Contract Project management support when & where you need it

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Do you have a key engineering but lack project management ?

We can supply a contract project manager fast, someone who can hit the ground running, an experienced professional project manager on a simple fixed term contract so you don't have to worry about redundancy or termination costs. Our contract project managers are interim professional for whom this type of work is a career choice.

We also offer business, management and engineering consultancy services with a focus on Lean & 6 Sigma, risk management, change management, problem solving, effective communication, cost reduction, design for manufacture, process engineering, time to market reduction, business planning & more.

management

Project Management

Projectsguru are project managers who are available on a contract or interim basis to support your key engineering or technology projects. We specialize in managing technology development projects. We operate according to the Project Management Institute's PMBOK™. Commercially aware and business savvy we are customer focused project managers who can "hit the ground running" to our partner immobilier-milly-la-foret.comand provide essential interim support for your key projects. What is a Project ? project may be large or small, simple or complex but all projects share three common attributes:

  • Specific Outcomes - the project is set up to deliver some specific results or outputs.
  • Defined Start & End dates - The project starts and finishes on pre-defined dates.
  • Budget - the project has a pre-defined budget which it should not exceed
  • What is the Project Management process.

There are a multitude of definitions of the project management process but all of them share the attributes shown below : The Project Management Process.

  • 1) Establish the Project Management Infrastructure. In order to successfully deliver the project objectives the following steps have to be completed.
    • Identify resources in terms of people, materials, equipment and documentation, this will normally be done with the aid of a preliminary project plan.
    • Define roles and accountabilities - the key personnel need to be identified and their responsibilities assigned.
    • The governance structure needs to be established so that the people involved in the project understand the reporting structure and their place in it.
  • Establish the Project definition.
    • Confirm the project objectives, benefits, risks and scope. A poorly defined project is doomed to failure whereas a properly defined project will proceed much more smoothly and efficiently.
    • Developing the implementation approach - how is the project to be managed through the process.
    • Develop the resource plan - putting the resources identified in the previous phase in place to guarantee success of the project.
  • Establish the Project Plan.
    • Develop a detailed work plan including schedule, resource and cost. It is absolutely critical that this plan is developed carefully to a task-individual resource level. It has been estimated that for a project to be successful 70% of the Project Managers effort should go on developing the Project Plan. This plan should include Critical Path Analysis to ensure the shortest overall timescale. Project Planning is a major skill on the part of the Project Manager and any effort skimped at this stage of the project will cost dearly later. At projectsguru.co.uk we have many years experience using Microsoft Project which is our preferred tool for project planning.
    • Every task should have the commitment of the resource allocated to it. This negotiation is another skill of the project manager.
  • Project Management and Control. Only the naive believe any project delivers itself. The project requires careful management and control to ensure success:-
    • Useful tools to employ are:-
    • Risk Matrix - absolutely essential to identify, manage and mitigate against project risk.project manager
    • Charter - what is this project going to do, business case, who's involved.
    • Budget - what will it cost & when.
    • Form and regularity of Managerial Reports.
    • Management of quality - are the outputs meeting expectations. Are Change Management techniques employed.
    • People Management - every project involves people and the project manager needs all the skills of people management.
    • Track & Review data - The project manager needs to develop Key Performance Indicators to ensure that success can be managed and reported effectively.
    • Review deliverables and effort - regular team meetings will be required. to review project progress.
    • Report and analyze progress - careful and regular review of the project plan progress v's actual & reporting.
  • Project Closure. It is important to make sure all the loose ends are tied and the project closed down properly by:-
    • Ensure the plan includes all the tasks need for proper closure.
    • Complete a post implementation report including a review of what went well and not so well (post mortem)

The Role of the Project Manager : The role of the project manager is a challenging one. Often he or she will be coordinating the activities of technical highly skilled people and liaising with internal and external parties all critical to project delivery. Project Management is a highly skilled professional role and the Project Manager will normally need several years experience in order to be successful. The role involves the key tasks of planning, organizing and controlling. In complex projects planning project tasks often involves themanagement of project delivery use of software programs such as Microsoft Project which enables the Project Manager to schedule hundreds of tasks and manipulate their interdependencies in order to reduce the overall timescale of the project. Organizing involves dealing with people within the immediate project team as well as third parties internal and external to the wider organization. Controlling involves monitoring and measuring outputs and exerting influence to achieve the desired outcomes. In order to be effective the Project Manager needs information, communication and commitment.

