We Manage Projects That Drive Your Business Forward
Master Control project managers bring a fresh perspective — leveraging technological advancements, years of experience, authority, and a gift of communication. Master Control Consulting works side-by-side with you and your team in each stage of the process, from pre-planning to completion of your hosting and website. Your success is our success.
Project Management Consulting
As a leader in project management consulting, Master Control PM Solutions is the niche provider clients seek out when they are looking to implement business-enhancing, agile PMO services that improve project and portfolio performance. Master Control helps you improve PMO performance with proven project management consulting and time-tested approaches that have been implemented in hundreds of organizations. The Master Control team is dedicated to ensuring the long-term success of our clients.
Whether you need to manage a single critical project, a portfolio of projects, or to establish a successful PMO for a large project organization, Master Control will work with you to assess and determine how best to serve your specific project, industry, in-house management systems and level of organizational sophistication in project management. By focusing on your requirements first, Master Control provides tailored solutions and the confidence that your overall business needs are accounted for at every step.
PROJECT CONCEPTION & INITIATION
Determining if the Project has a Chance for Success
Master Control’s initiation phase is the beginning of the project. In this phase, the idea for the project is explored and elaborated. The goal of this phase is to examine the feasibility of the project. In addition, decisions are made concerning who is to carry out the project, which party (or parties) will be involved and whether the project has an adequate base of support among those who are involved. In this phase, the current or prospective project leader writes a proposal, which contains a description of the above-mentioned matters. Important stakeholders will do their due diligence to help decide if the project is a “go.” If it is given the green light, you will need to create a project charter or a project initiation document (PID) that outlines the purpose and requirements of the project. It should include business needs, stakeholders, and the business case. The prospective sponsors of the project evaluate the proposal and, upon approval, provide the necessary financing. The project officially begins at the time of approval. Questions to be answered in the initiation phase include the following:
- Why this project?
- Is it feasible?
- Who are possible partners in this project?
- What should the results be?
- What are the boundaries of this project (what is outside the scope of the project)?
The ability to say no is an important quality in a project leader. Projects tend to expand once people have become excited about them. The underlying thought is, While were at it, we might as well Projects to which people keep adding objectives and projects that keep expanding are nearly certain to go off schedule, and they are unlikely to achieve their original goals.
Defining the Project Parameters & Resources
After the project plan has been approved, Master Control will enter the project second phase: the definition phase. In this phase, the requirements that are associated with a project result are specified as clearly as possible. This involves identifying the expectations that all of the involved parties have with regard to the project result. How many files are to be archived? Should the metadata conform to the Data Documentation Initiative format? May files be deposited in their original format, or will only those that conform to the Preferred Standards be accepted? Must the depositor of a dataset ensure that it has been processed adequately in the archive, or is this the responsibility of the archivist? Which guarantees will be made on the results of the project? The list of questions goes on and on.
Ultimately, a list of definitive requirements is developed and presented for the approval of the projects decision-makers. Once the list has been approved, the design phase can begin. At the close of the definition phase, most of the agreements between the customer and the project team have been established. The list of requirements specifies the guidelines that the project must adhere to. The project team is evaluated according to this list. After the definition phase, therefore, the customer can add no new requirements.
Defining Your Projects Plan
Master Control will define the roles and responsibilities, and they need to be clearly defined, so everyone involved knows what they are accountable for. Here are some of the documents a PM will create during this phase to ensure the project will stay on track:
- Scope Statement – A document that clearly defines the business need, benefits of the project, objectives, deliverables, and key milestones. A scope statement may change during the project, but it shouldn’t be done without the approval of the project manager and the sponsor.
- Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) –This is a visual representation that breaks down the scope of the project into manageable sections for the team.
- Milestones – Identify high-level goals that need to be met throughout the project and include them in the Gantt chart.
- Gantt Chart – A visual timeline that you can use to plan out tasks and visualize your project timeline.
