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PROGRAM MANAGEMENT


Program Management
SOUND PROGRAM & PROJECT MANAGEMENT
ENABLES STRATEGIC DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION


VIRE Consulting Program Management Mantra
Enterprise Technology Standardization =
Strategic Digital Transformation =
Business Process Modernization
In any hypercompetitive business environment, evolutionary changes are occurring around the world in macroeconomics triggered by the employment of emerging technologies, such as smart machines, secure cloud services, and Internet of Things (IoT) integrated into a company’s cross-disciplinary business practices for pressuring business leaders and chief innovation officers to continually innovate and transform their operations into an enabling digital enterprise. Digital transformation initiatives for companies to continuously innovate and remain competitive in the global market place have to become more creative, automated, and inventive based on employment of sound program and project management (PM) practices, processes, and services. The transformation through innovation is no longer a fad, but in today’s digital age has become a requirement to ‘adopt or die’ as a company. Therefore, our process-oriented approach to digital transformation and enabling technology adoption through an Information Technology (IT) Governance framework has become the key to success through employment of sound program and project management practices, processes, procedures, and services. By adopting VIRE’s IT Governance Framework as depicted in Figure 1, organizations can assess their current state, establish transformation goals, and chart a realistic, sustainable path to effect end-to-end digital transformation from idea to reality using quick bursts of planning and continuous evolution through VIRE’s Program/Project Management framework and agile DevSecOps development and deployment.


Figure 1 – VIRE’s IT Governance Framework (for enabling strategic digital transformation of a Business Enterprise through Business Process Modernization)

Through our litany of Program and Project Management Services outlined below, VIRE is able to digitally transform an organization into an enabling digital enterprise through business process modernization.

PROGRAM MANAGEMENT


Based on VIRE’s definition, Program Management is the process of managing several related projects with the intention of improving an organization’s business and operational capability and efficiency through the related business management disciplines of strategic planning, enterprise architecture frameworks’ formulation, business process re-engineering (BPR)/engineering, business process improvement, system requirements management, technical management, systems integration, and business transformation. A program is normally established for delivering an organization’s overall business strategy and managing its transformation into the next level of business and operational excellence enabled by Information Technology (IT). Furthermore, a program is normally a group of related projects being managed in a coordinated manner to obtain the benefit of an integrated business information system that has been developed for facilitating the operations of an enabling business practice from end-to-end. In a program, program management manages the overall scope of these related and discrete projects for meeting an organization’s overall business goals and objectives outlined in its business strategy.

VIRE’s program management framework emphasizes the coordinating and prioritizing of resources across projects while managing and controlling the communications coordination across stakeholders, work scope, staffing resources, integrated master schedule/project schedules, costs, risks, quality, and implementation in support of the program.



Figure 2 - VIRE’s Program Management Framework

Our framework as depicted in Figure 2 provides for the overall macro-management of interrelated projects and focuses on providing an environment where projects can be successfully implemented without any major problems or impediments in project task order execution.

Our program management framework leaves project management to the project managers for project execution while our Program Managers are focused on managing the overall contract, work scope, resources, corporate staffing, program risks, and finances. This proven, responsive and empowered program and project management approach under a single unified management structure ensures single lines of direct communications, coordination, and collaboration from the project managers to the client task managers or monitors and their Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) for project execution. This approach ensures that task order understanding, coordination, and execution is maximized at the project or task order level and ensures speedy delivery of services within costs, schedules, and performance.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT & PROJECT SERVICES


VIRE considers a program to be a larger contract concept where a set of interrelated projects are established for achieving a common business goal and objective within an enterprise. As such, VIRE’s definition of project management is the discipline of initiating, planning and design, executing, controlling, and implementing the agile engineering and iterative development work on a project for improving a specific business function within a customer’s enterprise business practice. Our overall goal in project management is to evolve and produce a working capability which complies with the customer’s objectives and readily delivers the desired business outcome within cost, schedule and performance.

Based on our overall definition, our agile project management approach uses a simultaneous and iterative sequence of unique, defined, and connected activities with one goal or purpose that must be completed by a specific time, within budget, and according to specifications. VIRE’s framework uses the evolutionary incremental commitment approach where requirements and solutions are addressed concurrently, rather than sequentially, using agile development methods in support of an iterative life cycle development model for allowing more flexibility over a linear process that better aligns with the planned life cycle for a system. This technique emphasizes the development and use of tacit interpersonal knowledge as compared to explicit documented knowledge as evidenced by the four value propositions outlined in the “Agile Manifesto” as follows:

  • Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools – self organization and motivation are important as are interactions like co-location and pair programming. VIRE feels it is better to have a good team of developers who communicate and collaborate well, rather than a team of experts each operating in isolation. Communication is a fundamental concept on the principle.
  • Working Software over comprehensive documentation – working software is more useful and welcome than just presenting documents to clients in meetings. It is better to comment inline with the code and keep external documentation light, rather than heavy documents that take a lot of time and effort in interpreting and can quickly become outdated
  • Customer Collaboration over contract negotiations – detail requirements cannot be fully collected at the beginning of the system development cycle, so it is better to directly involve the paying customer and their end users, or proxy for them so that detailed requirements can be progressively elaborated and adapted based on feedback
  • Responding to Change over following a plan – agile system development methods are focused on quick responses to change and continuous development rather than following a plan in sequential, phased development

Based on these four value propositions, VIRE’s approach embraces the following twelve agile DevSecOps development principles for achieving project success:

  • First, satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software (and other integrating system elements of stakeholders)
  • Welcome changing requirements, even in late development; our agile processes harness change for evolving the customer’s competitive advantage
  • Deliver working software (and other integrating system elements) frequently, from a couple of weeks rather than a couple of months, with a preference to a shorter time scale as iterative development continues
  • Ensure business personnel and developers work closely together daily throughout iterative development
  • Build projects around motivated individuals; give them the environment, support their needs, and trust them in getting the job done
  • Empower face-to-face conversation as the most efficient and effective method in conveying information (co-location) more so than written formal or informal communications
  • Employ working software as the primary measure of progress
  • Employ agile processes for promoting sustainable development with the sponsors, developers, and users maintaining a constant and steady pace
  • Pay continuous attention to technical excellence and ensure good design enhances agility
  • Employ simplicity by employing the art of maximizing the amount of work done
  • Ensure best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams
  • Ensure team reflects on how to become more effective at regular intervals and then have them tune and adjust their behavior accordingly

Based on these principles, VIRE uses the Rational Unified Process (RUP) engineering and agile DevSecOps development framework and methods in support of its projects. Our approach uses four distinct project life-cycle phases that allows the process to be presented at a high level in the beginning and evolve into more detail as the iterations of development are executed. Our RUP project management approach is where we break down and manage the work through a series of distinct iterations and activities as depicted in Figure 1.


Figure 1 – VIRE’s Agile Project Management (APM) Approach

 

Our approach for our Agile Project Management (APM)-type projects as depicted in Figure 1 involves a significant software component that is highly iterative and incremental in its implementation process where developers and project stakeholders actively work together to understand the domain, identify what needs to be built, and can continuously prioritize functionality. VIRE employs this APM DevSecOps method when project value is clear; the customer actively participates throughout the implementation of the project; the customer, designers, and developers are co-located; incremental feature-driven development is possible; and visual, animated, and graphic screen shot documentation is acceptable. Our typical Project Life Cycle (PLC) development phases for APM DevSecOps projects are:

