A shark fin with the text, "Can PM Save Projects?"

Your Company Has Problems – Can PM Save It?

Can good project management and best practices save a project?

Yes. Good, focused project management can save a troubled project engagement – there’s little question about that. Best practices applied well by an experienced project manager and team, will nearly always have a favorable impact and more often than not, outcome. But can it save a company? Well…that’s an entirely different question.  A whole company – beyond just the project issues? Let’s consider…

Can Project Management practices save projects?

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I have the power to manage people everywhere.

Strategies for Virtual Project Management Team Success

Are you struggling with managing your virtual project management team?

It’s a given that project managers are spending most of their time managing tasks and resources on the project. In fact, they have a hand in ‘managing’ everything including issues, risks, conflicts, people, activities, communication, the customer, and vendors as well as all of the unknowns that can and do arise. This is all true whether the project is being handled remotely or if your team and customer are sitting in the same room with you. It’s just that the skills needed to effectively manage tend to skew more heavily on effective communication and the remote aspect can invite some challenges that don’t necessarily exist in the co-location project environment.

Manager standing in front of employees labeled with different locations. Manager has the power to manage everywhere. FastTrack Schedule

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Choosing with your brain or your heart. Image made by FastTrack Schedule

Technology vs. Best Choice – Who Wins the Project Solution Decision?

New technology is very enticing and sometimes your customer really wants it … bad.  Their desire can even push the entire project to center around it. And it’s hard to go a different route because it can draw you in too – new technology is exciting and fun to play with. Sometimes the customer even has the money to back up their passion for acquiring the new technology. But… I’m telling you – resist at all costs!

Hmm... Shall I choose Technology with my Heart or my Brain? (FastTrack Schedule)

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The Reality of Open-Source. Image created by FastTrack Schedule.

Using Open-Source Software can be Risky for Projects

An old issue of CIO magazine I was checking out recently contained some very concerning thoughts on the use of open-source software – things that should be carefully considered if you are using them in your organization and on your projects. Open-source sounds like a great option… free technology and all… but the potential consequences of using it can be disastrous.

The Reality of Open-Source technology. Image created by FastTrack Schedule.

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No Guarantees for Project Success is written in a gold emblem

There’s no such thing as a Project Guarantee

Project success is never a guarantee. We all know this is just plain fact. You can do your best, have everything go smoothly, and follow best practices – whatever those might be for you and your organization – and still come up short in the end. And if you’re looking for information and advice about project management here, then you already know it’s a bit hit or miss in terms of success.

Image made by FastTrack Schedule. "No Guarantee for Project Success" emblem
There is just no guarantee.

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A plan is key. (FastTrack Schedule)

Process Should Drive the Project, Not Technology

New technology – having the latest and greatest toy or gadget is the way to go, right? Well, not if it doesn’t solve your need or real desire. If it doesn’t solve something, then it will just collect dust over time and frustrate you that you wasted so much money on it just to hang clothes on it or have it take up space.

So, what is the best way to decide what technology to buy?

A plan is key for making smart decisions. -FastTrack Schedule

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The Art of Printing with FastTrack Schedule

[This article has recently been updated.]
It is not enough that your schedule looks good on your computer screen, it needs to master the physical world as well.  FastTrack Schedule provides three methods to help you accomplish the goal of transforming your project into a hardcopy document with as few sheets of paper as possible, and with a presentation that is as clear as possible. After all, too much data, spread across too many pages can be overwhelming to understand, much less present to an audience.
Large format printer printing a Wall Chart with FastTrack Schedule

Printing Methods

The three methods FastTrack Schedule provides are Standard, Wall Chart (Tiled), and Fit to Pages (Width).

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4th of July FastTrack Schedule Sale

Fireworks? It’s time to celebrate!

We’d like to help you celebrate too! Take advantage of our holiday sale. Buy one, get one 50% off.

Don’t forget, FastTrack Schedule is available for Windows and Macintosh machines, so feel free to mix and match to suit your needs. Pick two Window’s, two Macintoshes, or even one of each.

4th of July FastTrack Schedule Sale

Ps. You can either click the image, or visit this URL to access this deal. https://tinyurl.com/FastTrackScheduleSale

Successful Projects Have a Plan

Good Requirements and the Successful Project

Requirements are the lifeblood of projects. That’s one of my mottos anyway. If you don’t have a list of what needs to be completed, how do you know what to accomplish, or even when the project is actually finished? This is why requirements are critical to a project’s successful outcome. A project that is started without good, complete requirements in place is definitely in trouble from the beginning.

Successful Projects Have a Plan

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Free - 200 More Bar Styles

Get and Use 200 More Free Bar Styles

Are you a Project Manager that wants a different look for your schedule’s bar styles, but you don’t have the time to play around with different designs for your bar styles? Or maybe you just lack artistic mojo, yet would like to use bar styles not in the program’s drop-down selection?

Free - 200 More Bar Styles

We understand, that’s why we’ve provided a Template/Example Schedule within FastTrack Schedule 10 that contains 200 additional bar styles for you to choose from and incorporate into your schedules.

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Highlight Over Budget Items

Using Calculations to Find Cost Variance

This Topic was Recently Updated.

When we are building projects, two of the most important types of data that we need to keep track of are budgeted and actual cost values.

In FastTrack Schedule 10:

  • Use the Cost Layout to input a budget and automatically calculate actual costs.
  • Create calculations to pinpoint tasks that are over budget within our projects.Identify the amount a task is over budget.
  • Make a column automatically display whether a task is over budget.
  • Make a label automatically appear on an activity bar to make a over-budget task more noticeable in the Timeline Graph.

Use the Cost Layout to input a budget and automatically calculate actual costs.

To display a project’s task costs, use the Cost Layout. This will display cost information for Fixed Cost, Resource Cost, and Total Cost.

  • Fixed Cost is any cost not directly relating to our resources.
  • Resource Cost is calculated based on the resources assigned cost rates and the number of hours they are assigned to tasks.
  • Total Cost is the combination of Fixed Cost and Resource Cost.

Notice that in the Cost Layout there is no column for Budget values. We can easily create this on our own.

Cost Layout

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How Changing a Flat Tire Made Me a Better Project Manager

Project Managers are organized in everything they do, right? Well, I can say that I’m not.

And when I was attempting to change a tire on our full-sized 12 passenger van… I learned that I’m even less organized than I thought. My little kids were helping… so at least that aspect was fun.

The worst part? Everything else. I hate redoing work more than just about anything else. And I’ve been an application developer and a project manager long enough to know that rework usually comes from poor or incomplete planning/communication. I try to avoid both, but in the case of my flat tire, I failed.

What should have taken me 30+ minutes with some advanced oversight and planning, took me about four hours and a lot of unnecessary pain, sweat, and aggravation.

Why? Because…

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