CASE Associates Inc. (CAI) has provided project management and quality assurance services to the states of Washington and Oregon for over nineteen years. Our senior consultants have as much as 20 years of project management experience in both the public and private sector. Regardless of our role in a project, we view ourselves as a resource for the core project team, with the objective of complementing the skills of the various team members.
CAI normally uses Microsoft Project as the principal tool for scheduling and tracking projects, but we are experienced with other comparable tools, as well as the entire Microsoft Office Suite. We develop project plans and budgets from the bottom up, relying on the team members for initial estimates and for ongoing updates to the estimates. Whenever possible, we develop "resource driven" plans that more accurately reflect the critical path and facilitate the tracking of variances. It has been our experience that plans must be living documents and, for that reason, we normally maintain the plan at a detail level no more than 90 days in the future.
An important part of our project management methodology is the development of critical success factors and the regular reports that include the status of each of the factors. Generally, we produce monthly reports that include progress during the period, plans for the next period, and issues that have arisen or changed since the last report. We also believe in frequent and regular feedback as issues are encountered. We often find that problems that are identified can be resolved via face to face communications long before they must be formalized in a report.
As organizations evolve over the life of a project, especially a multi-year project, it is important to ensure that communications continue to flow properly to all of the project stakeholders.
As one of the largest information system project management and quality assurance contractors serving the States of Oregon and Washington, CAI has intimate knowledge of government business processes, standards, networks, and inter-agency information sharing and access requirements. Our consultants have collectively managed several hundred projects ranging in value from $20,000 to more than $15,000,000.
Project Management Approach and Methodology
consultants help clients prepare or review/critique their Project
Management Plan. We use the principles documented in the Project
Management Institutes' "Project Management Body of Knowledge." This
plan is the baseline from which all project activities are organized,
assigned resources, managed, and reviewed. CAI’s Project Management
approach meets project objectives by providing timely, thorough
deliverables and by promoting effective communications among all
project stakeholders. CAI applies the principles of the Capability
Maturity Model (CMM) assessments and the Control Objectives for
Information and Related Technology (CoBiT) standards to conduct project
planning, quality assurance, and risk management programs. CAI is also
familiar with and applies the guidelines documented in the Project
Management Institute's Book of Knowledge. CAI has consulted, developed,
and managed Project Management Offices, as well as recommending best
practices for a variety of organizations, including: the Oregon
Department of Transportation, the Oregon Secretary of State, the Oregon
State Treasury, the Oregon Division of State Lands, the Oregon Parks
and Recreation Department, the Washington Department of Information
Services, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, the
Washington Department of Labor and Industries, the Washington Department of Health, and the Washington Department of Licensing.
CAI has learned many lessons managing projects. The factors
contributing to the potential success or failure of a project have been
of particular interest to us. Although each project and organization
has its own unique characteristics, CAI has identified six factors that
are consistent from project to project. These factors are:
1. Understanding the impact of the new system on the
workflow, job procedures, job
responsibilities, and business rules, then planning and dealing with the transition
of the organization.
2. Developing comprehensive verification and validation plans, procedures, test
cases, and test scenarios that relate directly to the new system being
developed, and to the new workflows the new system will initiate.
3. Installing, implementing, and training all affected parties on a thorough
project management infrastructure, including process management, the project
management methodology, configuration management, requirements management,
documentation management, and organization change management.
4. Managing all the models (requirement definitions and designs) relevant to
the project (including business process models, data models, architecture
models, interface models, and user interface models).
5. Involving the entire organization in the change process invoked by the
6. Understanding, formulating,
specifying, and evolving the technical architecture to support the business
needs of each department and the information requirements and interfaces within
and among departments.
consultants provide specific recommendations on how to manage the
critical success factors (CSFs) and establish a standard Project
Management Process. As part of the Project Office evaluation, CAI
defines the process for managing and monitoring these CSFs for all
projects. CAI's process includes risk identification and determining
risk mitigating solutions or process improvements when necessary. CAI
ensures that the knowledge transfer to the project staff is timely and
Project Team Structure, Internal Controls and Communications
uses a team approach for providing project management and quality
assurance services. Every project will be assigned a lead or principal
CAI consultant as well as a backup. The backup provides internal review
of all of CAI's deliverables. Because of the length of many projects,
the CAI backup can attend meetings, write status reports, and oversee
the project when the CAI principal consultant is ill, on vacation, or
The first task for CAI on a project is the development of CAI's
specific work plan. This work plan is the baseline for CAI's tasks and
deliverables and, when approved by the customer, becomes part of the
overall Project Management Plan.
CAI imposes the following performance standards on itself in managing and mitigating project risks:
1. The timely identification and definition of project critical success factors (CSFs).
2. A clear, concise definition of the triggers which turn a CSF into a risk.
3. The timely description of risk mitigating solutions and corrective actions.
4. Proactive involvement in the project - not just passive observation of project activities.
5. The constant monitoring of project processes with timely process improvement recommendations.
6. Thorough review of all project deliverables.
7. Establishing and sustaining effective communications among all project stakeholders.
Consultants work interactively with the project staff, as an extension
of the team, contributing their expertise and knowledge of project
management and information technology implementation issues. The CAI
team accomplishes this through regular, interactive work sessions with
the project staff and the appropriate business stakeholders.
consultants have considerable experience providing proactive services
in partnership with their clients. Our project results have proven the
value of CAI’s methods, that include, but are not limited to: written
schedules, well structured written deliverables, frequent face-to-face
contact, and quick identification of potential problems. CAI team
members realize that client and contractor time is valuable, and they
work hard to use it wisely.
The identification of a project’s
unique critical success factors and the regular reports that include
the status of each of the factors are an important component of CAI's
project communications. Generally, we produce monthly reports that
include progress during the period, plans for the next period, and
issues that have arisen or changed since the last report. We also
believe in frequent and regular feedback as issues are encountered. We
often find that problems identified early can be resolved via face to
face communications long before they must be formalized in a report.
is the key to bringing diverse organizations together to work on a
common goal. CAI believes that, in most cases, the client has the
business knowledge and the desire for change. However, for various
reasons they may need a catalyst to effect that change. CAI has a good
track record for being that catalyst! It is critical to recognize that
the business is the real owner of the process and the results from the
process, so CAI will do whatever is necessary to foster that ownership.
An effective method that CAI uses to foster that ownership is to
include the client at each step along the way.