  • Initiate – this is where we scope out the project requirements for establishing a basis for validating the initial costs and budgets. In this phase, the business case which includes business context, success factors (i.e., expected revenue, market recognition, etc.), and financial forecast are established. To complement the business case, a basic use case model is defined, an initial project plan is established, an initial risk assessment is articulated, and project description of core project requirements, constraints, and key system and technical features are defined. This stage can also include the development of the following multiple analyses as required by the project sponsor and its stakeholders:
    • Analyze the business needs and requirements in measureable goals, objectives and key performance indicators
    • Review current operations and business practices, and identifies operational deficiencies and system vulnerabilities
    • Establish a financial analysis of the costs and benefits to include an initial budget
    • Develop an analysis of stakeholders by identifying the project sponsors, executive managers, end users and support personnel
    • Establish and develop a Project Charter which includes costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedules
    • Provide a SWOT analysis highlighting the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the business
  • Develop – this phase involves the planning of the project to an appropriate level of detail from the preceding analyses in order for the project to take shape. In this phase, the problem domain is highlighted and documented and an executable architecture begins to evolve. In this phase, we will specifically:
    • Develop use case models or diagrams in which the use cases and the actors have been identified and most of the use-case descriptions are 80% complete
    • Describe the project scope by the identifying the opportunity or problem and what results we want to achieve based on the use case scenarios
    • Divide the project into tasks, identify the deliverables, and create the work breakdown structure (WBS)
    • Identify the activities needed to complete the deliverables and estimate the resources requirements for the activities
    • Develop a preliminary project plan with a schedule and assign time estimates to each iterative activity in the WBS
    • Determine project and technical specification standards and procedures for ensuring architecture and technical compliance in development, engineering, and testing;
    • Identify potential risks and assess the consequences of those risks
    • Develop a preliminary budget that summarizes the planned expenses and forecasted revenues related to the project
    • Develop a statement of work for the baseline project plan that describes the work to be accomplished and the overall expected outcome of the project
    • Develop a baseline project plan that estimates the required resource requirements for the project tasks and activities
  • Build – this phase is where we build the system through the development of a series of components. It involves proper allocation, coordination and management of resources such as personnel, materials and budgets. This phase is where the coding and system configurations take place through the construction of several iterations where the use cases have been divided and developed into manageable segments that can produce demonstrable prototypes. The output of this phase is where the first working software segment is released. The project management techniques employed in this phase include:
    • Executing the baseline project plan by initiating the implementation of project activities, acquire and assign resources, orient and train new team members, keep the project on schedule, and assure quality in project deliverables
    • Managing changes to the baseline project plan as a result of necessary design modifications, differing site conditions, material availability, personnel emergencies, value engineering, and impacts from third parties, to name a few through a change management process for ensuring compliance with architecture and standards
    • Managing the project workbook by maintaining complete records on all project events for producing project status reports and reviews
    • Continually communicating the project status through daily standup meetings, weekly activity reports and monthly status reviews/reports with the entire project team so that everyone understands how the plan is evolving, what risks are being mitigated, and what working software segments are working. . 
    • Measuring the ongoing project activities and where we are relative to schedule
    • Monitoring project variables (cost, scope, effort and performance) against the project plan and the project performance baseline for measuring earned value
    • Identifying corrective actions for addressing issues and risks properly
    • Influencing factors that could circumvent integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented
  • Deploy and Release – this phase includes the transit of the working system from development into production. This includes making it available to and understood by end users. The activities of this phase include training the end users and maintainers and beta testing the system for validating that it meets end user and stakeholders expectations. In the beta testing of the system, a System Acceptance Test (SAT) and User Acceptance Test (UAT) are formally conducted for transitioning the system into production. In addition, this phase includes:
    • Closing down the project by notifying all interested parties and stakeholders on completion of the project and finalization and transfer of all project documentation and records
    • Conducting post project reviews to determine the strengths and weaknesses of project deliverables, the processes used to create them, and the project management processes and developing lessons learned for increasing efficiency and effectiveness in future endeavors
    • Closing the contract for ensuring all contractual terms have been met and administrative and project or task order final invoicing and payment has been completed.

Most importantly, VIRE uses the Rolling Wave planning process on APM projects for evolving and engineering a solution over the time period. This technique produces better results in meeting requirements and achieving performance than a sequential phased approach like “Waterfall”.



Our process is where planning of a project is progressively done in waves as depicted in the Figure 2 and the project incrementally unfolds. Short term iteration activities are planned at a more detail level while longer term activities which are further away are planned at a lower level. Our Rolling Wave planning approach is particularly useful when the requirements are dependent on the outcome of some or all of the near term planning. This planning technique allows us to acknowledge that everything is not known at the start of a project and we allow the project to unfold over time. This agile planning process produces better results and greater performance than the phased approach where project improvements would have to be accomplished after implementation and deployment under a System Improvement Plan. Rolling Wave planning permits work activities to move forward on current and near term deliverables while planning is still ongoing for the latter work packages. This approach is particularly useful when the availability of the information needed to plan future work packages in detail is predicated on successful completion of previous iterative project phases. This technique helps shorten time by making it possible for productive activities to begin without waiting for every detail of the project work to be determined in advance; and by eliminating downtime for additional planning in the middle of a project since planning is done continuously.

APM project management that is undertaken using Rolling Wave must have a well-defined project scope from the outset for ensuring success. Otherwise, as planning is elaborated, scope creep is more likely to occur. VIRE’s Rolling Wave planning takes place in the following four (4) easy steps for ensuring project success:

  • Create the WBS and Project Scope and acquire Project Charter approval
  • Divide the project into iterative development phases based on use case diagrams and document into an iterative Project Plan
  • Provide a realistic level of detail in the earlier project iteration versus the latter
  • Once the first phase is complete, go to Step 1 for performing the second iterative development phase and continue

Project Services


Many of our clients’ personnel become project managers simply by receiving additional responsibility or by promotion into the role without the prerequisite training. In addition, assigned project management support personnel are often unknown to the very individual managing the project. As such, assigned project managers and members of their integrated project teams (IPTs) require augmentation in important project management functions. VIRE can provide the following project management knowledge area services in support of Federal clients for bringing their project to life and ensuring project success of their Integrated Project Teams (IPTs). 


Figure 3 – Knowledge Management Areas (for Ensuring Project Success)


 

Figure 3 – Knowledge Management Areas (for Ensuring Project Success)

For ensuring project success, VIRE can assist client project managers and members of their IPT in carrying out the following PMBOK knowledge area management functions as depicted in Figure 3 for ensuring APM DevSecOps success and readily enabling customer business functionality in accordance with stakeholders’ needs and expectations.

  • Integration Management – this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Integration Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE recognizes that Integration Management is a complex process of identifying, defining, combining, unifying, and coordinating various activities and tasks on a project into a single framework for managing all the activities. Our overall goal is to define the characteristics on the unification, coordination, and articulation of all project activities for meeting project sponsor and stakeholder goals and expectations. VIRE will ensure the various elements of a project and its system and business integration points are properly coordinated and managed. This involves where we have to make trade-offs among and between competing objectives and alternatives for ensuring business functionality and that the project meets or exceeds customer and/or stakeholder needs and expectations. This project service is a PMBOK knowledge area that holds the overall project together and integrates it into a unified whole. VIRE will assist the client in performing the following activities for integrating and unifying the project across the Project Life Cycle (PLC) spectrum by:
    • Developing a Project Charter – will ensure Product and Project Scope are well integrated together and described in the Project Charter
    • Developing a Project Management Plan – will ensure that all milestones, tasks, activities are integrated across the PLC and that the Project Management Plan, Project Schedule and Performance Measurement Baseline are integrated together
    • Directing and Managing Project Work – will ensure that project services and deliverables are delivered on time, schedule and within cost
    • Monitoring and Controlling Project Work – will monitor the project work and measure deliverable performance using our earned value analysis Project Management Information System (PMIS)system and perform project statuses and reviews reporting
    • Performing Integrated Change Control – will monitor and manage project changes and continually assess impact on cost, schedule and performance
    • Closing the Project – will assess completion on each phase in the Project Management Plan and review System Acceptance Testing (SAT) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) test reports and commence closing of the project by submission of final invoicing and transfer of project documentation, source code, and property to the client.

 

  • Scope Management - this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Scope Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE will define the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. If the scope of a project is not managed correctly, it may very well lead to an unsuccessful project. VIRE’s approach to scope management is to clearly define the project’s scope at the beginning. Once defined, we will then validate the scope with all the key stakeholders by getting their buy-in and consensus before proceeding. We will next identify their project drivers and develop the operational concepts for defining the enabling business models. After defining the business models, we will then identify the user external interfaces for fully integrating and unifying the business information into an enterprise business practice. The scope then will be documented into a Project Charter for approval by the IT Governance Board and funding by the Project Sponsor.

 

  • Time Management - this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Time Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE will manage the processes required to manage a project to completion. We will define the activities, sequence the activities, estimate activity resources, estimate activity durations, develop a schedule, and control a schedule to completion. These activities will allow VIRE to ensure the client meet deadlines and streamline collaboration across and among the Integrated Project Team (IPT) and its sponsors and stakeholders. VIRE will use the following methods and techniques for managing project time management:
    • Schedule Network Analysis – our analysis will be done through our use of either the Critical Path Method (CPM), Critical Chain Method, What-If Analysis, or Resource Leveling Method; or a combination of the three. Our analysis will attempt to find unbalanced use of resources over time for resolving any over-allocation conflicts.
    • Schedule Compression - this method will be used when tasks are running late. We will employ the ‘Crashing’ and ‘Fast Tracking’ techniques to avert the risks of project overrun. We will employ ‘Crashing’ by decreasing total period of time by assigning more people on the task or working overtime; or ‘Fast Tracking’ by starting a task early before the last task has finished.
    • Schedule Control - this technique will be used by scheduling and conducting project performance reviews, performing variance analysis, and using project performance management software for measuring Schedule Performance Index (SPI), Cost Performance Index (CPI), Schedule Variance (SV), Cost Variance, earned value management (EVM), and others as required. VIRE will deploy its Project Management Information System (PMIS) for maintaining schedule and cost control over a client project.

