Secrets to Successful Project Management
June 7, 2001
Visit the AccountingWEB Workshop Calendar for upcoming sessions.
This workshop is a "nuts and bolts" synthesis of the most important lessons I have learned during my years as an implementation specialist in a classical project management setting. My original training is closely based on the methodology created by the Project Management Institute, the certifying body of the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential.
You can read the complete transcript of the workshop.
- What is Project Management
- The Project Management Life Cycle
- Project Initiation
- How to Organize and Define the Project
- Developing Your Project Plan
- The Three Constraints in Every Project
- Common Mistakes Made and How to Avoid Them
- Developing Your Own Personal Toolbox
- Managing Your Client (or Boss!)
- Managing Your Own Time
- How to deal with multiple projects and multiple deadlines
- When to use Project 98, 2000 or other project management software
Project Management Workshop
June 7, 2001
Good Afternoon! And thanks for attending this workshop today. My goal is to provide you with the highlights of what I consider the most important lessons that I have learned as a project manager. I don’t profess to have all of the answers but if you take the time to review this material the next time you either lead or participate on a project team, I promise you will be ahead of the game.
I have an outline written that I will be presenting to you. And periodically I will ask for questions. I will try to answer your questions briefly as we go, but may ask you to wait if I know the answer is upcoming in the presentation. I will try to use commonly used terms, but please stop me if I have said something that you don’t understand. There’s a lot of vocabulary out there but most project managers agree on the basic principles to be followed.
Let’s start by defining the term….Project. What does the word “project” mean to you? The Project Management Institute (PMI) recently revised its PMBOK (pronounced Pim Bock) or Project Management Body of Knowledge and came up with this definition: “a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service”.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) goes on further to define project management as ….”the application of knowledge, skill, tools, and techniques to project activities in order to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations from a project.”
This means we are talking about a one time effort, with a beginning and an end, preferably completed on time and within budget. Building an airplane is a project, whether it’s a paper plane or a Boeing 747. Converting a company’s financial records onto a new accounting system is a project. And converting the accounts payable module is a smaller sub-project within the larger project of converting all of the modules in an larger accounting system.
Initiating a project. Every enterprise probably has a different way of initiating projects. Smaller entities often generate new projects in the course of a regular staff meeting. Larger entities often insert project initiatives into their annual business plans. However it’s done, management somehow communicates to others that a project has been proposed and approved. Often, the project goal or objective seems relatively simple (e.g. “I want this company up and running on the new “ACME” Financial system by year-end.”) Then everyone leaves the room. The discussions begin and we begin to realize that we aren’t quite sure what exactly the project is or is not.
For example……. are we just supposed to convert the existing data over to the new system? Or are we supposed to clean up the chart of accounts, too! And should we finish the reconciliations required to get us to a really clean balance sheet? What about the processes and procedures used in the departments? Is this the time for some process re-engineering? Do we even need all of our existing staff? Should we migrate some of the department’s work to another location? Is preparing documentation for on-going staff part of this project? How much training do we want to roll into this project? How many of these meetings have you attended in the last year?
How to Organize and Define the Project. Let’s start by talking about how to organize and define a project. Or is it define and organize? What you will realize is that it often takes several iterations to really get to a satisfactory result. So don’t be concerned if some of the items we discuss seem a little out of order. In real life, you will probably only get part way through any of them before you realize that you need to at least begin working on the others. I have numbered each item and will provide you with a complete listing at the end of the workshop.
Organize-1. Identify the core team and any sub-teams, if applicable. Sit down and start making a list. Who has critical information or knowledge required to complete the project? Who works well together? What other departments or locations should be represented? You might end up with a small team of two or three people or a large diversified core team made up of leaders from each of the sub-teams. Appointment of a project manager early helps to “drive” the process and keep the project from ending up on the back burner.
Once you have identified the team, define their roles. Estimate how much of each person’s time will be required and the duration of time for which you are requesting their commitment. Don’t forget to get their supervisor’s approval, and even more important, their support to have their subordinates involved in your project. Successful teams tend to come from disparate locations. If you don’t have the buy-in you need from other departments or locations, you will be fighting an uphill battle the entire project.
