Best Practices Operations Technology

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Best Practices Operations

Credit Management Best Practices

Welcome to our Best Practices Series, in which we will document our own learnings in building systems and operations across various industries. Today we will be looking at Credit Management Best Practices. The goal is to give back to the business community and show how you can help make your company better.

Credit Management Best Practices: Building a World Class Credit Department

Credit makes the world go round. In nearly every type of Industry, having access to easy credit is the key to allowing for seamless transactions to take place. Without this life blood of the common economic system, many businesses would cease to exist, and breaking into an industry would require an inordinate amount of start-up capital, which most businesses wouldn’t have access to. So what is a modern-day business to do?  The answer to that is to create a world-class credit department by adopting credit management best practices.

What Does a Credit Department Do?

The credit department is the lifeblood of a well established sales process. If sales are made on credit, it is only when the cash is finally collected that the sale can be final and complete. The credit department is charged with managing the cash conversion cycle, which is the process of converting a sale to the final product: cash in house.

While the sales department is the engine of company, the credit department can be viewed as the gears and oil that make the engine work.  The two functions are complimentary; without one vital component, the engine will stall up and cease to work. Only by sales and credit working in a collaborative environment can a company function at its highest level.

Why is the Credit Department Important?

Accounts Receivable is typically the largest asset on a company’s balance sheet. Think about this for a second, you and your sales team work day in and day out to obtain a large customer account. Once you make that sale, you now need to finalize the terms of the contract. Perhaps the negotiated terms come to be 50% payment upfront and 50% payment upon completion on a $1 million dollar contract.

The predicament that the company now finds itself in is non-payment risk on the $500k credit amount.  This is certainly a material dollar amount that organizations need to account for.

What happens if while during the project the counterparty decides that they no longer needs the product and now refuses to pay the remaining $500k? Or what happens if the software is delivered on time yet the customer is struggling in their industry right and is not able to pay the $500k when due?  

The seller will now find itself in a situation where they have delivered the product but might not be paid for their hard work. As a result, a loss is incurred on the sale and the company will need to make up for loss in margins. See our insight on Margin Analysis.  

A well-run credit department seeks to identify this type of risk in the beginning of a relationship and to establish an upfront risk mitigation plan. In my own tenure in the credit world, I have found that identifying and taking steps to mitigate the risk from the beginning is a far better practice than taking risks and dealing with the consequences down the road.

Best Practices for Credit Departments

Below are some of the credit management best practices for companies to implement across their departments. Are these the ‘end-all be-all’ of credit management? Definitely not. Rather, these are some of the best practices that I have seen and implemented in my own work experience which have lead to fantastic results.

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1. Document Policies and Procedures

Documenting what the policy is going to be and sticking with that as much as possible is a key to success.  While circumstances can and will allow for deviations from the plan when margins justify the increased risk, in the majority of cases, a well-defined credit policy can be the ‘guiding light’ for the organization in dealing with the particular situation at hand.

2. Establish Credit Limits with Sign Off Levels

Another principle for solid credit departments is to establish credit limits and sign off levels throughout the organization.  Often times I see that credit limits are a standard practice but sign off levels fluctuate. What I mean by sign off levels is to have a certain dollar amount level that a particular position or committee can approve.  For instance, sign off levels might go something like this:

  • Credit Analyst: $100k sign off level
  • CFO: $250k sign off level
  • President: $500k sign off level
  • Board of Directors: $500k or above

With each subsequent sign off level, more hands need to approve the decision. Keep in mind this is not to delay or hold up any potential deals. An organization must always remain nimble and quick. Rather, having sign off levels established helps to ensure proper risk management through multiple inputs throughout the organization.  

By having more individuals involved in the higher dollar amount deals, the organization can better protect itself by having questions asked that will help flesh out potential risks and downsides.  This will help verify and justify that the upside is truly worth the business investment.

