RO Systems Consulting, Inc.

Project Planning

Project planning is deciding in advance what to do, how to do it, what it will take to do it, when to do it, and who is to do it. RO Systems Consulting's approach to project planning is based on the need to manage at both the program and project levels. At the project level, planning is deliverables-based and centered around specific project plans. From a program perspective, our planning methodology is based on the principles of integrated management, which focus on managing dependencies between interrelated projects and activities across organizations. RO Systems Consulting project managers use their know-how and management expertise to make planning decisions based on facts and considered assumptions and estimates.

High-Level Planning and Control

RO Systems Consulting project managers are highly experienced in the discipline of planning and managing projects. RO Systems Consulting begins each project with high-level project planning during which we develop those outputs that define the entire project. These outputs are:

Each of these outputs helps to demonstrate our understanding of the customer's business needs and priorities and is included in the project management plan.

Project Management Plan (PMP)

During high-level planning, we begin to prepare a formal project management plan, which brings together all key planning and control documents pertaining to a project and serves as a vehicle for describing key management activities as the project team will perform them. The RO Systems Consulting Project Management Standards dictate the content of this project management plan. The plan includes, or points to repositories that contain, the results of the project planning process. It includes the following project management information:

The structure of the project management plan is established at project start-up, according to RO Systems Consulting's project management approach. Details are filled in and kept current throughout the life of the project. This plan serves as the single point of reference for ensuring project management consistency and for tracking progress.

Detailed Project Planning

Upon completing the high-level planning tasks, the project manager develops successively more detailed project plans to define precisely what the project team will accomplish and how and when it will do so. Detailed project planning is an iterative process that continues throughout the life of the project. RO Systems Consulting's approach defines two levels of project plans:

Detailed project plans are used to:

Detailed project plans are critical to the success of individual teams, as well as for more senior project management, to understand the cross-activity relationships and effects so that informed and balanced decisions can be made. The RO Systems Consulting project manager updates the project-level plan throughout the project to reflect current project status and report project progress to the program manager (if applicable) and the customer. RO Systems Consulting also prepares consolidated plans and reports that integrate the activities of the involved organizations focusing on overall success, thereby helping individual project teams contribute to that success.

Project Management Tools

Our Project Management Standards are supported by collaborative tools with specialized workflows, views, and reports designed to manage and control projects and programs. Managers use the tools to monitor progress, recognize trends, and identify problems and risk areas requiring attention.

RO Systems Consulting's Project in a Box (PIB) toolset helps manage programs and projects by ensuring that both customer and RO Systems Consulting team members are kept fully informed of project activities, issues, changes, deliverables, and other factors affecting progress. PIB provides a communications infrastructure for our projects and helps to manage change. PIB allows RO Systems Consulting to quickly and effectively start up projects; it can also be modified to meet a customer's specific needs.

PIB Databases for Project Management
Database Description
Change Request Management Provides change request management process flow, tracking, storage, display, and reporting. Workflow includes change document creation, assignment, notification, review workflow, and authorization.
Discussion Management Helps projects establish effective communication channels that facilitate knowledge sharing between project members by providing a central repository for posting and responding to project-related discussions. This tool is especially helpful for teams distributed across multiple sites and timezones.
Document Management Provides a forum for tracking project documents via formal and informal processes. Formal documents have review, version control, notification, and access control features, as well as publishing to Microsoft® Word. Informal documents are assigned unique numbers and notification to selected readers is provided without the more robust formal document process.
Incident Management Provides incident management process flow, tracking, storage, display, and reporting. Workflow includes incident report, assignment, fix, fix approval, retest, and retest approval. Metrics capabilities allow project managers to create and archive snapshots of incident data. With such snapshots, managers can easily review precise incident summaries, identify and correct bottlenecks in the process, and perform trend analyses.
Issue Management Provides issue management process documentation, issue creation, assignment, notification, review workflow, escalation, tracking, storage, display, and graphical reporting.
Meeting Management Provides creation, storage, notification, and display of major events, meeting agendas, minutes, and action items in a calendar format. Also provides a staff-away calendar with vacation and other out-of-office tracking, with an optional approval process.
Requirement Management Provides documentation, display, and storage of requirements. Requirements may be linked to change requests, issues, test cases, and documents. Allows for requirements to be commented on and clarified.
Staff Management Acts as a central repository for the creation and storage of project role descriptions, staff member information including telephone numbers, areas of expertise, role descriptions, and a project's organizational charts.
Status Reports Provides creation, notification, and display of status reports for multiple levels of staff, simplifying rolled up status reports and “next” report creation.
Stoplight Risks Provides a forum for creating, tracking, assigning, and mitigating program and project-level risks.
Test Case Management Provides a forum for tracking software system tests. Through the use of test scripts, test cases and test executions, software functionality can be fully tested for developmental or data errors, without work being duplicated or overlooked.

Progress Reporting

Clear and timely progress reporting is a key element in ensuring effective project communication. The project-level plan is the primary mechanism for monitoring status, measuring progress, and managing work on the project. Progress reports and management meetings provide formal mechanisms for reporting status, updating the overall project plan, and communicating key issues and risks within the project team. There are mechanisms to report on status through multiple layers of the project. During meetings with their respective team leaders, team members report progress on assigned deliverables. These meetings also provide the opportunity to discuss issues and risks that may threaten the planned completion of specific deliverables. The RO Systems Consulting team prepares and distributes meeting notes, ensuring that the customer's staff members are kept appropriately informed.

Building on input from their team members, team leaders report status to the project manager on a regular basis. The RO Systems Consulting project manager updates the project-level plan based on the internal status reports provided by each team leader. Further reporting of status, issues, and risks to customer stakeholders also occurs on a regular basis.

At the start of a project, the project manager works with team leaders and customer stakeholders to decide on the timing and participants for each management meeting. A plan for management meetings and progress reporting is developed. The content and format of the progress reports is also agreed upon.