Organize-2. Identify the stakeholders or sponsors. This next step is usually obvious, but sometimes not. Either way you need to locate a sponsor(s) that has a stake in the outcome. Who stands to win the most if you succeed or lose the most if you fail. Larger projects often have steering committees to provide oversight to the project, authorize and release funding, and make go vs. no-go decisions when necessary. Avoid projects without sponsors or with sponsors that “bail” on you because they never really had a stake in the outcome. Seek mentors to help guide you through the “office politics” of these situations.
Organize-3 List any major assumptions that must be made in order to complete the project. I can think of at least three reasons to do this exercise before the project ever begins. One, it will help you realize the conditions that need to exist in order for your project to be successful. Two, it will help clarify your project scope and duration. Three, it will protect you from people with poor memories who will claim down the road that you never disclosed certain important facts, allowing them to formulate excuses not to support you!
Here are some examples of what I mean by assumptions; Additional IT support staff will be hired as documented in the 2001 Annual Business Plan. The Fort Lauderdale office will be closed, no longer requiring our support after August 31, 2001. The Annual Budget approval process will generate the $25,000 or $250,000 required to hire contract labor to complete this project by yearend. Don't be shy but again, do find a way to be politically correct.
Organize-4 Develop a program and tracking system for issues and tasks. You need to keep a log for both tasks and issues. Tasks are to do items. Issues are tasks that the team can’t resolve on its own. I will give you more suggestions on how to create these items later when I discuss building your own personal toolbox. You will also need to determine what the process will be for escalating items to higher levels of management when required. Determining what is reasonable and what is fair is much easier if you establish it early when you can use hypothetical situations, before any real situations or personalities are involved. Your escalation plan should also include how long you let an issue drag on without resolution.
Organize-5 Identify Risks. Risk management should be an integral part of the project and project planning.
Risk is a really large topic, probably deserving of its own workshop. There are many kinds of risks. I will just try to give you a couple of examples of how you might define and quantity the risk of your project.
Identified Risk #1 – The entire world was worried about Y2K (Year 2000) risk. And most of it never really existed. All of the large banking institutions were ready for Y2K months ahead of schedule.
Identified Risk #2 – If the mortgage origination system is not implemented on time, a risk exists that sales people will generate a pipeline of mortgages that have not been funded. Relying on the old system, or no system may put the bank into a position where it loses applications to other banks or misses the “window of opportunity” to provide lower interest rates to borrowers.
Identified Risk #3 – Our employees know that we plan to outsource our computer operations. All of our best employees are searching for new positions. If we don’t finish this project this quarter, we may not have the expertise or manpower on staff to complete the project later this year. This creates a risk that additional funding will be required to locate and engage manpower and required expertise.
One of the ways you can mitigate or minimize risk is to identify several acceptable levels of success. Make sure you succeed at the lowest level but strive for the highest level. Maybe the best you can do is get one of three offices up and running. Also, always have a contingency plan that specifies exactly what will happen if you are not successful with your project or unable to complete the project on time. And make sure senior management is aware of the risk of success or failure. More about this when we discuss communications.
Organize-6 Develop the Project Objective Statement. You need to figure out what “done” looks like. Is it is a converted system, has the converted data been validated, was documentation completed, was training provided? If you are doing a good job with your project planning, this statement will be really, really specific. It’s also OK to specify what will not be included in your project. Get everyone involved to participate. You will be surprised at how different minds will interpret your basic statement of your objective.
Organize-7 Document the Requirements and Assemble a list of Deliverables. You must document, in as much detail as is practical and reasonable, exactly what the requirements are for your project. Only include what is required for your project to be “done” and look like the Project Objective Statement mentioned in #6. If you’ve done a good job, you should be able to assemble an actual list of deliverables which will serve as indicators that you have reached certain milestones in your project. A revised chart of accounts, a proposed migration plan, a conversion weekend calendar, and a procedures manual would all be examples of “deliverables”.
Organize-8 Establish Ground Rules. You need to have some basic rules for your little temporary civilization. Meetings shall start and end on time. Be prepared to speak to your assigned tasks when you come to the meetings. Return all phone calls and respond to all emails within 24 hours of receipt. Sensitive issues stay in the meetings. Be sure to provide for freedom of speech. Don’t waste people’s time. Schedule separate meetings for issues that don’t require the attendance of the entire team. Most team members will report a positive experience if they are simply treated with respect.