3. Develop a Risk Rating System

A risk rating system (RRS) is a must for any organization looking to make their credit department world-class.  The RRS will help prioritize departmental focus, categorize outstanding A/R by risk rating levels, and create a better data set for reviewing, sorting, and decision making.  While companies can exercise their own judgement in regards to setting levels, I recommend the following RRS:

“1 – Prime”
Typically 5-10% of overall A/R portfolio

These customers are in top financial condition with risk of incurring a bad debt at a very low percentage.  The department will rarely needs to review these customers as the risk of bad debt is very low, perhaps non-existent.  If these customers experience financial struggles, it is due to macro-events that are negatively affecting the economy as a whole.  The more likely case for bad debt loss will be through improper contracting, shipment, delivery or build-out issues, which is primarily in the sales or customer service prevention realm.

“2 – Good”
Typically 10-20% of overall A/R portfolio

These customers are still in great financial condition, with the risk of a bad debt very low or non-existent. The separator between prime and good customers is that prime customers are the large, stable customers – typically the biggest players in the industry – that can survive any micro or macro event that will happen to them. Good risk rated customers, on the other hand, are typically smaller than the prime rated customers, and are more susceptible to micro or macro events due to their smaller market caps and resources. With that being said, these customers should still be in solid condition and reviewed at less frequent intervals than the rest of the portfolio.

“3 – Fair”
Typically 30-50% of overall A/R portfolio

These customers will make up the majority of the A/R portfolio. Think of a typical normal distribution curve: the outliers will be the really great payers and the really bad payers. The majority of the customers will then lie somewhere in the middle. These are the customers that will take up a majority of the A/R department’s time simply due to the overall size of the customer base. Most of these customers are well meaning, with high levels of character, but might struggle to pay when cash is tighter due to seasonality issues or not having access to as much borrowing capital. These customers will require a bit more ‘hand-holding’ and reminder calls to get paid, but overall payment likelihood is higher, especially once a relationship is built with the customer.

“4 – Marginal”
Typically 10-20% of overall A/R portfolio

These customers are where the A/R department makes its money. While this part of the customer base makes up a relatively small percentage of the overall portfolio, the accounts will require a large majority of the department’s focus, time, and energy. These accounts should be reviewed more frequently, called more often, and watched closer as the capital and cash flow typically do not exist on the same levels as the 1-3 risk rated customer base. While credit can still be extended, consistent margin analysis should be completed to ensure that the risks taken in the extension of credit make sense from a cash flow perspective. Tighter controls more frequent communication should be in place between sales and credit to make sure that these accounts are getting the attention they deserve.

“5 – Sub-Marginal”  
Typically 5-10% of overall A/R portfolio

These accounts are those accounts which have very poor character or very poor payment history. It is recommended that if sales are made, those sales should be made on prepayment only terms, if made at all. Frequently, these are customers with history of late payments, legal issues, and even bankruptcies. Open credit can be extended to these customers, but only if the risk are well-known and understood throughout the organization. This risk rating should be reserved only for those customers where the credit analyst believes that there are serious concerns of non-payment, legal issues, or imminent bankruptcy within the year. If a customer is risk rated at a level 5, steps should be taken to ensure that any sales made are properly protected throughout the entire process.

4. Obtain Buy In Across The Organization

Of prime importance for the credit department is to obtain internal ‘buy-in’ across the organization.  Instead of using the ‘it’s my way or the highway’ approach to decision making, be sure to explain and outline any decision and its impact on the stakeholders involved in the decision.  By doing so, the credit department begins to build trust and better achieves the needed ‘buy-in’ throughout the organization.

5. Automate Systems

Companies that are trending towards automation are in a better overall position to handle workloads and are leveraging technology to increase departmental focus.  Take a moment to think about some reports that you or your team generate on a daily basis or weekly basis. How much time do these take up versus the value you receive from producing them?  There is most likely value, but is it corresponding to the amount of time invested?

Technology is getting us to a point where those that know how to utilize it to help improve their company will get ahead.  In regards to the credit department, how are you producing your aging reports? Are those reports still being produced manually? How are the sales associates being notified of past due or over limit customers?  Is there a general automated email that goes out or is it your team member making calls? There is still value in human-to-human contact, but more and more companies need to be taking advantage to gain efficiencies through technological automation.

Example: In my last credit department consulting position, we implemented a risk rating system into the CRM software.  In unison with the fantastic IT department, we were able to build an automated rules-based messaging notification which would flag accounts based on corresponding factors such as past due, over limit, average days payable, etc.  

