FAQ About Transtar's Services
Index of Our Services
Index of Our Technologies
Frequently Asked Questions
This web page offers introductory answers to frequently asked questions about Transtar's services and technologies. Click on a topic in the Index shown above to view explanations relating to your selection. Additionally, you can use the Search feature to find answers that may exist elsewhere on this website.
Expert Consulting Services
Expert consulting services include the application of expert practices in very specific task areas. That is, consultants generally solve one or more specific problems or create results in one or more specific areas. They do this by bringing their expertise into organizations, collaborating on the development of solutions to identified problem areas, and then working with project teams to implement targeted solutions.
Project Team Coaching
Project team coaching involves collaborative assistance to small project teams to help reinforce both startup and ongoing project activities. Coaching is done using Masterful Coaching Approach techniques and is specifically focused on getting to the source of technical-related issues through team dynamics. Project team coaching draws on the collective expertise within client organizations to identify what's working and what's not working in terms of technical systems development and organizational processes. The aim is to get projects started and on track as quickly as possible.
What's the Difference between Project Team Coaching and Expert Consulting Services?
Although coaching and consulting are very similar, they are not the same thing. Consultants are traditionally hired because of their particular expertise. They solve organizational issues by using their expertise to develop and implement solutions. A majority of the work involved with consultants is actually done by the consultant. On the other hand, coaches provide guidance and support across a broad range of issues, but are not necessarily functional experts in all areas they coach. Instead, coaches rely on your expertise and help you leverage it into actionable activities focused on achieving your personal and professional goals.
On-Site Staff Augmentation
On-site staff augmentation affords Transtar's team of advisors an opportunity to join client organizations as part of their working staff to ensure collaboration and to sustain momentum. We often work alongside client teams to identify, evaluate, and implement organization development and project management technologies to accelerate system development.
Information and Facilitation Workshops
Transtar provides customized workshops to support ongoing business and project management activities. Worskshops are typically provided as an adjunct to our Enterprise Transition Process (ETP)™.
What is a Workshop?
A workshop is a group activity for the purpose of identifying, analyzing, deciding, solving problems, gathering information, and preparing for or performing a specific task.
What's the difference between workshops and training programs?
Workshops and training programs use different approaches and obtain different outcomes. Workshops leverage individual knowledge and skills to accomplish an agreed upon task. Training programs are designed to improve individual performance by imparting knowledge and improving skills. Often a training workshop is offered that accomplishes both ends.
Although Transtar often customizes client-requested learning experiences into workshop formats, we have sever standard workshops that are used in conjunction with ongoing activities. Standard workshops include: Strategy Development, Business Plan Development, Project Planning, Preliminary Front-End Analysis, Capability Development & Maturity, and Independent Government Cost Estimating.
Proposal Development and Reviews
A government proposal is a response to a written request issued by a government agency that wants to buy something. When government agencies issue a request for proposal (RFP), it expects to receive a formal written proposal that conforms to Federal or State Acquisition Regulation formats. The purpose for acquisition requlations is to ensure a proposal adequately addresses each requirement and adequate planning, pricing, and scheduling has gone into the reply.
What is a Proposal Review?
Proposal reviews are an important aspect of proposal development. They ensure that the proposal writing team has addressed all requirements and that the documentation meets the guidelines specified in the appropriate acquisition regulations. Transtar provides proposal review expertise for the logistics sections of proposal documents.
Technical Manuals and Reports
A technical manual is a publication that contains technical information including instructions on the operation, handling, maintenance, and repair of an entire acquisition system or a subsection of the system.
What is the Source of Technical Information?
When technical documents are developed, information is taken from preliminary drawings, photographs, interviews, test specifications, engineering reports, direct observation, and specifications, and logistic support analysis data.
What is a Technical Writer?
Technical writers are typically engineers, programmers, or ex-military service members who are subject matter experts on the system being documented. They are responsible for researching and capturing requisite data and then putting that data into a requested format. Formats may include hard copy such as reports, technical manuals, user guides, white papers, patent filings or electroinic versions such as web pages, emanuals, online help or other digitally stored formats such as video, audio, or other media. Importantly, technical writers work collaboratively to develop their deliverables.
