We see what others don't

 

 

Submarine in drydock    
          Submarine in drydock

A periscope is a special tool used on a submarine to allow them to see above the surface, above the waves, to see what otherwise would not be seen.  The user must be trained, not merely to raise and lower the "scope" but more importantly, to quickly recognize what they see, and act decisively on that information.  In this same way, projects by Periscope Consulting utilize special tools to see what otherwise would not be seen, and we have training and experience to act decisively on that information.

We have considerable success managing and commissioning $10 million to $50 million projects.  Our food processing project experience includes sanitary process design, new product development and installation of food production lines, utilities and packaging equipment.  Specialized knowledge includes aseptic processing, aseptic packaging·and CIP systems.

We have experience in managing software upgrades, ERP enhancements and·logistic improvements.·We have also led projects in sales support and vendor managed inventory (VMI).

Periscope Consulting can help your company set up internal systems for Program Management·and Project Management, or we can run major projects for you.· We can also help you establish a·PMO, and project portfolios.

Available training programs include basic project management (PM 101 and 201) offered in partnership with 4th Echelon LLC,·as well as Scope Control.

 

It isn't always necessary to hire Periscope Consulting on a full-time basis to run a large project.  You may have the resources in-house to run the project on your own.  But if the project is complex and has high visibility, you may want to have:

  • Reassurance that you haven't missed things what will cause trouble later.
  • Confirmation that your schedule is complete
  • A mentor for a less-seasoned PM

What you want is a confidence that you are getting the project off on the right foot, in a way that minimizes risk and saves time!

This is where our offering for a "Scope and Schedule Checkup" comes in.  For a small, fixed cost and a very little time, we come on your site and:

  • Confirm your existing scope and schedule are thorough and realistic, or
  • Update your scope and schedule to a level of granularity that will
    • Improve execution
    • Reduce Risk
    • Provide "early alerts" to schedule slips
    • Focus on specific tasks with the greatest schedule importance (hint: it isn't always what you think it is).
    • Provide a benchmark to measure progress.

How can we do this?  By placing a senior program manager on your site (job site or office) to conduct a series of exercises with your project team.  We have designed these exercises in a specific sequence to minimize the impact on your team while securing the most robust engagement.

We can do this in a week, and leave you with clear, written deliverables that are yours to use for the duration of the project.

Call or email us today to schedule your checkup.  The fee is fixed and we are done in a week!

Unlike one of our favorite submarine novels, "The Hunt for Red October," the Hunt for Missing Scope is not fiction.  Missing scope creates surprises in budget, surprises in schedule and project failures.  Finding missing scope early is truly seeing what otherwise would not be seen.

Projects by Periscope use a special scope diagramming tool to hunt for missing scope before the project begins.  The diagram lets us leverage the expertise of each stakeholder to identify needs up front without those stakeholders needing project management experience.  This tool is then integrated into our schedule so that each item of scope has its matching place on the schedule.  Because of this integration with the schedule, our scope is reviewed on an almost continuous basis, allowing missing scope to be identified and added early.

Periscope has a special technique to review the contracts, proposals and statements of work on the project to find additional hidden scope.  These are found in sections of those documents that are typically overlooked when establishing schedule and budget.

We manage scope as carefully as schedule and budget, with regular reconciliation.  Because our tools integrate scope with schedule, every scope change is immediately evaluated for its impact on schedule.

When we are engaged early in the project, we create this scope diagram first.  This lets us see impacts to schedule and budget that would otherwise not be seen, leading to more reliable forecasts of project time and cost.  If we are engaged after the budget and schedule has been established, we quickly create this diagram of scope, identifying gaps in budget and schedule at the earliest possible time, while there is still considerable time to react.

Projects by Periscope use special schedule techniques that let us see to the end of the project, so we know early in the project if we are a few days behind, while there is still considerable time to react.  Otherwise, a team often learns near the end of the project that it is weeks late, with little chance of recovery, and lots of management angst.

There are many reasons that projects are always late.  Understanding those reasons helps us improve your on-time performance.

One problem is with the way we estimate duration.  We often insist on the most optimistic estimate of numerous sequential tasks.  The result is a statistical certainty that the project will be late.

Another problem is with human behavior, something called the “student syndrome,” a form of procrastination.  Frankly, many people don’t begin to work on a task until it is nearly due because they are busy with other things.  In Project Management vernacular this means we work on a task "as late as possible" time before the next task is due to start, instead of the "as soon as possible" time we could have worked on our task.  This scenario also virtually guarantees a late project.

The good news is that Periscope's schedule techniques integrate the scope and schedule so that no work goes unscheduled.  We estimate duration with PERT estimates.  And we manage contingency time like a contingency budget, creating behavior changes that can address these problems, resulting in realistic schedules and on-time performance.

Projects by Periscope prefer to look ahead of us to where we are going, with only short glimpses in the rear view mirror.  When managing a project budget this means placing the emphasis on what is yet to be spent, not only on what has already been spent or what has been committed.  Our special budget monitoring tools merge what has been spent and committed with what has not yet been spent, allowing us to see what otherwise would not be seen: what the costs will at the end of the project.

This not only gives us time to evaluate and mitigate spending issues.  But if additional funding is needed, it can be arranged in advance, without additional schedule delay.

We reconcile the budget with our scope tool, to insure all items of scope have their corresponding place in the budget.  And since every item of scope has its place in an integrated schedule, we can better predict the cash-flow of the budget.

 

An organization has a finite capacity to execute projects, much like it has a finite capacity to make product.  Layering on more and more projects, especially “priority one” projects, creates “bad multitasking” that degrades project performance.

A good Project Portfolio helps you run the optimum number of current projects while preparing you for the next one.  By running fewer projects simultaneously, you can actually improve your overall capacity.

Periscope Consulting can build or manage a Project Portfolio on your behalf, balancing multiple strategies and requirements, like infrastructure, cost reduction, quality and regulatory.

We can also bolster your project team, acting like a force-multiplier for your key technical resources.  If your key technical resources are great engineers, but don't enjoy project management, we can fill in for a number of project roles:

  • Project Manager
  • Construction Manager
  • Master Scheduler
  • Cost Accountant
  • Safety Manager
  • Operations Development
  • Commissioning
  • Continuous Improvement

Most of our senior resources are skilled at multiple of these roles and can frequently offer a "two-fer."  During quieter times of the project a single resource covers several roles, with reinforcements added where needed during the busiest times.

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