Before this system was implemented, over limit accounts had to be manually flagged in the software. This was a time-consuming process and caused many headaches as when the department was on overload, flags were not updated to reflect the changing circumstances.  The result was frustration on both the credit and sales sides due to ‘stale’ and unreliable data.

Not only did automating the process help create instanaenous data for the entire company, but it helped the credit department do more with less. Instead of spending time manually updating credit flags, the department focused on more frequent analysis and calls on past due invoices.

Contact us to find out how Ramey Consulting can help you automate your credit processes today!  

6. Have Sales Take Ownership

The sales department is a vital function of any business.  Without a good sales team, companies are destined for failure.  While a good sales person needs to combine a good amount of professionalism and bravado, he or she should also have ownership of selling goods and services.  A recipe for disaster is to allow a salesperson to only focus on sales without any regard for the cash conversion cycle.

A good way for the company to accomplish this is to base some portion of the sales departments pay and/or bonus to the collectability of the accounts receivable portfolio.  While this option is usually not popular with the sales department, it does increase the buy-in to selling to accounts that are willing and able to pay down their invoices.

Example: A best practice is to have any potential bad debt for which the particular sales individual was responsible for selling tied dollar-for-dollar against his or her bonus.  By doing this, sales individuals are more mindful to the types of customers they are soliciting and as a result, those customers with lower character and/or capital are typically avoided or stringent payment terms are worked out.

Keep in mind this type of structure requires a good cooperation and trust between the sales and credit department.  Without this buy-in and trust, there can be situations that arise where A/R counsels to not sell to a particular customer yet sales does not respect the decision because there is not a good relationship.  

7. Be Willing to Walk Away from “Bad Money”  

Not all customers are created equal.  Some customers just lack the ability or character to pay bills when due.  In this situation, both credit and sales needs to be willing to walk away from an open credit relationship and be wiser for doing so.  

Sure, if you do take that risk, you might get lucky short-term and get paid, but a customer with poor credit will eventually miss that crucial payment. Then the company will be left chasing down a bill that will very likely become a bad debt.  That is not a situation that is good for anyone at the company.

8. Educate

The credit department should view itself as an ally of the sales department.  The end goal of any transaction is to always be able to sell and to maintain an ongoing relationship with that customer.  One way that credit personnel can help do this is to explain the groundwork for any decision they may make.

I have personally never understood the unwillingness of credit personnel to share reasoning for a decision.  I understand the idea of confidentiality and keeping a separation between sales and credit. However, there can always be a mutually respectful relationship and an understanding between the credit department and the rest of the team.  

For instance, if a customer applies for credit and does not have a good personal credit report, the credit person would be wise to tell this to the sales individual to make sure that the rationale for the decision is understood.  While the specific details do not need to be divulged, the sales representative will often be more receptive if they understand the reasoning behind each decision. Here is some recommended language:

“Bill, I show a continuous history of late payment from this customer.  If we sell to him, we run the risk of being paid about 30 days late. What are the margins and can we afford to float this interest cost?”

“Susie, I see that other vendors have not been paid yet for their goods and there are a few items in collections.  I recommend a prepay only basis with this customer, otherwise we might not get paid at all.”

Explanations like this are high-level and put both the credit department and sales department on the same page.  

9. View Yourself as a Partner

In helping to build a relationship with sales, consider yourself a partner in the selling process.  Your goal is to be a ‘gatekeeper’ or the ‘guard rail’ to help the sales team avoid bad debts. Keep in mind that roughly 70-80% of the selling population will be able to pay – some might take longer, some might pay sooner.  The remaining 20-30% are the marginal and sub-marginal accounts; these are the ones that the diligent credit department gets paid to monitor.

Help out sales by suggesting ways to improve and increase their existing sales while minimizing their ‘bad debts’.  This is what I call the “Maximizing Profits while Managing Risk” approach to credit management. When this type of mindset encompasses the entire organization, the entire company benefits.  If you are a salesperson, reward your credit department for adopting this mindset and thank them regularly for helping you manage risk!