How to Develop the Project Plan. This is the planning phase of the project. This is the part of the project where you actually roll up your sleeves, bring in the sandwiches, and get out the post-it notes, storyboards, write boards, or whatever else you need to plan out the details of your project.
Plan-1 Identify the tasks that need to be completed. Assuming that you have been careful to understand the user requirements, you are ready to list out the actual tasks to be completed. Some individuals like to dive-into the Project Management software at this point. And that is OK, just remember to keep things comparable. You don’t want “close the Omaha, NE office” to be listed at the same level of importance as “email new employees details on how to research medical benefits on the company intra-net”. As a project manager, I would just advise you to request information at the level required for the different team members to work cooperatively on the project. Let sub-teams have their own detailed tasking and issues (that they can escalate to your level).
It’s really important to be a strong leader when this information is being imparted to you. Sometimes an independent facilitator or storyboarding expert is brought into this meeting to control the tone and direction of the meeting. A facilitator is just a person who is experienced with controlling the room and collecting and organizing the data. They don’t necessarily have any background in the subject being discussed.
Plan-2 Assign responsibilities. Assign responsibilities to people who will complete the task and honor the commitment to you. Look to these people for realistic determinations of the time and effort required to complete each task.
Plan-3 Estimate how long it will take to complete each task. Start looking for real commitments. Beware of “volunteers” who will let you put their name on anything but deliver nothing.
Plan-4 Sequence the work. When you start to sequence the tasks, more tasks will be uncovered and the critical path will begin to reveal itself. The critical path is where there is absolutely no “slack” or extra time. There is no way to speed up the process by adding resources or working on more than one item in a parallel fashion.
Plan-5 Locate the critical path. Here’s an example. The normal turn around period for obtaining a U.S. Passport is three weeks if you pay the normal fee and rely on normal mail service. The time for obtaining a passport is three days if you pay an extra fee for a personal expeditor to walk your application through and return it to you Fedex. Suppose you need to acquire this passport for someone in your office to go to France for an important project related meeting next week. Obtaining the passport has now become part of the critical path because the participant can’t attend the meeting without it. If you have the extra funds in your budget, the critical path can be shortened to three days.
Plan-6 Optimize the plan. Once you have located the critical path, you can fill in the other tasks based on logical sequence and availability of resources. I generally fill-in open time with documentation and training tasks which are often not required to be complete until the project is itself complete.
Plan-7 Prepare a Resource plan.
Plan-8 Prepare a Project Budget.
Most of us are still required to petition upper management for the physical and human resources required to complete a project.
Plan-9 Develop a risk-management plan. It’s good to be an optimist, but it’s practical to realize what the worst case could be and plan for it. Try to avoid catastrophes but always have a contingency plan in the event you need it. For example, if the Dallas system is not up and running on the first of the month, plan to fly extra materials to be processed to Atlanta or Chicago for the extra four days needed to bridge the gap.
Plan-10 Determine the “driver” to be Time, Cost, or Performance. This is also called following the Rule of Three’s. Every project is driven by one of these constraints. If you fail to achieve the driver, the project fails. For example, the old security system in the Seattle warehouse will be disconnected on July 31. Time will be the driver for this project. There is no flexibility. The other constraints will have some flexibility. You may be allowed to spend additional funds to secure a new system by July 31. Or you may be able to hook-in to the monitoring system for another nearby location (flexibility in the actual level of performance achieved by the deadline). The bottom line on this is that you will usually get a clear indication from upper management about what they the driver to be.
How to Implement the Project Plan. This is the implementation phase of the project.
Implement-1 Manage the three constraints: time, budget, and performance. Remember that fixing any two determines the outcome of the third. Another good piece of advice is to avoid committing to any date not driven by a business case. Arbitrary deadlines really have no meaning if there is not a corresponding business event in the real world. The next several steps should assist you with this effort.
Implement-2 Develop your own personal toolbox. Over time, you will begin to realize that you have accumulated a “toolbox” of ideas, forms to use, methods for handling situations, etc. I say that the following five tools are required for everyone. The Contact List. I’m dead serious. People will be impressed because you can produce a one page list with everyone’s land, fax, cell, and pager phone numbers, department codes, mailing codes, and email addresses. Have everyone email this information to you at the beginning of your project and recirculate it every week with the agenda for your next meeting.
