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What is the primary focus of VGK Project™?
The purpose of VGK Project is to assist you to execute your projects on time and on budget. VGK Project™ delivers benefits primarily within the monitoring, execution and control aspects of a project. In-depth planning capabilities of VGK Project™ are the preparation stage to successful execution. Combining the planning and execution stages in a single package VGK Project™ gives you the basis for you to plan projects properly and execute them efficiently.
What benefits does VGK Project™ deliver for project planning?
Project planning normally includes the development of a project schedule, estimation of work and resource requirements, as well as a budget. Most project planning applications treat these as loosely related, and quite often require you to use separate applications for each one. VGK Project™ integrates all aspects, allowing you to develop a complete project plan thoroughly and efficiently using a single application.
What is the building block of a project schedule?
In VGK the basic building block of a project is a ‘schedule item’. A schedule item can be considered as a planned work unit or deliverable. Schedule items are components of your project timeline and have business links with predecessors and dependents (other schedule items).
Being a work unit, schedule items incorporate labor, materials, equipment and contractor specifications. A schedule item allows you to set a budget target.
Schedule Items can be further sub-scheduled, allowing you to sub-divide large jobs or deliverables into their components.
To what level of detail should the project be planned?
There is no one answer. Your plan should cover all steps of your project. Overly detailed planning is excessive since it limits flexibility and requires high maintenance. Likewise, a plan that lacks detail lowers the accuracy of your estimates and creates confusion at the execution and control stages.
We recommend you use a schedule item to plan a specific low-level deliverable. When a given deliverable can be broken down into smaller deliverables, then we recommend you to sub-schedule accordingly. Each schedule item incorporates labor, materials, equipment, and contractor work required for the deliverable. It should also have a budget target and a time-frame.
Schedule items can be sub-scheduled as deep as you need. For practical purposes we recommend to limit sub-scheduling to 5 levels. For situations where sub-scheduling is significantly higher than 5 levels we recommend breaking up the project into multiple projects.
How is labor planned?
In VGK Project™ labor planning is based on your work estimates for project deliverables (within schedule items).
Each schedule item begins with a scope or deliverable and from that a list of corresponding activities. Activities include standard types of work of a given qualification (eg. Senior Electrical, Junior Carpentry, Unskilled Labor, Management Support, etc.). For each activity you estimate the necessary man-hours.
Specific employees, contractors or crews can be assigned to activities closer to the time when the project is set to start. Staff selection is based on matching person’s qualification with activity requirement. VGK Project™ helps you to find qualified staff for each activity. Staff assignment is automated, making it easy, fast, and transparent.
Note that some of this functionality requires VGK’s HR module.
How does VGK Project™ assist with project budgeting?
VGK Project™ provides automated cost estimates to help you prepare you project budget. Automated cost estimates alleviate tedious calculations, save time and guarantee that your project plan always incorporates up-to-date values. Cost estimates provide a foundation for you to set realistic budget targets as well as contingency estimates for each schedule item, for jobs, and projects.
Automated cost estimates are calculated for each schedule item. Schedule items include resource requirement data for labor, materials, equipment and contractors. For each resource requirement VGK Project™ automatically calculates a cost estimate using your company’s average rates/prices for the given role/material/equipment and the specified hours/quantities within the schedule item. Contractor costs are added based on values you provide.
Resource costs are tallied for each schedule item and automatically propagated upward throughout your schedule.
VGK Project™ difference between budget and costs estimates
During project planning VGK Project™ performs an automatic cost estimation as well as a project budget calculation. While these are related calculations, there are a number of differences between them:
- labor resource requirements
- materials requirements
- equipment requirements
- subcontractor requirements
- labor resource requirements
- materials requirements
- equipment requirements
- subcontractor requirements
- overhead (admin, insurance, facilities)
Profit and overhead amounts are incorporated into your project budget. Profit and overhead are calculated as a percentage of costs. During planning stage cost estimates are updated automatically from the bottom-up for any change in resource requirements.
Custom contingency amounts can be set on a per-task, per-job as well as on a per-project basis. Targets are calculated based on budget estimates and contingency.
VGK Project™ automatically creates a budget baseline for your project once project is underway. Funding requirements charts are based on the budget baseline.
How does VGK Project™ assist with project progress tracking?