Applied Research and Trade Studies
Applied Research is a systematic search for factual information. It involves a combination of accumulated theories, knowledge, research methods and techniques, observation, sampling, and interviews for a specific client project. As opposed to pure research, applied research deals with solving actual, real-world technical issues.
What is a Trade Study?
A trade study, more formally referred to as a trade-off study, involves interdisciplinary teams who make technical and economic comparisons among one or more sets of viable solutions to a problem and then document those findings. The purpose of trade-off studies is to identify and optimize a system under development. Trade study authors often construct models of a system in order to observe and obtain facts about the interactivity of the system's component parts. Other tools used in trade studies include Monte-Carlo simulations, fault tree analysis (FTA), root cause analysis (RCA), economic analysis, and failure mode, effects, and criticality analysis (FMECA).
Instructional Systems Design
Instructional systems design (ISD) is the formal analysis of learning needs and the subsequent systematic development of instruction. ISD design models specify developmental approaches to be followed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to participating client groups.
What are Instructional Materials?
Instructional materials are used as aids in transfering knowledge and skills to individuals participating in learning activities. Examples include books, documents, pamphlets, charts, games, models, pictures, maps, specimens, manuals, user guides, job aids, film, video and audio tapes, web pages, kits, and a myriad of comparable items. They are used to complement and reinforce the retention of knowledge and skills.
For over thirty years members of Transtar's staff have been involved in the design and fabrication of components for the automotive, aircraft, power generation, and military industries. Our staff has the expertise to get client projects on track and rapidly into the prototypeto stage. We specialize in producing mockups, conducting preliminary modeling, and creating prototype systems for testing and advanced marketing. Several special projects have involved assisting clients in assembling factory-supplied kits.
Logistics Systems Analysis (LSA)
Logistics Systems Analysis (LSA) are used in Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) efforts. Specifically, during material acquisition, LSA is used to analyze performance, cost, schedule, and supportability of materiel systems at the least cost of ownership. In order for system supportability to be adequately addressed it is necessary for ILS-related analyses to be conducted starting with the early concept exploration stage.
What is ILS-Related Analysis?
Integrated Logistics Sypport Analysis (ILSA) is used to identify objectives, determine feasibility, assess risk, establish resource requirements, and evaluate test results. ILSA employs supportability metrics as a means for conveying ILS goals in quantitative terms.
What is Integrated Logistics Support (ILS)?
ILS is a process that combines management activities and analysis techniques to assure effective and economical support of an acquisition system. It is used both before and after system production, fielding, and deployment. The basic management principle of the ILS process is that logistic support resources must be developed, acquired, tested, and deployed as an integral part of the system acquisition process.
Preliminary Front-End Analysis (FEA)
Preliminary Front-End Analysis™ is an overarching systems approach to identifying and quantifying gaps between a desired end-state of a startup business or new project and the current starting state. Preliminary FEA is conducted at the front-end of new projects or entity structuring activities and is used to identify the factors related to designing optimal solutions to overcome capability shortfalls. The idea behind Preliminary FEA™ is that the earlier acceptable strategies can be identified, the greater the opportunity for introducing alternative ideas before the costs of making changes becomes too high.
What is Front-End Analysis?
Front-End Analysis (FEA) is a highly interactive activity incorporating a workshop forum that provides participants with models, analysis tools and techniques, and case studies. The purpose for conducting FEA is to define problems, clarifying what is needed to surmount defined problems, identify a set of requirements that satisfy clarified needs, create alternative solutions based on the set of requirements, and then synthesize enterprise and system design architectures around those requirements.
What's the Difference Between FEA and Preliminary FEA?
FEA is a general technique primarily used to define and clarify the requirements related to a developmental system. Special cases of FEA are used as part of the ongoing systems engineering effort during concept exploration to assess the interaction of operational, logistical, and technical parameters related to evolving systems. Preliminary FEA™ is specifically designed to be used at the front-end of project and enterprise startup activities to build an understanding of the gap between the current state of a project or business idea and where the entrepreneur or project manager desires to take that idea. Preliminary FEA™ is used to define a set of business and project-related requirements to be used in exploring viable alternative solutions for achieving definitive end-states.
When Should Preliminary FEA™ be Done?
