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Software Development

While we still do significant amounts of work implementing and operating COTS software, we also focus on data integration and toolset augmentation through custom application development specifically for our client's requirements.

The foundation of PMWorks is built upon the deployment and operation of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software tools that manage project scheduling, cost accounting, and performance metrics. As we have worked with these tools over the years, we have seen software companies continue to improve the functionality and features within their initial scope. However, we continue to see process areas that are poorly addressed, if at all, by most project management COTS software. While we still do significant amounts of work implementing and operating COTS software, we have also begun to focus on data integration and toolset augmentation through custom application development specifically for our client's requirements. Our custom software development isn't intended to compete with current COTS offerings, but instead to fill in gaps where many organizations have been forced to rely on manual processes, tedious data entry and reentry, and an array of spreadsheets and other documents that are difficult to maintain.

Our approach streamlines these activities by focusing on the organization's data already extant in various COTS application, and creating structures that can integrate these data sources for comparison, aggregation, and processing, then feeding it back to source systems when required. We also create web based tools to manage the data integrations and provide detailed reports, data visualizations, and performance dashboards.

Listed below are some of the business areas where we have helped clients overcome gaps in COTS capabilities with our custom solutions.

Resource Allocation and Management

Managing the availability of resources is a critical element for project managers. Scheduling tools can provide accurate, detailed forecasting of when and which resources are required for a given project. But information on when and how many resources are available is not data that can be effectively managed in most COTS scheduling tools. Labor resource data such as skillsets, worker availability, vacation schedules, and departmental affiliations are typically found in accounting and Human Resource databases. There are many COTS software products that attempt to assist with resource allocation and management, but these systems do not fully integrate with project scheduling tools or HR applications.

PMWorks seeks to address these gaps by building tools that compare the demand-side data from project schedules, with the supply-side data in HR and Finance/Accounting tools. We assist our clients in building out data structures that focus on their business needs, creating resource categories to identify skillsets and other important attributes, and layering in forecasted demand from current and future projects. The client is then able to compare forecasts with current supply, and propose adjustments and additions that can fill recognized gaps. This may include moving people across departments, delaying or accelerating certain project activities, or identifying the need for additional hiring.

These tools can be deployed quickly in most cases, and can be customized to the client's specific workforce and industry requirements. And unlike with COTS applications, when those requirements evolve, PMWorks tools can be changed to keep in alignment. The client owns the tool and can make changes and modifications whenever needed.

Case Study

PMWorks developed a set of resource management tools for a major Department of Energy National Lab to improve resource tracking across the enterprise, and to share resources more efficiently across departments. The solution provides the Lab with an accessible, intuitive application that displays data in a dynamic and interactive way. These tools give managers real-time data to see detailed resource forecasts by project, department, and skillset, and to easily compare those forecasts with existing supply. Request a demo of the RCT tool by contacting us.

Work Order Management and Progress Metrics

Large project schedules used in construction, manufacturing, design, and research programs often can't include all of the minute details of the tasks needed to deliver work product. A generally accepted practice is to include in the schedule only details down to the Work Package level, leaving onsite managers and foremen to lay out the specific work steps and tasks required for day-to-day front line work.

Line managers use a variety of tools to monitor the issuance of these tasks, and to track their progress towards completion. In many organizations, the detailed tasks are issued in work order documents that may be electronic or paper. Maintaining these documents and providing version control is often a labor intensive, manual process. Work order data needs to be fed back into the scheduling system to provide accurate progress metrics at the Work Package level. These progress measurements are critical for generating performance metrics and for meeting contractual obligations.

PMWorks has supported clients with tools to streamline work order management and maintain accurate progress measurements. We provide a centralized data system that can aggregate task progress details and feed the data directly back into scheduling tools.

Work order management and progress metrics showing digital adjustement of schedule.

Case Study

PMWorks developed a Work Order Management system for a commercial shipyard with a multi-billion dollar government shipbuilding contract. The complexity of the underlying detailed tasks and need for significant amounts of rework made accurate assessment of the detailed tasks difficult, time consuming, and prone to errors. In addition, processing the data to the higher level Work Packages was often inaccurate or not meeting key deadlines. This in turn slowed down payment for completed work and had impacts on monthly cash-flow.

PMWorks created a work order management system that connects to the client's scheduling tool and creates a database system for detailing work packages into standard templates of detailed tasks. These templates can then be modified by line managers to address specific scenarios and the addition of rework or design changes. The system can be used to quickly assign relevant weights to each task based on labor hours and material costs, where these weightings had been done manually in the past. Managers can then mark the progress of individual tasks, allowing the system to calculate the overall work package progress and push that data directly back to the scheduling tool.

Project Cost Estimating

Project cost esitmating displaying digital tools.

Virtually every project begins as a proposal, the heart of which is the detailed cost estimates for every component of the program. Most organizations rely on a variety of databases, spreadsheets and specialized applications to prepare these estimates. These systems are generally oriented to creating only the initial estimates but may not be optimized for retaining and maintaining the underlying data for future analysis or audits. PMWorks has supported clients with customizable tools that help them to organize and manage the cost estimating data.

We create standardized Basis of Estimate (BOE) tools that aggregate the cost data from various sources as needed, which are maintained on SharePoint and reported via a web-based interface. The BOE tool provides a standard interface for reviewers to analyze the underlying estimate data and review models or assumptions used to create the estimate. Web-based automated dashboards can be used to create a standard thread from presentations to the backup documentation. The BOE tool enables dynamic display and reporting from the schedule and cost tools with web based or pdf-based reports enabling drill down analysis to basis of estimate documentation.

COTS Implementation

PMWorks process and toolset experts work with you to collect and organize your business and project control requirements to create a path forward to enhance your current project control toolsets. The goal is to establish schedule and cost toolsets that are configured to accurately model the way you do business as well as to assist project personnel in accomplishing their tasks more efficiently.

COTS implementation illustrating digital selection of tool icons.

Our consultants are experts with a variety of common commercial off the shelf (COTS) project control schedule, cost management, earned value management (EVM), performance analysis, and risk tools such as:

Oracle Primavera | Cost Manager, P6, Risk Analysis

Ecosys | Enterprise Planning & Controls (EPC)

Encore Analytics | Empower

Microsoft | Project, Project Server

Deltek PPM | Cobra, MPM, Open Plan, PM Compass, wInsight Analytics, Acumen Fuse and Risk

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