What is the CNC P4A methodology?


March 1, 2013

Les Hardin

Many important government programs have never been formally evaluated – and the evaluations that have been completed have not sufficiently shaped Federal budget priorities or agency management practices. Many agencies lack an office of evaluation with the stature and staffing to support an ambitious, strategic, objective, and relevant research agenda. As a consequence, some programs have persisted year after year without adequate evidence that they work. In some cases, evaluation dollars have flowed into studies of insufficient rigor or policy significance. Federal programs rarely have evaluated multiple approaches to the same problem with the goal of identifying approaches that are more effective or cost-effective. And findings of completed evaluations do not always reach decision makers to guide program planning.

Rigorous and independent evaluations of government programs can be performed by CNC subject matter experts using our Portfolio, Program and Project Performance Assessment (P4A™) methodology. The CNC P4A methodology can help determine whether government programs are achieving their intended outcomes as effectively as possible and at the lowest possible cost. P4A evaluations can also help policymakers and agency managers strengthen the design and operation of agency programs.

P4A is a CNC trademarked methodology and framework for assessing planned or ongoing IT programs.  P4A™ is designed to support Federal Government CPIC and EA practices. It is based on the balanced scorecard methodology developed by Arthur Schneiderman and enhanced by Dr. Robert Kaplan. The balanced scorecard methodology is founded on the reasoning that business decisions should be made using a broader base of information other than just cost (ROI, payback period, etc.). The P4A methodology is designed to consider all “angles” of an investment (i.e., business fit, risk, technology fit, etc). The balanced scorecard is also recommended by GAO/AIMD-97-163, Executive Guide: Measuring Performance and Demonstrating Results of Information Technology Investments; September 1997.

CNC developed P4A as an extension of the balanced scorecard methodology. P4A includes risk analysis, stakeholder impact analysis, alternatives analysis, business domain analysis, technical domain analysis, ability-to-execute analysis, value analysis, and cost analysis. This enables a powerful panoramic view of how a program is performing and/or likely to perform.

P4A can be used for both proposed (ex-ante) and ongoing (ex-post) IT projects. When used in the ex-ante mode, P4A determines the expected strategic value of the project (investment). The assessment yields recommendations for actions to apply prior to executing the project to enhance the likelihood of its success. In the ex-post mode, P4A yields a complete picture of program performance. Successive P4A analyses can be conducted on a given program to uncover critical trends that may impact program success. Assessment results from the P4A analysis can then be used to create focused remediation plans to improve program performance and maximize the likelihood of success.

P4A provides the following capabilities:

         Assesses the investment’s present performance in business, technical, stakeholder impact, risk, value, cost, and ability-to-execute domains

         Examines and ranks viable alternatives

         Reviews and documents the investment’s current state in each domain

         Provides immediate focus areas and recommendations for maximizing ROI and mission value

         Provides long-term strategic realignment recommendations

         Assesses system implementation against industry best practices and competing technologies

         Develops a viability assessment for each system/investment in terms of its business case & technical status



For a discussion of P4A please contact:


Les Hardin, Senior Vice President

Converge Networks Corporation

3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 640, Bethesda, Maryland  20814-6334

Office: 240-207-2150




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