10. Take a Holistic Approach to Managing the A/R Portfolio

Managing the A/R portfolio is the main prerogative of the credit department function, however it is only one small gear in what makes up the company engine.  If the credit team is too tight on credit, the company will be foregoing and missing out on profits. If the credit team is too loose on credit, then increased bad debts will adversely affect the company’s profitability.

As a credit individual, see the bigger picture and the effects your actions will have on the entire company.  If you deny that company credit, then what happens to sales? What about the marketing department? Have they been working to court this company for some time and their yearly sales numbers depend on extending credit? Can you afford to take a bit more risk in this situation?

Or if you grant credit to that company that most likely will not be able to pay on time, how does that effect the entire organization?  Have the goal of thinking beyond the immediate numbers into the bigger picture.

In my tenure as a credit manager, I would occasionally grant credit to customers that might take a bit longer to pay, mainly due to solid margins on the deal or the idea that the department needed to build its portfolio or break into a new sector.  Once you adopt this mindset of seeing the bigger picture, you will quickly win over the hearts and minds of the organization as you work your way towards solid management of the A/R function.

11. Develop a Keen Business Sense and Trust Your Instincts

Last but not least, develop a keep business mindset and trust your instincts.

Being a good credit professional requires that you pay attention to trends which affect not only you company’s immediate customer base, but macro trends that will eventually trickle down into those customers you are selling products to.  Is the stock market in decline? Are interest rates rising and your customer is carrying a lot of debt? What are the general macro trends in your customer’s sector? Knowing this information will help you make more information decisions.

At the end of the day, once the numbers have told you the story, it is up to you to assess the character of the business/owner, general market conditions, and other factors that could positively or negatively affect your customer’s ability to make payment.   Make the best decision, trust your analysis, and learn along the way from each and every decision you make.


By adopting these credit management best practices and a mindset which seeks to develop alliances across the organization and customer base, credit professionals can positively impact the environments in which they serve.  Make it your prerogative to keep learning, keep growing, and keep serving those in your organization on a daily basis.


SWOT Analysis in Management

Here is a recent example of a SWOT Analysis that I completed for my MBA course in Strategic Management.  A fictitious company hires me to come in and review the fundamentals to recognize opportunities and identify threats apparent in the industry.

Enjoy this SWOT Analysis in Management example, and as always, reach out to us if we can help you!


Case Study Summary

In this case study, we will dive deep into Innovative HealthCare Inc. (IHC), to help consult the company on its overall strategy and make recommendations for improvements.

SWOT Analysis


  • Solid business with high employee morale.

  • Management that is knowledgeable about the business and runs it well.

  • 92% retention rate of employees which showcases solid business practices and a well managed company.

  • Solid financials. The company is earning a good profit and has a well capitalized balance sheet.


  • Employee salary makes up a large portion of the company’s expenses (55.4%). This could hurt the company if it cannot continue to earn the type of revenues it needs from servicing patients.

  • Governmental contracts make up $11.5mm of the $32mm in revenues (36%). During a recession time, it could hurt the company to rely on the government for so much revenue generation.

  • Lack of a proper training program. This could adversely affect the care of patients, open up employees to unnecessary stressors, and lead to more lawsuits and claims, which we are already seeing taking place.


  • High employee morale. This could make it easier for the firm to continue to maintain top talent and recruit top talent in the future. Since the area of DFW remains strong economically, this could help the company via it hiring better employees away from competitors.

  • Being the fourth largest health care provider could be a good thing. The company is just the right size where it could be more nimble and react to changes in the marketplace faster than its larger counterparts.

  • Most of the staff can receive orders from technology, thus have little need to come into the office. The company could look to radically reduce its office space and not have the need for wheelchair ramps and upkeep.

  • The Dallas-Fort Worth area is showing strong economic performance, which will help the company via a strong city base.

  • Occupational and Speech therapies are showing the best level of growth, as these divisions are adding the most employees.

  • DFW area has an 11.2% population over the age of 62, compared to the national average of 16.2%. This could mean that the DFW is relatively young, with a lot of baby boomers set to retire and in need of home care in the coming decades (Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS), 2010).


  • The Affordable Care Act is making it challenging for health care professionals to earn a reasonable living. This is causing higher attrition rates and lower entry rates for the health care profession in general.