While the greatest costs result from activities occurring during later project or business startup phases, the preliminary or concept design phase represents the best opportunity to positively optimize design and reduce costs. That's because the opportunity for influencing project or entity structure design rapidly dissipates as activities enter the execution and implementation phases. Although variations of the Preliminary FEA™ process can be used during later phases, the opportunity for handling important issues affecting project design and cost may have been lost. Addressing these issues later often results in costly and time-consuming mid-course corrections.
Lean Enterprise Development™
Lean Enterprise Development (LED)™ is an integrated set of disciplines focused on building organizational structures, procedures and processes, and focused value streams. LED™ is a technology practiced by Enterprise Developers and represents a framework for fusing organization development principles with project management technologies to facilitate the rapid development of lean organizational systems in support of specific products and services.
What is an Enterprise Developer?
Enterprise Developers are skilled practitioners who are knowledgeable in various aspects of organization development, project management, systems engineering, business process improvement (BPI), quality management, and logistics support. Enterprise developers immerse themselves in the technical aspects of enterprise systems development. They assist clients in defining, designing, and developing enterprise value stream processes oriented on customer-related products and services. Enterprise developers primarily deal with the development and continued effectiveness of organizational systems.
What is Organization Development (OD)?
Technically speaking, OD is a planned process of organizational change using behavioral science technologies, diagnostic tools, change models, and intervention practices. Simply put, OD is about how people and organizations function and how to get them to function better. The two major goals of OD are: (1) to improve the performance of individuals, teams, and management; and (2) to teach organization members how to continuously improve their own performance. OD is based primarily on normative approaches to change. That is, during the initial phases of OD change efforts, OD practitioners facilitate change according to the client's desires; however, after the initial phase, OD facilitation turns into recommendations and specific directions for change based on pre-developed modeling concepts.
What's the Difference Between Enterprise Development and Organization Development?
Organization Development (OD) is a planned change effort designed to increase the organizational effectiveness and health of existing organizations through planned interventions using behavioral-science knowledge. On the other hand, enterprise development is an integrated set of disciplines for transitioning conceptual ideas into new organizational structures, systems, and value stream processes. Enterprise development primarily focuses on the technological aspects of organizations such as entity structures, organizational systems, and core procedures and processes whereas OD focuses on the behavioral aspects of the people who run organizations.
What is a Value Stream?
Value Streams are the precisely defined collection of end-to-end activities that deliver desired outcomes for customers (from the customer's perspective). Although value streams are often referred to as processes; not all processes are value streams. For example, financial budgeting is a process, but not a value stream because it does not add directly to customer value. Conversely, value chains relate to the decomposition of strategically important business activities related to the behavior of costs and sources of competitive differentiation.
What is Entity Structuring?
Entity structuring is the process of designing and implementing the legal form of an organization; putting together the top-level management team and board of directors; creating the operating by-laws, stock offerings, and partnering agreements; developing business strategies and recording them in a business plan; and establishing a business presence in terms of checking accounts, patented technologies, websites, business cards, office space, and communications and IT systems. The primary legal entities recognized universally among all states include: Sole Proprietorships, "C" and "S" Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLC), General and Limited Partnerships, Professional Corporations, and Non-Profit Organizations.
Capability Development & Maturity
Capability Development & Maturity™ is our process for creating and sustaining key value stream process areas within an organization. These processes are based on several Capability Maturity Models (CMM). These models represent process improvement frameworks governed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI); a federally funded research organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and supported by the Department of Defense (DoD) and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Capability maturity models focus on developing and improving a myriad of related disciplines such as systems engineering, Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD), project management, software acquisition, etc.
What is CMMI?
CMMI stands for Capability Maturity Model Integration™ and represents the integration of a number of quality management precepts into a unifying set of business process improvement guidelines.
Aren't CMM Models Similar to ISO Certification or Six Sigma Programs?
CMM models are not processes; they represent frameworks that incorporate collections of performance targets and activity recommendations for use in establishing enterprise-wide processes. CMM models only provide guidance to use when developing and improving these processes. Organizations are free to tailor the guidance to fit their particular needs—thus making CMM models extremely flexible.
How is CMMI Implemented?
