Value Papers

The people at VMS are continuously innovating and contributing to the Value Methodology body of knowledge and advancements in value engineering and risk management. We’re also on the cutting edge of new techniques and tools in uncertainty modeling, business process improvement, decision analysis, and creativity.

How VE and Decision Analysis are Improving Mobility across Borders (PDF), by Mark Baza, Nicola Bernard, and Robert Stewart

District 11 of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently completed a Value Analysis  (VA) study for the new State Route  11  (SR‐11) Highway project.   This project will provide the transportation infrastructure that will connect the planned Otay Mesa East border crossing with Mexico to the existing state highway system.  One of the primary challenges of this project is the need to meet the goals and objectives of a diverse group of stakeholders that includes the Federal  Highway  Administration,  General  Services  Administration,  San  Diego  County, City of San Diego, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and Caltrans.  This study utilized advanced decision support software called Decision Lens™ to assess the value of various design concepts, identify project issues, develop stakeholder consensus and guide the VA process in improving upon the initial design concepts.  This paper will discuss the impact of the VA study from a project management perspective and the tools and techniques that made it successful.

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Organization Aging and the Role of Value Methodology (PDF), by Robert Stewart

All organizations age over time and, like humans, they display varying levels of impairment that manifest as specific, discernible symptoms. While organizational aging is irreversible, it can be proactively managed in ways that can reduce the impact of these progressive disabilities and delay their onset. This paper will explore the concept of organizational aging; frame it within the context of the Value Methodology (VM) technique of function analysis; and demonstrate how the technique can be applied to address it.

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The Application of Function Analysis System Technique for Program Management (PDF), by Chili Cilch, AVS, and Robert Stewart

Function Analysis System Technique, better known as FAST Diagramming, is well understood regarding its use on technology focused applications ranging from manufactured products to construction projects. While FAST has been applied to business processes and human management and organizational systems, there is in general a dearth of literature regarding techniques pertaining to these types of applications.

Recently, the authors facilitated a Value Management study that focused on improving the products and services delivered by an entire program within the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Specifically, the study examined the Division of Transportation Planning (DOTP). This paper will explore the challenges of applying FAST to large, diverse programs such as Caltrans DOTP and present techniques and lessons learned. Further, the authors will share insights into how function analysis directly led to a specific solution to solve a major problem.

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Uncertainty Modeling in Multiple Dimensions for Value Methodology (PDF), by Robert Stewart and Greg Brink

Traditional VM has focused on the relationship between function and cost in assessing value. Today, many VM practitioners are basing value comparisons on trade‐offs between outputs (i.e., performance) and inputs (i.e., cost and time) relative to the performance of functions. In both cases, these expressions of value are generally deterministic in nature and do not factor in the inherent uncertainties of performance, cost and time. In a world where uncertainty is prevalent and the ideal conditions are often only statistically the most likely to materialize, it is important to acknowledge the multiple sets of outcomes that may occur. By introducing uncertainty into facets of performance (which seeks to quantify how well a function is being performed), cost (how much a function costs), and time (how long it takes to deliver the function) within the context of the value equation, one can acknowledge the inherent uncertainty present within the dimensions of the value equation.

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Application of Value Engineering to Organization Development (PDF), by Robert Stewart and Ashley Carson

This paper explores the recent application of a variety of Value Analysis (VA) techniques to organization development (OD) projects.  Over the past several years, with the contraction of the U.S. economy, the reduction in funding available to fund federal, state and local government has created tremendous pressure on agencies to do more with less.  Value Management Strategies, Inc. (VMS) has been working for 15 years with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on major transportation projects.  Over the past few years, VMS has been called upon by Caltrans to assist them in re-envisioning its organizational structures in order to improve efficiency and meet the challenges of the future more effectively and with fewer resources. This paper will profile a number of organizational change efforts, including:

  • Reinventing Transportation Planning
  • Reorganization of the Division of Design
  • Streamlining Operations for the Office of Business and Economic Opportunity

Unique techniques will be explored that combine traditional OD techniques with VA techniques.  In addition, the application of function analysis and FAST will be explored related to these applications.

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Function Driven Risk Management (PDF), by Robert Stewart and Greg Brink

The effect of uncertainty on value can play a major role in decision making.  Threats can just as surely erode project value, as can missed opportunities.  The improvement and utilization of quantitative risk analysis and management techniques in recent years has brought greater attention to the role of risk in effectively evaluating and delivering projects of all scope and scale.  Risk studies are becoming commonplace; however, there exist gaps in thinking that directly link to a lack of understanding of project functions. The exploration of relational dependencies of risk on project functionality can allow for uncertainty to be evaluated and managed in a more effective and proactive fashion. In addition, a developed understanding of project functionalities that drive risk affords proper management of the impacts of uncertainties involving threats and potential opportunities throughout the project lifecycle.  This paper suggests a Function Driven Risk Management (FDRM) process to fully integrate function analysis into risk management practices that will bring focus to identifying project risks, aid in prioritizing them, and focus critical thinking on the development of appropriate risk response strategies.

