03/25/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: replanning a project, rethinking a project, rethinking and replanning
In Part 1 of this two part series on stopping to replan a troubled implementation, we began looking at the reasons to take such action as well as the major impacts to a project for doing so. Now let’s look ahead to what our resource, data and feedback requirements will be in order to get replanned and restarted on the right course to project success.
Determine resource requirements and their availability for resource planning?
Any replanning effort is going to require you to revisit the resource plan for your project. If timeframes shift, then key resources may not be available for the full duration of your project and you may need to start looking for new or additional resources early to be proactive. Rework the resource plan and forecast and ensure that you’ll have the right resources and skill sets available when you need them according to your reworked project schedule.
Continue reading “Rethinking and Replanning Your Project – Part 2”
03/18/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: replanning a project, rethinking a project, rethinking and replanning
Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned on the projects we run as project managers. That easily goes without saying because we’ve all had projects that experienced bumps in the road or redirections at some point during the engagement. If it’s minor, then you can fairly easily redirect the project and activities, reassign things where necessary, make slight adjustments to the plan and budget, and be moving forward very quickly in the right, new direction.
If the problem, issue, redirection, or project change is more major, then replanning is going to involve more extensive processes to make sure that you and project team have everything covered. If you find yourself in this situation, I have found that there are six key questions or actions to consider – basically as a checklist – to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases. After all, it can almost be like a mini (or major) restart on the project. You don’t want to miss some critical replanning process or task and have to deal with it later on.
Here’s my list…. Ask yourself these questions: Did you…
Continue reading “Rethinking and Replanning Your Project – Part 1”
03/14/2014 by Richard Moffett Tags: FastTrack Schedule Concurrent-User Version, fasttrack schedule single-user version, fasttrack schedule versions
Here at AEC Software we designed our software to work for any size group. Whether you are working as an individual, a small team, a larger squad, or a company in the hundreds or thousands, we know that FastTrack can handle your projects and workload. The one question you might be asking yourself is: what is the best licensing plan for me and my team? In this blog post we will discuss the differences between our Single-User Version and Concurrent-User Version so that you can determine the most efficient plan for your team and how you can get the most “bang for your buck” with FastTrack Schedule 10.
The first licensing model we have available is our FastTrack Schedule 10 Single-User Version. Each Single-User license is installed locally on the machine of the user. That owner of the license will also have the ability to install the software on a second machine used by him/her. The owner can thus utilize the software in the office as well as out in the field or at home without having to purchase a second license. The one caveat is that the program can only be running on one machine at a time, so the user will simply need to quit out of the application on one computer before using it on the other. Even though the software is installed locally, the user will still have the ability to save their files on a shared-drive like Dropbox, in the Cloud, or on a server for collaboration with others.
Continue reading “Single-User or Concurrent-User: Which version works best for your team?”
03/11/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: issue tracking, issues list, keeping track of issues, project issue tracking, project issues
In Part 1 of this two part series on keeping track of your ongoing issues that arise on the projects you manage, we first had to acknowledge that every project experiences issues. It is the nature of project management and our imperfect environments that we can’t completely control. We then discussed a simple and usable format for creating and maintaining the ongoing issues list. Remember, making it too detailed and complicated will turn off the customer and confuse the very individuals that you are tasking to resolve the issues. Keep it simple and it will be easy for everyone to understand and for you to maintain, keep up to date, and distribute weekly.
Let’s continue this review by discussing how best to use and monitor the issues list on an ongoing basis…
Continue reading “Keeping Track of the Issues – Part 2”
03/04/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: issue tracking, keeping track of issues, project issue tracking, project issues
Issues abound on every project ever managed since the beginning of time. No project is executed so perfectly that no issues arise. And even if everything is running smoothly on all cylinders, there will still be issues that come up that are beyond the control of the project manager, team and other stakeholders…. there are just too many variables that come in to play on each engagement for issues not to arise. So basically, no matter what you do, no matter how well you plan, no matter how experienced you are and no matter how hard you try, you will never ever run a project that does not experience some issues along the way that must be documented and managed.
The nature of issues
Issues can be big or small, but if they are left unmanaged they will almost always become problematic and threaten to bring the project down. The experienced and prepared project manager will proactively document and manage project issues and assign them just like tasks in a project schedule. And they will also review them and track them just like anything else on the ongoing project status report and discuss them – at least the big ones – at every project status meeting with the key stakeholders and assigned resources.
