retired, but formerly provided management
training for our engineers, and worked on our Quality Management program,
the need for the Communication Metrics solution. He asked Rod to review
our management training film, and show it with the presentation on
Communication Metrics in order to help attendees recognize the need for this
This film that is shown to COE managers to improve communication
in daily management. They are strikingly similar
to the problem solved by Communication Metrics, as set out by Tom Keesling in
comments to HQ on December 23, 1998.
There was not
to show the film at the Dec 2, 1997 meeting; however,
on Dec 29, 1997 Welch reviewed a series of films on management training which
show the need for
better communication, as urged by Ed East. At the meeting on Dec 2,
USACE managers expressed concern about the cost
and benefits of improving communications, which confirmed Ed East's idea that
showing a film to illustrate the problem is helpful. Generally, managers feel
they are good communicators and are intelligent. Andy Grove, Chairman of
Corporation writes in his book Only the paranoid survive, that
often successful managers are in
that they need help, and may fear
change to new methods. Helping good people see a better way requires the
with a broader vision.
During the meeting, USACE managers raised
about the viability of a new work role, and how to apply a lot of
"intelligence." Welch reviewed advantages of Communication Metrics relative to
conventional management practice of
taking notes at meetings, as follows...
- Subject Identification
- Alignment with...
- Laws, regulations, codes
- Chronologies of cause and effect
- Summary linked to details
- Action Items linked to context, history, follow up
- Uniform delivery to build and maintain shared meaning
- Anytime, Anywhere Intelligence delivered via Internet
On Dec 5, 1997, Jim Jones, then Deputy Chief, CEMP-E, reported feedback from
attendees at the presentation on Dec 2. There was recognition that
Communication Metrics improves
but the HQUSACE managers wanted more proof of
Welch had explained improvements under development to deliver intelligence via
Internet which would bring a big jump in cost effectiveness, as evidenced by
USACE efforts to develop a "Virtual District," see
(April 1997 p.33).
Subsequently, over the next 8 months or so, Welch completed improvements for
delivering intelligence via Interent. During this period, contacts with the
San Francisco District revealed verbal expressions that CESPN counsel was
indicating Communication Metrics had saved additional cost over the amount in
the report issued on Oct 7, 1997. Amounts ranging from $40K to $80K were
mentioned. On Aug 3, 1998
asked District Counsel to confirm in
writing the amount Communication Metrics saved the Government. On Oct 22, 1998
reported with "certainty" that Communication Metrics saved
$187,500. This made total direct savings approximately $500K. Since the cost
for Communication Metrics that yielded this savings was under $50K, the ROI is
District counsel also reported that using Communication Metrics on the Internet
was more cost effective, and that the design of
which enables people
to absorb a lot of information quickly, then obtain needed details merely by
clicking on a heading, saves time.
On Aug 3, 1998, Max Blodgett, Chief Con Ops, in the San Francisco District,
notified Welch that the advantages of Communication Metrics on the Internet are
On Nov 4, 1998 our Project Engineer, who had worked with Communication Metrics
on the Oakland Harbor project, cited strong advantages of this new capability
to implement Communiation Metrics on the
On Nov 19, 1998, based on additional proof of cost savings, and new capability
to deliver intelligence via Internet, Welch discussed with Jim Lovo, Chief,
CEMP-EC, further consideration of Communication Metrics.
QUESTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION PLANNING
Our review shows the following questions require further study...
- What level of staff is needed for a Communication Manager?
What background and training is best suited for intelligence work?
Can we use lower priced administrative staff more productively to build
the data base using SDS software to free senior managers from the
burdens of managing the daily glut of email and documents?
- Should we use internal or contract resources for implementation and
Terminology of Communication Metrics requires alignment with USACE
culture and management practice. How do these catchphrases relate to
investing intellectual capital
organic subject structure
automated integration of time and information
converting information into knowledge
traceability to original sources
limited span of attention
- Can Communication Metrics be incorporated into existing organizational
structure, and, if so, where?
- Should Communication Metrics be specified in contracts to support
common administration of the project record, our Quality Management,
and Partnering programs?
- What level of command support is needed to ensure adequate
implementation for internal management where managers fear and resist
feedback, that is endemic to Communication Metrics methodology?
Should Communication Metrics be focused initially on external contract
management where tradition, law and contract requirements require
effective feedback under notice provisions?
- What synergies occur with USACE existing systems, e.g., RMS, conversion
to electronic media?
- What is the cost of the software?
- What software improvements are desirable for the future?
- Intelligence delivered by Internet requires redundant storage and
delivery capability in order to ensure uninterrupted support. How
would this work, and at what cost?
- What caliber of hardware and networking is needed?
- What level of security is needed, and how can it be accomplished with
The Welch Company could be a viable partner to develop Communication Metrics
capability within USACE. This can provide critical business intelligence to
accomplish our goal for a "Virtual District." Welch has shown consistent
willingness to make improvements and to invest the effort required to help our
people see the opportunity to make better use of our time and technology.
Testing of Communication Metrics has been limited, but highly successful. We
believe this success justifies expanded testing to establish sustainable cost
savings, and to determine implementation parameters on a wider scale. This can
be a significant step to prepare for the 21st century, as directed by the Chief
report by San Francisco District dated Mar 28,
Cost Savings, Preparing for 21st Century,
report by San Francisco
District dated Oct 7, 1997
- Cost Savings, report by
in San Francisco District, Oct
- Communication Metrics on the
report by Construction Services
Branch, San Francisco District, Nov 3, 1998
- Telephone conversation with Tom Keesling, Assistant Chief, Construction
Operations Division, San Francisco District;
- Email correspondence with Rod Welch;
Nov 18, 1998
Welch letter to CEMP-EC, Jim Lovo.
- Dec 2, 1998 CEMP-EC,
Bob Gordon's letter to Welch
- Dec 2, 1998
to CEMP-EC, Bob Gordon
- Dec 2, 1998 CEMP-EC,
Bob Gordon's letter to Welch, #2
- Dec 2, 1998
to CEMP-EC, Bob Gordon
Dec 9, 1998
Welch letter to CERL-PL, Mike Case
- The Welch Company web site,
POIMS, the Art of Automated Management in the 21st Century
New World Order Needs Old Time Religion
Dialog, Documents and Human Memory, a Legal Perspective
Reengineering to Win in a Global Economy;
New Needs, New Roles, New
Skills for Effective Leadership;
- Meeting with Michael Case, Chief, Engineering Processes Division, U.S.
Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories
Robert C. Gordon