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Dassian

General Overview

The Dassian Simple Projects application is used to facilitate the following processes;

  • Maintenance of projects and people within the organisation
  • Management of planning data
  • Initial setup of project budget / baseline
  • Baseline change
  • Monthly forecasting process
  • Planning approval process
  • Analytics

The LaunchPad provides an easy to use access point to each of these functions and is shown below;

Maintenance of projects and people within the organisation

Dassian Simple Projects allows for the initial creation and ongoing maintenance of project structures (Work Breakdown Structure, Organisation Breakdown Structure, Planning Approval Hierarchy). In some instances these structures can be synced to the application from an external project planning tool such as Microsoft Project or Oracle Primavera.

Together with these project structures, the responsibility for the planning and control processes is also managed within Dassian Simple Projects.

What is a Control Account?

Within the context of Earned Value Management, there is always a defined level that is considered a “control account”. A control account is normally the intersection of the functional organisation doing the work and the Project organisational hierarchy. This is normally defined as the level that you can aggregate Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled, Budgeted Cost of Work Performed, and Actuals and is a level that is controlled by a single organisation.

Note that it is not possible to define a control account beneath another control account in the project structure!

What is a Work Package?

Below a control account is a “Work Package”. The work package is the level of the project that the user plans resoources and sets the Earned Value method.

Management of Planning Data

What is a Planning Version?

Planning data is captured in Dassian Simple Projects using Planning Versions, e.g. the 'approved baseline plan' or the 'current working version of the forecast'. Any number of planning versions can be defined for the primary planning processes of budgeting and forecasting. However the application has a certain number of planning versions predefined, these are discussed in the sections below.

What is a Snapshot?

The data in planning versions is by it's nature fluid, i.e. it can change over time. In order to report on the data and see the trend of the planning data over time, Dassian Simple Projects introduced the concept of a Snapshot. As the term implies, a Snapshot is a picture of the planning data taken at a specific point in time. Usually these points in time are monthly.

What is a Resource?

Resources are the actual planning elements/data entered on the work package. There are 2 types of resources namely;

  • Direct Costs - simply referred to as costs in the applications and input in the form of an amount of money in the project currency
  • Labour Costs - simply referred to as work in the applications and input in the form of a number of hours per planning period

Initial Project Budget / Baseline Process

In the planning processes for budgeting and forecasting, Dassian prescribes the use of 2 planning versions, namely a working version and an approved version. The working version is used in the workbench applications to capture the data being input or modified by the user. The approved version is used for reporting purposes.
Below is a simple depiction of the typical best practice process flows. The workbench tools described in this guide are used for the Baseline Entry and modification and Estimate to Complete (ETC) Entry, Baseline and ETC Submit, Baseline and ETC Adjust, and Approve All Work Packages processes shown below. 

The initial baseline process starts with the business analyst who defines all the resources (costs and work) for each work package within each control account for which they are responsible. This information is captured against a working baseline version; the data can be continually modified until the analyst is satisfied with the result. The budget analyst submits all of these work packages for approval. Submitted work packages cannot be modified, however should the analyst wish to change any information they have submitted, they may recall any work package that has not yet been approved.
Since the Dassian best practice prescribes that the approved baseline is placed under change control, a change request is created.
The program manager responsible for approving these work packages, reviews and either approves or rejects the baseline plans. In the case of rejection, the business analyst reviews the rejected work packages and makes the necessary adjustments and resubmits.
Once all work packages are approved the working baseline version is copied to the approved baseline version referencing the change request number.
Finally, a snapshot of the approved baseline version is taken.

 

Baseline Change Process

The Baseline change process while similar to the initial baseline creation process, has some additional steps. Initially the working baseline version status should be reset to ‘in process’, this is usually done by the system administrator.
Thereafter the latest approved baseline version is copied to the working version, and the business analyst can now make changes to the working baseline version. Similarly to the initial creation process, the analyst makes the changes to the baseline plans and submits the applicable work packages for approval.
Once again, a baseline change request is created.
The program manager reviews and either approves or rejects the baseline changes. In the case of rejection, the business analyst reviews the rejected work packages and makes the necessary adjustments and resubmits.
Once all work packages are approved the working baseline version is copied to the approved baseline version referencing the change request number.
Finally, a snapshot of the approved baseline version is taken.

 

Monthly Forecasting Process

The EAC process begins each month with a snapshot to capture actuals along with the approved EAC versions. The snapshot data is then used for the respective month to initialise the EAC, this is also referred to as generating the new EAC.
The working EAC version is ready for editing by the Control Account Manager (CAM. After the CAM completes the updates to the forecast they can chose to submit their work for approval. Similarly to the baseline process, submitted work packages cannot be modified, however should the CAM wish to change any information they have submitted, they may recall any work package that has not yet been approved.
After submitting an ETC for approval the CAM will receive an approval or rejection from the program manager. When any rejection is received the CAM must go back to that work package, adjust the ETC, and then resubmit.
Once all approvals are received for a project the working EAV version is copied to the Approved EAC version.
Finally, a snapshot of the approved EAC version is taken.

 

Approval Process

The budgeting and forecasting processes both offer the possibility to incorporate an approval step as has been mentioned above. Approval is effected mainly at control account level, if the control account contains work packages, all work packages within are approved/rejected when the control account is processed.
Dassian Simple Projects Workbench supports 2 levels of approval, namely Supervisor Approval (SP) and Program Manager Approval (PM) and it is possible to configure the approval process in 2 ways, i.e. Approval in Series or in Parallel.
The assignment of persons responsible for approving planning data in maintained in the backend SAP system using an “Approval Hierarchy”, for more information about this see the user guide for Dassian Program Plans and Controls.
In the case where multiple approvers are required the information displayed in the approval workbench for the user will be different according to the Approval Sequence which has been defined.
In the workbench, the hierarchy (tree) will always display all control accounts and work packages for which the user is responsible, the status management view will also display all control accounts, however only control accounts which can actually be processed according to the rules above can be selected.

***Important Note*** in order to use an approval process in Simple Projects, a Portfolio of projects must be created, this portfolio may have one or many projects assigned to it.

 

Approval in Series

Here both users will be able to see the control accounts which they are responsible for approving, and the current status, however only the first user in the sequence will be able to approve a control account which has been submitted. Upon approval, the status will change from Submitted to SP Approved. At this point the second user in the sequence will be able to approve the control account upon which the status will change to PM Approved.

Approval in Parallel

Here both users will be able to see the control accounts which they are responsible for approving, either user will be able to approve a control account which has been submitted. Upon approval, the status will change from submitted to PM Approved.

Alternative Approvers

Where a user has been specified as an alternative approver, the hierarchy (tree) and status management view should be updated to display the situation for the alternative user according to the rules above.

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