  • IHC is the fourth largest home health business. This could cause it to not be seen as the ‘leader’ in its industry.

  • There are several ongoing claims filed against IHC from former patients which could become material to operations.

  • There are several sexual harassment claims filed against IHC which could become material to operations.

  • Wheelchair ramps not repaired. If left in disrepair, this could cause issues if employees or patients are injured as a result. This could lead to more legal claims, which could negatively impact the company’s future.

Internal Factors Evaluation Matrix

IFE – Strengths and Weaknesses

External Factors Evaluation Matrix

EFE – Opportunities and Threats

Analysis on Organizational Strategy

IHC operates under the strategy of hiring excellent employees to create excellent experiences for patients. It is operated under a hierarchy where the Physical Therapists (PTs), Occupational Therapists (OTRs), and Speech Pathologists manage their respective divisions, and the more affordable assistants relative to each position do the actual work with the patients. The company has adopted technology to make itself much more efficient and allows it to serve more patients.

Overall this is the correct strategy if IHC can position itself as a premium services provider and charge a higher price for its services to clients. By recruiting, training, and presumably paying the best salaries for the best employees, this will bode well for this type of strategy.

Greatest Internal and External Impacts


*Solid financials – The company is profitable and well capitalized which allows for new initiatives to be undertaken if deemed appropriate as well as retained capital to make it through challenging times. It is well capitalized with an equity base of $7.5mm and solid revenues year-over-year. Overall, I believe the company’s financials have it well positioned to compete in the highly competitive health care market.

This solid positioning could help it be primed for an acquisition to help it build economies of scale and to purchase more customer lists. With a combination through its technology platform, it would have the ability to offer relatively the same level of services for less cost. This could help it compete better against the larger competitors in its industry and grow its own operations.


*The Affordable Care Act is making it challenging for health care professionals to earn a reasonable living. This is causing higher attrition rates and lower entry rates for the health care profession in general.

The lower wages demanded by the ACA could be an issue for this company, as it goes against the exact strategy of IHC. IHC looks to recruit the best talent and pay the best salaries in order to be a premium services provider. If the company is then forced to pay mandated salaries, or worse, pay higher salaries but cut into its margin, it will begin to lose its competitive advantage.

Since IHC has a 92% retention rate with happy employees, it is already doing quite well in retaining its talent. If pay becomes an issue, then IHC would do well to look at other ways to boost morale. Perhaps it could offer benefits at lower cost – free lunches, company outings, daycare, etc., which would still retain top talent but not cut into margin at the same time.

IHC Target Market

IHC has a target market of the following characteristics:

  • Elderly

    • Sex: Male and Female

    • Age: Over the age of 60 that struggle to care for themselves

    • Marital Status: Married or Single, most likely widowed or still married

    • Location: Within the DFW area

    • Occupation: Retired and stay at home

    • Condition: Suffer from a condition that makes it challenging to live day by day

    • Education level: Any level, most likely college educated or better

  • Disabled

    • Sex: Male and Female

    • Age: Any age

    • Marital Status: Any

    • Location: Within the DFW area

    • Occupation: No occupation or low level of occupation as disability renders employment challenging.

    • Condition: Disability present – speech issues, physical condition which inhibits everyday living or occupational abilities.

    • Education level: Any level, most likely high school educated or less due to disability

Mission Statement Review

Below is the mission statement review. We will review the nine points of a successful mission statement and revise, if necessary.

Does the Mission Statement identify:

  1. Customers – Yes, Disabled and Elderly

  2. Products or services – No, it does not make mention of the products or services.

  3. Markets – Yes/No, it makes a general reference to the communities served, which could suffice. It also states it is in the health care field, which is good.

  4. Technology – No, it would be good to add in a piece in here.

  5. Concern for survival, growth, and profitability – Yes, ‘well-known and iconic’ satisfies this piece as it speaks to the organization’s dream of living beyond.

  6. Philosophy – Yes, states trust and care for patients, which is the philosophy of the organization.

  7. Self-concept – Yes, it describes the principles for what the company is and creates an easy to understand vision of what the company desires to be.