VGK Project™ provides the tools for project and support staff to record progress details conveniently as part of day-to-day work. VGK Project™ collates this data into details on project progress, project performance, project costs, staff performance, inventory, time sheets, client invoice amount, and more. Progress data is integrated with material and equipment inventory, bills processing, and client invoicing.
Progress data is recorded in terms of:
- current activity and work hours
- activity status
- quantity and type of materials used
- quantity and type of equipment used
- contractor progress
How does VGK Project™ calculate actual project costs?
VGK Project™ calculates actual project costs in real-time based on contractor bills, activity work records, materials used, equipment hours and your company’s rates for each resource. Activity costs are automatically incorporated into schedule item costs and propagated up to jobs and projects.
Activity costs are based on the following components:
- employee work hours and specific employee rate
- employee expenses
- materials quantities used and purchase/inventory prices
- equipment time used and inventory/rental rates
- contractor bills
Note that for full functionality you need VGK Billing, VGK HR and VGK Materials modules.
How do I analyze project performance using VGK Project™?
A robust plan vs. actual comparison enables you to directly compare targets to actuals for primary project metrics. High-level analytics and reports are provided as well.
Actual (progress) information is reported on the same terms as planned values. This means that you can directly compare targets to actuals at each project level (schedule item, job, project) and for each resource overall. Primary project metrics include:
- actual timeline to plan comparison
- labor hours and costs for work done as well as how this compares to plan (by labor category if needed)
- materials quantities used and costs compared to plan (by category and overall)
- equipment hours used and overall costs compared to plan (by category and overall)
- contractor work done, timeline and cost compared to plan
- total costs
What task management support is available?
VGK task management tools simplify the chaos of multiple complex projects into a ‘day-to-day’ perspective.
Using VGK Project™ task console users can see their own current tasks from all active projects, effectively plan daily activities, enter work hours, manage issues, and access a range of project shortcuts. In addition managers gain oversight into staff activities and access a wealth of project progress data through project controls.
What issue management support is available?
VGK issue management process ensures that identified issues are raised immediately, addressed quickly and efficiently, and cannot be lost (due to pure communication). VGK Project™ provides a workflow to:
- raise issue and describe issue (by managers and staff)
- share issue with relevant staff
- describe steps for resolution
- delegate issue
- monitor issue progress
- track costs incurred as part of issue resolution
Issues are incorporated into task management tools making each issue clearly visible and impossible to miss.
Issues are preserved with project data, preserving it for further analysis as well as increasing transparency of project work, cost and performance.
What functionality is available for scope change?
Project revisions provide a record of alterations to project scope, budget and schedule that were agreed upon with the client. Revisions can be initiated on behalf of the project manager, client, or based on extra-work-orders.
Extra-work-orders (EWOs) work akin to sub-projects. They are attached to a project similar to an appendix. EWOs allow the project manager to add a project component that is not in the original plan, track work that went into major issues, etc. EWO requests are tracked, executed and controlled like ordinary tasks. EWOs provide transparency on unplanned work and excess costs of a project.
What functionality is provided by VGK HR module?
VGK HR Module extends VGK Project™ with standard HR functionality, including: employee information management, employee workload and performance, as well as organizational hierarchy. HR Module integrates seamlessly with VGK Project™ helping you save time while improving operational efficiency.
Employee information management includes:
- Basic data
- Position, including history
- Salary/rate (current, history)
- Benefits (current, history)
- Qualifications history
- Education & courses, including history
- Safety training and certifications (including validity period)
- Professional associations
This module also extends core functionality on monitoring employee workload and uses project data (from VGK Project™) for an objective means to evaluate employee performance. Performance is evaluated in comparison to other employees doing the same work, as well as compared to project plan.
In addition to staff support, VGK HR Module provides company information support for:
- Organizational chart
- Management structure
- Management rights and responsibilities
VGK HR Module is an add-on module for users who have purchased a license for VGK Project™.
What functionality is provided by VGK Billing and Invoicing module?
VGK Billing and Invoicing Module adds two components to VGK Project™: bills/expenses management and client invoice management. Both components integrate with project controls and provide a smooth collaboration between project staff and accounting staff.
