Who We Are...
Project Management Consultants

According to formal Project Management Definitions:

Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of the particular project.

Our MISSION is to "Help our Clients Maximize their Profit through Measured Performance."

To do this we apply Nine (9) Formal Project Management Knowledge Areas and and Five (5) Process Groups

The Nine (9) Knowledge Areas are:


1. Integration Management,

Integration is the management of the overall project scope in the context of schedules, budgets, risk and contracts towards establishing agreed baselines for supplier and client requirements.

Integration involves the management of the other eight areas of project management, and making trade-offs among competing objectives and alternatives in order to meet or exceed project objectives throughout the project life cycle, taking into consideration the often conflicting influences of the internal and external environments.

2. Scope Management,

A fundamental aspect of effective project planning, and therefore of effective project management, is the process of defining the scope of the project and of breaking this into manageable pieces of work (work packages).

This is achieved by first producing a scope definition, then breaking the project scope into a product oriented hierarchy, i.e. a Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) also known as a "Program" or "Campaign", and finally into a task oriented hierarchy, i.e. a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

The Scope definition describes what the product deliverables of the project are.

The PBS is a product oriented hierarchical breakdown of the project into its constituent items without the tasks/work packaging being developed.

The WBS is a task oriented detailed breakdown, which defines the work packages and tasks at the level defined in the networks and schedules.

The WBS initiates the development of the Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS), and the Cost Breakdown Structure (CBS).

It also provides the foundation for generating activity networks and schedules, and determining the Earned Value "Return on Investment" for the Project.

3. Time Management,

The effective planning and accomplishment of activities' timing and phasing is a central skill of project management.

Time scheduling/phasing comprises specifying the processes required to ensure timely completion of the project.

Scheduling comprises activity definition, activity sequencing, activity duration estimating, schedule development, and schedule control.

Phasing is more concerned with the strategic pacing of the project and the overlapping between different activities or blocks of activities. (For example, a decision on whether or not to use Rapid Application Development prototyping, Concurrent Engineering, Simultaneous Design, Fast Track, Phased Hand-over, etc.)

The phasing and overlapping of activities is also an important aspect of the project management team's skills. Properly done, it can have a major impact on the performance of the project.

Activities are normally scheduled using techniques such as Bar charts (Gantt Charts, Milestone Charts) or networks (PERT, CPM, CPA, Precedence, Activity-on-Arrow, Activity-on-Node).

The concept of critical path is central to network scheduling.

Resource Management also significantly affects this item.

4. Cost Management,

The completion of the project within its budget is a central objective of project management.

Budgeting and Cost Management is the process of estimating the proper cost that should reasonably be expected to be incurred against a clear baseline, understanding how and why actual costs occur, and ensuring that the necessary response is taken promptly to ensure that actual costs come under budget.

Successful cost management on a project is forward-looking.

Typical information needed for cost management includes:

  • Budgeting (including estimating), generally based on work breakdown structure or chart of accounts;
  • Obtaining and recording commitments/accruals;
  • Measuring work accomplished and value earned/valuation of work, including treatment of changes (change control) and claims;
  • Cash flow;
  • Forecasting out-sourced costs;
  • Analyzing variance of the trend in forecast versus previous out-turn cost.

5. Quality Management,

Quality refers, obviously, to more than just technical performance.

Quality applies to everything in Project Management: Commercial, Organization, People, Control, Technical, etc.

Quality Management covers Quality Planning, Quality Control and Quality Assurance.

Quality Planning is the preparation, checking, and recording of actions that are necessary to achieve the standard of product or service that the customer requires.

Quality Control is the set of processes for planning and monitoring the project to ensure that quality is being achieved.

Quality Assurance is the set of processes and procedures required to demonstrate that the work has been performed according to the quality plan.

Total Quality Management is a much broader and more ambitious system (philosophy) for identifying what the client really wants, defining the organization's mission, measuring throughout the whole process how well performance meets the required standards, and involving the total organization in the implementation of a deliberate policy of continuous improvement.

6. Resource Management,

Planning, allocating and scheduling resources to tasks, generally including people, machine (plant and equipment), money, and materials, is another fundamental requirement of effective project planning and management.

Resource Management typically covers resource allocation and its impact on schedules and budgets, and resource levelling and smoothing.

7. Communication Management,

Just as the project life cycle is fundamental to structuring the process of project management, communication is fundamental to making it work.

Effective communication with all stakeholders is absolutely mandatory to project success.

Hence a communications plan is often developed at the start of a project.

Communications can cover several media: oral, body language, written (textural, numerical, graphic), paper, electronic, etc.

The content and the manner of delivery are perhaps more important however than simply the medium.

Formal meetings are one important aspect of communication but can, if not managed properly, result in the waste of time, money and energy.

Certain meetings play a structural or process role in projects, for example, the inaugural meeting which is required at project launch.

Other meetings include design reviews, periodic progress reviews, etc.

Information Management is also extremely important to effective communications

8. Risk Management,

Risks are present in all projects, whatever their size or complexity and whatever industry or business sector.

