Program Management Support
In many cases, ProMan Strategies acts as part of an Integrated Program Team (IPT) with its Government clients, their Executive-level supervisors, other support staff, and the principal investigators who are contracted to perform technical work under the program. ProMan Strategies frequently serves as lead author in drafting strategic plans, organizational models, operating plans, reporting templates, and process definitions when the team is starting with a “blank page.” We then serve as facilitators, helping the team to further develop the draft into a finished product. ProMan Strategies has done this for numerous programs, with several examples described below.
Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science & Technology (DMS&T) Program
The Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science & Technology (DMS&T) Program was established in 2008 by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to mature cross-cutting defense manufacturing technologies that are beyond the ability of a single Service (Army, Navy, Air Force) to address. It develops manufacturing processes and enterprise business practices to achieve a high impact while being cost-effective. The program initiated over 100 research & development projects funded with over $300 million between 2008 – 2016. ProMan Strategies helped the government Program Manager develop initial program strategies and processes, and was part of the contractor team that assisted in selecting projects, monitoring project performance, reporting on progress, documenting success stories, and implementing process improvements.
ProMan Strategies devised a “Boot Camp” briefing for DMS&T government project managers, describing the DMS&T Program’s expectations and reporting templates. To do this, ProMan Strategies analyzed the Program Manager’s requirements and used our technical writing skills to document them clearly. ProMan Strategies then verbally presented the information to project managers using briefing charts that described program expectations and reporting templates. The result was that project managers met expectations more consistently and more early in the project cycle.
The ProMan Strategies customer regarded our contributions very highly. The key personnel at ProMan Strategies supported senior leaders at the DMS&T Program Office continuously from its inception in 2008 because they have earned and long maintained the full confidence of the customer.
America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
In 2012, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing & Industrial Base Policy (OSD/MIBP) office created what became a more than $110 million public-private partnership dedicated to developing a national ecosystem for 3D printing technology development: America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. ProMan Strategies supported the government Program Manager as an advisor on all aspects of the program. Key contributions included assistance with technology roadmapping that defined topics for 3D printing research & development project solicitations; advising on the strategic business plan; developing metrics to evaluate program outcomes; and recommending changes to the membership model to improve long-term financial sustainability of the Institute. ProMan Strategies also assisted with day-to-day oversight, identifying risks, and recommending corrective actions. ProMan Strategies wrote weekly and monthly reports for government executive review and was a contributor to writing the 2015 Annual Report and 2015 Strategic Plan for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (now known as Manufacturing USA). ProMan Strategies contributed regularly to government efforts to document success stories and lessons learned to aid ongoing development of the network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.
Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Program
The availability of domestic production capabilities for critical defense technologies is an essential element of national security. The DPA Title III Program Office is tasked to create, maintain, modernize, protect, expand, or restore industrial capabilities required for national defense using the powerful DPA Title III authorities. A key objective of the Title III Program is to accelerate the transition of technologies from research and development to affordable production and insertion into defense and other government systems.
Key personnel at ProMan Strategies supported all phases of the program and project management for the client from 1999-2016. Support included: 1) acquisition steps such as conducting market and industry research, drafting project requirements and objectives, developing requests for proposal and evaluation criteria, providing business advice on proposal evaluation, and facilitating the source selection process; 2) project oversight and reporting, including support for project reviews and developing program review briefings for government executives, evaluating annual business plans, identifying risks, recommending corrective actions, and monthly reporting; 3) project closeout including evaluation of final reports and drafting of success stories. ProMan Strategies continuously examined and recommended improvements to DPA Title III program management processes.
Numerous government agencies are investing in additive manufacturing technologies, processes, and products. To assist the government in coordinating and leveraging its investments, Air Force Research Laboratory launched GO Additive, the Government Organization for Additive Manufacturing. The Chair of GO Additive asked ProMan Strategies to help create and lead GO Additive as a government-employees-only Community of Interest for additive manufacturing and 3D printing. ProMan Strategies assisted in the development of a charter for the organization, facilitated meetings and teleconferences, and managed group communications and the membership roster. The result was that GO Additive regularly conducted regular group interactions among over 140 government employees whose organizations are involved in 3D printing. In addition, ProMan Strategies assisted the Chair with developing, administering, and consolidating data from a survey of 50 GO Additive members regarding their organizational interests and capabilities in 3D printing. The survey resulted in detailed descriptions of the 3D printing interests and capabilities of 38 government organizations.
