What do we mean by an end-to-end solution for proposal and project cost management?
It is an integrated set of software tools — including proposal software and project budget management software — from one vendor using a single database design. That means you can produce and manage time phased cost data for the entire project from inception to closeout with shared data and functions. No need to write macros, transfer data between tools with different databases and user interfaces, or purchase a suite of add-ons for workflow functions, reporting, and producing government electronic deliverables.
The end-to-end solution of combining basis of estimate and cost control software not only saves time and money, but it also reduces the total cost of ownership of the tools, increases the return on investment, and significantly enhances data quality.
How specifically does an end-to-end software solution make a difference? Imagine if you could have a streamlined process that allowed you to:
- Quickly produce a data driven cost estimate
- Win the contract
- Establish the budget baseline
- Transition to project execution
- Manage baseline changes
- Provide historical source data for proposals
- Produce a data driven cost estimate using verifiable historical data
- Win the contract…
What an End-to-End Solution Looks Like In Practice
Using an end-to-end solution means that you can efficiently manage the entire process from bid to close without being buried in spreadsheets or struggling to remember how to connect the patchwork of legacy in-house and commercial-off-the-shelf systems. And because you’re not reliant on siloed, cut-and-paste, or manually entered data, you can trust the quality and credibility of your basis of estimate –and so can your clients.
Quickly produce a data driven cost estimate.
With the right process and BOEMax proposal software in place, proposal teams can:
- Establish the roles and workflow for managing the proposal process. The entire team has visibility into who is responsible for what and where things are in the proposal development and approval process.
- Quickly create a new project from a base template with core calendar, rates, and resource structures the proposal team can tailor for the proposal.
- Create or import the WBS and then import, parse, and map the proposal statement of work paragraphs to the WBS elements. The team automatically has an easy to use WBS hierarchical grid view similar to Excel to begin developing their cost estimates.
- Create a schedule driven cost estimate because the time phased cost estimate data integrates bi-directionally with the schedule tool.
- Enter basis of estimate rationale, risk assessment, and assumption documentation with the cost estimate data – all in one database.
- Use a searchable library of historical estimates and actual costs to pull from so they can substantiate their cost estimate factoring in the proposal scope of work requirements. They have historical bills of material to work from to validate material requirements. They also have a process library they can pull from to substantiate likely tasks, resource labor hour requirements, and materials needed to accomplish work scope.
- Produce standard cost summary and cost volume reports as well as ad-hoc reports and pivot tables from a single database with full top down and bottom up traceability.
The result? Proposal teams, empowered by a sophisticated bidding software, produce a high-quality cost estimate in less time because they have reliable source data to start with. A data driven basis of estimate also makes it easy for the customer to trace and verify the cost estimate.
Win the contract.
You stand out from your competitors because you were able to produce a better proposal with verifiable cost estimate data.
(One large, military defense contractor reported that they had increased their proposal efficiency by at least 40% over their previous toolset and their proposal win rate by 15%. Another contractor attributes their 25% win rate increase to the access to historical actuals and improved speed, agility, and accuracy of the BOE documentation provided by ProjStream’s end-to-end solution.)
Quickly establish the budget baseline.
The proposal team completes a planned hand-off to the project control team so they can leverage the proposal cost estimate data at contract award. This is easy to do with BOEMax and MaxTeam, an integrated cost management software that easily scales to the size and scope of the project. Equipped with cost control software, the project control team can automatically obtain the complete data structure, calendar, rates, resource structure, and time phased cost data to organize, plan, and manage the project.
They can also take advantage of the basis of estimate documentation and update it as needed to substantiate the budget plan, assign work package earned value techniques, and establish the budget baseline in the BOEMax. They simply copy the BOEMax project into the MaxTeam project cost management software to quickly transition from the startup/planning phase to the project execution phase. The built-in schedule integration ensures they establish a schedule driven budget baseline.
Easily transition to project execution.
With the right process and MaxTeam project budget management software in place, the project control teams can:
- Organize the complete set of cost data required to manage the work: time phased budgets, earned value, actual costs, and estimate to complete as well as estimated actuals and estimates at completion. The project control team once again has the same easy to use WBS hierarchical grid view to maintain and view data.
