At the start of each class, veterans are assigned to work together in small teams of 4 to 5 people. One of the Black Diamond Charities instructors serves as their dedicated Project Sponsor. Together, teams identify a project for which to develop a project management plan. They collaborate during class time, and normally have a team call during the week to finish assignments on the topics they learn each Saturday. Each team developed, presented and submitted the following project deliverables: Charter, Stakeholder Register, RACI chart, Requirements document, Scope Statement, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), project schedule, risk analysis, project budget and final presentation of their respective projects.
Fall 2018 Class
TEAMS that continue to impress
Our Fall 2018 class excelled at their projects and really impressed us. Many thanks to our volunteer Executives who judged and provided feedback on the final presentations:
Team Members (from left to right): Kevin Larsen, Keith Galloway, Raymond Fleming, Sean Baker, Anthony Kiefer with project sponsor Bill Baxter (not shown)
Team A.N.C.H.O.R (All Navy Crew Helping Others Rise) developed a project plan to create a training program to help deserving unemployed and underemployed gain specialized construction skills training to enable them to earn a livable wage. Features of the plan included:
A Focus on Finish Carpentry — with an expected wage of ~$25/hr (a specialized skill with strong demand and tight supply)
Enlisting Power Construction as primary sponsor, to provide funding and post-training employment opportunities to the graduating students
Enlisting Chicago Public Schools as venue sponsor and using an abandoned elementary school as venue for the training program
Enlisting Lowes and Home Depot as sponsors to contribute tools, lumber and other materials
Project scope includes conducting first class of 25 students and six months of follow-on results tracking
Recruitment of students includes a preference for Veterans, with a target of at least 25% Veterans
Total project duration: 18 months
Total project budget: $330,000
Team Members (from left to right): Sharee Rangel, David Silbaugh, Jeff Chan, Michelle Witcher, Chris Laurent. Executive Sponsor TJ MIller (not shown)
The Front and Center Enterprise (F.A.C.E) Project focuses on the business need for automating new employment forms commonly collected by our internal Human Resource (HR) Department. The current paper intensive environment contains documents that are easily lost, contain sensitive information, are difficult to manage, have limited availability, and increase overhead cost.
The internet portal constructed during the F.A.C.E project will support collection of extensive personal information about the newly employed individual, as well as populate federal and state tax forms. Compliance input, benefit enrollment forms, and direct deposit payment screens will also be included. The software will be constructed to allow for future functionality (and future projects) as additional needs are identified by our organization.
Our project schedule includes the activities normally found in software development: Project selection and buy in, application development and testing, procurement, deployment and training, required support, delivery, approval, and launch. The initial phase of this deliverable is expected to be completed in 90 days.
The team will present a mitigation plan for risks such as malware, login Issues, technical failures, and personal data errors. Our current information technology department includes full infrastructure, network, and testing capabilities available at no direct cost. The total project budget for software labor costs is $150,000.
Team Members (From left to right): Dallas Ketchum, Greg Babiarz, LaTanya Gamblin, Michael Cessaro, Ronnell Showell, Andrew Williams-White with Project Sponsor Ira Hendon (not shown).
The Project L.I.F.E. team developed a program plan to connect homeless individuals in the downtown Chicago area with life resources (housing, healthcare and job training). The objective: Identify the root cause on why the individual is homeless and develop a specific plan to resolve and help them become self sufficient and no longer require L.I.F.E. program services.
The team's program plan was for an initial pilot starting with 10 - 15 homeless veterans. Upon completion of successful pilot, the program would expand to a larger homeless audience (veterans and non-veterans). The core components of the program consisted of:
Fundraising - Identify and secure funding sources to fund each of the program components.
Leverage Strategic Partnerships - Develop numerous strategic partnerships including: Chicago Housing Authority (Housing); Chicago Police Department (Security Support), Veterans Administration (Mental and Physical Health Services), numerous Job Training centers and Telecom Service providers (communications equipment and services).
Housing and Transportation - Partner with the Chicago Housing Authority to provide residential housing units for homeless individuals and a separate facility for homeless families.
Services - Provide mental and physical health services. Partner with job training providers to help the homeless residents develop job sustaining skills and improve their self esteem.
Mobile Outreach Team- Identify and transport homeless candidates to the program triage center for a physical and medical health assessment before they are accepted into the program.
Security - Leverage the City of Chicago Police Department professionals to provide security for the mobile outreach teams and the residential housing facilities.
Infrastructure - Work with the telecom strategic partners to provide telecommunications infrastructure and services to support the L.I.F.E program.
Estimated Pilot Duration: 6 months
Estimated Pilot Budget: $360,000