  8. Concern for public image – Yes, it describes itself as an iconic brand.

  9. Concern for employees – No, I do not see anything that expressly states about concern for employees.

Here is what my updated mission statement would look like to better incorporate the nine points of a great mission statement:

Mission Statement

*“To create and establish a well-known iconic name in the health care field that cares for those who are elderly and disabled with focus in the fields of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Pathology (2). We are founded upon principles of trust and care and strive to exhibit these two principles each day in caring for our patients. We recruit and train the best employees (9) with the top industry technology (4) to provide the best possible care. Our focus is to increase the quality of living for our patients, and to make the communities we serve a better place to live”.

Vision Statement

*I would leave the vision statement as-is. I like the fact that it is broad, and inspires employees and associates to ‘create a better quality of life’ for those they serve.


The calculation for Return on Assets is:

Net Income
Total Assets

According to this calculation, the ROA for IHC would be:


Resulting in $1.06. So for every $1 in assets, the company is earning $1.06 in profits. This is important because it shows that the company is making a profit on assets, but not very much. In general, the higher this ratio is the better. In some respects this makes though, as the company utilizes its people to generate profit, which are not categorized as assets. Rather, the bricks and mortar, technology, receivables, etc. are what the ROA is being based off of. The company would do well to look at how it is deploying its resources to better utilize assets to generate income.

This could be done by:

  • Investing more in technology which might allow staff to do more, and reducing overall staff count to earn more income. This would help to ‘do more with less’ and thereby increase the ROA.

  • Sell non-productive assets.

  • Collect on A/R quicker and utilize cash/investments better.


The calculation for Return on Equity is:

Net Income
Total Stockholder’s Equity

According to this calculation, the ROA for IHC would be:


Resulting in $3.20. So for every $1 in equity, the company is earning $3.02 in profits. This is a very solid ratio, which shows the company is highly profitable for each equity stake in the business. This ratio shows a high level of growth for the organization.


Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). (2010, October 05). Your Geography Selections. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from

Momoh, O. (2018, August 14). Return on Assets – ROA. Retrieved October 19, 2018, from

Staff, I. (2018, August 03). Return on Equity (ROE). Retrieved October 20, 2018, from


Deconstructing the Big Dig: Lessons Learned

How well does your company manage its projects and operations?  Do you actively work to prevent scope creep?  Do you agree on deliverables with your customer and then stay on point throughout the life of the project?

Project Management is an essential function of any organization.  A firm grasp of the principles of project management will help companies in their quest to gain more clients and execute on contracts in a more efficient manner.  In my quest to improve my project management abilities, I am enrolled in a class on Project Management as part of my MBA in Strategic Leadership.

I would like to share my weekly writings with you.  Perhaps it can help your organization better plan its projects or at the very least, provide a clever antidote to read.  Enjoy: Deconstructing the Big Dig.


Deconstructing the Big Dig

By: Matthew Ramey



Project procurement planning is vital to the success of any project, especially with mega-projects that can span many years.  Take the case of the Boston’s Big Dig: a project designed to build an underground highway in the city of Boston. Begun in 1985 and with an original cost estimation of $2.56B dollars, the project was finally finished in 2007, with the final cost being $14.8B, which is an increase of 428% over the original estimates.  In this paper, we will analyze how this project became so far over budget and steps project managers can take to alleviate these issues.


What is Project Procurement Planning?

Project Procurement Planning is the process of deciding what to buy and from what source.  It is important because (Lynch, J., C., E., M., Modiriyat, P., & Isabel, A., 2012):

  1. It helps to decide what to buy and from what sources.

  2. It allows planners to determine if expectations are realistic.

  3. It allows all stakeholders to come together to discuss the project procurement plan and whether or not it is a realistic plan.

  4. It allows for the creation of a procurement strategy.

  5. Planners can estimate the time required for to complete each process and award resources towards the contract.

  6. Planners can access the feasibility of the project.


What Went Wrong with the Big Dig?

The Big Dig was a challenging endeavor from the beginning as it had signs and symptoms of serious mismanagement.


First off, the project seriously underestimated the cost of the actual project.  While some cost overruns are necessary and even expected in projects of this size, it is shown that often times project costs are underestimated from the beginning in order for the project to be approved (Greiman & Warburton, 2009).