 

  • Cost Management – this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Cost Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE will manage project costs for a client through a series of activities for estimating, allocating, and controlling costs within a project. We will employ and use Microsoft Project for managing and controlling costs and resources utilization. Our project cost management process includes the execution of the following key steps:
    • Cost Estimation - VIRE in conjunction with the client will estimate the costs for software, hardware, installation materials, salaries, cloud subscription services, licenses’ fees, and performance activities in delivering the project. Our project cost estimation will be conducted in the planning phase and we will use project cost management software, such as MS Project and EVM forProject, to develop appropriate spreadsheets and make cost calculations on project milestones, tasks and activities for formulating a budget.
    • Budget Determination VIRE will use its cost spreadsheets to develop the budget framework and determine the budget for the client’s project. We will then use the project cost estimation and work with the Project Sponsor and the client’s financial department for allocating a budget and funding of the project before project commencement.
    • Spending Control - VIRE will track and manage spending using its Project Management Information System (PMIS) based on the allocated budget. We will work with the client’s Project Manager for ensuring that spending is under control and that the budget allocation is optimized and cost are fully covered with the planned and allocated budget.

 

  • Quality Management – this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Quality Control Plan (QCP) template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. Our plan will document the required information to effectively manage the project from planning to delivery. It identifies and defines the basic activities, policies, and processes to be used to manage the quality of the program from planning to delivery. This plan will be based on the premise that quality is achieved when the project meets and exceeds the customer and stakeholder expectations.  VIRE will coordinate all tasks, activities and delivery of products through its quality assurance office.  In addition, VIRE will oversee and facilitate contract governance activities, develop and institute policies and guidance, monitor performance of services, oversee and monitor project executions for our client via our Project Life Cycle (PLC) management framework. Our Quality Assurance (QA) professional will meet with the client at least monthly in monitoring our performance in delivering the project services and identifying any subpar performance areas within our Program Management Information System (PMIS).  This will ensure communications are strong among all parties, and that all services and integrated projects are well coordinated. Our support activities will include analyzing and assessing guidance; assist in implementing policy as directed by client’s Contracting Officer Representative (COR); and supporting client’s governance, initiatives and direction.  Our technical approach will allow our client to align its strategic budgeting and planning activities with tactical ongoing delivery of services by applying industry best practices, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to streamline operations, applications, and systems through our robust agile DevSecOps approach and streamlined Project Life Cycle (PLC). Any subpar performance will immediately trigger the development of an Action Plan or Get Well Plan for proactively correcting the deficiency in accordance with program objectives.

 

Our VIRE team will also understand and is familiar with ISO 9001:2015 standards and will employ them on all project activities.  Where we see opportunities for actionable business value, and with the approval from client leadership, we will integrate our CMMI Level 2 and ISO 9001:2015 processes and best practices into our Project Life Cycle (PLC) approach.  This means we will always be looking for continuous improvement opportunities in the execution of a client’s modernization efforts. All projects will be assigned an experienced expert that is highly qualified in performing the work. Our QA office will be responsible for maintaining the Configuration Management (CM) Library (in MS SharePoint) for all required project life cycle documentation, as well as coordinating and overseeing monthly program and project reviews with the overall client’s Program, Project, and Task Managers and their respective CORs.

 

  • Human Resources Management – this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Human Resources (HR) Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. Our support consist of outlining the human resource requirements on a project by role, authority, responsibility, and operational and technical competency and defining how these HR resources will be organized and managed for performing the work. VIRE’s HR management process includes human resource planning by defining the role and responsibilities for each member of the project team; acquiring resumes for the project team and performing an analysis on their qualification and credentials; developing the project team into an organizational chart for hierarchical reporting, coordinating, and collaborating with the client; and managing and monitoring the performance of the project team through performance reviews and providing additional staff training as required. VIRE recognizes that the most important resource on a project is its people – the project team. We also recognize the project requires specific expertise at different times in the schedule, depending on the milestones being delivered or a given phase in the project. Therefore, VIRE understands the importance of continual education of its workforce and professional technical training of its technical staff on the latest state-of-art technology for ensuring project success.

      

  • Communications Management - this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Communications Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE will define the project communications requirements, methods, and forums for distributing information on the project. We will effectively communicate over the life of the project and ensure that information is communicated upward to higher management and stakeholders and downward to lower technical project and client management teams for ensuring consistency in information and project progress being distributed. VIRE’s overall communications management approach is to take a proactive role in ensuring effective communications across the entire project. We will use a litany of communication methods (i.e., face-to-face, email, PowerPoint slides, meeting notes, project reports, ad hoc technical working group reports, project management review forums, etc.) for distributing the information across the PLC spectrum. Our communications management matrix will show what information is to be communicated to who, who will do the communications, when will the communications be performed, and whom will it be communicated to. VIRE recognizes that efficient and timely communications in both formal and informal settings is the key to successful project completion. As such, VIRE emphasizes that it is imperative that any issues, disputes, conflicts, or discrepancies regarding project execution and performance be captured in an appropriate written forum whether formal or informal for ensuring all pertinent information is captured and distributed accordingly. Distributing this information is conducive to maintaining project schedule, ensuring the correct information is distributed in a timely manner, and preventing and mitigating any project or program difficulties early. 

 

  • Risk Management - this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Risk Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE will define the continuing processes concerned with identifying, analyzing, evaluating, monitoring, and responding to project risks for mitigating the adverse effects of loss. We will establish process controls over the project schedule for managing source, problem, or event-based risks and cost controls over the financial or costs estimating risks. VIRE will employ the following common risk identification methods using risk assessment templates for identifying a project risk:

 

  • Objectives-based Risks – are where organizations and integrated project teams have objectives and any event that may endanger achieving an objective partly or completely is identified as a risk
  • Scenario-based Risks – are where in scenario analysis, different scenarios are possible where there may be alternative ways of achieving an objective, and any event that may trigger an undesired scenario alternative then should be identified as risk.
  • Taxonomy-based Risks – are where there is a breakdown in possible risk sources where a questionnaire is compiled and the answers to the questions reveal risks based on the taxonomy and knowledge of best industry practices
  • Common Risk Checking – are where we list known available risks from similar industries but each risk needs to be checked for its application in a particular situation

 

  • Procurement Management - this management area is where VIRE will employ its basic customer Procurement Management Plan template and refine it in accordance with the client’s requirements after contract award. VIRE recognizes that for successful project completion, projects require certain products and/or services that must be defined and specified according to the project requirements and then acquired and delivered on time and schedule. Our plan will identify and define the purchasing requirements for a given project and formulate the intended courses of action for procuring product and services and managing the contracts and purchase orders. VIRE in cooperation with our client’s purchasing/contracts department will take responsibility on planning for the procurement items based on defined criteria and technical specifications and identifying how the products and services will be delivered for meeting project schedule and specification requirements. Our document will define how the purchasing activity will be managed through the project lifecycle from initial vendor contacts and developing respective purchasing documents through to managing product and services deliveries and closing deals with selected vendors and/or contractors. VIRE overall procurement approach in support of its client’s purchasing department will plan for purchasing by:
    • Listing the items to be procured. We will hold meetings with the Integrated Project Team (IPT) to discuss and identify the possible procurement requirements and list the product and service items that are required for successful project completion of being on time and schedule. Our meetings will help our clients in getting expert judgement from the team regarding timelines and preliminary specifications. After the list of items for product and services are approved, we will submit the list to the client’s purchasing department for deciding on ways of buying or making the required products and services procurement.
    • Setting decision criteria for selecting vendors. We will analyze the market and decide on those vendors that can produce the necessary product and service items within the required timeframe and at a reasonable and fair cost. VIRE will work closely with the client’s purchasing department and IPT to agree on the criteria for selecting and awarding the purchasing contracts. The decision criteria that we will deploy will take into consideration the following, to name a few:
      • Schedule compliance – where the vendor is able to produce and deliver the product and services items in compliance with the delivery schedule
      • Quality – where all product and service items comply with the technical specifications and system features as defined in the purchasing order
      • Cost – where the cost of the product or service delivery is reasonable and fair and does not exceed overall expected cost parameters
      • Performance – where we determine if the vendor’s past and present performance is fine and they are reliable in producing and delivering a quality product or service on time and schedule
    • Negotiating with selected vendors – once the decision criteria has been established, VIRE will work with the client’s purchasing department to begin negotiations on purchasing and delivering the procurement products or services under the most favorable conditions. We will also ensure that each product or service item complies with the requirements outlined in the specifications, and that the items can be delivered according to the project schedule. We will work with the client’s purchasing department and the vendor to prevent or mitigate any delays.
    • Measure performance of purchasing activities – Lastly, VIRE will track all procurements and measure performance based on whether the project stays on schedule in terms of purchasing activities. We will use this measurement for identifying where improvements can be made to our purchasing activities and identifying lessons learned. VIRE will perform an analysis on vendor performance by examining the data on their performance and then using this information for updating decision criteria on future projects.        
Project Management Office (PMO) Support


