Ett DiGiovanni

Recent Posts

Why PRISM Docs Is The Leading Document Management Solution

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Sep 8, 2017 3:47:34 PM

So you've been searching for a tool to use for document management.  The market is full of options, so how do you know what's right for you? 

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Topics: Helpful Tips, PRISM News, Efficiency

What Does "Out Of The Box" Software Really Mean?

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Aug 9, 2016 2:33:31 PM

When someone tells you that something is “out of the box”, what goes through your mind?

The reason I ask is that you may be surprised by what the term “out of the box” means to some people, especially in regards to software.  Some companies argue that “out of the box” includes software that provides basic functionality when initially installed, but requires additional custom development before it would be considered usable in a working environment.  After all, they argue, the software is partially usable - it can be installed on a computer and will start, it will show basic forms and menus. True, it doesn’t yet include all the functions you need, but that’s just a configuration issue, right? The software seller has promised to “configure” the software (for an additional cost over a period of months) to include the missing functions.  So, why can’t they call their software “out of the box”?

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Topics: Earned Value Management, Project Lifecycle Management, Change Management, Cost Management, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Software

PRISM for Joint Venture Projects

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Dec 22, 2015 2:19:31 PM

Formation of Joint Ventures

Over the years projects have grown progressively larger and more complex. Execution of these large projects may require access to specialized project management knowledge contributed by an array of different people.  

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Topics: Project Lifecycle Management, Helpful Tips, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Software

The Devil's in the Details: How to Get Accurate Progress Measurement

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Jun 8, 2015 9:24:47 AM

Introduction: Is it best to report on the progress of engineering work on a project using solely a CPM schedule?  I agree that it is possible, but not practical. Creating, in some cases, hundreds or thousands of activities, resource loading them, manually assigning progress steps, and linking the activities with logic connectors would result in a scheduling nightmare. Consider integrating your cost and schedule activities for accurate progress measurement. Here's why...

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Topics: Cost Management, Engineering, Procurement, Contracts

5 Steps to Creating A Detailed Forecast in PRISM

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on May 4, 2015 4:36:29 PM

As many of you know, PRISM is a forecasting tool that helps you pinpoint potential problems with real-time forecasting and variance analysis. But is it possible to create a detailed forecast with quantities and unit rates that can then be linked to a control account?

The answer is yes and it can be done using the Budget Details.

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Topics: Helpful Tips, Forecasting

Helpful Tips: New Improvement to the PRISM Navigation Pane

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Jan 1, 2015 5:00:00 AM

Happy New Year from ARES PRISM! We are bringing in the new year with a helpful tip for all our loyal PRISM users. In the latest 3.6 release, we've made an improvement to the Navigation Pane. Now, total and sub-total values appear on the same row as the grouping fields. In previous versions, these values could only be seen if you drilled down to the Control Panel level and would show up at the bottom of each list. 

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Topics: Helpful Tips, Cost Management

Project Management Dilemma: Develop a Custom Solution or Purchase “Out-of-the-box”

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Dec 15, 2014 2:41:00 PM


We’ve all heard the saying, “Caught in the horns of a dilemma”. It relates to the need to make a decision between two equally unfavorable situations. Hence the word “horns”.

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Topics: White Paper Downloads, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Software

A Project Is A Project Is A Project: Project Controls No Matter What Size Project

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Sep 4, 2014 2:51:00 PM

All projects require budgets, schedules, and a performance management baseline. All projects require change management and status reports to stakeholders. So, why do only big projects get dedicated project controls when every project needs it? 

You may be familiar with the phrase “A rose is a rose is a rose”. Or maybe even “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Both phrases, the first by Gertrude Stein and the other by William Shakespeare, typically connote the idea that, with all things considered, you can’t change what something is. In that same vein, I would venture the phase “A project is a project is a project.”  While not poetic, there is a truth in it.

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Topics: Cost Management, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Software

Let's Learn From Our Mistakes: Perfect Project Change Management

Posted by Ett DiGiovanni on Jul 15, 2014 9:29:00 AM

We have all done it.  We know what it’s like to track changes on a project manually. It seems much easier than having to create change records and get everyone’s approval.  But there is a high risk involved in this manual approach. Not only can it affect the validity of our project data, but it obscures visibility into our projects true health.  Here’s my story about the importance of project change management. 

Awhile back I was asked to help out one of our clients.  They were using our PRISM software for project controls on a refinery project.  The project had already been running for a couple of years and they were about 50% complete. 

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Topics: Change Management, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Software