Secondly, the project had numerous political pressures which caused issues with the overall project.  It was pushed through during a democratic stronghold in the city of Boston and fought delays every step of the way.  Numerous delays and budget constraints turned this project into a 25 year behemoth.


Third and foremost, costs were out of control.  This was due to many factors including but not limited to: failure to assess the impact of unknown subsurface conditions, environmental and mitigation costs, and increased scope.


In fact, throughout the project’s lifespan, it had 1,500 separate mitigation agreements and the original design had several components that were added in later that were not included in the original scope: the Massachusetts Avenue Interchange, linkages to Logan Airport in East Boston, and work North of the Charles River. (Greiman & Warburton, 2009)


Could The Cost and Time Overruns Been Prevented?

The authors of this case study seem to argue yes and no.  Greiman and Warburton readily admit that it is common place for Mega-Projects to experience cost overruns.  However, they do offer a few suggestions for practicality purposes (Greiman & Warburton, 2009):

1. Study the historical data from mega-projects—the patterns in the data are valuable indicators of trouble.

2. Recognize the limitations of the assumptions in historical projects with comparable characteristics.

3. Identify the attributes of the project that will grow and change over time.

4. Recognize that the accuracy of cost estimates vary throughout the project.

5. Adopt a baseline for cost control during inception and update the baseline when schedule, scope, and quality change.

6. Estimate inflation at the inception of the project for the entire duration of the project.

7. Enforce project standards and requirements on all project contractors.

8. Utilize management reserves solely within the framework for which they are maintained.


Project Governance

Another case study I found was also applicable and brought in an interesting debate.  It cited the concept of Project Procurement Planning and tying this process very closely with Project Governance.


Project Governance is a subset of corporate governance in that it relates to all aspects of project management: portfolio direction, project sponsorship, proper disclosure and reporting. (Hassim, Kajewski & Trigunarsyah, 2011)


In applying this concept to the Big Dig, it can be seen that the project was poorly planned from the beginning but also that it experience much scope creep and cost overruns, which relates to a poor governance and change control structure.  In unison with the improvement’s cited by Greiman & Warburton, it is evident that improvements in project governance would be another vital improvement to mega-projects.



The Big Dig serves as a stark example of how project management costs can spiral out of control very quickly.  It is evident from this case study that properly identifying costs through proper project procurement planning was not done from the beginning and the cost was a project over budget by $12.2B (428%).   Project Managers need to make sure the plan is solid and scope is adhered to in order to prevent such significant cost and time overruns in the future.



A guide to the project management body of knowledge: (PMBOK® guide). (2017). Newtown Square,

PA, USA: Project Management Institute.


Abu Hassim, Aliza, Kajewski, Stephen L., & Trigunarsyah, Bambang (2011) The importance of

project governance framework in project procurement planning. In: 12th East Asia‐Pacific

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Doing More with Less

Welcome to Ramey Consulting.  We are experts in the areas of operations and finance.

One question we like to ask our clients is, “Are you doing more with less?”

In this day and age of improved technologies, it is easier than ever to increase operational effeciences to gain economies of scale.  We find that it takes a certain type of mindset to think in this manner and though many employees are eager to help improve a company’s operations, they might lack the expertise or know-how to take it to the next level.

This is where Ramey Consulting comes in to help.  We pride ourselves on our ability to help companies realize improvements in their operations so that employees are freed up to focus on bigger and better tasks.

These are only a few of the areas we focus in on when helping your company:

  • For repeatable processes: does your company have a system in place and templates built to make the process easy and scaleable?
  • For Excel documents: do your employees spend more time putting together a spreadsheet than actually analyzing and digging into the data?  Do they know about macros?  Or Visual Basic Editor?
  • For everyday processes: do you have processes and procedures written out in a clear and concise manner so that if an employee left or became sick for a period of time, there would be no transition lag?

These are three question we would ask your company to ascertain where and how to make improvements.  We find that these questions, when answered in a detailed and thorough manner, can help your company develop and grow and improve its operations to help grow it to the next level.

We enjoy working with businesses of all sizes.  No matter if you are a small, medium, or large organization, we are confident that we can help.  Reach out today for a free consultation on how Ramey Consulting can help your business grow today!