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The Application of Value Profiling on Public Projects: An Examination of the California Department of Transportation’s Performance Measures Process (PDF), by Robert Stewart and Chili Cilch, AVS

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Value Analysis (VA) program has been using the Performance Measures Process since 2000.  Over this period, this process has been applied to over 150 VA Studies.  During this time, Caltrans has been delivering a true value improvement program that has established a system to measure the impact of its VA Studies relative to cost, performance and value.

This paper will explore the role that the Performance Measures Process has played in raising the level of consciousness of project stakeholders involved in VA Studies.  Of particular interest to the authors, is how this process has increased the benefits to the general public relative to the tax revenues required to fund  public projects. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how the Performance Measures Process is working toward maximizing the value of public projects.

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Why Some Teams Click (PDF), by Ashley Carson

Often, we walk away from Value Management (VM) studies exhilarated from the unique synergistic atmosphere created by that particular team. Likewise, we all have completed studies feeling disappointed that the group never “clicked” or “gelled.” VM facilitators continually navigate through group development, regardless of whether we are familiar with or understand the organizational behavior theories and psychology behind them. This paper focuses on applying Bruce Tuckman’s model of group development to VM team building to understand the group’s evolutionary process and to catalyze and expedite the group’s transformation to a synergistic team.

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Creativity: A Key to Value Study Success (PDF), by Fred Kolano

Creativity is one of the key phases of the Value Methodology Job Plan. To improve a project or product, numerous ideas are needed. These ideas – which can be thought of as the “sticks and stones” for building a new vision of a project or product – are essential for improvement. This paper presents a brief overview of group dynamics during creativity and what a facilitator needs to be aware of to ensure effective management of a brainstorming session. Numerous puzzles and exercises are presented, which can be used to stimulate team members. Detailed explanation and instructions for each are provided.  Tips and hints are noted for effective facilitation and to generate ideas.

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Using Value Methodology and Value Metrics to Enhance and Streamline Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (PDF), by Mark Watson

The planning stages of project development are constantly challenged to incorporate dissimilar and often qualitative information into early decision-making processes.  Multiple stakeholder preferences, priorities, and objectives often must be factored which may conflict with other factors such as cost limitations, programmatic mandates, and organizational-specific policies.  To overcome these difficulties, planning-level processes of many organizations, particularly public agencies, tend to become a series of lengthy and arduous activities in order to provide definitive and absolute information on project alternatives.  These processes and the mass of information they produce tend to be costly, time-consuming, and may not necessarily produce the most optimal alternative or select the preferred solution for the project.  To overcome these challenges and reduce the time, cost, and effort to develop early-stage project alternatives, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) methods were developed.  These methods, while a vast improvement over previous decision-making exercises, can be further enhanced using the tools and techniques of the Value Methodology, particularly in the areas of defining the problem, identifying and quantifying risks, prioritizing dissimilar and unquantifiable objectives and criteria, and identifying additional concepts that improve a project’s ability to meet its objectives through increased performance, reduced risk, and/or reduced cost.

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Application of Value Methodology to Organizational Processes (PDF), by Robert Stewart, Eric Trimble, and Greg Brink

With business processes and organizational functionality integrating more closely than ever, the opportunities for Value Improvement in organizations is ever increasing as scalability and complexities rise. In order to address such concerns, the Value Methodology provides an excellent organized method of analysis and transfer of organizational benefit across multiple tiers. Exploring new insights into performing successful process value engineering studies for public and private organizations offers unique challenges and issues associated with studying and improving organizational processes, as well as implications of asset and resource management.

This paper will explore the conducting of VM process studies from a holistic project management perspective while providing a suggested foundation for a complete process study from start to finish. Understanding that a successful VM study hinges on multiple facets, this paper will also explore how to establish critical study elements such as effective objective identification, definition of a manageable scope, and a means to establish a workable schedule that does not constrain the VM workshop.

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Power to the People: Decentralizing the Budget Decision (PDF), by Eric Trimble and Greg Brink

This paper will offer new insight on the responsible utilization of available resources while balancing risk and opportunity on projects and programs in the public sector. The intent is to foster a culture of personal responsibility, mutual trust and continuous improvement for our resource-challenged age.

This paper will examine the traditional system that focuses on fixed targets for both budgets and performance and which leads to waste and dysfunction within the organization. The paper will introduce the concept of adaptive management and the benefits of decentralizing the budgeting task.

The paper will conclude by exploring the possibilities for value engineering, risk management, and performance measurement as tools to support and aid adaptive management and decentralization as well as transitioning from the current inefficient and counterproductive capital budgeting system.

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Economies of Creativity: The Future of Value Creation (PDF), by Greg Brink

Much emphasis and thought have been placed on realizing cost and time efficiencies in order to create value for an organization. Performing functions cheaper and faster at a sustained or improved level of functional performance does create value through economies of scale; however, in a more dynamic world the value that is created is no longer a sustainable competitive advantage. Organizations need to move from a pure focus on economies of scale to economies of creativity. Through the integration of economies of creativity into an organization, projects, processes, strategies, and products can leverage continuous innovation and ultimately, a stream of sustainable value creation. In an increasingly competitive business landscape, value creation and innovation will be the key to future value creation for all stakeholders of a given organization. This paper explores the concept of economies of creativity through the application of Value Methodology and how it can be applied to an organization to create value beyond traditional means. The concept of value chain management to drive processes and organizations can be applied to any organization to maximize the benefits of all performed functions.

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