How we can help : With many years experience managing projects projectsguru can provide support in any aspect of the project management process. We can supplement your own project management resource or provide a skilled, experienced project manager to work with your team and manage your key project. We can provide a dedicated project manager on a short term contract to support your key project.

Consultancy Services

Change Management

The change management process is well defined and comprises the following key stages: Identify the key thing which needs changing - the change object. Identify the key reasons for change. Communicate the change. Force Field Analysis, identifying the forces for and against change. The change process. Freeze the change.

Managing Risk

Effective Risk Management involves the following key steps: Assess the Risk. Planning policies & controls (Mitigation).• Implementing safeguards. Monitoring & Evaluation. The process is continuous throughout the project lifecycle and needs careful, skilled management to ensure success.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is central to a shared vision of organizational objectives. Why is it that communication always seem to flow more smoothly in some organizations than others ? One reason is that the prevailing communication climate directly influences the extent to which communication is a positive or negative force in the organization. An open or supportive communication climate promotes co-operative working relationships, and is therefore conducive to effective information gathering and transfer. A closed or defensive communication climate has the opposite effect. We can help your organization develop a positive communication climate leading to increased co-operation and team working generating a positive impact direct to your bottom line.

Problem solving and decision making

Are you struggling to make decisions and solve problems in your organization. We can help you by reviewing your decision making process and providing you with some excellent tools to aid problem solving and decision making. We will help you establish effective decision making processes to make your organization more responsive and efficient.

Cost Reduction and Design for Manufacture

In the modern competitive business world it is absolutely essential that costs are managed effectively and efficiently in order to maximize Return on Investment. There are techniques which can be deployed in order to reduce product cost at the design stage and also to reduce manufacturing cost at the volume manufacturing stage. These techniques come under the general banner of D.F.M (Design for Manufacture)

Manufacturing Process Engineering

All mass produced products have to undergo a manufacturing process. Manufacturing Process Engineering uses a set of techniques and tools to: Minimize manufacturing costs by efficient use of materials and equipment. Maximize yield by the use of Statistical Process Control to ensure that products are designed and manufactured taking into account the statistical limitations of the manufacturing equipment. Six Sigma manufacture. Maximize throughput by carefully matching stage output and input. Minimize energy use and environmentally harmful chemicals and materials. Design in Quality.

Time to Market reduction

Time to Market is absolutely critical in determining product revenue and payback. With product lifecycles becoming ever shorter as new, better, faster models are introduced the development timescale is critical to success. Every day lost in development is a day lost in sales. This is because the overall lifecycle of the product is reduced the longer the development takes.

Business Planning

Every Business needs a Business Plan. It is commonly recognized that 4 out of 5 new start ups fail in the first 12 months and a key reason for this is a lack of a proper Business Plan. Your Business Plan is not just used to gain financial support (although this is obviously a key reason) but to act as a "roadmap" for the Business by which progress can be measured and tracked. If you are starting a new business a comprehensive Business Plan is essential. If you want help with your Business Planning get in touch for a free consultation.

