Business has changed over the decades that we have been in business...
...but these projects reflect, in general, reflect the type of work we do. We hope these short descriptions help you envision what we might do for you, and if we are a good fit for what you want to accomplish.
Center for veterinary medicine
We all love our animals and the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), a division of the FDA, is responsible for "Protecting Human and Animal Health."
As consultants and trainers we really loved these people. They were not always easy, they were not going to just buy off on whatever we had to say, but they were great to work with, we enjoyed every assignment and we valued the friendships that developed over the years.
Working for the PMO director we installed, configured and helped them deploy the the first version of Microsoft Project Server in 2002. We trained dozens of project managers and other team members with customized training materials.
As the PMO office changed over the years, we worked with the office and different groups on two upgrades and two other deployments. We helped configure Microsoft Project Server as closely to their needs as possible, and all of the training was customized.
Training on Microsoft Project was also performed for other groups outside the PMO. The work at CVM led to Project Server deployment work and training around the country for CVM's sister organization, the USDA.
United States naval academy
For a consultant, some jobs are just a lot of fun because of where you are actually working. The USNA is right up there near the top of the great places to work list. Staying on campus in the officers' quarters, being woken up a dawn with activity, visiting the museums, talking to the Naval experts, and having lunch with the commandant and 4,000 midshipmen as the energy was building right before the Navy vs. Army game, is hard to beat.
The idea of driving an organization around strategic initiatives came from the military, so it is no surprise that we were there to help the USNA on their projects that were part of the 10-year strategic plan. The Academy's Superintendent, a Navy admiral, is the equivalent of a college president. The current superintendent wanted to roll out the 10-year plan by training people from the top down on project management and Microsoft Project. He had done his homework and picked our course out of a review of 36 courses. Our course was not only the first course in the North America that integrated project management theory with using project management software but it had been taught all over the world to a lot different types of people and organizations. We had worked hard to improve it over the years and we think that the integration and maturity is what the Admiral observed in the course.
USNA participants in the courses worked on the actual projects they were managing for this 10-year strategic plan. We have always felt that was the best way to teach any class on project management or Microsoft Project, is with participants working on real projects.
That is really the workshop/training vs. class/school perspective.
Our contact at the USNA had said the evening before, "You have a lot of high powered people in this first class. They are very busy. They don't want to be here. But, when a three-star admiral tells them 'you will go, you will learn, and you will have fun' you will have no problems." Sure enough, the commandant (second in command), deans, faculty members, commanders, etc., were in our first class.
This type of project at the USNA is typical for us. Usually organizations want to roll out new project management initiatives, or a very large project, or maybe they are changing the organizational structure and they will use customized Microsoft Project/Project Management training to get everyone on the same page and kick off a new program.
For example, at a device division at Johnson & Johnson, new product development changed the organizational structure from a traditional project management model to a collaborative PM model because they wanted to move from the #2 spot to #1. Along with creating team collaborative physical rooms with rules around engagement, planning and reporting, they kicked off the organizational changes with project management and Microsoft Project training.
I guess everyone in the project management business ends up working for Lockheed Martin at one time or another. A Microsoft salesperson told us once that Lockheed Martin had over 20,000 Microsoft Project licenses, so as one of the leading Microsoft Project training companies is was just a matter of time before we worked for them.
We had worked for aerospace companies and organizations like NASA, General Dynamics, General Electric, Learjet, Bell Helicopter, a few smaller subcontractors and we had done a few small jobs for Lockheed Martin at places like their testing center at White Sands, New Mexico.
Eventually, a Microsoft Project add-on product of ours caught the attention of one of the directors at the Marietta facility, and we were off and running doing customized training for them. They used our product which we combined with a product the software engineers for the F22 simulator created. Our Process Bridge product makes Microsoft Project much easier to use, and their product made Microsoft Project calculate status much better. Most importantly, it not just calculated better, it drew status more accurately on the summary level in the task bar section of a Gantt chart view. This was a problem that Microsoft Project users have struggled with since the very first version came out in 1990.
Consulting at Lockheed Martin in Marietta wasn't always easy. When NASCAR was there using the wind tunnel facilities we were prevented from even looking in that direction. When we were in the F22 house, we had to try and solve problems while red warning lights circulated on the ceiling, a voice repeated, "intruder in the building," and the lights hanging from our necks blinked while the roadside lantern we carried flashed. But, it is always a fun place to be because it is a real working project management environment. Gantt and Network diagrams are printed on the walls, people in meetings have their sleeves rolled up working on problems, and people are studying the task bars on a chart while taking the data very seriously.
This type of custom work has a focus on process improvement. Most everyone we worked with at Lockheed Martin was already using Microsoft Project, already understood project management and were pretty good at running projects. In this case, they just wanted to get better and standardize some of their tracking methods.
Once, we were doing some training and consulting for a couple of companies in South Africa. At a kick-off meeting in the IT department for British American Tobacco, one of the leads said, "Fortune magazine ranked us as one of the best IT organizations in the world....you are here because we want to become better."
Hoover Dam, constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the great depression, was the first large government project for which the Gantt Chart was used. What many people forget about, is that Francis Crowe, the chief engineer and superintendent of the company that oversaw the construction project, was an organizational genius and one of the first to develop methods to manage a portfolio of projects and steer them to completion at the same time.
When we worked for the dam, there is was very specific need. A senior maintenance manager, who loved the dam, had worked there for 30 years, and was retiring in a couple of years. Specifically, this individual's job while he remained, was to capture his years of experience into Microsoft Project plans that could be passed on to his team.
In addition, we worked on another business issue for the maintenance department that was related to getting generators back on line. At the dam they always finished projects on time because they had to. But, they didn't have good techniques for getting the most out of the costs associated with the increased labor it often took to get a schedule back on time. So, one of the things we worked on was building Microsoft Project simulations so they knew which critical path activities to focus on given a specific delay and what impact a given set of assignments and associated cost would have on the end date of a project. During one simulation, we applied an entire shift to a set of critical path tasks which represented a typical action taken in the past. When we went and looked at the impact of that new shift on the finish date, we had shorted the project by only four hours. Not a lot of schedule gain for a lot of cost. Microsoft Project is a great tool for this type of analysis or simulation.
The above examples are the typical bread and butter of the consulting and training world. Landing jobs were you are teaching classes monthly for a year like we did at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, or when we have a cluster of 15 or more classes to deliver around the country like we have done for AT&T are great.
But, part of our business has been small jobs for smaller companies.
Crescent Industries is a good example. They are a privately owned, custom injection molding and tool building company in New Freedom, Pennsylvania. We have been working with ONE person there, remotely, on and off over the last three years.
This hasn't been a lot of work, but it has been very meaningful and fun to watch their Microsoft Project Server deployment develop over time. Plus, so many try to deploy PMO's, project-based organizational structures, and Project Server, it is great to watch the struggle up close, and to see people never giving up. It is the best part of any kind of enterprise consulting and it is the type of work that keeps us excited about this business.
Over the years we have worked closely with several management consulting and training firms in the United States, Europe, Canada, South Africa and Japan. Mostly, we have licensed product and have assisted with project management related consulting and training projects.
Kepner-Tregoe is a 50-year-old, employee owned, premier management consulting and training services company which prides itself on creating business processes that are used by millions of people worldwide. Our understanding is that they were one of the first firms, or maybe the first consulting firm, to define a project management process. Early in the evolution of the training and development field, they used innovative training and train-the-trainer models to transfer that project management knowledge and experience to organizations and companies around the world.
We have had a working relationship with KT for over 25 of the 50 years they have been in business and we have had a license agreement in place since 1996.