New Partnership for Deltek Vision and Deltek Professional Services consulting

I am excited to announce the official launch of Version X Solutions!

Version X Solutions is a new partnership that brings together a combined 30 years of Deltek Vision knowledge and experience under one umbrella.

We offer a wide and practical range of products and services including custom modules, custom reports, and even a cloud hosting service.

We’ve put together the beginnings of an inventory, and will continue to add to it as we come up with new ideas and do more interesting work for clients. If you have an extension we need, we’d love to hear about it!

Of course we still offer hourly consulting for nebulous or “figure it out as we go” projects.

You can read more about us and our current offering here.

What does this mean for existing customers?

Our new partnership will not adversely affect the existing relationships I have built with you over the years.

You will continue to get the same great friendly, responsive and most importantly, knowledgeable consulting services you have come to rely on from me.

Thank you for your continued business and I look forward to working with you in the near future.

From now on, please refer to the Version X Solutions site for information about products and services offered.




Deltek Insight 2012 presentation

Deltek Insight was relatively successful this year.

Some promising functionality is being put out by Deltek, like the Navigator, and the mobile time app.  Although, I found the mobile time app interface to be quite clunky in the demo. I actually took the Navigator usability test/survey in the lab at Insight.  This was pretty interesting.  They have made some good improvements to the planning module by putting a different presentation on top, one that actually appears like it will be readable when you have a plan in place.

For anyone who attended my presentation, what follows is my slide deck, with some clarification.

Regarding work breakdown structure, the example converted work breakdown structure should look like this instead:

0001 GW and Lysimeter Sampling Report
01 Sampling
02 Reporting

0002 SPCC Plan
01 Draft
02 Revise
03 Review/Comments

0003 Drinking Water Sampling Report
01 Draft
02 Revise
03 Review/Comments

Looking at the first phase “0001”: When developing a proper WBS for a project, you may find that you want to divide up certain amounts of effort into either their physical parts (like building 1, building 2, building 3) or into their process steps (get samples, write report, review and submit to client). It all depends on how you want to present the proposals, costs and fees. Either way, you should be able to put a price on the WBS element.

In the case above, phase 0001 has been divided into type of effort to deliver the plan/report, keeping in mind that it is possible to put a price on each task. The labor codes that would be used under task 01 might be travel time, sampling, sample plan (meaning planning out the number and location of samples), sample prep, lab tests.  Then under 02 Reporting you might have report writing, report reviewing, administrative (collating, binding, copying) and delivery expenses. Again, it is possible to assign an estimate of cost and thus a price to both tasks, so even though they have “ing” at the end, they are ok as WBS elements.

If you have any other questions regarding my presentation, mission critical data path for Deltek Vision, the correct way to store certain types of data in Vision or any business automation questions in general, please get in touch.  Even better, post a question on this post in the form of a comment and I will answer it in a follow up post.

Thank you for your time and attention!


here is the presentation in pdf format. I suggest right clicking on the link below and choosing “save as”:
==> PS-80 Storing Data in the right Place <==

P.S. I noticed there was a healthy stack of evaluation forms filled out and submitted after the presentation. Thank you very much!

Some pictures from Hong Kong

Over a year ago (from June through December of 2010) I spent a few months in Hong Kong on a project.  While there I upgraded a firm from Vision 5.1 to 6.1, restructured their entire WBS (including legacy data) and trained their accounting department on the new methods of using Vision with a proper work breakdown structure. I also built a custom app in MS Access to make setting up projects and project budgets easier.

However, while there it was not all work.  I did have some time to take some great pictures… since I have now moved my site over to wordpress’ CMS and was going through all my posts, I figured I should put up some pictures of Hong Kong since it’s such a visually impactful city.  So here are some photos for you to browse.

What about work breakdown structure?

It seems that the importance of a logical work breakdown structure for projects can escape even the best implementation intentions at times. This seems to be largely due to the fact that accountants tend to be the ones heading up the implementation effort, not project managers.

A suggested solution to this is to let the project managers drive the project infocenter and project control implementation portions of Deltek Vision, and let the accountants drive the accounting portion. They are in fact two very different worlds… accounting and project management.

So in a few sentences let me lay out some very important core concepts that you should take to heart when implementing Vision:

1. Things that belong in work breakdown structure are normally Milestones or Deliverables.  One example of a project’s work breakdown structure (WBS) might be:

Project:  2011-1234.01  My big design project
Phase:  0001  Design
Tasks:  1.1 Preliminary discovery and requirements
1.2 Prelim. Design
1.3 Delivery of Design specs to construction

Phase: 0002 Construction
Tasks: 2.1 Source and vet service providers
2.2 Foundation
2.3 Walls
2.4 Roof
2.5 Finishing
2.6 Logo on door

Phase 0003 Permitting
Tasks:  3.1 Review permit requirements
3.2 Testing for compliance
3.3 Permit submittal
3.4 Deal with contingencies or anomolies

Now in Deltek Vision, all of these items go into the WBS tree at levels 1,2 and 3 respectively.  If anyone tells you you can put things like “phone calls and meetings” in there… they are wrong.  There is a right place and wrong place to put things in Deltek Vision.  I am finding that some firms who have converted from FMS to Vision did just that… put their labor codes into the level 3 of the WBS.  Big mistake.  It is correctable by the way… but not out of the box.

2. The activities that you do to accomplish the items in your WBS belong in the Labor Codes area in Deltek Vision:
If you’re wondering where “design meetings”, “phone calls”, “document review”, “field work”, “CAD/Drafting” and “Site inspection” go… think about what those are… they are activities.  They are the things we do to get done the items in the above WBS list. These activities generally can be distilled down to a standardized list of 50 or so “labor codes” or “activity codes” in any firm.

Some firms have as many as 100, but much more than that and you’re making that list confusing and not manageable for the end user.  Note:  While the WBS on projects will vary and change from project to project… the labor code or activity code list does NOT change.  True, every once in a while you may find yourself adding a labor code (especially right after implementation, that list will shift around a bit) but no more than one or items every year or two.  If you find yourself adding a lot of things to your labor codes list, then perhaps you’re not putting the data in the right place.

3. While Deltek Vision is flexible… there is a “right place” and a “wrong place” to store your data.  If you store the data in the wrong place, or if you put time to the wrong part of a project, then your data is meaningless and you might as well go back to using spreadsheets.

I think in the next couple posts I’ll address:
– the chart of accounts… the old way, and the now way.

– some good principals of application design to follow for the layman.