There are two ways to implement CMMI: Continuous Representation and Staged Representation. The continuous representation is designed to allow organizations to select the order and extent of their process improvement effort. The continuous representation contains six capability improvement levels: (0) incomplete, (1) performed, (2) managed, (3) defined, (4) quantitatively managed, and (5) optimizing. The staged representation is a prescribed (normalized) process improvement implementation. While the continuous representation focuses on evolving capability, the staged representation measures organizational maturity using a five-tier scale: (1) initial, (2) managed, (3) defined, (4) quantitatively managed, and (5) optimizing.
What is Unique About Transtar's Capability Development and Maturity Framework?
Transtar's Capability Development & Maturity™ approach represents our version of CMMI. Our framework is designed for use in establishing and improving process capability in newly forming organizations that do not have established processes. It implements a combination of continuous and staged representations and covers multiple disciplines including project management, organization design, systems engineering, Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD), training development, and preliminary front-end analysis. Our Capability Development & Maturity™ model contains six levels of maturity development: (1) initial (startup), (2) performed, (3) managed, (4) defined, (5) quantitatively managed, and (6) optimizing. Typically, only the first three or four levels are achieved in new startups. The latter two levels are reserved for increasing capability in more mature organizations.
Accelerated Project Management™
Accelerated Project Management™ represents Transtar's approach to accelerating project outcomes in order to reduce cycle-time and costs. Salient aspects of our approach include focused efforts to generate project momentum, realize quick results—usually within 100 days or less—and obtain realistic and measurable results.
What is a Project?
According to the Project Management Institute's Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. Projects have specific phases that include start dates, schedules, and end dates. Every-day business activities are different from projects in that they are ongoing and provide support to projects.
What are the Benefits of Accelerated Project Management Technologies?
Our APM™ technologies are designed to achieve focus, rapid results, and project momentum. Accordingly, projects are carefully selected and structured based on eight criteria: (1) linked to strategic objectives, (2) contain measurable stretch results, (3) short-term (100 days or less) duration, (4) accountability for specific results, (5) incorporate innovation, (6) senior management involvement, (7) careful planning, and (8) capability maturity.
Enterprise Transition Process (ETP)™
Our Enterprise Transition Process (ETP)™ is a comprehensive developmental change methodology designed to define and create unique customer value by transitioning ideas from concept into viable enterprises centered around new products and services. ETP™ represents our approach to Lean Enterprise Development™ and consists of four primary components: Enterprise Diagnosis, Enterprise Development, Enterprise Architecture, and Capability Improvement.
What is an Enterprise?
An enterprise is a managed entity composed of organizational structures containing people, systems, policies, and value stream processes that function on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common set of goals. Enterprises typically include operating businesses and well-defined projects.
What is Enterprise Diagnosis?
Enterprise diagnosis is the process of understanding an organization's environment in order to identifying capability gaps. Diagnostic assessment tools such as action research, survey instruments, interviews, expert panels, and observations are used to obtain relevant information about both the organization and its associated members. The purpose of enterprise diagnosis is to establish a baseline for initiating and tracking capability maturity and recommending courses of action where performance gaps exist.
What is Enterprise Development?
Enterprise development is a comprehensive methodology for building unique customer value using Lean Organization Design™ and Accelerated Project Management™ tools and techniques. Transtar implements a staged approach to enterprise development that includes three iterative phases: Definition, Design, and Development.
What is the Enterprise Definition Phase?
Enterprise definition is the process of exploring, identifying, and defining enterprise needs, opportunities, and desired end-state. During this phase, operational and logistical requirements are investigated over the entire life cycle of the enterprise including its systems and expected capabilities. Risks, constraints, and alternatives are identified and analyzed. The outcomes of the enterprise definition phase include deliverables such as the strategic vision, business needs document, systems requirements, realistic objectives, and preliminary architectural concept for both the enterprise and its products and services.
What is the Design Phase?
The design phase builds on the outcomes of the definition phase. Challenges are identified and prioritized. Each challenge is explored for possible alternative solutions. Requirements are refined and decisions are made as to specific outcomes, metrics to measure progress, quality standards, critical milestone points, resource utilization and expenditures, and strategies to achieve desired objectives. The client always chooses among viable alternative design approaches to be implemented. Design synthesis is focused on defining: (1) enterprise strategies, (2) organizational structures (3) products and services, and (4) value stream processes.
What is the Development Phase?