Risks exist as a consequence of uncertainty.

Risk Management covers the process of identification, assessment, allocation, and management of all project risks.

In project management terms, risks are those factors that may cause a failure to meet the project's objectives.

Project risk management recognizes a formal approach to the process as opposed to an intuitive approach.

Risks, once identified, assessed and allocated are managed in order to minimize or completely mitigate their effect on a project.

This is achieved by developing either immediate or contingency responses to the identified risks.

Such responses may remove, reduce, avoid, transfer, or accept the risks or lead to the abandonment of the project.

While risks are, according to the dictionary, associated with the possibility of failure, they may also be associated with opportunities.

The usual definition of a risk in project management is that the risk is the product of the probability of an event occurring times its impact if it did.

Risk management balances the upside opportunities with downside risks, doing so in an open, clear and formal manner.

9. Project Procurement Management.

Procurement is the process of acquiring new services or products.

It covers the financial appraisal of the options available, development of the procurement or acquisition strategy, preparation of contract documentation, selection and acquisition of suppliers, pricing, purchasing, and administration of contracts.

It also extends to storage, logistics, inspection, expediting, transportation, and handling of materials and supplies.

Procurement covers all members of the supply chain.

Operations and maintenance, for example, need to be supported through a supply chain management process.

For many projects, procurement represents the highest percentage of expenditure.

It is essential that value for money is realised.

All major procurements are subject to careful appraisal and management.

As with the business case, all feasible options are considered.

A procurement strategy is prepared very early in the project.

It is often a function of the state of the project definition, and of the supplier market.

The procurement strategy includes potential sources of supply, terms and types of contract/procurement, conditions of contract, the type of pricing, and method of supplier selection.

 

The Five (5) Process Groups are:

1. Propose the Opportunity,

During the Opportunity phase initial work on defining the opportunity should be enthusiastic and open-minded.

Definitional work should be comprehensive, several different options should be investigated, and should lead to a full statement of the Strategy/Project Management Plan.

The aim is:

  • to find ways of meeting the project objectives more effectively,
  • to check if the proposed way forward is feasible, and
  • to understand the risks and opportunities associated with each potential option.

Modeling of the options and their realization should be as extensive as is cost effective.

The experience of project management has consistently shown that project personnel generally wish they had been more thorough and/or spent longer at the project "front end".

 

2. Plan, Design and Present

During this phase, detailed technical, commercial and organizational decisions are taken.

There is often substantial opportunity to optimize these decisions without the expenditure of significant resources.

Modeling, prototyping and testing is always an effort well spent.

Management approval is necessary where major decisions are to be made, technical and design for example, or procurement and commercial.

In some industries this phase is dealt with as two separate phases with a management gate between the two.

This is to allow the design to be developed in further outline form before approval is given for significant resource expenditure on full design/development.

Equally, the gate may be required before major procurement decisions and commitments are made after initial design but prior to full design/development.

 

3. Setup and Implementation,

Implementation is the phase where the rate of resource expenditure is greatest.

Planning management ensures that this proceeds as efficiently as possible.

There should normally be a minimum of changes in project definition at this stage.

 

4. Manage Completion and "Hand-Over",

Hand-Over is the completion of the project to the satisfaction of the sponsor.

It involves the introduction to management of the product or service being delivered by the project.

During Hand-Over, project records together with audit trail documentation are completed and delivered to the sponsor.

This documentation is required for post project review and support.

All documentation includes any operations and maintenance plans.

There should also be a review of the original business case (Benefits Assessment) at this time, and/or in the next phase Post Project Support.

 

5. Transfer and Post Project Support

Increasing recognition is being given to the importance of reviewing project performance and lessons that can be derived from the project.

Post project support can begin once the operations phase has started.

This support should cover all pertinent topics of the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

Although often considered only after completion of the project, in practice Project Support can and should be a fully integral part of the project.

It should therefore be carried out periodically during the course of the project, with the resultant information/lessons fed back into this and other projects.

 

These Nine (9) Knowledge Areas and Five (5) Process Groups let us help you:

  • Satisfy the differing needs and expectations of your "stakeholders:" your management, your staff, your customers, and your shareholders.
  • Balance the competing demands for each project: scope, time, cost, risk and quality.
  • Meet the identified requirements, i.e. "being on-time and on-budget."
  • And, of course, "Maximizing Your Profits through Measured Performance."

 

Company Profile

Assured Solutions is the registered tradename of Applied Project Management Systems, Inc., a private corporation founded to develop and deliver cost-effective workflow automation solutions.

Assured Solutions is a leading integrator of business process management software for service businesses on Macintosh and Windows. Assured Solutions is based in Dallas, Texas, where we have provided custom programming services and vertical software applications since 1996.

Since its inception, Assured Solutions has offered several vertical market software applications, custom programming services, consulting, and training. Using a variety of technologies, Assured Solutions develops affordable software applications for automating operations and procedures, which deal with both relational databases and spatial data.