- Establish and maintain the schedule driven budget baseline and estimate to complete data. The team can leverage the schedule integration to ensure the schedule and cost data are always in alignment. This prevents common disconnects between the schedule and cost data. The current schedule progress is the verifiable basis for calculating the work package earned value in MaxTeam. As needed, they can enter rich text documentation as quantifiable backup data to substantiate the earned value claimed.
- Easily maintain a current staffing plan that aligns with the current schedule and estimate to complete the project’s remaining work.
- Calculate standard earned value metrics including material price and usage variances.
- Produce standard line charts and graphs to analyze trends.
- Produce standard performance reports such as the Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR) formats as well as ad-hoc reports and pivot tables from a single database with full top down and bottom up traceability.
- Produce IPMR electronic deliverables using either the current UN/CEFACT XML data encoding or the IPMR Revision B JSON data encoding.
With the combined power of BOEMax and MaxTeam, the management teams can also leverage their proposal and cost management software tools to:
- Capture bookings, funding profiles, revenue, payments, and cash flow for existing projects to produce a range of financial performance metrics to ensure profit targets are met.
- Produce single project or cross-project reports for project portfolio analysis.
- Proactively manage resource capacity and demand for likely contract awards and existing projects. BOEMax and MaxTeam share a common database, so it is easy to assess resource requirements across a business unit or company-wide for new projects starting up with a basis of estimate up to existing projects that are managing costs as the project nears completion.
- Combine revenue projection data with resource capacity and demand data to make course corrections to business or resource management strategies.
Easily manage baseline changes.
Using BOEMax proposal software and MaxTeam cost control software together, the project control teams can use the shared workflow process to manage work authorizations and baseline change requests. The workflow process automatically maintains a historical archive of the changes to the original budget at the detail transaction level.
Project teams complete their rolling wave planning or model the change in the BOEMax. This provides the source data for the baseline change request. They can enter the documentation for the change request directly into BOEMax – it is part of the database. This makes it easy to explain why the change is required and discuss the potential impact to other work elements. The actions to complete the review and approval process, update the work authorization, and then merge the approved change into MaxTeam exactly as approved is automatically documented. With this automatic, data-backed documentation, the electronic forms always align with the source data.
Provide historical source data for proposals.
Simply update the actual cost data library in BOEMax from MaxTeam for the next proposal team.
You have just gone full circle with both estimate and project budget management software using a single database design and shared functions. The benefits of an end-to-end solution include:
- Higher quality data that is traceable from top down and bottom up.
- You save time and money. Teams are no longer wasting time transferring data between tools, or transforming and “managing” the data.
- It is easier to create and maintain quality data. Users quickly adapt to the Excel like grid view to enter and manage their data.
- Built-in workflow simplifies the process of managing the proposal process, work authorizations, and baseline change requests.
- You can easily produce a variety of standard and ad-hoc reports as well as required electronic deliverables.
How To Implement an End-to-End Solution and Replace Outdated Tools
The goal of every successful software implementation is to support your company’s process and procedures so proposal or project control teams can do their jobs more effectively.
We suggest that change start with a fact-based assessment of the proposal or project control process and a detailed description of what you’d like it to be. Since disorganized, scattered data is the enemy of efficiency and accuracy, establishing a single source of truth for your data is a foundational step in creating a solution that will carry your work forward. Provide a system that allows all your team members to follow best practices and make it easy for them to do so with workflows that reinforce processes and procedures.
ProjStream's approach always includes creating work instructions specific to a company's process and training personnel using these instructions. One of the oldest independent R&D organizations in the US experienced a positive change in personnel accountability and effectiveness due to their training and work documentation process, improvements in reporting cycle time effort, and faster resolutions due to automated workflows.
ProjStream smooths out processes without a steep learning curve. We’ll help you implement the software and get started delivering on projects faster.
Even if you’re relatively happy with your existing process, ProjStream will make it better.
Call or schedule a software demo today to see how BOEMax and MaxTeam can simplify life for proposal and project teams as well as help them improve the quality of their data.
Updated January 17, 2022