What Does a SMART Feasibility Study Look Like?
A feasibility study works progressively through the six-step planning process, with five key decision points or milestones. These milestones mark key decisions along the path to an effective and efficient study. With engagement of the Vertical Team and key HQUSACE and MSC leaders at the milestones, the PDT is assured that decisions made will not be revisited without good reason.
- Alternatives Milestone – The Vertical Team and Project Delivery Team agree on the focused array of alternatives and the criteria that will be used to evaluate and compare the alternatives to select the agency recommended plan. In addition, there is Vertical Team agreement that the objectives of the study are consistent with Corps authorities and priorities.
- Tentatively Selected Plan Milestone – The Vertical Team and Project Delivery Team agree on the plan that will be published as the Tentatively Selected Plan for public review. Concurrent to public review, technical, policy, and legal reviews will occur.
- Agency Decision Milestone – The Project Delivery Team and Vertical Team bring forward the TSP and the proposed path to completing a final recommendation to Senior Leadership for confirmation. With confirmation, this plan becomes the agency recommended plan that will be the focus of increased engineering and cost design / detail sufficient to complete the feasibility study report.
- Chief’s Report Milestone – The Chief’s Report is developed for signature.
Throughout the feasibility study, all members of the PDT, Vertical Team and Review Team have the responsibility to ask themselves:
- What is the decision we are going to make?
- How are we going to make the decision?
- What criteria will we use to make the decision?
- What are the key drivers (data, uncertainty, etc.) that will affect the decision?
- What data is immediately available? Will getting more data change the decision outcome?
- What are the decision risks (probability and consequence of making an undesirable decision) of using the available data?
- At every juncture, where more data, more time, more information is asked for the PDT should feel empowered to ask "Why do we need that data?" and "How Does it Influence the decision?"
- MG Walsh 8 February 2012 Memo
- Planning Bulletin 2018-01
The purpose of this Planning Bulletin is to clarify the decisions and processes associated with feasibility study milestones. This bulletin was developed to assist teams in development of the feasibility study products and clarify processes and procedures to reach each of the decision milestones. This bulletin also defines the decision-making delegation for each milestone. Please see PB 2018-01-S for clarification. This bulletin supersedes Planning Bulletin 2017-01: Feasibility Study Milestones and also supersedes specific sections of ER 1105-2-100 (Planning Guidance Notebook) that reference feasibility study milestones, including: Appendix G (30 June 2004) exhibits G-3, G-4, G-5, Appendix H (20 November 2007) section H-4 (discussion of Feasibility Scoping Meeting and Alterative Formulation Briefing), and Appendix H exhibits H-3, H-4, H-5, and H-7.
- Planning Bulletin 2018-01(S)
This bulletin supplements Planning Bulletin 2018-01: Feasibility Study Milestones. This guidance applies to all feasibility studies where the USACE planning decision document could lead to a recommendation for project authorization or modification to a project authorization, including general re-evaluation studies, post authorization change reports, and other reports supporting project authorization or budget decisions that results in a Chiefs Report or Directors Report.
- Glossary of Terms and Acronyms