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Why Tools from a Small Software Vendor is a Better Investment

As we are working with potential clients during their selection process for proposal software or earned value management software, we often run into the misconception that tools from the large, legacy software vendors is a lower risk purchase.  They focus on the vendor’s annual revenue, conclude bigger is better, and thus equals lower risk.  

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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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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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What Makes Earned Value Management Software EIA-748 Compliant?

This is often the question people ask under the assumption implementing a piece of software translates into compliance with the 32 guidelines in the EIA-748 Standard for Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS). A better question to ask is how a software tool supports your internal project control process and procedures. It is your process and procedures that must support the requirements in the EIA-748. This is particularly true when you have a contractual requirement to use an EVMS or to produce earned value management (EVM) reports. Depending on the type and contract value of the project, project teams must demonstrate to a government customer how they have implemented the EVMS on their project in compliance with the 32 guideline requirements. The EIA-748 is an established industry standard for EVMS. At its core, the standard’s 32 guidelines and related process discussion are nothing more than best practices for organizing, scheduling, budgeting, measuring progress, and managing project work effort. EVM software solutions are designed to support the expected data components required for an EVMS as well as produce specific artifacts and contractual reports such as the Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR) formats. Some do this better than others. How do you determine which one is the best fit for your organization? To help you narrow your search, we put together a list of questions to ask of prospective EVM software vendors.

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4 Reasons Why This Deltek Cobra User Switched to EVMax

Many contractors using Deltek’s soon-to-be-obsolete Micro-Frame Program Manager (MPM) Earned Value Management (EVM) cost toolset plan on switching over to Cobra. And in a world where you have no other EVM toolset options, that makes sense. Only, we don’t live in that world, and you do have options—like EVMax. But you don’t have to take our word for it. We asked former Cobra-user and current EVMax user, Bob Harbaugh, Manager, Project Planning and Controls/EVM at Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), why he made the switch. Here’s what he had to say:

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Deltek MPM Replacement: Your Top 5 Cobra Problems, Solved!

If you’re using Deltek’s Micro-Frame Program Manager (MPM) stand alone Earned Value Management (EVM) System, then you likely know software support will disappear within the next year. Before you blindly convert over to Cobra, Deltek’s sister EVM system, we encourage you to use the interim time to evaluate your current vendor experience as a whole. Trust us, there are “greener pastures” on the other side of Deltek’s EVM products, where EVMax resides. Our clients tell us that Deltek's Cobra has 5 big problems—problems we've solved with EVMax. Let's talk about those problems and how we built EVMax to solve them.

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Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR) Revision B: What to Expect

Contractors produce Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR) formats on a monthly basis to provide contract schedule and cost performance data to their government customers. The report formats, described in the IPMR Data Item Description (DID) DI-MGMT-81861A, are typically deliverables identified in a contract data requirements list (CDRL). This is common deliverable for contracts with Earned Value Management System (EVMS) requirements. These report formats are the basis for contractors to communicate performance status with their customer. They are useful for: Identifying the magnitude and impact of realized and potential performance problems  Forecasting future contract performance Making and validating management decisions PARCA, the DoD policy owner for EVM, is in the midst of a major rewrite of the current IPMR DID.  Revision B is a fundamental change in approach.  Like its predecessor the Contract Performance Report (CPR) DID, the current IPMR DID describes the content of paper-based formats for the cost data and problem analysis, Formats 1 to 5, as it references specific blocks, columns, and rows.  Instead of paper-based forms, Revision B focuses on the schedule and cost data requirements – a Schedule Dataset and a Contract Performance Dataset.  For the cost data, the requirements are similar to the current IPMR Format 7.  There is a related file format specification and data exchange instruction (DEI).  The assumption is the receiving party can use the time phased cost data to produce the desired reports, including the familiar Formats 1 to 4. Revision B also uses a different data encoding approach, JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), instead of the UN/CEFACT XML.

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Deltek MPM Replacement: 5 Quick Tips for Finding a New Vendor

On December 31, 2018, Deltek will stop supporting its program-based Earned Value Management (EVM) software—Micro-Frame Program Manager (MPM). If you’re currently using Deltek’s MPM, you’re likely searching for an EVM replacement. There are other EVM software tools that will do the job. But you also need to keep in mind important “non-features” that have nothing to do with the software functionality. Does the vendor also provide: Exceptional customer service? Dedicated training? Timely support? So, let’s talk about that. Here are 5 quick tips for finding a new software vendor for your EVM needs.

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How EVM Tools Improve Change Control Efficiency

Change is inevitable even with the most well-thought out projects. That’s why it’s important to know how to manage it, so your project stays on track. Enter change control—a systematic methodology for managing project changes.  Based on the above definition, an efficient change control process should look like this: Request. Someone recognizes the need for a change and makes a request. Review. Multiple members of the project team review the request. Respond. They define options and make recommendations to address the request. Ratify. The project manager approves or disapproves the change. Verify. The project team incorporates the approved change. Sounds simple, right? But we both know change control is anything but simple. We’d even go so far as to say that for most of us, managing project changes in our industry is a lot like herding cats. We want to change that. Let’s take a look at some common frustrations during the change control process and talk about ways to help make your change control process more efficient.

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