According to the Standish CHAOS Report of 2016, approximately 83% of IT projects are in distress and will most likely fail by not meeting time, cost, performance, and scope targets. Only 17% of projects will be completed on time, within budget, and deliver measureable business and stakeholder outcomes. The report states that customers operating an established PMO is one of the top three reasons that drives successful project delivery. VIRE typically deploys an enterprise program PMO that is supportive of a program manager and its project managers. Our PMOs play a supportive but controlling role in managing a program and their respective projects or task orders. This supportive role acts as staff augmentation to both the program manager and the project managers for ensuring a program and its projects is within project scope and it meets or exceeds the key performance indicators of quality, scope, schedule, budgets and business outcomes and benefits.     

VIRE will leverage its robust standardized processes and toolsets through an assigned PMO by employing professionals that will continuously refine and tailor the project management processes, procedures and techniques to its Project Life Cycle (PLC) methodology used in conjunction with employment of the latest Project Management Institute (PMI) processes, Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) procedures, and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) frameworks for ensuring that the customer needs are met or exceeded.

VIRE’s PMO will be staffed with experienced project management professionals and specialists with program and project management, quality assurance/quality control, process reengineering, human resource, budget management, technology engineering, and operational services’ management expertise. These professionals and specialists will be highly dedicated to assist program managers and project managers in managing the delivery of best-value services and engineering solutions based on the innovative application of science and technology.  Our PMO will be highly motivated to drive mission-oriented results and promote an environment of continuous improvement, operational efficiency and cost effectiveness through sound program and project management support practices.  We will leverage our people, processes, technology, customer outreach, and comprehensive best-practice frameworks to deliver sound program and project management support services for the implementation, deployment, support, maintenance, operational execution, and enhancement of a client’s business information system within a customer’s enterprise operating environment.

Part of VIRE’s overall management approach is to deploy an enterprise PMO under our Program Manager for supporting the integration of management, human resources, cost, quality, and performance information in support of our proven, responsive and empowered business management framework that emphasizes a single unified management structure where centralized governance of the contract is at the contractor Program Manager’s level with decentralized project or task order execution being accomplished by empowered Project Managers or Task Leads at the project or task order level. This enterprise management approach ensures single lines of direct communications, coordination, and collaboration between the lowest level of the client and contractor project or task execution parties and the contractor project or task implementation managers. This decentralized project task order execution approach maximizes and enhances the understanding of the task order requirements at the lowest level and ensure speedy delivery of services within costs, schedules, and performance across the customer’s operating environment through project management empowerment.

 

Based on VIRE’s typical management approach, our supporting PMO framework allows us to align the management of our clients’ program and project work to their corporate digital strategy and enabling business objectives for ensuring benefits’ realization through deployment of modern business practices enabled by agile and modern business information systems. Our notional PMO organizational support arrangement as depicted in Figure 3 allows us to provide and equip our program and project managers with the necessary methodologies, processes, procedures, standards, and tools for ensuring quality delivery of our clients’ modern business information systems and associated deliverables.

Figure 1 – VIRE’s Notional PMO Support Framework

Based on a client’s contracts, VIRE will tailor its PMO with a combination of the following services for augmenting a program manager and its project managers in executing the client’s contract work. Our framework can provide the necessary support to the program manager and project managers based on the project work by equipping the organization with the necessary expert services for ensuring the delivery of the client’s enabling business services. VIRE is capable of providing the following services through its PMO framework in support of its clients and/or supporting contractors:

  • Program Planning – our PMO framework for program planning will address the overall strategic goals and objectives for digitizing an organization’s enterprise operating environment into a digital framework for optimizing its operational benefits, cost of operations, and digitizing its customer business interface practices through enabling business information systems. VIRE will take each goal and identify what three or four major accomplishments or objectives that must be achieved for meeting each overall goal. Our objectives for meeting or exceeding a goal will be described in such a way that clearly identifies the problems and integrating projects that are required for correcting the organization’s overall business problem and/or modernizing or improving the organization’s business information systems. Our overall steps for planning a program and its associated implementing projects are outlined in Table 1 below:

 

Steps

Step Name

Planning Step Description

1

Identify the Program Issue(s)/ Need(s)

What is the compelling issue or need that the program must address based on the organization’s overall Strategic Plan? How does it relate to the overall mission of the organization? What other organizations within the Community of Practice is working to address this particular problem, issue or need? What is it about the new or revised program that makes it compelling for the community or larger market to solve?   

2

Define the Project Scope

After identifying the program need(s), VIRE will next develop and define high level Project Scope of Works for assisting the customer in understanding what the program aims to achieve and in what time period. Our Project Scope of Works will identify and document the specific project goals, objectives, deliverables, major tasks, costs and project deadlines. Our project scope will also identify and explain the boundaries for the project, establish responsibilities for each project team member, and describe the procedures on how the completed work will be validated, verified and approved for Sign-Off. 

3

Conduct Stakeholder Analysis

After defining the Project Scopes in support of the overall Program, VIRE will perform and provide an analysis on the implementing services for determining if community support or partnerships are required in order on deciding the most feasible and cost effective route for accomplishing the program goal(s). Our analysis will assist the program planners and their project managers in understanding their allies, neutral parties, and opponents’ positions on the program and litany of projects required for meeting the program goals and objectives.

4

Conduct Resources’ Assessment

After completing the Stakeholder Analysis, VIRE will conduct and assess the existing community of practice needs and resource requirements that must be leveraged to accomplish the program goal(s). VIRE will also conduct an internal assessment that analyzes the program and associated projects’ Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) for evaluating the overall organization’s program and business venture. Our internal SWOT factors will address Product, Price, Publicity, Place, Personnel, Financing, etc. along with external factors that may include macroeconomic matters, technological change, legislation, high-level policies, and sociocultural changes to name a few. Our SWOT analysis will be effectively used to build an organizational strategy to explore new solutions to problems, identify barriers that will limit goals and objectives, reveal possibilities and limitations for change, decide on an effective direction, identify the best organizational and system plans, and enhance “credibility of interpretation” for use in presentations to program and project sponsors, key supporters, and organizational leaders.   

5

Develop Estimated Program and   Project Budget Forecast(s)

Once the resources of personnel costs, training, space, equipment purchase, rental, leasing, travel, copier, telephone, general office supplies, etc. have been identified for accomplishing the Program based on the Project Scope(s), VIRE will create and develop program and associated project budget forecasts across multiple business years for securing resource funding of the program and its associated projects by the client’s organizational leadership and program sponsor.  Our budget spend rate will be forecasted evenly across all years for sake of financial forecasting and determining total costs. Any unanticipated costs will be funded as a result of a contract change request or system improvement program after program goes live with a Product Backlog capability.  

6

Develop a Logic Model (for evaluating effectiveness of program and its associated projects)

In Step 6, VIRE will develop a graphical depiction of the logical relationships between resource inputs, activities, outputs, and program and project outcomes. Our logic model will include assumptions based on addressing the beliefs of stakeholders about the program, the people involved, and the context and way the stakeholders and project sponsors think the program will work. Our model will address the distinguishing differences between the short-term, medium-term, and long-term results and between direct and indirect results. In its simplest form, our logic model will address the following basic four components:

·         Inputs – what resources are needed to run the program and its projects (e.g., money, facilities, customers, employees, applications, equipment, etc.)

·         Activities – what activities will the program and its projects undertake to deliver the services (e.g., development of applications, configuration of equipment, formulation of business cases, development of use case scenarios and use case diagrams, testing of programs and systems, development of training programs, etc.)

