Monday, September 30, 2013

Stop using Project Schedules for Resource Management

By Gary L Chefetz

The project management practice that most exemplifies Einstein’s definition of insanity is the use of project schedules as a single basis for measuring and forecasting resource demand across a shared resource pool. While a resource-loaded project schedule can produce interesting and useful data, in reality this data source is highly suspect much of the time. It is time to declare project schedules a perspective in forecasting resource capacity and demand rather than a focal point.

With the perspicuity that more than a decade of watching other people manage projects brings, I can say with strong certainty that most project managers are not very good schedulers, at least not skillful enough to produce the network integrity necessary for a detailed resource-loaded schedule to produce highly reliable predictive work load data. Note that I exclude big projects with dedicated resources, schedulers, and planners. With a team of specialists at hand, supporting your scheduling efforts, you can get great data; but achieving this level of precision is out of reach for the mainstream project manager working in a typical IT department. Not only is it an unrealistic expectation, it is an unnecessary burden.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Project Management Software: a Help or a Hindrance?

By Christopher Stainow

"Project management is like juggling three balls - time, cost and quality. Program management is like a troupe of circus performers standing in a circle, each juggling-three balls and swapping balls from time to time." - G. Reiss

As with so many things in life the use of technology can either make things so much simpler, or that much more complicated. Project management in and of itself is a multi-faceted, intricate process that doesn't need any further difficulties. As such the central idea behind project management software is to facilitate the operation.

Common attributes of Project Management Software

Techopedia provides a good list of the primary functions of project management software:

  • project planning (mapping project tasks)

  • task management (the creation and allocation of tasks)

  • document sharing and collaboration (a central document hub increases productivity)

  • calendar and contact sharing (meetings, activity dates, calendars etc)

  • bug and error management (notifies users of erroneous reporting)

  • time tracking (tracks the time taken for completing tasks)

  • Of course each function is far more complex than just the examples listed here and TechSoup provides a more in-depth look at each component.

    Sunday, September 15, 2013

    5 Critical Factors for Project Manager Success

    By June R. Jewell, CPA

    Succeeding as a project manager (PM) is a tough job these days. When you consider all of the tasks that the typical project manager has to perform, it is no wonder that many project managers get frustrated or even fail! I did an analysis of the typical duties of the PMs that work for our clients, and here is a comprehensive but not necessarily complete list of the responsibilities that get thrown at PMs on a daily basis:
    • Responding to RFPs and creating proposals
    • Estimating project fees
    • Business development and networking (including events, social media, etc.)
    • Budgeting and planning projects
    • Project financial management
    • Project quality control
    • Management of the project timeline
    • Reviewing and approving employee time and expenses
    • Reviewing and approving client billing
    • Collecting Accounts Receivable (AR)
    • Managing subcontractors
    • Scheduling and using resources effectively
    • Maintaining high utilization
    • Solving client problems
    • Nurturing client relationships
    • Recruiting and interviewing new hires
    • Mentoring and training staff
    • Managing staff performance, and dealing with performance and behavior issues
    • Managing contractual requirements and deliverables
    • Preparing for and attending internal and external meetings
    • Documentation of work product