Project Management Terms – Task Contraints

By | July 30th, 2012|Project Management Glossary|Comments Off on Project Management Terms – Task Contraints

Constraint, Task constraint is a generic term used for factors that are affecting the start and finish date of an activity. Project constraints generally apply for things like the scope, budget, schedule of the project while task constraints, on the other hand, are restrictions that are imposed on tasks to start or finish on a certain date.

Generally there are three types of constraints: soft constraints, hard constraints and constraints that offer a certain degree of flexibility.

A soft constraint does not have any date restriction associated to it and allow the greatest flexibility. Basically they can be used to schedule tasks As Soon As Possible (ASAP) or As Late As Possible (ALAP) relative to the start and the end of the project.

Hard constraints impose a date restriction and can be seen as a “must” constraint that is the task Must Start On (MSO) or Must Finish On (MFO) the given date. These constraints are useful when the task depends on external factors and are strictly connected to certain dates.

Examples of external factors: availability of equipment, contractors milestones, budget availability etc.

Flexible constraints also impose a date restriction but as opposed to hard ones they only control the earliest or latest start or finish dates for a task. They act like some deadlines:

  • a task can Start No Earlier Than (SNET) or Finish No Earlier Than (FNET) the given date; it is limited to start or finish after that date but not earlier
  • a task can Start No Later Than (SNLT) or Finish No Later Than (FNLT) the given date; it is limited in the upfront and can not pass that date but can be moved to a previous date

A good project plan is the one that uses hard constraints as less as possible. This ensures a smooth shift in time of the whole project and this is mostly useful when creating project templates. Once a project template is created the project managers can just change the project estimated start date and all the schedule gets shifted and ready to be used.

Project Management Terms – Project Constraints

By | July 25th, 2012|Project Management Glossary|1 Comment

Constraints, Project constraints are restrictions that affect the project by imposing limitations on costs, resources or project schedule. For example, a predefined budget is a constraint that may limit staffing and schedule options. Through the imposed limitations constraints are important data input for the Scope Definition and Planning as part of the Project Scope Management.

Examples of constraints:

  • contractual obligations
  • cost, time, quality
  • actual technological level

In RationalPlan Project Management Software a special step in the Project Guide is dedicated to Assumptions and Constraints documentation.

Project management is a difficult but thankless job

By | July 20th, 2012|Project Management|2 Comments

Project Management - a difficult and thankless jobFor a thankless job the success is not that noticeable while the failure is very obvious and with strong impact. Applying this in project management it results that in the case of success there is little evidence that the manager had any merits while in case of failure the manager gets all the blame.

This is the conclusion that Ike Maboe also reached in a LinkedIn post on the Project Management Expert group. According to him “Project management is a thankless job, everybody wants the glory when the project succeeds and the project manager gets the blame when it fails!” And it is nothing more true than that.

But beside the fact that project management is a thankless job it is also a difficult job. Many problems need to be solved when managing projects and these are not easy ones. It all starts with a good project plan. The planning phase of the project is the most important one and if well done it will make life a lot easier for that lucky manager. At this stage arise questions like: are tasks correctly stated, are there enough resources for every task? Optimized planning is necessary for best results: for example how can we use limited resources most effectively? And this is not an easy job to do although using project management software with resource leveling capabilities helps a lot.

Things go further and can become even more complicated once the project is started. Managers need to control how the progress affects the plan and conclusions must be taken to avoid already encountered problems for the future.

Bottom line is that project management is a difficult job and as a project manager the “thank you” words for your efforts and hard work are kind of missing… But are there just not spoken or they do not exist at all? More than probably everyone from team members, clients, stakeholders etc. appreciate your work just that they do not say it, they forget to mention it. A simple “Thank you for keeping things on track!” would be just great. The strange thing is that they do not forget to blame you when the project fails or goes wrong.

That’s the life for a project manager!

RationalPlan 4.0 – A Brand New Design

By | July 4th, 2012|News, RationalPlan|Comments Off on RationalPlan 4.0 – A Brand New Design

The developers from Stand By Soft are pleased to announce the release of a major version for the project management suite RationalPlan. Version 4.0 comes with a new design, a modern look and a more pleasant color scheme for the eye.

This is a major turn around as the company decided to focus on three different areas or more exactly on three important needs for different types of project managers. These needs are covered by the main three products: Single, Multi and Server.

Although different, in the essence the entire suite has something in common. “Our moto – Manage your projects the easy way – defines in the best possible way what we want from this suite of project management products. Every manager needs to effectively handle his projects and there are many tools in the market for this. However what we want is to also offer the easiest and fastest way to achieve that.” says Gabriel Toader, CEO at Stand By Soft. And the main feature to sustain this idea is an embedded Project Guide that will get project managers through each step of the planning process.

Your kick-start to manage projects” that is the purpose of the Single product. It was especially designed for the novice or accidental project managers and it is the right solution to choose when managing small projects or when the management experience is missing.

The Multi product is more a program management application. “Get your projects together!” explains the best what for it should be used. Those program managers that need to handle multiple inter-related projects and even with shared resources can find in this product a solid help to support their work.

There is nothing easier that to “Manage your projects in one place“. And that place is the Server product from RationalPlan. With this product all the company data like projects, resources, calendars etc. are in one single place. From here anything can be accessed by anyone and from anywhere. All it needs to be done is to create some user accounts and set the appropriate rights. (more…)