·         Outputs – what is produced by the activities (e.g., increase in revenue, reduction in cost of operations, increase in operational efficiency, improvement in services rendered, social media integration, etc.)

·         Outcomes – what changes or benefits will result from the program and its projects (i.e., operational improvements, lower costs, better services, better decision-making, business practice digitalization, improved security, better safety, etc.)  

7

Develop High Level Program Timeline and Project Schedules

Based on the Logic Model and Program and Project Schedules, VIRE will develop an overall high level Program Timeline and Project Schedules by identifying the major activities or tasks required for delivering the services, the expected outcomes, the major dates on when accomplishments should occur or deliverables are rendered, and identify who is responsible for execution. Our constructed high level timeline will link the activities and deliverables directly to the goals and objectives of the program.  

8

Develop a High Level Staffing Plan

Based on the proposed program budget, estimated resources required for executing the major events or activities, overall program plan timeline, and  major dates on when accomplishments and deliverables should be rendered, VIRE will develop a Staffing Plan based on what personnel are needed, what skills are required, what years of experience are desired, and what training credentials are needed. The Staffing Plan will then be adjusted to current qualified staff available and identify the new staff to be hired and trained. VIRE will ensure that time is adjusted so that staff is not overburdened with existing full time responsibilities by ensuring that project activities are achievable by the planned staff forecasted.                                                

9

Develop an Organizational Structure and outline Roles and Responsibilities 

After developing the high level Staffing Plan, VIRE will develop a Program Organizational Structure and outline the Roles and Responsibilities for the key personnel. Based on these roles and responsibilities, VIRE will then develop job descriptions and their credentials for all employees for recruitment and hiring. Our job descriptions will help the program manager and its project managers understand how the work fits together, how the common goals will be achieved, and how the organizational structure will serve the larger mission of the overall organization.   

10

Develop Organizational Policies and Procedures (in support of the Program), if required

While a program and its projects are under the umbrella of a larger business organization who often has its own subset of policies and procedures to guide program operations in the context of the larger organization’s governance and policy structure, VIRE will develop supporting program policies and procedures on the program for presenting to the overarching organization for their understanding and providing guidance based on their governance policies and procedures. 


Table 1 – Program Planning Steps

  • Project Planning/WBS – our PMO framework for project planning will result in the development of a clearly defined, well developed project plan that provides a roadmap for project managers to follow and ensure project success. VIRE ensures that a project meets the needs of the stakeholders and client governance committees by developing a Project Charter from the documented project scopes outlined in the overall program plan and establishing a timeline for delivering the overall integrated services and/or products. After the Project Charter has been defined and the appropriate method for completing the project and timeline are determined, VIRE will outline the durations for the various tasks and group them into an agile Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) using iterative development techniques for executing the project within the performance baseline. VIRE will use the logical dependencies between tasks by using an activity network diagram that enables the identification of critical path. In many cases, iterative project planning can be inherently uncertain as it must be done before the next events has started. Therefore, VIRE will estimate the duration of iterative tasks through a weighted average of optimistic, normal, and pessimistic cases. Our method will add buffers in the iterative planning to anticipate potential delays in project execution. Float and slack time in the schedule will be calculated using our Microsoft Project Management software. Then we can estimate the necessary resources for each activity and calculate the total project cost. At this stage, we then optimize the project schedule to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration for meeting the project objectives. Once this is established and agreed to, this project WBS becomes what is known as the performance baseline schedule that project execution is measured against. Project execution progress will be measured against the performance baseline schedule throughout the life of the project. Our analysis of project progress will be compared to the baseline for calculating earned value management. The outputs of our project planning include a project scope that lays out the project requirements, a project WBS schedule documented in Microsoft Project, and an overall project plan for measuring delivery progress against.

        

  • Project Performance Management – our PMO framework for providing project performance management support to our client Program and Project Managers is by tracking and monitoring financial and schedule-related performance data during project executions through a Program Management Information System (PMIS). Our project performance reporting through a PMIS is presented in a graphical and tabular form that summaries each project cost, schedule and performance for program and project status reports and program management reviews. Based on our overall program and project-oriented management approach, VIRE has enabling technology that extends the capabilities of Microsoft (MS) Project Professional, MS Project Server, or Project Online by employing a Earned Value Management (EVM) solution that continually measures all cost parameters, project schedules, and technical and operational performance of project milestones, tasks, and activities based on the latest practices and standards of Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) and Center for Business Practices. Our Program Management Information System (PMIS) approach enables our program management measurement practices throughout the period of performance using our EVM methodology that are positive predictors of project success. Essential features of our EVM solution include a project plan that identifies the work to be performed and accomplished, a valuation of the planned work, and a list of pre-defined rules and performance metrics that will quantify our successful accomplishment of the work. Our PMIS approach will provide visibility into our organization and its program and project management methods, techniques, and tools used in managing the overall program and the litany of projects with differing durations, priorities, and statuses. Our advanced solution will integrate cost, schedule and technical performance on each and every project and ensure project success through the dynamic integration and management of the thirty two (32) guidelines in the EIA-748 Standard for EVM. Our Contractor Program Management Plan (CPMP) will detail our proposed management approach as it relates to the task areas outlined in the Statement of Work (SOW). We will document project schedules, costs, scope, quality, and customer satisfaction into our PMIS. Furthermore, all of our project schedules will be consolidated into an integrated master schedule for enhancing project management reviews and assessing overall performance in the earned value metrics of Present Value (PV), Earned Value (EV), Actual Cost (AC), Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Variance (SV), Schedule Performance Index (SPI), Cost Performance Index (CPI), Estimate At Completion (EAC), Estimate To Complete (ETC), and others as required by the customer. Moreover, in complex environments like software development, our iterative and incremental (i.e., agile) approach is now employed to deliver complex products more successfully. However, our EVM techniques are the same for the underlying calculations except our EV is accumulated at fixed time intervals of 1-4 weeks, PV and EV is graphically tracked and extrapolated as remaining value in a Release Burndown Chart. Rather than an S-shaped curve in a traditional phased project approach, the PV in Agile EVM is a straight line because Agile projects have no distinct phases and corresponding variances in the rate of value delivery and project work is gathered as work items and managed in a single ordered array (i.e.; Prioritized Requirements List or Product Backlog).   

 

  • Program/Project Assessment – our PMO framework for performing program and/or project assessment is through a systematic evaluation methodology for collecting, analyzing, and correlating information and data in response to questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of a program or project’s policies, goals, objectives, and program and project executions. Our evaluations will involve both quantitative and qualitative methods of research using people from different professional backgrounds, such as sociology, psychology, economics, engineering, finance, and industry best practice policies and practices. Our approach involves discussing problems, issues and concerns with program and project sponsors and stakeholders; designing and planning an assessment plan; collecting, identifying, and analyzing collected information, data and evidence; analyzing and summarizing the information, data, and evidence into perceived findings and plausible business solutions and system improvements. Our overall evaluation and assessment will also assess the worth or merit of the overall project and identify the areas for project management improvement, too.  Our impact-based approach fosters decision-making by program sponsors and stakeholders for approval of changes to the project objectives and execution methods. There is no one suite of techniques that fits all types of project assessments. Our evaluation approach is designed and tailored to match the specific project because the purpose and focus of our evaluation approach is dependent on the requirement and needs of program sponsors and stakeholders. By identifying the highlights and lowlights of a project, evaluations can lead to conclusions that may affect future decision making to include system improvements after fielding. Findings of evaluation reports, based on thorough analysis, are valuable input in our planning processes. Our evaluation reports also support the development of lessons learned and identification of system improvements through incorporation of recommendations into revised or new projects, programs and strategies.

 

  • Contract/Task Order Management – our PMO framework will increase contract efficiencies and ensure complete contract compliance through coordination and collaboration with the client’s Contracting Officer, Contracting Officer Representative (COR), Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR), and client’s project or task managers or monitors by identifying the critical terms and conditions within the contract and ensuring their integration into our respective program, project and task order management plans. This specialist will also work with all parties during project or task order execution in managing contract deliverables and services.     