- Communication Plan – This is of particular importance if your project involves outside stakeholders. Develop the proper messaging around the project and create a schedule of when to communicate with team members based on deliverables and milestones.
- Risk Management Plan – Identify all foreseeable risks. Common risks include unrealistic time and cost estimates, customer review cycle, budget cuts, changing requirements, and lack of committed resources.
Master Control uses C.L.E.A.R. Goals, No matter how big or small the project we work on, it’s important to establish clear goals and expectations for all parties involved. How do you ensure that everyone completely understands these goals? Open communication is the real key. We focus on a agile form of project management, this is where C.L.E.A.R. Goals come into play:
- Collaborative – The goal should encourage employees to work together.
- Limited – They should be limited in scope and time to keep it manageable.
- Emotional – Goals should tap into the passion of employees and be something they can form an emotional connection to. This can optimize the quality of work.
- Appreciable – Break larger goals into smaller tasks that can be quickly achieved.
- Refinable – As new situations arise, be flexible and refine goals as needed.
During this phase, the scope of the project is defined and a project management plan is developed. It involves identifying the cost, quality, available resources, and a realistic timetable. The project plans also includes establishing baselines or performance measures. These are generated using the scope, schedule and cost of a project. A baseline is essential to determine if a project is on track.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION & COMPLETION
Completing the Project with Success
A Master Control project takes shape during the implementation phase. This phase involves the construction of the actual project result. Programmers are occupied with encoding, designers are involved in developing graphic material, contractors are building, the actual reorganization takes place. It is during this phase that the project becomes visible to outsiders, to whom it may appear that the project has just begun. The implementation phase is the doing phase, and it is important to maintain the momentum. Project managers will use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if the project is on track.
- Project Objectives: Measuring if a project is on schedule and budget is an indication if the project will meet stakeholder objectives.
- Quality Deliverables: This determines if specific task deliverables are being met.
- Effort and Cost Tracking: PMs will account for the effort and cost of resources to see if the budget is on track. This type of tracking informs if a project will meet its completion date based on current performance.
- Project Performance: This monitors changes in the project. It takes into consideration the amount and types of issues that arise and how quickly they are addressed. These can occur from unforeseen hurdles and scope changes.
At the end of the implementation phase, the result is evaluated according to the list of requirements that was created in the definition phase. It is also evaluated according to the designs. It may be determined whether the trim on the building has been made according to the agreement, or whether the materials that were used were indeed those that had been specified in the definition phase. This phase is complete when all of the requirements have been met and when the result corresponds to the design.
Once the project is complete, PMs still have a few tasks to complete. They will need to create a project punchlist of things that didn’t get accomplished during the project and work with team members to complete them. Perform a final project budget and prepare a final project report. Finally, they will need to collect all project documents and deliverables and store them in a single place.
PMO Deployment, Operation, and Enhancement
PMOs are increasingly being entrusted with more strategic responsibilities.
For the past 15 years, Master Control has been known as a leader in PMO design and practice, bringing its clients the expertise and tools needed to help create and sustain a value-driven PMO. Organizations continue to be challenged with the consistent application of defined project management processes, resource planning, forecasting, and other business demands. A well-managed Project Management Office (PMO) can address these challenges in order to ensure successful project delivery. We work with clients when they need to deploy a new PMO, operate a PMO, or optimize and enhance an existing PMO to meet a set of evolving challenges, functions, and services.
- Move faster with better data – Adapt to change faster and achieve objectives sooner by bringing together work management, full reporting, visibility and an intuitive interface that anyone can use.
- Bring transparency, eliminate chaos – Eliminate chaos and inefficiency by connecting the business, your people and work with full context and transparency. Focus your teams on the right things, share resources, develop strategies, align communications and enable mutual success.
- Work smarter, achieve results – Give your workforce, customers and partners a better way to work together using real-time data, automated workflows and a user experience that lets them do their job the way they want to.