Bills/expenses management allows accounting and project management staff to collaborate on the processing of vendor bills, service provider bills (including contractors) and employee expenses. Each bill and expense can be accurately allocated between project activities, inventory, and overhead. Bills processing workflow includes:
- Bill/expense creation and data entry
- Costs allocation by accounting staff (can break up a bill/expense into components that are allocated between projects, inventory and overhead)
- Allocated costs review by relevant project manager, inventory manager, or admin personnel
- Payment and status tracking
- Problem management
Client invoicing support extends VGK Project™ with a workflow for drafting, review and management of client invoices. Invoicing support is fully integrated with project progress and costs control. Invoicing tools help you calculate invoice amounts, improving accuracy, clarity as well as providing payment status tracking.
VGK Billing and Invoicing Module is an add-on module for users who have purchased a license for VGK Project™.
What functionality is provided by VGK Materials Module?
VGK Material Module addresses your company’s inventory and procurement needs.
With this module you are able to analyze upcoming materials requirements, see current stock, allocate available stock to project activities, efficiently generate purchase orders, trace status of materials, and review material usage (and cost).
VGK Materials Module is an add-on module for users who have purchased a license for VGK Project™.
About data integration between VGK Project™ and VGK Modules
It is common practice to use several poorly connected applications to manage various aspects of a business, applications for: project management, scheduling, materials, HR, finances, etc. Companies have problems because data between the applications is not integrated (or only partly integrated). With VGK Project™ and VGK Modules your data is not duplicated, it is stored as single instance and seamlessly shared between all modules.
Integration of data between applications allows your organization to eliminate duplication (including duplicate data entry) and data discrepancies while improving consistency and reliability.
How and where is business data stored?
VGK Project™ stores all user data in a database. Oracle, MS SQL Server and databases are supported. MS Access is the only database used for VGK Project™ trial version as MS Access can be used without charge.
By default your database is stored on your computers. VGK Project™ is first and foremost on-premise software, which means that you install it yourself on computers that you manage yourself. VGK Business Solutions Ltd. does not have access to your data, nor have responsibility for your computers. Your IT personnel are responsible for set-up and maintenance of your servers, including server security.
Technically it is possible to install VGK Project™ on a server that VGK Business Solutions Ltd manages. This option would simplify deployment and decrease burden on your IT at the cost of having VGK Business Solutions Ltd manage your data. If you are interested in this option, please sign up for a free demo and specify that you need a ‘managed install’. Out of privacy concerns about your data we do not recommend this option.
How does VGK Project™ guarantee data integrity?
VGK Project™ uses a unified, carefully designed database that integrates information from all modules. This ensures that when you access any specific piece of information it will be accurate and identical for all users.
Pre-save validation routines ensure data you enter into VGK Project™ is accurate. Data validation includes business rules validation, data integrity validation, possible duplication check, and other checks. Validation is executed prior to saving in the database; validation presents you with all identified issues.
How does VGK Project™ guarantee the privacy of your data?
Data privacy is concerned with the lawful handling of data, including: collection, storage, and sharing with 3rd parties. Regulations such as PIPEDA (Canada) and GDPR (EU) set the legal framework for data privacy.
VGK Project™ complies with data privacy regulations, and in effect goes further to guarantee privacy of business data. By default VGK Project™ is installed on-premise, on your company’s servers. This means that neither VGK Business Solutions Ltd. nor any 3rd party have access to your data. We see this as the maximum level of data privacy possible for businesses.
How does VGK Project™ secure your data?
Your data is encrypted in transit over the internet.
Your database is not encrypted on your hard disk. By default VGK Project™ is installed on your premises, so only your company has access to your servers, making database encryption not essential. For on-premises installations VGK Business Solutions Ltd. does not have access to your data at any point in time. You are responsible for the networking and security of your servers.
Does VGK Project™ work over the internet?
Yes, VGK Project™ incorporates a web component that allows you to access your data through the Internet (remotely). VGK Project™ is not a web application, which means that everyone needs to have it installed on their computer.
Based on your location (network or remote) you setup VGK Project™ to use Network or Web channel to access application data. Rest assured that when working online all data is encrypted in transit between server and client.
How are reports organized in VGK Project™?
VGK Project™ provides reports to help you to monitor, analyze and communicate project as well as company performance. A large number of reports come standard with VGK Project™.