 

  • Communications Management – our PMO framework employs a policy driven approach over the life of the program or project for managing communications between and among program and project sponsors, stakeholders and technical and operational parties with project execution, performance and success information. Our communications framework anticipates what information needs to be communicated and distributed to each specific audience segment. In our planning, VIRE will address who has what authority to communicate and disseminate what information to whom by what communications means (i.e.; email, websites, written reports, facsimile, and/or presentations). Our plan will define what communications channels will be used for providing feedback and how that communications is documented and archived between and among all parties. Our plan will also identify and define the roles of the program and/or project persons involved in the project. It will also include a communications matrix that lays out and maps the communications requirements for coordinating the program and projects among the parties, stakeholders and sponsors. In addition, our framework will provide an in-depth approach for conducting meetings, outlining communications rules, and detailing how meetings will be performed for ensuring timely program and project success. Our communications means and methods are documented in a Communications Matrix. This Communications Matrix will be used as the guide for what information to communicate, who will do the communicating, when to communicate it, and whom it will be communicated to.

 

As with most program and project plans, updates or changes will be required as the project progresses and/or changes are approved. Changes and updates may also be required due to changes in personnel, scope, budget, or other reasons to include technical. Additionally, updates may be required as the project matures and additional requirements are identified and needed based on approved change requests. Thus, the program manager is responsible for managing all proposed and approved changes to the communications management plan. Once the change is approved, the program manager will update the plan and supporting documentation and distribute the updates to the project team and all stakeholders via a revised Communications matrix. This methodology will ensure that all project management leaders, project stakeholders and technical team members remain aware and informed on any changes and/or updates to communications management.

However, all programs and projects are subject to limitations and constraints as they must be within scope and adhere to budget, scheduling, and resource requirements. Communications planning and documentation are no exception to this rule. There may also be legislative, regulatory, technological, or organizational policy requirements which must be followed as part of communications management. These constraints must be clearly understood and communicated to all parties. While communications management is arguably one of the most important aspects of program and project management, it must be done in an effective manner and within the constraints of the allocated budget, schedule, and resources.

 

Therefore, all project communication activities will occur within the program’s approved budget, schedule, and resource allocations. The program and/or project managers are responsible for ensuring that communication activities are performed by the project teams within available resources.  Our communication activities will occur in accordance with the frequencies detailed in our Communication Matrix in order to ensure the program adheres to budget, schedule and resource constraints. There will be no deviation to the timelines that could result in excessive costs or schedule delays. Any of these issues will be brought to the attention of the program and/or project managers for determining course(s) of action for resolution. Any deviation will immediately be brought to the attention of the project sponsor for approval, if any.

 

  • Corporate Recruiting/Hiring – our PMO framework employs a talent-based approach for corporate recruiting and hiring of professionals, technicians, and business and system analysts over the life of the program or project. Our overall strategy is to match the right person talent-wise to the job so that we can attract and retain our clients. Based on this approach and strategy, our proven talent-based recruiting and hiring process consist of executing the following steps in support of our clients:
    • Develop accurate job descriptionsVIRE carefully develops job descriptions that describe the role that needs to be filled, the skill sets that are required, the professional and personality attributes that are important for executing the tasks, and the relevant experience that would differentiate one applicant from another. Our approach is fairly basic but it works based on the quality of the job descriptions.
      • Compile a ‘job success profile’after creating the job description, VIRE develops a job success profile that identifies the necessary technical skills and professional attributes that are required for selecting the candidates most likely to succeed in the specific position. This technique allows us to specifically match candidates against a specific profile for increasing our chances for success in support of our client.
      • Draft ad(s) describing the position and the key required qualifications - based on the specific job profile(s), we develop recruitment announcements describing the position(s) and the required key qualifications for recruitment.
      • Post the ad(s) in a communication mediums most likely to potentially reach the most qualified candidatesVIRE posts the job openings in a number of recruitment mediums from recruitment sites on the Internet, industrial technology forums, industry publications, professional staffing agencies/partners, and local newspapers. We also distribute our job announcements internally within the company and across our current customer accounts for soliciting any referrals from our in-house professional employees.
      • Develop a series of phone screening questionsVIRE complies a list of job relevant questions for asking potential candidates over the phone for quickly identifying the qualified candidates and eliminating those that aren’t relevant based on the job profile. Phone screening helps us eliminate those individuals that are unqualified based on the job profile.
      • Review resumes received and identify most potential candidates - once VIRE posts the ads, resumes will start coming in with many more than you most likely anticipated. Therefore, the job profile then becomes important in weeding out those initially lacking the experience, education and technical skills and quickly identifying the most potential candidates.
      • Screen most qualified candidates by phone Once VIRE narrows the resumes stack for most potential candidates, we then call the candidate(s) and phone screen their qualifications using the phone-screen questions and the job profile for further narrowing the field for the most qualified candidates.
      • Select candidates for interview after narrowing the field for the most qualified candidates from phone screening, VIRE then based on their answer to the questions in the phone interviews and the job profile select the best qualified candidates for interview.
      • Schedule and conduct candidate interviews - Once VIRE has narrowed the field for the best qualified candidates of two to three candidates, we schedule and conduct structured interviews using our program and project managers and subject matter experts (SMEs). We use a structured interview approach of about six (6) to ten (10) questions for comparing applicants. We also examine their behavioural traits and cognitive reasoning capability as to whether the individual is conscientious or lackadaisical, introverted or extroverted, agreeable or uncompromising, open to new ideas or close-minded, or emotionally stable or anxious and insecure. In addition, VIRE runs a background check to uncover any potential problems not revealed by the phone interview and initial screening.
      • Select the best qualified candidate – after completing the interview and background screening, our program or project manager and technical SME makes a selection by matching the best applicant to the profiled job description for potential hiring.
      • Make an offer to the best qualified candidate – after the program or project manager and/or SME makes their decision, VIRE makes the best qualified candidate a job offer based on interview insights as to starting compensation levels, benefits, and training needs.

      Furthermore, we intuitively determine if the person will fit into our organization and its culture first before VIRE starts the hiring process. This screening is normally performed before the initial phone interviews through informal discussions by the Program Manager and/or Project Manager with the applicant relative to questions on his or her resume. Our overall goal is to ensure that our qualified applicants will fit into the company’s culture first before starting the hiring process. VIRE’s comprehensive people strategy is to attract, hire and retain quality employees in support of our clients. Our well-thought-out, structured process here-in will allow us to match the right people to the right jobs in our company while providing exceptional support to our clients.     

       

      • Resources Management – our PMO framework employs a resource-leveling strategy using an optimization allocation approach for managing program and project resources for our customers. Our overall goal is to achieve 100% resources utilization, which in some cases is highly unlikely. However, when weighted by program and/or project constraints and controls, we then have to manage and mitigate any risks to the program or projects due to having insufficient resources. Therefore, VIRE employs a Project Resource Allocation Matrix (PRAM) for visualizing the allocation of resources across the program and against the various projects for ensuring availability of resources. This visualization allows us to optimize the allocation of resources across the projects while controlling costs in program or project execution. In managing resources, there is little chance that a typical project manager will have all if the necessary resources assigned to the project at the start. The fact is when starting a project all the details of the project are typically unknown under the agile DevSecOps development framework. Therefore, knowing the types and duration of resources necessary is not always possible. As such, known knowns are events that can be planned for building the schedule where some deliverables can then be decomposed in sufficient detail for creating tasks, while other deliverables can only be known at a higher level.

       

      When details on a deliverable are not sufficiently known, VIRE develops a resource planning package where the deliverables within the package are considered known unknowns, or risks. In these instances, the work has not been fully decomposed. As such, known planning events as well as known unknown planning packages are assigned individual resources and durations that have been established by the people doing the work. The only difference is in known unknown planning packages, the duration and resource estimates will typically be less accurate and VIRE will use historical information or industry best practices in estimating agile DevSecOps development for providing a higher degree of confidence. VIRE recognizes that it is not necessary to have all deliverables decomposed in agile DevSecOps development for assigning resources because we can establish a baseline schedule using the Rolling Wave planning approach by standardizing on a time duration and certain number of resources for each wave. As the project(s) progresses, the known unknowns become clearer to the project team and accurate changes can be made to the project baseline schedule and resource planning estimates. VIRE also recognizes that most projects are always unique due to the culture of the company and are temporary endeavors. VIRE trains its project managers to work in a world of unknowns with resources changing throughout the project lifecycle. Thus, VIRE continually manages a customer’s program and its project resources throughout the program or project life cycle for ensuring optimization in utilization of resources and efficiency in cost of operations.                     