The second must have is The Task List. The format may vary slightly from project to project but people will appreciate someone keeping track of the work to be done. Some people like to force this into their MicroSoft Project 98 or 2000 files but then you are confronted with everyone needing to be able to use the software. Real world, I use Microsoft Word or Excel. And I try to make it letter size, if possible. Figure out what columns you need. And indicate high priority items if you don’t want to review the entire list every project meeting. Important columns might include; date opened, description, date needed, date complete, assign responsibility, status, comments.
My third item is The Issues list. Every issue of significance open or closed should be on this list. Again, I usually use Microsoft Word or Excel. Don’t delete closed items from the list. Cut and paste them to the end of the document if they really become a nuisance. This will create a great record of who decided what and when. It will also answer the question, “Did we ever make a decision regarding……or did that item just get dropped from the project.”
Item 4 is The Agenda. The deadline for submitting items for the weekly agenda should be part of the ground rules. Item 5 is Meeting Minutes. There is nothing I like less than getting stuck with writing minutes. But I can’t tell you how many times others have corrected what I thought I understood perfectly. Meeting Minutes will only help the project if they contain real and useful information. If you can’t be open and honest with what you write, don’t bother taking them. And don’t read them in the meeting. Make corrections to the minutes part of the agenda.
Email everyone with a meeting reminder each week that contains this five items as attachments. Always include essential time, location, and conference call numbers. And if your project is located in more than one time zone, just pick a time zone and always refer to it. Always speak in ET or EDT to everyone and let people in the west make their adjustments, or vice versa. I once worked on a project with a project leader in San Francisco who insisted on trying to communicate with me using Arizona time which varies from California time only in the winter. She kept trying to calculate Mountain Daylight Time for me, and we don’t have it in Arizona.
Implement-3 Document! Document! Document! The next subject is documentation. Document your files. Take the time to write down the logic and train of thought for any analysis or decisions or conclusions you made so you do not have to come up over the learning curve a second time on an issue you spent hours on weeks or months earlier in the project. There is no point in keeping the records if you or another person cannot read and understand them.
Implement-4 Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Again, another topic deserving of its own workshop. Include Communications between project team members when establishing your Ground Rules. For others in the organization, you can try exectuive briefings, assembly presentations, newsletters, lunch and learn sessions, and even project marketing (posters, brochures). Good communications will keep you out of the “dog house” if something goes wrong!
Implement-5 Beware of “scope creep”. Scope creep kills! Refer back to your Project Objective Statement and Detailed Requirements often. Escalate requests to include additional items to upper management.
Implement-6 Don’t forget Best Practices and Lessons Learned. Do the Post Mortem work. Write down what you did right and what you would do differently. You will help yourself and others!
Advice for Managing Multiple Projects. OK, we are going to go take what time we have left to make a few points about managing multiple projects.
Multiple-1 Break larger projects into smaller phases or pieces, if possible. Remember what happened when Bill and Hillary Clinton decided to revamp the U.S. Health Care System as one project. Enough said. Be prepared to give up some efficiences and economies of scale in the name of being to report that something was actually completed. Web based projects give us another example of why it makes sense to break projects into smaller pieces. Technology changes, the market changes, you want to complete the project while it is still relevant.
Multiple-2 Calculate the downside. Figure out what will happen if the project is not completed on time. If it is not completed within budget. What will happen if it is not completed?
Multiple-3 Evaluate the importance and urgency of the portfolio. Portfolios are a collection of projects. Projects are a collection of tasks. Break the work down into components that are small enough to ruthlessly apply the Urgent/Important analysis. You’ve probably seen this before with time management courses. Is it Urgent? Is it important? Kill all projects if they are not important. Reduce important but not urgent items to a lower priority and concentrate on the Urgent and Important group of tasks, projects, etc.
Multiple-4 Prioritize and Reprioritize. Revisit your multiple project scheduling often. Is it still Urgent and Important? Can you take advantage of any changes that have occurred in the time, budget, or performance constraints? I would also revisit your initial planning documentation to make sure something important didn’t “slip” through the crack. (e.g. “We forgot to arrange for a 220 outlet for the mega-copier.”)
Multiple-5 Determine the Least Resource. Schedule the time constraint projects first. Then schedule the scarce resources into the time constraint projects.