Reports are organized into two primary sections: summary reports and current screen reports. Summary reports are across project projects, your company, or resources. Current screen reports are focused on your current activity, such as your currently selected project screen, material, equipment, resource, etc. Current screen reports are provided for major VGK Project™ screens, including: schedule, finances, resources, cash flow, etc.
Individual reports can be plugged or unplugged from your VGK Admin™ console at any time, enabling you to de-clutter your reports list to those relevant to your needs. Frequently used reports can be marked with a “preferred” tag. A dedicated search exists to help you quickly find your desired report.
Many reports can be customized by you. For example, in some cases you are able to remove specific columns from printing from a given report. Customization is saveable and shareable company-wide. Completely custom reports are made by VGK Business Solutions Ltd. on demand.
What is the purpose of VGK Admin?
VGK Admin™ is sister application to VGK Project™ that handles all administrative tasks. VGK Admin™ is installed alongside with VGK Project™ on computers that need it. Using VGK Admin™, your administrator can perform following tasks:
- Manage user groups and users
- Set group permissions for every form and restrictions (if necessary)
- Plug in or unplug reports
- Manage VGK licenses
- Set preferred language and translations
What user roles and permissions are available?
VGK Project™ includes a robust user permission system that controls functionality and data that a given user has access to. User permissions are managed using VGK Admin™ through user groups. Your administrators can define as many groups as are needed for your company. For example, you might have groups like: project manager, engineer, HR, accounting, executive, employee. Each user belongs to only one user group. A clean installation of VGK Admin™ has the following user groups:
Each user group has a set of permissions to access, view, edit, etc. specific components of VGK Project™. For example, the Executive user group has access to company-wide financial data, forms, and reports – data that other groups may not have access to.
You can set up very fine grained permissions. For example, ‘form restriction’ can suppress sensitive information on VGK Project™ forms. This would allow you to hide your project schedule business information (rates, prices, amounts) from a user group such as ‘Employee’. This would mean that employees access information that is required to perform their tasks, while not being privy to sensitive data. Reports automatically inherit user group permissions and restrictions.
How does licensing work?
You can upgrade your free installation to a licensed one at any time. This step does not require any application re-installation and will preserve all of your data.
VGK Project™ offers flexible licensing. You can purchase the number of licenses you need for VGK Project™ and modules. Your purchased licenses set the limit on the number of simultaneously logged-in users who can use the application.
Licenses need to be updated yearly. One month prior to license expiry VGK Project™ starts giving you warnings about license expiry. Failure to renew a license downgrades your version of VGK Project™ to a free version. Your data will not be lost, however some functionality will be inaccessible.
Is it possible to translate VGK Project™ to another language?
VGK Project™ has built in internationalization support.
Currently, in order to translate VGK Project™ the user needs to provide translations for text that corresponds to screen items, warnings, tooltips, etc. For your convenience you can export application communication information into external (MS Access, Notepad, Excel) file, obtain translations (using professional service for example) and import translations back into the database. Having translations also allows you to share it with another Company.
Currently VGK Project™ works uses American English. In the future VGK Project™ will be available in more languages.
What are the limitations of the free version of VGK Project™?
VGK offers you a free (non-licensed) use of VGK Project™. You can use the free version for as long as you want (it is not time-restricted). The limitations of the free version are in functionality. These are the main limitations:
- Functionality will be limited to base modules (Common and Schedule). You cannot install additional modules (such as HR, Billing & Invoicing)
- Advanced VGK Project™ functionality will be turned off and not available.
- You will be limited to use default number of reports (currently 35).
- No automatic updates will be available. You can always ask for an up-to-date version of the program, although we do not guarantee smooth transition between the old and new versions.
- You will be limited to a maximum number of projects in your application (currently 100).
- No VGK Project™ web component.
- Maximum number of 5 logged-in users on your local network.
How does VGK Business Solutions Ltd. guarantee user satisfaction?
We ask you to use free the version of VGK Project™ prior purchasing licensing. The free version will give you a good insight into VGK Project™ functionality as well as performance.
The process of acquiring a license (from VGK Project™) gives you a 30 day window to pay. You may use this window to test the full version of VGK Project™. Please bear in mind that upon failure to process payment for the license within that time-frame VGK Project™ will revert to a free version and you may lose some of your data.