Naperville’s (DPU-E): Project Management Office Provides Foundation for Smart-Grid Initiative
Industry-specific expertise and proven program management methods provide the foundation for advancing the city's smart-grid initiative.
Naperville is the only utility in the state of Illinois selected to receive a Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It was chosen from among more than 500 grant applicants nationwide.
Industry:
 Naperville’s Department of Public Utilities—Electric (DPU-E) is responsible for serving more than 143,000 residents of Naperville, Illinois, along with the city’s industrial customers and a significant "high-tech corridor" of larger commercial companies.

Accelerating transformation.
Naperville is the only utility in the state of Illinois selected to receive a Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It was chosen from among more than 500 grant applicants nationwide.

Naperville had begun planning and investing in the modernization of its electric grid long before the 2009 stimulus program began. Winning SGIG funding enabled it to accelerate the transformation by providing matching funds for its initiative. The city, however, did not have sufficient technical resources, people, or expertise to properly manage all of the work streams required to complete the program within the required three-year time frame. For short-term, program-specific utility and technology expertise, the city turned to West Monroe Partners.

Developing a unique and holistic project plan.
West Monroe Partners has been involved in assisting with Naperville’s Smart Grid Initiatives (NSGI) since the city prepared its initial grant request submission in July 2009. Based on its experience during the grant application process, Naperville recognized that West Monroe Partners is a valuable partner whose methodologies and strategic approach mesh well with its smart grid vision.

West Monroe Partners worked with Naperville to divide the city’s smart grid initiative into three phases: planning, design, and execution. Then, it used an appropriate combination of tools, templates, and techniques to create a clear and feasible program charter, individual project charters, and detailed project plans—including both technical and nontechnical components—that would guide the city through the design and implementation phases. Additionally, to meet the expedited DOE requirements for “definitization” plans, including detailed cyber security, project execution, and metrics and benefits reporting plans, West Monroe Partners utilized its organizational skills, technical expertise, and program management processes to assist Naperville in completing these activities ahead of schedule.

Effective project management office.
Due to the number of work streams involved and the accelerated time frame, West Monroe Partners determined that Naperville would need a program management office to manage time, resources, risks, scope, communications, quality, integration, and costs. West Monroe Partners worked closely with the project team leads and the project director to:

  • Develop and use program and project management standards
  • Utilize delivery methods and tools
  • Create the program and project charters with an integrated project plan
  • Submit status reports at the federal, city, and project levels

By including city council representatives in the project steering committee, West Monroe Partners increased visibility and was able to facilitate approval of project plans, budgets, and contracts in a systematic manner and at an accelerated pace.

Setting the stage for the next phase.
West Monroe Partners’ proven methodology, relationship, expertise, and experienced helped the Naperville Department of Public Utilities execute a successful planning phase—completing all goals with a high rate of client satisfaction. The initiative produced integrated plans for each project work stream that surpassed key performance indicators and prepared the city to move ahead with smart grid design, including securing proposals and information from prospective vendors.

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