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Tips for Conducting an Earned Value Management System Requirements Analysis

For companies evaluating their options for earned value management tools, a common best practice is to conduct a requirements analysis useful for identifying gaps in their project control system.  This is particularly true for a company that wants to incorporate earned value management practices so they can comply with government contractual requirements to use an earned value management system (EVMS). 

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Using Excel for Project Cost Management?

Our clients are often stepping up from Excel to BOEMax, our proposal management software because BOEMax provides a better, faster, and easier way to produce a reliable data-driven cost estimate. Helping them implement BOEMax to support their proposal process, we frequently discover they are using Excel to manage their project cost data for the execution phase with varying degrees of success.

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Why Estimates at Completion Matter

One of the process areas we frequently help our clients with is establishing time-phased estimate to complete (ETC) data to be able to produce credible estimates at completion (EACs) during the execution phase of a project. The intent of the ETC data is to provide a realistic plan to complete the remaining work. Adding the cumulative to date actual costs to the estimate to complete provides an indication of the likely total expenditures for the project – the estimate at completion. The EAC is compared to the budget at completion (BAC) at the various levels of detail to identify and analyze areas of concern.

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Looking to Improve Your Change Control Process?

Managing and tracking baseline changes is a common issue for project managers and project control personnel. Change control is one of those process areas that requires some effort to maintain a basic level of project control discipline and data traceability. Ideally, the change control process isn’t overly restrictive. Case in point: a client that required project personnel to process a baseline change request to correct typos in work package descriptions. When the process is too painful, project personnel avoid making needed changes resulting in schedule and cost data that doesn’t reflect the project’s current state. Hopefully, your change control process has established a reasonable level for what triggers a baseline change request.

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Creating Data Driven Basis of Estimates

What is a data driven basis of estimate? It is a cost estimate that is based on verifiable data. Ideally, it is historical or other data that is traceable to the source business system such as accounting, timekeeping, material management, purchasing, or manufacturing. Along with verifiable data, the rationale used to arrive at the estimate must be clearly documented and easily available. The proposal team and customer must be able to follow the thought process, methodology, assumptions, and calculations used to arrive at the cost estimate.

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Assessing Options for an Earned Value Management Tool?

For companies looking at their alternatives for an earned value management tool, a common approach for the selection team is to develop a list of their business requirements. These lists often include a matrix of features and functions that are important to the company. What we see missing in those lists is an assessment of the likely total cost of ownership for the tool. It is not easy to identify objective measures for potential internal support and maintenance costs for a purchased commercial off the shelf (COTS) earned value management tool. We have listed top tips that can help in the assessment process.

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Ground Rules for Successful Proposal Management Software Implementations

We routinely help our clients implement BOEMax, our proposal management software and EVMax, our project control software. Over the years, we have accumulated a number of lessons learned about what helps to ensure a successful software implementation. Any new software tool must align with and support the company’s process and procedures so proposal or project control teams can do their jobs more effectively.

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Integrated Estimating and Pricing Proposal Software

Looking for software tools to help manage your proposal estimating and pricing process? There are several commercial off the shelf (COTS) options available, but which one is right for your specific needs? When evaluating your business requirements, and how those software tools can help improve the proposal process, consider the product’s ease of use and return on investment (ROI). The first step is to ask the following questions: • What can make an immediate difference for proposal teams? • What can help proposal teams create a credible proposal response with less time and effort? ProjStream’s BOEMax was designed with you and your proposal teams in mind.  With BOEMax your proposal teams can leverage a central database with built-in workflow to organize the data, create a library of reusable proposal components, and manage the entire proposal process.  Working together, the various functional and technical proposal team members can leverage the same source data for:

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Looking to Establish Repeatable Project Control Processes?

A continuing theme often we hear from our clients is their desire to create standard, repeatable project control processes. Why is this so important? Done right, it: Reduces the time and cost to create useful project control data such as proposal basis of estimates (BOEs) or schedule driven time phased budget plans; Increases management’s confidence in the project control system to provide relevant, reliable, and timely data; Assists project personnel in making informed and proactive decisions; Increases consistency in approach so corporate management can do cross-project performance and return on investment (ROI) analysis; and Fosters an environment of continuous learning and process improvement because project personnel are leveraging best practice artifacts they can reuse for their project. Perhaps you have similar goals. Here are three suggestions to help you get started.

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Tips for Implementing Rolling Wave Planning

Rolling wave planning, sometimes called continuous planning or block planning, is a useful technique for longer duration projects where the statement of work (SOW) is likely to change. If you aren’t familiar with rolling wave planning, it is an incremental planning approach where near term work effort is planned in detail and future work effort is planned at a higher level, in a planning package, until more is known about the work scope requirements. These planning packages may be summary level planning packages (SLPPs) within the WBS or control account level planning packages. As the project progresses and more becomes known about the future work effort, the higher-level planning packages are converted to detailed plans as soon as possible maintaining a continuous planning horizon for near term work.

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