New product Development

projectsguru are passionate about New Product Development. We have over 20 years experience developing new products. Our key strengths in new product development Project management will ensure that your key product is delivered on cost, on time every time. New Product Development (or NPD) is critical to the success of most businesses, particularly those in the hi-technology and consumer electronics industry with their short product lifecycles and rapid turnover of new models. The mobile phone industry is a perfect example where new models have a lifecycle of less than 6 months. A typical New Product Development process takes the form shown below based on the ISO9001 process. Key stages are: Ideas Generation (or identifying Customer Needs)new product development process. Design. Engineering development samples. Testing & Verification. Prototyping. Volume production. The time taken to develop new products from initial concept to volume production is known as 'Time to Market' and is absolutely critical to commercial success when developing new products for market. With over 20 years experience of New Product Development in the consumer electronics industry we can support you at every stage of the NPD process

  • At the 'fuzzy front end' of the process we can help you identify New Product Development Opportunities by guiding your ideas Generation process using such techniques as 'Brainstorming' and 'SWOT Analysis' (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats' )
  • We can help you with the ideas screening process by looking at your SAM (serviceable & Accessible Markets) and identifying your PSAM ( Profitable SAM) by analyzing Industry sales and trends, Competitor Analysis and Pricing models.
  • We will also assess the technical feasibility of your product and its manufacturability capability.
  • We will generate a Business Plan which incorporates all of this information and will allow you to model changes in product price, manufacturing cost, product volume etc. This will enable you to predict Gross Margin % and ROI (Return on Investment).
  • We will help you access Government funding for Research & Development. Depending on the size of your business, your location, the scope of your project and other factors a whole range of Government funding is available from several thousand to half a million pounds. As a client of projectsguru.co.uk we will guide you through the application process and help you to access valuable Government funds which are waiting for your application and which will help you bring your New Product Development to market.
  • We will guide your product through the Design process and minimize risk by using techniques such as DFMEA (Design Failurenew product development consultant Modes Effects Analysis) and Risk Matrix Techniques. It is essential at this stage to Design for Manufacture and to minimize product cost. Any cost savings made at this critical stage will be locked in for the product lifecycle.
  • We will take your New Product through the development stage. This involves manufacturing a representative sample of products which will be used to test the feasibility of the product. These Development samples will incorporate all the key features of the final product and will be used as early marketing samples and to assess the manufacturability of the product. We will also assess any IPR issues at this stage.
  • One of our key strengths is our knowledge of manufacturing as well as our business knowledge. This is critical at the prototyping stage. In our view it is essential to identify the final manufacturing house before the prototyping stage so that the prototype samples are as representative of the finished product as possible. This will probably be an outsource supplier and our in-depth knowledge of this field will enable us to identify a supplier who is cost effective, accessible and quality conscious. We will manage the prototype build often supervising on site. These prototype samples will be used for customer samples, at trade shows and for Qualification trials.
  • With all the previous stages carefully managed the final volume ramp stage should be relatively straightforward. Our key strengths in project management and New Product Development will ensure that your key product is delivered on cost, on time every time.

We also help companies develop their product roadmaps. This process is very important to new product development. To coin an old phrase "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there". A product roadmap (or routemap) is essential so that a company knows what technology, resources, capital expenditure, production capability etc is required in order to bring future products to market.

Of course part of the roadmapping process is identifying which new products to develop. We can also help with this - identifying market trends, surveying customers, and seeing what the competition is doing is all part of the process. Once the desired products are identified the roadmap is developed by identifying the technology required for the new products to be developed effectively. The additional resources are also identified along with any Capital Expenditure and additional Production capability. Once the Product Roadmap is complete it should clearly illustrate where the company is going, in terms of New Product Development, and the technology and resources which will be required to bring these developments to market. This process is incredibly powerful in clearly defining a companies New Product Development strategy.

What is Lean ?

Lean is commonly recognized as the foremost manufacturing process in terms of quality and productivity. It originated with lean consultantsToyota in Japan in the 1950's (Toyota Production System or TPS) and has been adopted by many manufacturing organizations across the world. It is particularly prevalent in the automotive industry but has also been adopted in other manufacturing industries such as electronics. Lean is increasingly being utilized in service industries such as Finance.

Lean has a number of key attributes, some of which are described below: The product is DESIGNED for ease of manufacturability. This is to minimize manufacturing defects and reduce the number of manufacturing stages to a minimum.