Project Management Support
Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science & Technology (DMS&T) Program
In addition to assisting the DMS&T Program Manager at the program level, ProMan Strategies helped to manage technology development projects within the portfolio. ProMan Strategies monitored project progress and coordinated project reporting for four additive manufacturing projects, three radar affordability improvement projects, and a project for modeling aerospace composites component manufacturing. In this role, ProMan Strategies conducted regularly scheduled teleconferences and reviews with the principal investigators. We assisted the team with creating briefing charts for the semi-annual program reviews, ensuring that the content followed program templates and answered the Program Manager’s key concerns. The result was that the Program Manager was kept informed of all project progress and issues on a timely basis.
ProMan Strategies collected data and reported DMS&T project metrics including successful technology transition, leveraged/cost shared dollars, average years of technology acceleration per project, levels of increase in manufacturing readiness per project, and return on investment for completed projects. Collecting the data was challenging because no one person had all the data; we led a team effort to gather it. To allow analysis, we compiled the data into a complex spreadsheet covering 59 completed and active projects, including 24 columns of raw project data and 34 columns of financial data. Our analysis concluded by building a presentation that reported program metrics such as rate of successful technology transitions, leveraged funding, average years of accelerated technology, and estimated a return on investment for each completed project. The result was that the customer had greater insight into program performance.
The principals at ProMan Strategies have managed projects covering a wide range of technologies, including: additive manufacturing/3D printing, solar cells, fuel cells, power semiconductors, superconductors, directed energy, lasers, infrared sensors, nano-materials, optical coatings, improvised explosive device detectors, biochemical hazard detectors, and others.
Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise Strategic Baseline
The Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (AME) is a set of robust manufacturing strategies and integrated capabilities that dramatically reduce the cost and time of manufacturing complex systems. The strategies include digital and software infrastructure that can pass relevant data between design, fabrication, test, and sustainment operations; digital engineering tools, and digital supply network integration technologies.
The AME Subpanel of the Department of Defense’s Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel sought to develop and articulate a prioritized set of investments in the complex area of AME. To begin this process, the AME Subpanel asked ProMan Strategies to conduct in-depth research and analysis to characterize AME, develop an inventory of major AME activities across the nation, and identify gaps and opportunities. The findings would be used by the AME Subpanel to recommend coordinated investments by the Department of Defense. ProMan Strategies gathered over 470 documents relating to the topic, selected and read over 320 briefings and papers that were most relevant, and cited about 70 documents in writing its final report.
The two government clients for this report offered the following praise:
“I wanted to take a minute to express my appreciation for the work (ProMan Strategies) did for me and the Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise Subpanel. The AME technical arena is quite large, requiring a broad understanding of technologies in design integration, supply chain management, systems engineering principles, and factory floor control, and thus is difficult to master – arguably more so than any other technical area. (ProMan Strategies) led the analysis of hundreds of reports, briefings, and interview notes and produced a really outstanding synthesis of AME technical and policy issues…. As a result, the AME subpanel now has an excellent ‘strategic baseline’ from which to plan investments over the next 3-5 years. This was a tall order, and frankly not many people could have done half as well. (ProMan Strategies) is to be commended.” – JDMTP AME Subpanel Chair
“(The ProMan Strategies) team did an outstanding job in putting together the Strategic Baseline document outlining the current state of Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise efforts. This DMS&T funded study will help the DoD ManTech community put together an investment strategy in this important area. The team was praised by the advisory panel (of Senior Executives) for the depth of information and the story it told.” – Program Manager, Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science and Technology Program
Titanium Industry Analysis
The Defense Production Act Title III Program asked the principals at ProMan Strategies to provide decision makers with facts regarding supply and demand and other issues relating to the U.S. titanium industry, and to recommend how DPA Title III authorities might be applied to address titanium industry issues. In response, ProMan Strategies researched and wrote a study that described titanium production steps and technologies, industry economics, U.S. trade policies, and active titanium manufacturing technology projects, allowing the DPA Title III Program to make appropriate investment decisions.