Multiple-6 Look for Opportunities to Delegate. Train and Cross-train to develop your people. Take a chance on their creativity. Assign responsibility and a due date to every task to control the process. Create a feedback mechanism to monitor progress. Look for opportunities to outsource work overload.
Multiple-7 Become an Exceptional Estimator. Collect historical data for time estimates. Beware of pessimists who claim to be realists when providing estimates to you. Take the time to do some background checking on new vendors or contractors. Compare your estimates to those of others in the industry. Try to build some slack time into your schedules.
Multiple-8 Trade Excess Capacity with other Departments.
Multiple-9 Consider other opportunities to save time. Sometimes you can speed up a task by allocating more resources to it; major resources. This is called “Crashing”. You will have to decide for yourself whether the benefits are worth the costs. Or maybe your boss will have to decide how badly he wants the project completed a….week….month….quarter early.
Multiple-10 Consider using Project Management software to save time. I have two pieces of advice on this topic. First, do not over-engineer the degree of detail you put into your project planning. If you keep it sensible, you can use software such as Project 98 or 2000 to your advantage. It is, in my opinion, a very garbage in – garbage out kind of process. It will only be as useful as the level of ownership taken by the people responsible for supplying the tasks.
Second, percentage of completion is next to worthless as a concept, ask what amount of effort is still required to complete the project. If there’s still 90% to go, the percentage of completion is 10%, not 20% because someone said it was 10% last week and you need to show progress. Some project managers have scrapped the flexible percentage of completion concept and only allow 0% or 100%, or maybe 0%, 50% or 100%. I think either of these methods are a great idea.
Multiple-11 KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) Do not try and reinvent the wheel. Acknowledge reality and be realistic in your commitments. Control size and scope. Work hard at managing the expectations of team members and stakeholders. Try adding one or two new methodologies to a project, not every thought on your ten year goal list. Under promise and over deliver. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
Time for Review. Here is the list of topics covered under the organization phase.
O-1 Identify the core team and any sub-teams, if applicable.
O-2 Identify the stakeholders or sponsors.
O-3 List any major assumptions that must be made in order to complete the project.
O-4 Develop a program and tracking system for issues and tasks.
O-5 Identify Risks.
O-6 Develop the Project Objective Statement.
O-7 Document the Requirements and Assemble a list of Deliverables.
O-8 Establish Ground Rules.
Here is the list of topics covered under the planning phase.
P-1 Identify the tasks that need to be completed.
P-2 Assign responsibilities.
P-3 Estimate how long it will take to complete each task.
P-4 Sequence the work.
P-5 Locate the critical path.
P-6 Optimize the plan.
P-7 Prepare a Resource plan.
P-8 Prepare a Project Budget.
P-9 Develop a risk-management plan.
P-10 Determine the “driver” to be Time, Cost, or Performance
Here is the list of topics covered under the implementation phase.
I-1 Manage the three constraints: time, budget, and performance.
I-2 Develop your own personal toolbox.
I-3 Document! Document! Document!
I-4 Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
I-5 Beware of “scope creep”.
I-6 Don’t forget Best Practices and Lessons Learned.
Here is the list of topics covered under advice for multiple projects.
M-1 Break larger projects into smaller phases or pieces, if possible.
M-2 Calculate the downside.
M-3 Evaluate the importance and urgency of the portfolio.
M-4 Prioritize and Reprioritize.
M-5 Determine the Least Resource.
M-6 Look for Opportunities to Delegate.
M-7 Become an Exceptional Estimator.
M-8 Trade Excess Capacity with other Departments.
M-9 Consider other opportunities to save time.
M-10 Consider using Project Management software to save time.
M-11 KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!)
How to get upper management to implement more project management. If you are dealing with individuals who are receptive to these kinds of ideas, you could start by putting together simple proposals about how you would organize and implement specific project management techniques in an upcoming project. Remember the KISS principle and Keep It Simple Stupid! And I do mean simple. Creating something as simple as a one-page form that really works may take several iterations before you accomplish your goal. Don’t over commit yourself, (that’s what bosses are for!)
