Avidaid PMP Certified Project Managers

PMP ® Project Managers Deliver On Time, On Budget and On Scope

Success in business relies on many factors. One of the most important is a solid plan that is agile enough to adapt to changing business needs yet comprehensive to assure cost control and timely delivery. As PMP® certified project managers, Avidaid's staff are able to create such a plan to deliver your project on time, on budget and with a level of quality that meets the requirements.

The plan/do/check/act cycleAs software and web application developers ourselves, we know the unique needs of managing projects to create applications and the pitfalls that can occur. Tasks can be fluid with changing dependencies. Sometimes new technology must be developed before a product can be built. Elements of a plan may need to be changed during development. Portions of a project many need to be planned as the project proceeds. Planning is essential in controlling the schedule, the budget and the scope. Still changes can occur due to design, client or market influences. We make certain a change control system is in place to identify, analyze and submit changes for approval or denial.

Our clients include Hewlett-Packard, Medusa Medical Technologies, Capital Health District, VECT Systems, Body Cote Testing Group, Australia-New Zealand Direct Lines, Nova Scotia Power, Pacific Gas & Electric, Country of San Mateo and McGill University.

The project begins with an analysis of the business to document the "as-is" state (how things are) and the "to-be" state (what will be accomplished). We work with you to develop a business requirements document (BRD) and business case. We identify the stakeholders (people who can be effected by or have an affect on the project). The requirements (the things that must be delivered and the things that would be nice to have) are gathered from stakeholders, external organizations and government regulators. The business analyst documents the assumptions (what is taken for granted), the constraints (what can hold the project back) and the risks (future events that, if they occur, could have a positive or negative effect on the project). We can work from an existing BRD or create one for you.

Avidaid follows the Project Management Institute methodology to define and control every project from the development of a project charter through the project's close. Each step is followed because the most important part of the project management methodology is following the entire methodology. Leaving out any step is like baking a cake without all the ingredients. It just does not work.

We continually monitor the project's progress with both structured reporting and informal visits with the team. Problems are spotted early and corrective measures taken. We use earned value management (EVM) to determine if projects are on time and budget and where corrections need to be made.

Risks can kill a project, especially risks that go undetected. Risk identification and assessment begins at the start of the project and continues to the close. As risks are identified, they are evaluated for their likelihood of occurring and the impact they could have. Some risks will be ignored because their impact or likelihood are so small it is not cost effective to consider them. Others may have mitigation plans drawn up to deal with them. Such plans can attempt to avoid a risk, reduce its effect, share it with someone else or accept it. Cash reserves can be set aside to deal with risks should they occur. A negative risk could be one where a supplier cannot deliver a rare material. A contingency plan might be to use a second, more expensive vendor. A reserve could be set aside to make up the difference in cost. A positive risk could be where you are making monthly payments to lease equipment from another country and the exchange rate changes dramatically in your favour, You could pay off the lease all at once at a lower cost to you

Communication breakdown is the number one cause of project failure. It is essential to keep everyone informed and for the project manager to know the current status of the project at all times. This can take the form of periodic reports or presentations, informal meetings, status reports, an issues log or a web site. At Avidaid, we speak the language of management and staff, allowing us to easily listen and speak with everyone in an organization from the board room to the shop floor, stakeholders and clients.

We form teams into cohesive units that maintain productivity and quality throughout the project. We make certain to understand all team members as an individuals and to know their needs. This includes training requirements. We hold team building exercises that might be a shared lunch or a brainstorming session. We have found that when team members are given the tools they need, receive the training they require, clearly understand the goals of the project and feel they are an important part of the team they will perform better, produce higher quality work and meet the schedule and budget. In today's world it is not good enough to simply motivate team members, the project manager must inspire them.

Contact us today to get your projects humming.

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The Project Management Methodology

A project is a temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end that produces a unique product or service. Unlike cyclic tasks that repeat, such as accounting or customer support, projects are designed to create something specific and come to an end. Two examples of projects could be building a new software application or installing new computer hardware. There may be support of the software or hardware, but that is ongoing maintenance and falls outside of the project scope

The leader of a project is the project manager who guides it through five process groups to achieve the goal of delivering the required product or service on time, on budget and with a level of quality that meets the scope.

Initiating: The initiating phase kicks off the project. The project manager studies past projects and gathers processes and forms from the organization. The project manager or a business analyst creates the BRD that describes what the project is expected to deliver. From this, a project charter is established. The project sponsor, who is the liaison with senior management, authorizes the charter and gives the project manager the authority to proceed.

Planning: A team of subject matter experts is gathered and the requirements analyzed. The tasks needed to achieve the requirements are drawn up, divided to manageable segments in a work breakdown structure and assigned values for the time required to complete them, any resources needed and the costs of the task. These are sequenced in order and the critical path is established. The critical path consists of tasks that cannot be delayed without delaying the entire project. This is of particular concern to the project manager. The tasks are fitted into a schedule and the budget is drawn up. The plan includes how personnel will be acquired, how communications will be handled between stakeholders (to include management and the team), how quality will be measured and what will happen when quality tests fail, what risks are posed to the project and how they will be handled if encountered, how materials or services will be purchased, how vendors will be chosen, how the entire project will be evaluated for effectiveness and how the plan can be continually improved. The plan will also account for changes to the scope of the project with ways to evaluate requested changes and either accept or reject them. Accepted changes are incorporated into the project plan. The plan is approved by the sponsor and a kick-off meeting is held to acquaint team members and create enthusiasm for the project. Effective planning is vital to the success of a project and can take a large part of the project&s time.

Execution: The plan is implemented and the work performed. Because everything has been planned, the plan can simply followed. Still, software development is subject to change due to requests by clients, strategy changes by management, problems developing new technology or a host of other situations. If changes to be made in the project, they must be approved through the change control plan.

Monitoring and Controlling: This occurs simultaneously with execution. The project manager makes certain the work is proceeding on time and on budget and makes adjustments if necessary. Quality is checked against standards set in the plan to make certain the requirements are being met and that extra work, sometimes known as "gold plating", is not occurring. Gold plating creates undocumented features that cost extra money to add and can cause unknown problems in the future. Vendor contracts are administered. Approved change orders, along with corrective and preventative maintenance, are added to the plan and implemented during project execution.

Close: The closing of the project sees all of the lessons learned documented for future reference. This prevents the need to reinvent things every time a project starts. Vendors are paid and the contracts closed. Final quality checks are made and the product or service is turned over to the customer and signed off for. A closing party is held to let the team feel that they have accomplished something before they are released. This primes them for the next project.