America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is committed to becoming a self-sustaining non-profit business that serves government and commercial 3D printing customers as well as its industrial and academic members. ProMan Strategies assisted America Makes in developing all aspects of a business plan that identified key stakeholders, core revenues and costs, services, and stakeholder engagement strategies. ProMan Strategies served as a strategic advisor, applying its extensive experience in developing and evaluating business plans for technology development companies. The result was a sound plan for achieving self-sustainability that was accepted by America Makes’ government partners.
Workshop Facilitation for Teams
A core practice of America Makes is to bring subject matter experts in from member organizations to develop and maintain its technology investment roadmap. To harness the collective knowledge, America Makes invited ProMan Strategies onto its core team to develop and facilitate four roadmapping workshops, each attended by about 21 subject matter experts. ProMan Strategies co-led the workshops by taking the experts through structured processes including creative matrix brainstorming, idea affinity clustering, concept prioritization using an impact/difficulty matrix, and concept development through drafting of concept posters. The posters were then developed into 3D printing research & development topics for a project solicitation. ProMan Strategies drafted important parts of the report that was used to request approval from stakeholders. The result of the effort was highly successful: the experts generated high-value, prioritized topics for research; all stakeholders accepted the topics, leading to the first R&D project solicitation; and the workshop process formed the basis for dozens of future workshops, including nine workshops held in 2016 that generated a Department of Defense-wide roadmap for 3D printing technology development.
Workgroup Leadership and Facilitation
ProMan Strategies served as a core member of a task force assigned to develop metrics to evaluate America Makes program outcomes. ProMan Strategies provided expertise and facilitation services to the project team that developed the metrics. The project team met through weekly telecons and periodic face-to-face meetings for six months. ProMan Strategies ensured that the team considered significant questions for each metric, such as: How aligned was the metric with the goals of America Makes? How difficult would it be to collect the data? How correlated was the metric with desired outcomes? What was the risk that the metric would result in unintended consequences? ProMan Strategies facilitated group discussions and was a thought leader that proposed ideas, tested group ideas with challenging questions, and found ways to articulate the group’s best ideas in words and graphics. ProMan Strategies drafted documents, recorded meeting minutes, and proposed alternatives for team consideration. The result was that the Governance Board of America Makes adopted the metrics proposed by the team. At each milestone briefing, the industry Chair of the task team praised the contributions of ProMan Strategies to the program’s leadership.
Membership Model Evaluation
America Makes is a consortium of over 170 member organizations from industry, academia, and non-profits that operates in a public-private partnership with the U.S. government. The government Program Manager and America Makes Director chartered a task force to evaluate the consortium’s membership model, identify alternative models, and make recommendations for changes. The goal was to strengthen the value proposition for members, grow the membership numbers, and enhance the long-term financial viability of America Makes. The government Program Manager asked ProMan Strategies to assist the co-chairs of the task team, providing advice, analysis, group facilitation, survey planning and implementation, reporting, briefings, and other services as needed.
ProMan Strategies worked closely with the task team and its co-chairs to study membership models of similar organizations, survey the membership on what America Makes could deliver that would be most valuable to them, analyze survey results, facilitate team discussions, develop alternatives, model scenarios for dues revenue, select recommendations, and write a final report.
ProMan Strategies started by researching the membership structure of other Manufacturing Institutes and doing comparative analysis of the different structures. We then worked with the team to develop a 22-question survey, worked with the America Makes staff to administer the survey, and then received and analyzed the responses. ProMan Strategies drafted briefing charts describing the results, including several heat maps showing where the survey showed the most favored and least favored responses. We developed eight principles for designing an “ideal” model, suggested alternatives for implementing changes, and presented them to the task team for consideration. ProMan Strategies worked with the government Program Manager to develop “what if” scenarios and modeled the likely results (in terms of membership responses and dues revenue changes) of each scenario. ProMan Strategies continued working with the task team to develop a strong consensus for final recommendations, and then drafted a briefing to present them to America Makes leadership.
