OVERSIGHT PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Oversight Project Management is focused on the reporting and tracking of the project as well as issues and risks. We work jointly with the client project managers to prepare them with a thorough level of detail so that they can actively manage the project. While many of the activities may be similar or the same as project management, Linea’s emphasis is on consulting and preparing the client project manager rather than actively managing the project. Linea acts as a second set of eyes to ensure that activities are well thought out as the project progresses.
As part of Oversight Project Management, Linea consultants communicate at many different levels during an implementation. We draft a communication plan as part of our project charter which identifies the different audiences that must be informed, and the type of information they receive.
At the highest level, we report to Boards or executives on a regular basis. We report on high-level risks, progress to date, and the plan going forward. At the Steering Committee level, we provide a more detailed analysis of risks and risk mitigation, progress by project activity, and decisions to be made. Additionally, we draft communication for many different parties based upon the situation. This may include newsletters, surveys, presentations, agendas, kick-offs, and miscellaneous communiques. Finally, we assist our clients with communication to members or employers in advance of the go-live. These communications focus on elements that will affect these groups directly such as information about new web portals or new reporting requirements.
PROJECT QUALITY ASSURANCE
Quality Assurance is the process of preventing errors as early as possible in the system development life cycle. Linea’s approach includes iterative reviews of a system as it is being constructed.
We use an “early/often” method, which is especially important during Agile development, as mistakes need to be detected and remediated immediately so that they don’t spawn additional problems down the road.
INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION & VALIDATION
The purpose of IV&V is to reduce risk and cost, and to ensure that the project’s quality and schedule are achieved. IV&V seeks to answer the questions, “Are we building the right product?” and, “Are we building the product right?” IV&V is the practice of reviewing project activities and deliverables from an independent, third-party point of view.
This is based on a specific set of standards. Through verification, we ensure the vendor’s solution is meeting the requirements specified in the contract. Through validation, we confirm that the solution is working as intended to solve the purposes for which it was designed.
Linea performs a wide variety of functions to keep a project stable, on budget, on time, and within scope. This includes issue resolution, keeping lines of communication open and fluid, predicting and preparing for potential problems and conflicts, and maintaining progress through accurate scheduling, tracking, and task planning.
Additionally, project management includes leading, motivating, and monitoring involved resources, reporting to necessary parties, and ultimately ensuring that all project requirements are met.
One of the primary objectives of an oversight consultant is to anticipate and mitigate risks. Linea accomplishes risk mitigation by monitoring all key activities on the project and intervening as appropriate when issues arise. Beyond PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge), our experience on past projects guides our analysis. We work with the client and vendor to ensure both sides remain flexible and are open to making adjustments as risks emerge.
In our regular meetings with the vendor and client management, we focus on analyzing risks and we suggest necessary changes based upon that analysis. This living process occurs throughout the life of the project and is covered in our monthly status reports.
The management of resources, in our experience, is a primary driver of a successful project. We monitor resources for all areas impacted by the project; i.e., the vendor project team, data conversion team, client’s business experts, technical resources, data clean-up teams, business process improvement teams, and anyone else involved. Initially, we analyze each team and recommend an appropriate team size for the given workload. Unrealistic workloads lead to burnout and errors on project deliverables. Linea works with all resources to plan achievable workloads.
With client staff, we work with management to ensure that operations are not adversely impacted by the project. For technical resources, we validate that they have sufficient knowledge, and we recommend additional training as needed. For the vendors’ teams, we monitor performance and intervene if we notice deficiencies. If a vendor’s team is understaffed, we work with their management to secure additional assistance.
The objective of managing the vendor is to focus on effective delivery. This is manifested through the diplomatic responsibilities of managing expectations, enforcing standards, and handling of personality conflicts.
Linea acts as both lookout and mediator for emerging problems, which optimally leads to a long-term effective partnering relationship between client and vendor.
DATA ANALYSIS & CONVERSION MANAGEMENT
Linea consultants perform data analysis at multiple stages of a project. In the assessment phase, this analysis consists of examining the data fields that support each business process to ascertain the data’s readiness and completeness. Linea examines data sources to determine what is in a relational database versus a different format (i.e., microfiche, paper, images, Excel, etc.). Linea compares the current state of data to what a typical software vendor will expect in terms of data, and then documents the gaps. This data analysis will result in recommendations for data profiling, cleansing, and conditioning work, either by internal IT or a third-party vendor. During an implementation, Linea can assist data cleansing activities by recommending tools or processes for staff to use. Linea will also provide guidance for the data conversion team on best practices for reconciliation between the legacy system and the target system.
Data Conversion Oversight
Linea’s oversight of the data conversion involves regular meetings with data conversion resources or vendors, the software vendor’s data team, and the client’s data clean-up team. We communicate the design to the data team and work with the client’s data clean-up team to coordinate efforts with testing. We triage the data cleanup so that the essential data is examined first. We ensure standards are followed for data profiling and reconciliation. We ensure the data team provides documentation for every field in the target system. If required, we coordinate a post-conversion archival database.