Marathon offers Project Management services in two delivery modes and at two levels. Clients often request Project Management services in a Staff Augmentation mode. This delivery mode is typically characterized by a client-defined project and client project team, to which the client adds a Marathon Project Manager to lead the effort.
When operating in the Staff Augmentation mode, the Marathon Project Manager utilizes varying toolsets, depending on client need. If the client has a defined project management methodology, Marathon will use it to manage the project. If not, the Project Manager will present the Marathon Project Management Methodology and recommend its use. In either case, the client is able to leverage the Marathon Project Manager's experience with complex IT projects to achieve a successful result.
The alternate delivery mode is referred to a "Marathon Managed Engagement", or MME. In this mode, Marathon works with the client from project inception in order to define project scope, goals, specific requirements, budget, and Work Plan. Once the client agrees to the definition of the project, Marathon assumes the responsibility for managing the project to meet the goals. In most cases, the project team is comprised of Marathon and client personnel. In some cases, the project team includes personnel from a third-party, such as a software vendor, or supplier of specialized services.
Marathon's project management methodology defines a project as a defined set of tasks and processes directed toward the conveyance of one or more defined deliverables. Each project will have the following characteristics:
- The Scope of effort will be defined
- All Deliverables and Acceptance Processes will be identified
- Project Stakeholders will be identified
- A Project Plan will be developed and be utilized and updated throughout the duration of the project; it will identify all estimates, costs, resources, and milestones
- The project will rely upon constant and consistent Client Interaction
- The project will include specific Processes to manage:
- Human Resources
- Risk Assessment
Marathon's "MPM" has proven to be effective in both large and small project engagements. Project engagements have ranged from less than 100 hours to tens of thousands of hours. In each case, the Project Management standards defined by Marathon have proven effective.
Numerous project management tools are utilized. Marathon routinely uses Microsoft Project as our standard tool because of its widespread popularity within the client community. Marathon has found Project's capabilities adequate to the task of meeting the needs of our typical Marathon Managed Engagements. Within Project, we utilize such specific project management tools as PERT charting, resource allocations and leveling, GANTT charting, estimates-to-complete, multi-level interdependencies, and the full range of project budgeting and reporting capabilities.
The importance of effective project management cannot be overstated. Regardless of the size of the project, it must be managed effectively. Small projects have no margin for error. Larger projects are often highly visible and the consequences of a less than satisfactory effort can be disastrous.
Because IT projects can be quite demanding in terms of time-to-delivery, budget constraints, and potential change, Marathon places a premium on effective project planning. In addition to the obvious requirement of matching resources to the needs of the project, Marathon emphasizes the Risk Management and Change Management processes. Both processes are crucial.
Risk Management begins at project inception with the identification of risks and a thorough risk assessment. Risk assessment includes the description of the risk, as well as an assessment of both the probability of the risk becoming an issue, and the impact of such an event. Key to the risk assessment process is the identification of a mitigation plan and the assignment of an individual responsible for executing a risk mitigation plan specific to each risk. The overall project risk management plan is overseen by the Marathon Project Manager is close coordination with the client Project Manager. Discussion of the Risk Management Plan is a regular agenda item on all scheduled project status review meetings and project status reports.
In regards to the different "levels" of project management, Marathon Project Managers are called upon to manage both enterprise-level projects, often comprised of subordinate or sub-projects (each with their own Project Managers). Or, the Marathon Project Managers might be called upon to manage one of the sub-projects and report to the enterprise, or overall Project Manager. The scope of a sub-project is typically limited to a single application within an enterprise solution. For instance, in an ERP implementation, separate projects might be defined for each major application area: order fulfillment, supply chain applications, finance applications, etc.
Over seventy-five percent (75%) of the Marathon Project Managers hold the Project Management Institute's (PMI) certification of "PMP". By coupling years of real-life project management experience with a difficult-to-achieve and recognized certification, Marathon clients are assured of receiving the highest quality project management services.
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