Continue reading “Keeping Track of the Issues – Part 1”
02/27/2014 by Jackie Dembinsky Tags: Bar Labels, Bar Styles, Calendar, Calendar View, FastTrack Schedule 10, Tips and Tricks
In every project we work on some of the most important things that we keep track of are the date and durations when activities need to occur. In FastTrack Schedule 10 we can easily view exactly when these tasks should happen by looking at our Timeline Graph. There are times, however, when we may want to view this information in a different manner. For example, perhaps there is a time when we would like to see those tasks displayed across a traditional calendar. With FastTrack Schedule 10’s Calendar View we can very easily display every task in our project on a calendar.
Normally a calendar may not provide much information, besides when the activity is occurring. However, with FastTrack Schedule 10’s Calendar View we can easily apply different labels to our bars that correspond to any the columns in our project. This allows users to easily show key data of the project while still maintaining that easy-to-use calendar styling.
First let’s take a look at how our project looks in the Schedule View. As we can see here, the Schedule View displays key information such as Activity Name, Duration, Start/Finish Date, and Cost. We also see that when looking at the Timeline Graph that we have different bar styles for each section of the project.
Continue reading “Adding Labels in the Calendar View”
02/26/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: pmi, pmo, project interaction, project management institute, project management peers
I will be the first to state that I very much like to work independently. And that is the beauty of project management. Much of what we do we do independently. I realize that all depends on the actual makeup of your organization and your project management infrastructure. But I can say from my experience…that most of the organizations I have worked in have given their project managers fairly free rein to succeed or fail. Yes, there has been structure, but in terms of the daily management of our projects, we have been able to engage customers, make decisions, and manage tasks on our own – always knowing we can reach out if necessary, of course. Sound ideal? It is. But it can also alienate some individuals and leave some project managers feeling a bit like an island rather than part of a group. It’s all about personal preference and your ability to manage your own time and thoughts and to make the big boy decisions when they need to be made (and to know when to make them as well).
But interaction is still a good thing
Continue reading “Stay Connected with Your PM Peers”
02/14/2014 by Jackie Dembinsky Tags: FastTrack Schedule 10, Filter By Selection, Filters, Reporting, Tips and Tricks
In one of our previous posts we took a look at how to create different Filters to search for specific data within our projects. There are, of course, situations where you may not have created a filter for a certain type of data because you did not think you would need to run a report on it during your project. When we run into these cases we can easily filter data on the fly by using the Filter By Selection tool in FastTrack Schedule 10.
Filter By Selection allows you to select data from any column and immediately perform a filter to find any other row that contains the same information. This will work whether it’s Text, a Number, or even a Date in the project. First lets take a look at our full schedule. Here we can see there are columns for items such as Activity Name, Duration, and various Costs.
In this schedule we have not added any filters, however we can still easily filter for any data within the project. For example, I would like to filter for all “Footing” tasks. To do this I can locate any row in the Activity Name column that contains the word “Footing”. Here I can place my cursor in the Activity Name column of row 8 and Right-Click or Control-Click. From the context menu that appears you can then select Filter By Selection.
Continue reading “Filter By Selection”
02/11/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: customer communication, customer communication strategies, project management best practices
I am usually very energized by a new project. After all, there is a customer out there who is waiting to get started, eager to meet with me, and may have already left a couple of voice mails for me before I ever get the project officially handed off to me. I had one – US Airlines to be exact – who wanted a finish date for a software implementation I was going to be doing for them before we even met by phone so that they could put it in some airline industry publication. Talk about enthused. Or at least being pushed by someone higher up to look and act enthused.
When you are used to that type of anticipation from the customer – or something close to that – it’s no wonder we can become frustrated when the indecisiveness – or lack of availability from a project sponsor gets in the way of forward momentum on an engagement…or even just getting it kicked off. When that indecision is coming from your direct customer, it cannot only be frustrating, but also very detrimental to the project. Every project manager knows all too well that delays caused by waiting on key decisions and input can cost time and money – two things that few projects have extra of.
Continue reading “When the Customer Can’t Push “Go””
02/05/2014 by Brad Egeland Tags: benefits of focusing on the needs of stakeholders, focusing on the stakeholders, project stakeholders
What skill must every project manager possess in order to be successful? Communication. Good, effective, efficient communication. Going into any engagement who the project manager will be communicating with is a question mark because the project itself can be more far reaching than originally imagined. And even if it isn’t much of who will actually be involved – in terms of stakeholders – will get finalized during the kickoff session (although more will usually be added along the way). At a minimum, that communication will be with the project manager’s project team, his senior management, the customer sponsor, the customer project team, possible senior leadership at the customer site, and possibly third party vendors. There even may be more stakeholders than what’s included – they do tend to get added along the way. They may even come and go throughout the project. The constant, though, is that those communication skills must be there and remain engaged throughout the project.
Continue reading “Focusing on the Stakeholders”