The key to 'Design For Manufacture' is taking into account the manufacturing process at the design stage to ensure that the product will be produced at maximum yield and efficiency. Various tool are employed such as Design Failure Modes Effect Analysis which involves brainstorming the product design features to ascertain which present the greatest risk to yield in the manufacturing process. During prototyping Statistical Process Control (SPC) techniques are used to determine the Capability of the process with regard to the prototype design. The overall aim is to reduce manufacturing defects to an absolute minimum.

The SUPPLY CHAIN is coordinated using techniques such as KANBAN and JIT (Just In Time) to minimize inventory and increase efficiency.

Just In Time manufacturing eliminates unnecessary process inventory by arranging production to meet customer demand in a 'pull' system which relies on signals (kanban) throughout the process to control production. A key benefit is in minimizing work in progress (WIP) throughout the manufacturing process. Unnecessary WIP costs real money in the form of materials and 'value added' tied up in the manufacturing process. By applying JIT techniques waste is eliminated and the overall process is accelerated.

The CUSTOMER is at the heart of the process, customer feedback is sought actively and repeat customers pursued vigorously leading to a large degree of brand loyalty. Techniques such as 'Quality Function Deployment' aim to capture the 'Voice Of the Customer ' (VOC) at the product design stage to ensure that the product meets the customer's expectations.

PRODUCTION is coordinated from order to delivery, minimizing delivery time and reducing waste.

A key part of adopting a LEAN strategy is the implementation of 5s.5s refers to the following Japanese words and their meaning in relation to LEAN.

Value Stream Mapping : has a number of key stages: Identify the Product or Service to be analyzed. Draw the current state Value Stream Map. A number of standard symbols are used to aid common understanding. Identify opportunities to eliminate waste (Muda) which is NVA (None Value Adding). Identify opportunities to increase flow using Kaizen (continuous improvement). Draw a 'Future State' Value Stream Map i.e how you want the process to look in the future. Put in place a Project Management plan to implement the required changes.

In order to minimize confusion and increase efficiency anything not in immediate use should be stored out of the way in designated areas. Every tool should be in its place and in line with the workflow. The workplace should be cleaned regularly and periodically and everything put back in its place. Work practices should be consistent and standardized and everyone must know their duties and responsibilities. Enforce the previous 4s whilst reviewing and modifying them as required.

Adopting a Lean strategy results in enormous increases in efficiency and productivity and subsequent increases in profitability. Implementing Lean requires the necessary tenacity and expertise gained over many years experience. Lean is increasingly being adopted across service industries to minimize waste and increase efficiency. If you want help implementing your Lean process get in touch now.

What is Six Sigma

Six Sigma originated with Motorola in the early 1980's and is a process of identifying, reducing and controlling defects using Statistical Analysis tools.

For a process to be in statistical control the defect rate will be less than 4ppm. (parts per million). The term six sigma refers to the fact that a process in statistical control has six times the standard deviation between the mean and Lower (or Upper) control limit. (see below) i.e. it is a tight, centered distribution.

Six Sigma is particularly important when Designing For Manufacture. The product should be designed with the manufacturing process in mind such that it results in a product which is centered on the customer expectations.

This results in a manufacturing process which generates products with minimal defects. Rather than using the Upper and Lower Spec limit as a filter to "chop off" bad products the product variance is minimized so that the product characteristics are centered on the ideal and the rate of defects is minimized to less than 4ppm.

Achieving this level of success requires concerted effort and commitment throughout the organization and the application of tools such as SPC (Statistical Process Control), DFMEA (Design Failure Modes Effect Analysis), QFD (Quality Function Deployment) and many others.

Successful Six Sigma also demands close working and control of suppliers and partners to minimize defects and reduce incoming inspection.

Six Sigma projects follow two project methodologies inspired by Deming's Plan Do Check Act cycle.