A secondary outcome was that ProMan Strategies used the accumulated findings to show leadership the need for America Makes to go beyond the membership model by developing a Strategic Plan for becoming a self-sustaining organization; the core of the resulting Strategic Plan was a new, highest-priority focus on delivering value to members.
Solicitation Development and Acquisition Support (including Requests for Proposal, Funding Opportunity Announcements, and Broad Agency Announcements)
When the DPA Title III Program needed to solicit and evaluate proposals for its $210 million Advanced Drop-In Biofuels production project, the principals at ProMan Strategies played key roles on the acquisition team.
As a program jointly funded by the Departments of the Navy, Energy, and Agriculture, and managed by the Air Force, each Department brought its own requirements and best practices to the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). A principal at ProMan Strategies was the team facilitator who pulled each Department’s requirements and recommendations into the draft FOA. We reviewed input documents, worked with subject matter experts, and documented the decisions of Integrated Project Team meetings to draft the evaluation criteria and guidance for proposals.
ProMan Strategies participated heavily in the intensive review of the proposals. We provided technical, economic, and business assessments of every industry proposal, reviewing each proposal against specific, detailed evaluation criteria. Our individual reviews were measured carefully by the managing government personnel. Extreme time pressures and deadlines were successfully blended with the need for accuracy and completeness.
An extreme challenge of this acquisition was the large amount of data that the technical evaluators needed to evaluate. There were 23 proposals x 16 evaluation criteria x 30 technical advisors = 11,040 inputs for evaluators to consider. With just four weeks for evaluation, it was not feasible to use traditional evaluation processes. In anticipation of this challenge, ProMan Strategies designed a six-stage review process that quickly separated high quality proposals from non-responsive and seriously deficient proposals so that the technical advisors could focus their attention on the high-quality proposals. In addition, we led a contractor team that developed and implemented a customized MS Excel / MS Access tool for collecting the 11,040 technical advisor inputs and allowing the government evaluators to quickly sort and display the inputs in a way that greatly streamlined their evaluation process. As a result, the evaluators were able to meet short and firm deadlines for completing the evaluation.
Evaluation Tool and Evaluation Criteria Development
Business Readiness Levels (BRLs)
ProMan Strategies developed the Business Readiness Level Toolkit, an innovative system of metrics used to identify and manage business risks faced by technology development companies. This toolkit was adapted for use in the U. S. Navy’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.
Technology Transition Risk Assessment Tool
ProMan Strategies co-developed a Technology Transition Risk Assessment tool for the Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science & Technology Program. The tool allows the program to examine and evaluate several key factors relating to the risk that an R&D project will lead to a product or process that will fail to be put in to service on the manufacturing floor.
Articulation and Messaging
One client of ProMan Strategies said that our “superpower” is our ability to listen to an hour-long group discussion and then articulate the most important points with a few words and a sketch. We do this because ProMan Strategies knows that one of the most important parts of any effort to lead organizations or advocate a course of action is to communicate the message effectively. ProMan Strategies works with clients to not only develop the recommended path forward, but also to describe the “what, why, and how” in a way that helps the audience to quickly understand and embrace the client’s recommendations. ProMan Strategies then assists the client in packaging the core message into reports, briefings, case studies, and success stories that deliver the message to all intended audiences.
3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing Consulting
ProMan Strategies has teamed with several subject matter experts in additive manufacturing who can assist your organization with a wide variety of challenges including: business case and return on investment analysis, facility design implementation, product design, equipment selection, process development, process and product development, and workforce training. Beyond consulting services, we can team with other companies who produce parts and equipment to provide a total additive manufacturing solution.
ProMan Strategies provides its clients with excellent program and project support, focusing on strategic planning, leading integrated project teams, industry analysis, and developing and articulating the client’s key messages to stakeholders. Below are several examples of how the principals at ProMan Strategies have assisted clients since 1999. Keep scrolling down to read case studies describing how we help our clients.
Program Management • Progressing Manufacturing = ProMan