Business Office

Business and Project Management

The courses in this section are all focused on the theoretical aspects of project management, and each has Excel™-VBA software that not only demonstrates the concepts, but that is fully functional to put these concepts into practice. The reason for implementing the software in Excel™-VBA is to ensure maximum portability, so there is no major investment required in other project management tools. We have used these tools in practical applications with a variety of projects, so there is no concern with the ability to work in different environments: for one, there is no need to install anything once you have a working MS-Office™ environment.

This guide is part of a series of tools and techniques that we developed in the course of managing various projects, when we needed to complement standard project development tools with other means of generating, tracking, and reporting. Most commonly we implemented these tools with Excel™ functionality until we evolved a library of functionality that was worth publishing as a suite of methodology and software. This evolved into a software suite providing a complete range of project management functionality that does not require a king’s ransom to acquire and install, based on a functional platform that everyone is already familiar with. This library consists of:

SCOPE Strategic Planning       PMBP_SCO

Strategic planning, Commander’s intent, Organizational transformation, Program/project management, Execution and installation

This process offers a bridge between business goals, budgets, priorities, and development programs implementation. It keeps track of how initiatives are strategically aligned with business priorities. SCOPE maintains information about approved initiatives as well as initiatives that are put on hold so they can continue to be tracked. With SCOPE we can ensure business stakeholders get involved in a selection of where available funding should be applied to potential initiatives to establish a solid foundation for potential projects, and an audit trail of due diligence for what was de-selected, as well as a high-level tracking of how business strategy is supported by implementation programs.

UPBEAT Program Management       PMBP_UPB

Universal Product-Based Estimating, Analysis, and Tracking

This process is focused on developing the implementation and rollout of business programs that can be implemented with a succession of projects staggered in time. The emphasis is on managing the evolution of products, services, processes, and other aspects key to business transformation, no matter how many contributing projects are required. UPBEAT is typically focused on long-term initiatives that span fiscal years or more, incorporating tools to stage implementation while maintaining a backlog based on functional priorities, and the benefits realization of what has been implemented. UPBEAT provides enterprise-focused risk management, detailed financial analysis and budgeting, and reporting capabilities, summarizing component projects typically managed with PRISM.

PRISM (Complex Project Management)       PMBP_PRI

Project Reporting In Summary Milestones

Complex Project Management is the cornerstone of our project management suite, with a distinct reporting emphasis on a major responsibility of project managers to keep stakeholders informed of progress towards work completion. With PRISM all functionality is embedded in Excel™ without a need for special-purpose planning and scheduling tools. PRISM concentrates summary information for enterprise reporting, while supporting far greater detail in activity tracking through SPRITE. Like UPBEAT, it allows a larger body of work to be delegated into many contributing projects to better control how large initiatives are being coordinated.

The concept of a “summary milestone” reflects a complete product component or assembly that resonates with stakeholders without detailing the steps involved in creating that product component, so that the right level of information is tracked in support of financial, status, and progress reporting. This is also the level at which we consolidate project management reporting across MS-Project™ and/or other common PM tools. Because the consolidated view is entirely in Excel™ we maximize the ability to share that information with all stakeholders.

PEARL (Diverse Project Management)       PMBP_PEA

Project Evaluation And Reporting Logic

Projects are full of surprises – one of the reasons to plan ahead in order to avert disaster. Greater detail is not the answer – we must focus on communicating the expectations and progress made to satisfy these expectations. Project planning tools are plentiful, but they may not satisfy our need for information about work in progress: it can be difficult to see what exactly is being delivered from a given bundle of work effort. PEARL represents the alternatives that are easier to work with, to cut to the chase and focus on what matters. We share more information in a single repository than with most other tools. We use readily available Excel™ software that most stakeholders are familiar with. PEARL is a full training course on project management that takes students through a conceptual process that helps them to develop superior project management habits. No prerequisites.

SPRITE (Agile Project Management)       PMBP_SPR

SMART Projects Rapid Implementation Tracking & Evaluation

This system is used for activity-level planning and tracking to supplement PRISM at a detailed level that otherwise clouds stakeholder reporting. Typically work activities are split across focused sub-projects as an alternative to MS-Project™ and/or similar tools, as SPRITE maintains product-based planning and handles details “as on steroids” to accommodate the most complex implementation initiatives. SPRITE manages traditional row-oriented schedules, and can combine these schedules with column-oriented detailed steps to break down individual line-items for detailed deployment planning across servers, apartment units, or other bundles of work that need coordination and tracking until the full scope of work is delivered. In that detailed context it can also produce required status reporting for the subset of work within the scope of that SPRITE initiative.

TASKMASTER (Universal Project Management)       PMBP_TAS

TaskMaster is our “universal” tool that blends different aspects of UPBEAT, PRISM, and SPRITE, to provide a basic project management capability. PMBoK™ highlights the universal nature of the project approach, and how mastering that approach can be a useful skills-set in just about any field of endeavor. This is a challenge, because PMBoK™ is not designed to guide a novice project manager step-by-step through the process. TaskMaster is a unique methodology with Excel™-VBA software tools used to simplify project management so that we can focus on the fundamentals of delivering the results desired by the client organization.

TaskMaster is the core of several other tools we use to manage large projects and has that kind of capability that is ideal for single projects in a smaller organization or business unit adhering to the fundamentals of what a project management support tool is supposed to deliver. What makes the approach unique is the use of “what if” scenarios to simulate alternative project scope definitions.

CCPM (Client Centric Project Management) PMBP_CCP

This is a short program to explain the fundamental nature of using our methodology from a client centric paradigm to understand how different reporting techniques can have a major impact on successful project stakeholder management. This provides an overview to the various tools and methodology to explain where each can be used most effectively to give the sponsors and stakeholders the information they need to stay in control. This program explores the issues with traditional design-build construction projects, and how to put the client firmly in control to make sure that the various contributors deliver to specification in accordance with approved statements of work and within the approved delivery budget. This course is an extension of the TaskMaster scheduling capability described in

TaskMaster Scheduling

DRAPE (Business Continuity)       PMBP_DRA

Disaster Recovery Activities Planning & Execution

The DRAPE process manages business continuity by planning appropriate action for Disaster Recovery to contain a disaster’s impact and to initiate and track appropriate recovery activities. Instead of just focusing on project risk, DRAPE is focused on the operational risk of deploying applications, as well as the assessment of what needs to be done in the event of a disaster to restore the functionality to an operational (backup) state. Any change in process needs an assessment of business interruption exposure to identify the response processes that restore operations, using TaskMaster to plan and track effort executed in the correct prerequisite order, with the ability to monitor and report on the recovery status. This course is an extension of the TaskMaster scheduling capability described in:

TaskMaster Scheduling

SCRUM (Agile Project Management)       PMBP_SCR

Schedule Core Results & Update Management

SCRUM is a smart way to manage project deliverables using Agile SCRUM or Kanban-like approaches to planning and tracking. This course explains how you can apply the SCRUM functionality to almost any project despite the seemingly unconventional approach to how the information that is presented. To do this we went back to the TPS roots: a Toyota Production System that tracks the deliverables for tangible results (motor vehicles). There are many steps in producing a car, yet ultimately each car represents a single bundle of results. How we track the details of producing that car (as a single output or as many consolidated components) depends on the level of control that is relevant for a particular application. Using our Excel™-VBA software (included) we provide you with examples of how you can tweak the process to better manage a project. There are no prerequisites for this course. SCRUM fully integrates with our other project management software.