The development phase incorporates the activities of actually implementing design solutions through short-term action plans. Transtar typically leads the effort, but can employ coaching techniques in order to leave the actual implementation to the client. Regardless, all activities are tailored to help clients build project momentum and sustain the effort in ways that help them achieve their business objectives.
What is Enterprise Architecture?
The Enterprise Architecture component is the well-defined outcome of the Enterprise Development effort that consists of Enterprise: strategies, business structures, products & services, and value stream processes.
What are Enterprise Strategies?
Enterprise Strategies include the overall vision, mission, and contextual map for developing a fully operational organization focused on doing something really well. The purpose of the various Enterprise Strategies is to focus organizations on what they must do really well to succeed. Typical strategies include: Financial, Operational and Logistical Support, Acquisition, Manufacturing, Marketing, Resourcing, etc.
What are Enterprise Structures?
Enterprise Structures represent the organized legal entity forms of enterprises including management hierarchy, board of directors, shareholders, staff, policies, technological systems, and manifesting presence in the marketplace (e.g., website, business cards, logo, marketing materials, etc.).
What are Enterprise Products & Services?
Enterprise Products & Services represent the interrelated customer offerings that differentiate organizations from their competition. Enterprise Products & Services also include the raw materials, methods, and resources needed to convert ideas into marketable, operating products and services.
What is Enterprise Capability Improvement?
Enterprise Capability Improvement is the measured reflection of how well an organization defines, institutes, and assimilates the end-to-end collection of activities that create specific results for customers. These end-to-end activities, or value streams, are developed through learning processes, which means they represent a means of capturing knowledge and passing it on to others. From a learning perspective, a model can be developed to measure the scope of knowledge deployment within organizations. This is the essence of the various Capability Maturity Models used to develop and increase organizational capability. Capability Improvement is a continuous, double-loop framework for increasing an organization's level of capability maturity.
Diagnostics Appraisals are accomplished enterprise-wide using systematic research and analysis methodologies to gather information about an organization's challenges. We provide clients with straightforward results and recommendations for realistic transition strategies. Diagnostic assessments cover both the organization and the individuals who make up the staff of the organization.
What Techniques are used to Conduct Diagnostic Appraisals?
Transtar employs a number of research tools and techniques that include: (1) action research, (2) talored and validated survey instruments, (3) individual and group interviews, (4) expert panels (Delphi Groups), (5) observations of actual meetings and other work-related activities, and (6) review of organizational documents.
Individual and Organizational Assessments
Individual and Organizational Assessments are employed to identify the differences (gaps) between a client's present situation and where the client desires to be.
What are Individual Assessments?
We have found that people do things for their own reasons and not necessarily for the organization. For this reason, it is important to understand their motivations, values, and behavior styles. Individual assessments provide requisite information leading to an understanding of the composition of the client's staff. Transtar is certified in the following individual and group assessments: (1) DISC™ Behavior Style Assessments; (2) Personal Interest, Attitudes, and Values (PIAV)™ Assessments; (3) Teams Evolving and Mastering Success (TEAM)™; (4) Interests, Determination, Exploration, and Assessment System (IDEAS)™; (5) 360 Degree Feedback; (6) Personal and Professional Foundations (PPF); Financial Needs Analysis (?FNA); and (7) Master Job Description (MJD) Assessments.
What are Organizational Assessments?
Organizational assessments are collaborative information-gathering processes that include pertinent stakeholders in order to collect accurate data, analyze it, and draw specific conclusions for recommended actions. Our organizational assessments help: (1) identify opportunities and risks, (2) gather background information, (3) understand the market situation through market research and Voice of the Customer type survey instruments, and (4) establish baselines for tracking progress using gap analysis and recommending performance objectives.
Software Applications and Publications
Transtar has produced numerous logistics software applications for its clients. Some of these enterprise-level programs have been used and updated over the last 20 years. Transtar also produces websites as a function of it entity structuring and start-up activities. In terms of publications, many of our publications are developed to directly support specific technologies and as extensions to many of our workshops.
The primary purpose of our publications is twofold: (1) support our workshops and proprietary technologies and (2) fulfill requests from clients and their customers. Although a number of our publications have gone out of print, we are in the process of creating new releases in both hard-copy and electronic formats.