       

      • Budget Management – our PMO framework employs a goal-based delivery strategy using an activity-based budgeting (ABB) approach for managing program and project resources during project planning and execution. Using our ABB method, we will cost out each project activity in delivery of our customer’s program and each of the projects. This technique allows us to develop and manage the execution of our customer’s up-to-date resource planning packages for each activity within the project plan. This method will then allow us to manage the execution of our customer’s expenditures on their programs and projects and track their cost allotments via our Project Management Information System (PMIS). In our ABB management, we will have a greater degree of control over the budgeting process and provide finite details for justifying our costs on our customers’ resource planning packages. This will also allow us to have more control over the budgeting process and allow us to align and manage the budget within the overall goals of the client organization. The benefits of our Activity-Based Budgeting management approach is that it will allow us to:
        • Evaluate each and every cost driver involved in each of our agile DevSecOps iterative activities
        • Eliminate all sorts of unnecessary activities based on employment of our Rolling Wave, agile DevSecOps approach resulting in lower cost than that of our competitors employing standard phased project implementation
        • View the business information system as an enterprise single unit and not in the form of fragmented systems deployed across multiple departments and locations
        • Prepare resource planning packages for each activity based on deep research and analysis by eliminating all sorts of bottlenecks associated with phased project implementation
        • Improve the relationship between the client and the stakeholder customers by providing the best service at the right price quicker             

      Based on our ABB budget management approach, we will be assessing overall program and project performance in the earned value metrics of Present Value (PV), Earned Value (EV), Actual Cost (AC), Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Variance (SV), Schedule Performance Index (SPI), Cost Performance Index (CPI), Estimate At Completion (EAC), Estimate To Complete (ETC), and others as required by the customer.

       

      • Accounting/Invoicing Management and Tracking– our PMO framework employs a project-based accounting and invoicing approach that is seamlessly integrated with our financial management system for managing and tracking program and project resources, time, materials, and purchases during program and project planning and execution. VIRE’s project accounting and invoicing tracks all of the financial components of a project from budgets, estimates, costs, bookings, billing, and everything-in-between for determining if projects are on budget and on time. Our project accounting and invoicing management and tracking systems track and monitor the costs and expenses across every stage of a project and visualizes the key milestone progress, financial performance, and project deliverable indicators into an integrated single view with the general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchase orders, salaries, and other ODC expenses. Our project-based accounting and invoicing approach provides:
        • Automation in project invoicing and flexibility in managing approvals with a view of outstanding balances
        • Ability to monitor and report on the detail cost and expense information and data of project level accounts for measuring cost execution performance of under budget or over budget
        • Visibility on project financials by tracking invoice workflow and monitoring where every invoice is throughout the billing process for reducing delays and getting better control on any aging invoices
        • Enhanced productivity and operational efficiency with marked improvement in expenditure tracking and monitoring through embedded logical project accounting and invoicing techniques
        • Ability to maintain control over the strategic direction of the projects while ensuring the projects are completed on time and within budget

       

      • Procurement Management - our PMO framework employs agility and resilience into procurement for transforming a client’s infrastructure into a digital framework for creating a competitive advantage. Our strategy is to weave procurement agility into every aspect of our customer’s service delivery model while they continually deal with the turmoil of disruptive innovation, intensifying competition, and dealing with the pressures of digital mission transformation through process digitalization, real-time information processing for faster decision-making, greater productivity through employed knowledge workers, and inter-enterprise systems integration from end-to-end using advanced technology devices and techniques. Our framework employs empowerment and decentralization of decision-making authority, because empowerment eliminates delays caused by the need to obtain approval from management layers higher in the client’s organization. Our approach is to integrate our client’s purchase order system into our E-procurement system for enabling procurement agility. We establish digital connections with our clients that make it possible to interline with their procurement program(s) used by the client for automatically placing orders using a secure Internet connection. Our E-procurement will then make it possible to quickly track our client’s order fulfillment, planned delivery dates, and even review any preferred vendor procurement contracts with pricing discounts that are currently in place. VIRE E-procurement capability will allow our clients to keep cost in line and readily ensure just-in-time (JIT) product delivery based on either our client’s vendor preferred product lists (PPL) or VIRE’s PPL it has with our preferred partners and suppliers. In addition, VIRE electronic PPL outlines the system features and technical characteristics on each product for assisting our clients and customers in developing product specification requirements. If required by the client or customer, VIRE can analyze the customer’s needs and requirements and develop the product specifications and technical features for them based on their digital strategy and enterprise architecture frameworks. For procurement agility, culture is perhaps the most important enabler of procurement with leadership inextricably linked to the culture. Changes to the culture must be initiated at the top for procurement agility to work based on modifications to executive behavior and beliefs. For this procurement model to be successful, empowerment and decentralization of decision-making authority are required. Empowerment eliminates delays caused by the need to obtain approval from management layers higher within the organization. Decentralization of decision-making power to the closest program manager to the customer, who have the best understanding of the current business conditions, accelerates the process and improves procurement as well as enterprise agility.

       

      • Quality Control – our PMO framework employs a measurement-based Quality Control Plan (QCP) in support of any contract after contract award for measuring performance. Our plan will outline the required performance measurement processes for measuring and managing service performance based on desired metrics that have to be achieved for meeting customer and stakeholder expectations. It will identify and define the basic activities, policies, and processes to be used in measuring the quality of a program and its product services and identify the technique and tools required for measuring the services from planning to delivery. Our plan will be based on the premise that quality is achieved when the services meet and/or exceed customer and stakeholder expectations. VIRE will coordinate and develop the process measurements for measuring the performance metrics for all tasks, activities, and services. We will oversee and facilitate contract governance activities, develop and institute policies and guidance, monitor services performance, oversee and monitor project executions via our Project Life Cycle (PLC) management frameworks. Our Project Managers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) will meet at least monthly to review performance measurement results collected by our Quality Control specialists and identify any subpar performance areas within our Program Management Information System (PMIS). This effort ensures that interpersonal communications and interaction are strong among all parties, and that all services and project deliverables are well coordinated. Our quality control and assurance approach will allow our customers to align its strategic budgeting and planning activities with the recurring delivery of product services by applying industry best practices, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) to streamline operations, applications, and systems through a robust agile DevSecOps service delivery approach and streamlined Project Life Cycle (PLC). Any subpar performance that is identified will immediately trigger the development of an Action Plan or Get Well Plan for proactively correcting the performance deficiency in accordance with program objectives.

      Our team also understands and is familiar with ISO 9001:2015 standards and will employ them on all projects and product services delivered.  Where we see opportunities for actionable business value, and with the approval from our client’s leadership, we will integrate our CMMI Level 2 and ISO 9001:2015 processes and best practices into our Project Life Cycle (PLC) approach.  This means we will always be looking for continuous improvement opportunities in the execution of our client’s modernization projects. All projects will be assigned an experienced expert that is highly qualified in performing the work. VIRE will also be responsible for maintaining the Configuration Management (CM) Library (in MS SharePoint) for all required project life cycle documentation, as well as coordinating and overseeing monthly program and project reviews with the overall client’s Program, Project, and Task Managers and their Contracting Officer Representatives (CORs).

      • Configuration Management (CM) – our PMO framework employs a standardized ITIL approach and ISO systematic engineering framework that establishes, maintains, and manages all the changes and the overall configuration over all the components of an enterprise business information system throughout its system life cycle. Our CM approach deals with the identification, maintenance, reporting on, and verification of items and their interrelationships. Our CM process provides visibility and control over a system’s performance, function, and physical attributes for facilitating orderly management of any system’s information and changes and its system integration within an enterprise operating landscape.  Our CM process will facilitate orderly management of system information, data, and changes for the beneficial purposes of revising capability; improving performance, reliability, and maintainability; extending life; reducing cost; reducing risk; improving reliability; and/or correcting defects. Our overall approach emphasizes the functional relationships between parts, components, subsystems, and systems for effectively evolving changes for ensuring information and data configuration consistency and optimal operational performance. Our CM program includes provisions for storing, tracking, and updating of all system information and configuration data on a component, subsystem, and system basis through an ITIL v3-based Configuration Management System (CMS). This replaces the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) concept of a singular monolithic repository with a CMS that provides for a conceptualized system of CMDBs that act together through a federated repository to support the overall needs of a client’s governance process and its enterprise architecture system of systems’ framework. Our CMS provides for the merger and reconciliation of component configuration identifications (CIs) for presenting a single point of reference or single source of truth. Key benefits of our CM approach are to:

       

      • Provide a configuration management tool that can improve the client’s change-impact analysis and reduce outages caused by production changes
      • Combine valid ITIL service models and provide CI interdependency mapping and correlation between CI items and request for changes (RFCs) to help restore services faster during service disruption or an outage
      • Improve an organization’s ability to achieve improved service delivery, as measured by mean time to repair and mean time between failures
      • Provide a CMS that can support audit and system compliance through the historical operational accounting of devices, their configurations, and their utilization and modifications
      • Improve information systems’ security by detecting unauthorized changes
      • Provide a better understanding on the total cost of ownership for a particular IT service model for enabling more informed business decisions relative to modernization or replacement  

      Our structured CM program ensures that documentation for items, components, subsystems, and systems are accurate and consistent with the actual physical design of the CI item before we can proceed with processing configuration change requests.  Our CM practice will handle changes systematically so that a system maintains its integrity over time.