Deploying a New PMO
The first step PM Solutions takes in deploying a PMO is to assess the current environment and develop a deployment roadmap incorporating your organization’s culture and operating practices. We will work with you to identify, prioritize, and establish a set of fundamental PMO functions and services. Deployment includes establishing governance standards, developing the PMO Charter and communications plan, identifying resource needs and performance measures, incorporating the right amount of repeatable delivery processes to fit your culture, and improving the competencies of your staff through training and mentoring. Emphasis is on the PMO providing an organizational entity focused on improving the management of your portfolio.
Operating a PMO
If project management is not a core competency, consider outsourcing the PMO. Master Control works in partnership with you to understand your goals and establish a structure that will achieve them. We will evaluate what you currently have in place and will subsidize as required. Or, if preferred, can utilize our customizable toolkit of proven techniques and methodologies. Constant communication, incorporating organizational change management, is crucial to the success and is a core tenet of our PMO operating model. Performance measures are collectively established upfront with you, and progress toward established goals is continually evaluated via quality and performance reviews.
Project Review & Recovery
With so much at stake, fast action is the key to avoiding losses associated with project failures. Master Control brings you experts who can address common areas of concern including scope, resource availability, and project controls to turn around a troubled project quickly. Master Control project recovery experts begin by reviewing of the project’s current state to identify the areas in jeopardy. Common areas of concern often include issues with scope, resource availability and/or capability, roles and responsibilities, and project monitoring and control. We will present our assessment to the senior leadership team recognizing the project’s accomplishments to date, while calling out the major issues that caused it to veer off track. A corrective plan is provided as part of this presentation.
Common Symptoms of Troubled Projects
- Critical issues in meeting milestones or completing deliverables
- High risk of non-delivering anticipated benefits
- Resources are not fully allocated to the project
- The project is consistently behind its planned schedule
- They are critical and/or significantly growing technical issues with the project
Top 5 Actions Taken to Recover Projects
- Improving communication, stakeholder management
- Redefining the project—reducing the scope, re-justifying the project financially
- Adding and/or removing resources
- Resolving problematic technical issues
- Replacing the project manager or bringing in a consultant to manage recovery
Defining and Controlling the Work Required
Establishing the scope of your project is essential to meeting the needs from which that project emerged. Clear and precise definition of scope can define a manageable project – or even determine if that project should be but one in a program. We can help you to manage your project scope to clearly define and meet the needs of your organization.
DEFINING Your SUCCESS
Master Control’s skilled staff facilitate your project’s scope definition, acting as interface between the project users and designers to ensure baseline requirements are understood and documented. When project success is well-defined from the outset, scope can be controlled during implementation. Wish you had more time to focus on your project’s technical aspects? Would time-phased cost information and resource identification help you control cash flow and recognize staffing needs? Want to know the status of multiple projects under a major program or the impact of delays by contractors, vendors, or outside agencies?
RECOGNIZING RISKS AND RELATED CONTINGENCY PLANNING AND CONTROL
Let our certified risk management professionals help you recognize and define risks to your project, so that you can avoid risk where possible, and establish contingency requirements for those risks which must be accepted. Master Control’s expertise is focused on controlling and tracking projects for fixed price, time and materials, and cost reimbursable contracts in the engineering, environmental, information technology, research and construction industries. We are specialists at gathering, tracking and analyzing project data and providing reporting formats to provide management the information needed to maximize project performance and minimize risk.
CONFIDENCE IN COST AND SCHEDULE
Our experienced estimators provide budgetary, parametric, and detailed cost estimates, and our skilled schedulers will tell you how long it is going to take. We focus on reducing the amount of time required to perform a task. With a focus on maximizing efficiencies, we set up a plan to ensure you can turn around work in a timelier fashion.
We help you build the formal Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS), scope/cost/schedule baselines and change management systems required to maintain control and ensure accountability. Our process management approach enables us to develop a process if there is none or evaluate one you already have in place, then find the strengths and weaknesses of it, and improve the process so you are minimizing the weaknesses and improving the strengths to where it is an even more robust process.