If you can’t get formal project management methodology accepted within your organization, then implement your own in any way you can. Begin to build your own toolbox of project management skills. Volunteer, when it makes sense, to be the “point” person for monitoring the status of a project that is personally important to you. Don’t just stand by the water cooler and commiserate with others about issues; develop an issues list that documents each and every item you want to have discussed. (Always remembering you may be forced into political correctness….see Mentoring section earlier in this workshop.)
Seriously though, it’s the lack of understanding that you really need to overcome. We need to teach upper management that there is more to project management than project scheduling. Some of these people may have had some “bad” experiences in the past searching for the critical path in a set of complex workflow diagrams or trying to calculate the BCWS (budgeted cost of work scheduled).
You might also try to get approval to attend a project management skills seminar. Skillpath Seminars (www.skillpath.com) holds one day seminars in several major cities. I haven’t been to one of these meetings, but I did review their collateral material and thought the agenda was excellent.
For those of you interested in learning more about formal project management methodology. You can obtain a free download of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) from the PMI website at www.pmi.org. Detailed information on how to qualify for the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential is also available from the same website. I would also refer all of you to www.techrepublic.com and www.gantthead.com for more information than you could ever possibly read. These are the two sources that I use the most to keep current.
I would also recommend looking for a mentor or coach. This person might be located in yo
ur office or it might be a person from a completely different environment. In these days of radical cost cutting and increasing shareholder value, a lot of organizations don’t have the built-in mentoring culture that existed in the past. Joining a professional organization can also be a great help! It will help you develop new skills and provide you with a gathering place to share and exchange information. The Project Management Institute has local chapters throughout the United States. Local internet and software associations are also great groups to join.
And don’t forget about developing other “soft” skills. It’s important to be a good communicator, both verbally and in writing. Good listening is important if you expect to be able to synthesize any feedback collected from your team. Mediation and other conflict resolution skills will also serve you well. The bottom line is that you will never be a really great project manager without great people skills!
Are there any other questions before I conclude the workshop? Thank you for coming. If you want to email me with a project management question; my email address is email@example.com.
Let me leave you with these Ten Commandments for Project Management. I found the list at techrepublic.com. It was created by SkillPath Seminars to be used as a learning tool in their workshops.
I. Set a goal (mission statement).
II. Determine project objectives (how you plan to achieve the goal).
III. Establish time and budget estimates with the stakeholders.
IV. Create checkpoints (milestones indicating progress).
V. Assign responsibility for each task identified.
VI. Draw a picture or flowchart of the project schedule (remember KISS).
VII. Direct people not only as a team but individually.
VIII. Find ways to help your team take ownership.
IX. Document and communicate progress.
X. Encourage creativity.
Renee Jenkins,CPA brings with her 20 years of experience in all areas of accounting including controllership, financial analysis, business planning, and due diligence. She recently spent four years specializing in the implementation phase of large scale financial projects for the financial accounting hub of the global retail bank for Bank of America. Most of her project management assignments were related to either consumer lending or mortgage origination and servicing. Later, when the bank was acquired by Nations Bank, she was a member of the functional migration team that coordinated the efficient transfer of all accounting functions from their Phoenix location to central accounting headquarters and regional operations centers in the eastern United States. Her areas of expertise include process analysis, change management, functional migration, facilitation of project team meetings, development of project plans, and issue and task management.
Ms. Jenkins began her career at Arthur Andersen & Co. where she specialized in real estate taxation. Later, she worked as a financial and administrative officer for real estate developers and syndicators. Her financing experience includes construction lending, working capital lines and both consumer and mortgage lending. Ms. Jenkins used this experience to begin a project management career as a litigation support specialist. She has worked with several law firms on matters involving white collar crime and embezzlement, real estate fraud, bankruptcy, wrongful discharge, domestic relations, business valuations, and contract disputes. She earned her Certified Fraud Examiner credential in 1994.
Ms. Jenkins holds both a B.S. Degree in Accounting and a Master of Accounting Degree from the University of Arizona. She taught undergraduate level courses at the University of Arizona in the areas of financial accounting, management accounting, and governmental accounting for not-for-profit institutions.
Ms. Jenkins is a member of the Phoenix based BizDawgs Group. BizDawgs is a group of multi-disciplinary consultants working together to provide various business services to help clarify, position, develop, promote, and make your business profitable. Services are targeted to established small and medium size businesses with annual revenue or projected revenue ranging from $1 million to $150 million.