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Benefits of an End-to-End Solution for Proposal and Project Cost Management

What do we mean by an end-to-end solution for proposal and project cost management?  It is an integrated set of software tools from a single 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.

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Managing Constant Change

Attend any industry conference or talk with any project manager and a recurring theme is the volume and velocity of changes because work requirements must respond to ever-evolving threats or business environment.  What is the impact of this constant change on the project manager and other project personnel?  It is easy to lose track of things or become overwhelmed.  Everyone needs a way to maintain their focus on completing their current work scope and the end product.  How do you manage constant change so you can maintain sufficient control of project objectives without descending into chaos? 

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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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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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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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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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