Balancing Proposal and Active Project Resource Capacity and Demand

An often-cited industry best practice recommendation is to resource load network schedule activities for a project. One of the benefits is the resource loaded activities and resulting staffing plan can be the basis for creating a schedule driven time phased basis of estimate, budget baseline, or estimate to complete remaining work. The current schedule status also provides the basis for measuring progress and calculating earned value. This helps to ensure the schedule and time phased cost data are in agreement.

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Enabling a Closed Loop Cost Estimating Searchable Database

A previous blog, Leveraging Closed Loop Cost Estimating, discussed creating a searchable database of reliable source data to help proposal teams produce data driven cost estimates easier and faster. Creating a useful database of historical performance and actual cost data also requires putting some thought into how you organize the data. It helps to have a general framework in mind as you are collecting the data for the database. The intent is to make it easier for proposal teams to search for similar tasks and evaluate whether the similar tasks are relevant for their proposal.

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Leveraging Closed Loop Cost Estimating

What do we mean by “closed loop cost estimating?” It is a defined process to routinely collect and organize relevant source data for proposal teams that they can use to substantiate the basis for their cost estimates. The goal is to create a searchable database of reliable source data so they can produce data driven cost estimates easier and faster.

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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 — including proposal software and project budget management software — from one 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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Why You Need Data Driven Resource Requirement Planning

A common business challenge for our clients is the ability to access and organize quantifiable data so they can proactively manage the resource demands for likely contract awards and existing projects.  The problem is they lack the ability to gather credible source data from the proposal process and the project control system to provide a useful corporate wide or business unit view of resource requirements.

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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 this basis of estimate software 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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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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