      • Risks Management – our PMO framework employs a continuous diagnostics and mitigation approach toward managing government networks and business information systems’ risks. Our approach in managing the risk associated with operating a business information system is to:

       

      • Categorize the information system in accordance with FIPS 199, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems
      • Select a set of minimum (baseline) security controls from the NIST Special Publication 800 Series and client security policies relative to supplemental controls
      • Refine the security control set based on results from risk assessments
      • Document information system security controls in a System Security Plan (SSP)
      • Implement the security controls within the information system using sound systems engineering practices and apply configuration settings
      • Assess the security control effectiveness (i.e., controls are implemented correctly; operating as intended; meeting security requirements for information systems).
      • Determine risk acceptability to organizational operations and assets, individuals, other organizations, and the enterprise
      • Authorize the information system to operate within the acceptable configuration parameters and controls
      • Monitor the security controls and posture of the information system on a continuous basis and reassess control effectiveness continuously

      VIRE can manage, operate and run automated vulnerability scanning against any clients’ information systems on the network on a continuous or periodic basis based on client policies. Organizations that do not scan continuously for vulnerabilities and proactively address discovered vulnerabilities or configuration flaws face a significant likelihood of having their information systems compromised. VIRE uses SCAP-validated vulnerability scanning tools that look for both code-based vulnerabilities (such as those described by Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures entries) and configuration-based vulnerabilities (as enumerated by the Common Configuration Enumeration Project). We also correlate event logs with information from our vulnerability scans to fulfill the goals of verifying that the activity of the regular vulnerability scanning tools is itself being logged and correlating attack detection events with prior vulnerability scanning results to determine whether the given exploit was used against a target known to be vulnerable.

      In addition, VIRE can deploy automated patch management tools and software update systems in the operation of operating systems and sustainment of third party software on all systems.  We can ensure that all vulnerability scanning is performed in authenticated mode either with agents running locally on each end system to analyze the security configuration or with remote scanners that are given administrative rights on the system being tested. We can also operate and manage security information and event management (SIEM) software systems and provide real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware. Our SIEM services are also using big data platforms, such as Apache Hadoop, for Security Information Management (SIM) to complement its SIEM operation by extending data storage capacity and analytics flexibility for providing our clients with the following capabilities and services:

      • Data Aggregation – aggregate data for log management from many sources, including network devices, security systems, server platforms, databases, and applications, and provides our clients with the ability to consolidate monitored data for analysis and development of blocking predictive malware algorithms
      • Data Correlation - look for common attributes between data elements and links/integrates the events into meaningful information bundles for providing useful predictive malware information
      • Alerting - automatically notify recipients of immediate issues based on the automated analysis of meaningful information bundles and correlated events through third party software such as email or an analytical dashboard
      • Dashboards – take meaningful information bundles and correlated event data and turn it into informational charts for analyzing patterns or identifying activity that is not forming a standard pattern
      • Compliance – employ and operate applications that can automate the collection and gathering of compliance data for producing reports relative to the client’s existing cyber security, governance, and auditing posture
      • Retention – employ long term storage of historical data to facilitate the correlation of data over time for providing the retention of the necessary data for satisfying compliance requirements and accommodating forensic investigations
      • Forensic Analysis – provide the ability to search across logs on different modes and time periods based on specific criteria for accommodating forensic investigations

      Our overall risk management approach entails the execution of the following four major steps with continuous communications between and among all stakeholders, parties, technical teams, and project management groups through communication means outlined in the client’s communication plans:

      • Risk Identification - is where VIRE will determine which risks that may affect the project based on our vulnerability analysis of the meaningful information bundles and/or documenting the characteristics of the particular risk raised by stakeholders, pertinent parties, technical teams, and project management groups. Our risk identification is normally performed by having ad hoc work groups convene informally between project management reviews and conduct a risk assessment and, if impact is certain, then recording the risk, issue, or concern in a Risk Register.
      • Risk Analysis – is where we will analyze and prioritize the risk through our analysis process in the Risk Register. We normally prioritize risks as High, Medium, or Low. The prioritization determines what steps we will execute to mitigate the issue, event, problem or concern based on our risk level of importance and impact on the program or project. This information will be recorded in the Risk Register and pertinent project Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) for program management compliance.
      • Risk Response - is where a response for each identified risk must be identified. VIRE through its ad hoc technical working groups will discuss, analyze, and assess each risk and develop options or actions for reducing the threats to the overall program and associated systems. Our mitigating actions will be documented by the respective working group in our Risk Register and prioritized as High or Medium. If a risk is prioritized as Low, then the mitigating actions are not required for initial entry into the Risk Register. For each risk that will have to be mitigated, the ad hoc working group will identify ways to prevent the risk from occurring or reduce its impact or probability of occurring. This may include prototyping the event first, adding tasks to the project schedule, compressing the schedule for meeting objectives, adding resources, etc. For each risk that is to be mitigated or that is to be accepted, a course of action(s) will be outlined in a response plan and subsequently recorded in the client’s Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) for tracking.
      • Risk Monitoring and Control – is where we will track, monitor, and control mitigation of the risk and manage it through the client’s POA&M until completion. Risk will be assigned a risk owner for tracking, monitoring, managing and controlling the risk and reporting on its status and effectiveness of the risk response plan in Project Status Reports and Program Management Reviews.

      Our process of implementing risk response plans, tracking identified risks, monitoring residual risks, identifying new risk, and evaluating risk process effectiveness over the life of the project is the foundation and cornerstone to our risk management approach and one of our center of excellence practices.       

      • Training – our PMO framework employs a CMMI People Capability Maturity Model (PCMM) framework that focuses on continuously improving the management and professional development of VIRE and its client accounts’ human assets. Since organizations are now competing in two markets, one for the delivery of products and services, and one for the talent required to develop, produce, deliver, and perform them, VIRE prides itself in being able to attract highly qualified professionals within the talent market as the business market expands and the talent market shrinks. Based on our mantra of treating our employees with dignity and respect along with comparable market compensation and benefits, VIRE has constantly been able to attract highly qualified and talented professionals, particularly in the agile software development industry. Since agility has become critical to success in responding to continual change in technological and business re-engineering and improvement conditions, VIRE has created learning environments capable of rapidly adjusting to the changes engulfing them. As a result, VIRE has been able to develop an agile workforce with the knowledge and skills for making rapid adjustments and the willingness to acquire new competencies through professional development programs and continuing on-line education courses.

       

      As a result, VIRE works with higher education institutions and their on-line educational programs in the development of professional training programs in support of our clients. We concentrate on using continuing education programs that are generally characterized by the issuance of a certificate and continuing education units for use in applying toward their advancement in obtaining a professional certification within their technological field of work or a professional undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Our employees complete an Individual Development (IDP) within their first year of employment for discussion with their manager(s) for enhancing their technical and operational skill sets for bringing greater value to the customer.

       

      • Personnel Security – our PMO framework can provide Personnel Security and Suitability Service in support of our contract accounts as well as its customers. VIRE’s Personnel Security and Suitability Service carries out its responsibilities in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, Executive Orders, and Directives of the U.S. Government. VIRE’s Security Office has established processes and procedures in place for processing and adjudicating background investigations for all moderate risk and high risk public trust and national security positions for its employees as well as for federal employees, if required. In addition, VIRE can manage the issuance of HSPD-12 Federal Identification cards to contractor as well as Federal employees in support of its customers’ identity and access implementation programs ranging from personal identity verification (PIV) access, Physical Access Control Systems’ access, to Logical Access Control Systems access.   

       

      Knowledge Management – our PMO framework employs an organizational and techno-centric approach to knowledge management (KM) with a focus on how an organization can facilitate the best use of information knowledge processes and practices and technology that can enhance information sharing and intellectual capital creation.  VIRE promotes an integrated approach to its framework by identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing of its enterprise information assets across the organization. Our assets include policies, procedures, White Papers, “Concepts of Operation” papers, “How To” papers, configuration papers, engineering papers, lessons learned papers, After Acton Reports, and un-captured techno-centric expertise and experience in individual workers, to name a few.