One of the shared functions in ProjStream’s BOEMax proposal software and MaxTeam project cost management software is the ability to create structure and other project templates for the proposal or project control teams to quickly create a new project in the tool sets. Or, you can create a set of global structures for common calendar, rate, and resource structure core data they can use when they create a new project. The teams also have the flexibility to create project specific structures from the project templates or global structures when they encounter unique management or contractual requirements.
Benefits of Using Project Templates and Global Structures
Depending on your environment, you may want to establish project templates, shared global structures, or a combination of both. Either way, project templates and global structures create a common foundation that:
- Helps to improve data consistency;
- Makes it easier to maintain core data such as the current set of approved rates used for proposals as well as throughout the project planning and execution phases; and
- Saves time and simplifies the process for creating a new project.
It is always faster and easier for people to copy an existing template or use a set of global structures as the basis for a new project. With established project templates or global structures, you know the teams are using the approved set of core data to set up their projects instead of ad-hoc, incomplete, or inaccurate data.
When to Use Project Templates
Templates are useful when you want to maintain a more robust set of core or base data for the teams in addition to common calendar, rate, and resource structures. For example, you may want to create:
- A set of base work breakdown structures (WBS) that reflect the scope of work your company often performs. The teams can select the applicable WBS template, make a copy, and then add to or edit the content to fit the proposal or project. They have a standard nomenclature already in place to help them get started while using the estimating or cost control software.
- Common code lists that projects often use. An example might be locations where your company performs work or other common attributes you add to the WBS or work packages. Another example would be a master parts list the teams could use to create bills of material for their project.
- A base project template that provides a complete foundation to create a new project with company specific code structures, attribute fields, and other data details already set up for the teams. This makes it easier to enable cross-project analysis down the road because everyone is using a standard foundation when they create a new project. You then have a standard set of code structures and other data attributes you can use to group, select, or filter project data for performance or financial analysis.
In our bidding software, BOEMax, you can also establish and maintain a Process Library of repeatable process templates using historical performance and actual cost data. The Process Library templates include a defined set of tasks and assigned labor, material, or other resources along with labor hours or direct costs needed to complete the tasks. Our estimate software provides estimators with a reliable and consistent basis of estimate to produce their cost estimates using credible source data.
The teams simply copy the template data for use in their project or create a new project from a project template. Once the source template data are copied into the project, they can modify the data to fit their project specific needs leaving the source template data unchanged. For example, they may want to add project specific user defined fields to the work packages or resource structure. When they copy a Process Library template into their project, they can apply multipliers to the source data to fit the proposal requirements.
When to Use Global Structures
In our proposal writing and project cost management software, global structures are a set of linked calendar, rates, and resource structures. The rate structure requires the calendar information to determine the rate effective dates. The resource structure requires the rate structure to determine the applicable rates that apply.
As an option, you may want to establish a named set of shared global structures that teams can use when they create their projects in BOEMax and MaxTeam. You can create a single set of global structures or create additional sets for different needs. For example, you may have one set for proposal projects and another for projects in the planning and execution phases. A shared set of structures makes it easy to maintain this core set of data – you only have to update data in one set of structures. Options in the software then control when and how updated rates are applied to the time phased values in the tools.
When needed, teams can create project specific calendar, rate, and resource structures using the global structures. They simply create a copy of the global structures. For example, at contract award, they may want to lock in the rates used to produce the budget plan. Going forward, they would maintain the forecast rates with the current approved rates on a regular basis.
Setting Up Project Templates and Global Structures
Templates and global structures can be a huge time saver. To make the most of them, plan ahead for how you would like to implement them in your basis of estimate or project cost management software. Here are some things to consider when using BOEMax and MaxTeam.
- Establish a naming convention so it is easy to identify templates and global structures. For any project specific structures or code lists, you may want to include the project name so it is clear which structure is which.
- Extend the calendar template or global structure well out into the future. You may want to set up an annual data maintenance cycle to add another calendar year every December.
- Include a complete set of rates for the resources all projects are likely to use. You can also establish different rate classes for different cost values. For example, you can create one set for budget values and another for forecast values.
- Set up a template to import the current set of approved rates from your accounting system into the rate structures. Establish a regular maintenance cycle that coincides with when rates are updated in the accounting system. This may be quarterly, twice a year, or annually. This ensures everyone is using the current approved set of rates for proposals and the estimate to complete data for existing projects.
- Include a complete set of resources all projects are likely to use. When teams create their projects, they can identify the subset of available resources that can be assigned to tasks. That way you can maintain a master list and the teams can create a short list of resources that apply for their project.
- When you create your resource structure template or global structure, assign skill or other category labels. Establish a naming convention for these categories of resources. These categories are used for the Process Library as well as cross-project resource capacity and demand analysis for likely new contract awards and existing projects. It is also worthwhile to review the benefits of data driven analysis of resource requirements.
- Strategic use of structure attribute fields or named rate results to reduce the volume of data. ProjStream can help you with this when you implement your bidding software or cost management plan. For example, one client had a set of rates that varied based on the resource location. We worked with them to set up dynamic rate results where the teams select the applicable location code when the resource is assigned to a task. This significantly reduced the number of resource records from 193,000 to 4,000 — a more manageable list to maintain.
Want to see BOEMax or MaxTeam in action? Call us today to see how ProjStream’s proposal and cost management software tools can help your teams create quality cost estimate or project cost management data easier and faster.