These methodologies, composed of five phases each, bear the acronyms DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC is used for projects aimed at improving an existing business process. DMAIC is pronounced as "duh-may-ick". DMADV is used for projects aimed at creating new product or process designs DMADV is pronounced as "duh-mad-vee".

DMAIC - The DMAIC project methodology has five phases:

  • Define the problem.
  • Measure key aspects of the current process.
  • Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis
  • Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects.

DMADV or DFSS - The DMADV project methodology, also known as DFSS ("Design For Six Sigma"), features five phases:

  • Define design goals that are consistent with customer demands.
  • Measure and identify CTQs (characteristics that are Critical To Quality), product capabilities, production process capability, and risks.
  • Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create a high-level design and evaluate design capability to select the best design.
  • Design details, optimize the design, and plan for design verification.
  • Verify the design

Six Sigma is increasingly applied to service industries to ensure the customer receives an experience which exceeds her expectations. It is also combined with LEAN to give LEAN Six Sigma. f you want help implementing your Six Sigma Process get in touch now.

Outsourcing Services

Is your company struggling to maintain profitability in the current economic climate ? Are you finding it difficult to reduce your manufacturing costs ? Don't know which way to turn ?

Don't worry we can help. projectsguru.co.uk has many years experience dealing with reliable, quality conscious outsource sub contractors who can make your product faster and cheaper enabling you to maintain profitability. We have an extensive network of subcontractors and outsource suppliers eager for business.

Many companies outsource key activities. These are generally parts of their operations which are not part of their core value added activities. Many consumer electronic companies add most product value at the product design stage. It therefore makes sense to design and develop their products in house and outsource the manufacture to a subcontractor. This minimizes product cost but keeps the core value added activities within the organization.

Some people criticize organizations which outsource key activities and accuse them of exporting jobs but often the exact opposite is the case. Organizations which would not be profitable manufacturing in house, and would have gone out of business, often find they are able to carry on profitably by retaining the value adding activities and outsourcing those which add little value.

This is where we can help. We have been dealing with outsourcing subcontractors for several years in different parts of the Globe and we maintain an extensive database of outsource partners who can offer all kinds of services at a fraction of the costs in Europe or the U.S.A.

Dealing with outsource partners is a real skill. We understand the cultural differences which exist and know how to overcome them and develop strong relationships with outsource partners.

This is also applicable to software development. We have many contacts who provide reliable, quality software solutions to meet your requirements. We will manage your outsource software development projects to ensure your solution is provided on cost, on quality and on time.

Of course this may mean some change within your organisation but this may be minimized and managed. Outsourcing can actually save jobs in the longer term. We can also help you manage this change process so that the ultimate result is positive for your company and your workforce.

A complete review of your business process to identify key opportunities for outsourcing. A comprehensive Senior Management report quantifying outsource potential. A project manager on a fixed term contract to manage your outsource project.outsource consultants. key benefits to the client: A targeted project management resource focused on your outsource project. The identification of real financial savings which make a significant impact on your bottom line. Outsourcing key activities preserves and prolongs your core business.

Training courses which deliver real value.

We specialize in project management training focused on project management techniques and people management skills. There are many courses which look at methodologies such as Prince 2 and the Project Management Institutes "Book of Knowledge". Whereas we incorporate aspects of these methodologies into our management courses our emphasis is on the day to day techniques and people management skills project managers and others need to operate effectively. These powerful and valuable training courses will be delivered at your place of work or venue of choice by a leading consultant. In the modern business world Training is a pre-requisite not a luxury. If you want to stay ahead of the competition it is absolutely essential that your staff are well trained.

Courses come with all necessary materials and are delivered by a professional training consultant at your workplace or chosen venue & include unlimited post course support !! These courses can be tailored to fit your organizational requirements. Each course will include practical assignments and are designed for maximum participation and learning.These courses are extremely popular so please contact us well in advance. To find out more about these superb courses which provide excellent value for money and to book now please contact us today by completing our brief contact form and quoting the course Reference number. Please suggest 2 or 3 alternative dates and we will do our best to accommodate you.