March 2017 – Connecting Your Program’s Dots with DOTS

At The Omnicon Group, we don’t start a project without proper planning, because as leading technical program managers we know that a few hours spent planning can mitigate disaster, especially on critical programs that span multiple years. Our typical planning consists of integrated schedule, budget, technical and programmatic risk management, and manpower loading. 

When it comes to manpower loading, we often need to predict a project’s staffing needs by spreading a total number of man-hours over a period of months. This is not a difficult task, but it can sometimes be tedious. When you have completed spreading the hours over the project’s duration, Excel’s Charting features make it easy to inspect results graphically. 

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However, creating this kind of spread would be significantly easier if you could start with the graph and adjust its shape visually to get the expected total.

Omnicon has developed a tool to better accomplish this. The tool, the Distribute Over Time Software – abbreviated as DOTS, works as follows: 



The tool provides an easy way to manipulate a chart graphically to obtain numerical data, which are often estimates. Chart Wizard turns the numerical data back into graphs or charts that may be useful for some programs. The data can also be the initial (estimated) values entered in Microsoft Project, which then tracks how actual data varies over time from the initial estimates. 

The DOTS tool can be used for many kinds of distribution problems that are not calendar-related. 

  • Allocating a fixed budget to various projects, or allocating a fixed hour total to a project’s tasks
  • Allocating a fixed sum to purchase items of capital equipment

Once a project begins, engineers can use Microsoft Project to track task progress on a variety of contract types (e.g. Firm Fixed Price [FFP], Cost Plus, Cost Plus Fixed Fee, Time and Material [T&M]). First, you need to allocate hours assigned to each task – and the DOTS tool can help here. 

Omnicon program managers have the technical experience and leadership skills to get your program on track and completed on time and under budget. Our knowledge allows us to create tools such as the DOTS tool and develop it to benefit the multitude of companies that we work with. With the unique DOTS tool and our expert engineers, Omnicon provides a winning combination that can lead your project to success. For more information on this tool contact info@omnicongroup.com. 

Tags: DOTS, engineering, engineering services, program management, technical paper, technology

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Omnicon provides custom engineering consultancy services and support for a range of customers in aerospace, defense, transportation and beyond.