Today’s government contract software toolsets make it easier for contractors to win contracts and stay on track while executing them. Some solutions go above and beyond to increase efficiency and improve data accuracy. And that requires seamless integration between different commercial off the shelf (COTS) tools used for cost estimating, scheduling, and earned value management (EVM).
At a recent industry conference for government contractors, we polled people with different project management roles to find out which toolset integration functions help them the most. Although there were many to choose from, two kept rising to the top of everyone’s list.
#1) Bidirectional integration with the scheduling toolset
During the proposal phase, the proposal team and cost estimators use data from various internal systems to produce the proposal schedule and basis of estimate (BOE). A cost estimating toolset like BOEMax that seamlessly exchanges the task and resource data bidirectionally with the scheduling toolset simplifies life for the proposal team and increases data integrity.
When one team member makes a change to a set of task durations in the scheduling tool, the change is pulled into the BOE and the necessary cost adjustments are made to reflect the timing differences. Change the skill sets in the BOE and the change is reflected in the task resource assignments in the schedule toolset. The schedule and cost data are always in sync.
This seamless integration is just as important after contract award to establish and maintain the performance measurement baseline (PMB). The resource loaded schedule activities provide the basis to establish the time phased budget in an EVM toolset like EVMax. This makes it easy for the project control team to produce control account work authorization documents that accurately reflect the scope of work, period of performance, and budget allocation for the life of the project.
BOEMax and EVMax can also seamlessly share data throughout the life of the project to manage changes. From modeling the change to producing a baseline change request, the workflow functions support a closed-loop process for submitting, approving, and incorporating changes into the schedule and budget baseline.#2) Cost estimating integration with the EVM Cost toolset
No one wants to pour blood, sweat, and tears into preparing and winning a government contract award, only to recreate the schedule and budget data after contract award.
What we often see government contractors do is use one toolset to estimate and price a government contract bid and another toolset after contract award. There are also two different teams involved – the pre-award proposal team and post-award execution team with no transition process in place. Frequently the proposal schedule and cost estimate are handed off to the execution team and they don’t have the complete set of estimating documentation to gain an understanding of how the proposal team arrived at their BOE.
It’s no surprise what happens next. The execution team determines it is easier to produce their own integrated master schedule and budget data because they understand how they put it together.
There is an alternative. It is easy to handoff the complete set of BOE details and estimating documentation between the proposal team and the execution team with tools such as BOEMax and EVMax. The execution team simply pulls the source data from BOEMax into EVMax as the basis to verify and update the data as needed after contract award. This significantly reduces the time and effort to produce the schedule and budget performance measurement baseline.Seamless data integration streamlines your workload
Every time you submit a government contract proposal to a prospective customer, it should be easy for the prospect to award your company with the contract. And, it should also be easy for your team to execute on it quickly. None of this is possible without strategically integrating your government contract software toolsets. Doing so creates effective workflows and eliminates duplicate data entry as well as rework. It also promotes data accuracy and completeness.