Fixing a Project that is Behind Schedule

By | July 31st, 2013|Project Tracking, Resource Management, Risk Management|1 Comment

project behind scheduleA project being delayed may seem a reason to panic but schedule slippage is not as rare as some might expect. Depending on the project, there may be things that can be done to fix a delayed project. In some cases, however, there is no choice other than cancelling the project. Before listing any solutions,  there are things that should not be done, at least for most delayed projects.

Just Work Harder?

A simplistic solution for a delayed project is putting up more effort to catch up with the schedule. Some claim that this is as easy as estimating how behind you are and how faster you need to go to catch up. But doing more in less time is only possible if the team has not operated at their full productivity so far, or has not used the most efficient tools possible, and the project being delayed is only a question of improving efficiency or simply the work climate. Overtime work may be a solution but only for a limited amount of time and in the right environment. It actually creates a negative work climate, which has a detrimental effect on the schedule. So is there a way to fix a delayed project?

The Cause of “Evil”

As with all problems, minimizing or cancelling the symptoms does not eliminate the cause and the problem re-emerges. You need to identify the cause of the discrepancy between schedule and reality. You cannot tell that from analyzing the schedule unless there is a specific task that is causing delays or an artificial task dependency. In the first case, add expert resources to bring back on track the delayed task. In the second case, eliminate the artificial task dependency.

3 Ways to Fix a Delayed Project

If you find out that the project schedule is slipping because you have an unclear scope, or a scope creep, you have a serious problem and the project is likely a death march. However in many cases, the team is very good, all tasks were done efficiently, but the project schedule was very optimistic. If it is so, discuss with the management and project sponsor and look for solutions: (more…)

RationalPlan Freezes With The Latest Version Of Java 1.6.0_51 On Mac OS X

By | July 16th, 2013|RationalPlan|Comments Off on RationalPlan Freezes With The Latest Version Of Java 1.6.0_51 On Mac OS X

The latest update of Java from Apple introduced some major problems for Java based products like failing to draw or respond to user input. More exactly we are talking about the update to Java SE 1.6.0_51. The problem also applies to RationalPlan users.

As a quick fix Apple released the patch Java for OS X 2013-004 that should fix the above mentioned problems. We recommend users that encounter such problems to install this update by following this link where they will also find more details.

RationalPlan 4.5 – Improved Reporting And Data Export

By | July 15th, 2013|News, RationalPlan|Comments Off on RationalPlan 4.5 – Improved Reporting And Data Export

Stand By Soft is pleased to announce the release of version 4.5 for its project management suite RationalPlan. Current version offers better reporting capabilities, more data exports to .xls files, enhanced notification settings and much more.

RationalPlan is a project management solution that puts the accent on productivity, ease of use and fast learning. It was created to help different users beginning with newbie project managers, continuing with users that need an environment to handle multiple projects and up to companies that need a distributed solution with concurrent access.

Important changes for this version:

  • Export projects and risks to spreadsheet applications
  • Enhanced resource distribution reports by adding different types of work and cost
  • Added the possibility to generate the cost distribution report per categories of resources
  • Allow assigning resources on projects
  • Added customizable deadline notification settings

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Working With Project Management Software – Who Is Managing Who?

By | July 9th, 2013|Project Management Software|Comments Off on Working With Project Management Software – Who Is Managing Who?

Managing projects is not an easy job and in most cases the manager would greatly benefit from the use of a dedicated software. Starting from this necessity project management tools were created. But the main problem is if these tools are a real help for those that are using them or it is just a loss of time.

It is a well-known fact that computers became a necessity in our lives by simplifying our work. Increased computational speed, huge memory and lack of fatigue are the main reasons why computers have so much success. Let’s admit it: in certain aspects robots are better that humans. So why not use them for such purposes? It is obtained an increased execution speed and accuracy. But all these come with one cost: time. Someone has to lose some time to teach computers how to do the job right.

So a project manager and his team can ease their work using specialized project management software. But is it worth it? Well… it depends if they are using the right tool: it should be easy to use and to configure and to not require to invest too much effort in using it. Time is precious and should be used to manage the projects and not the software. If one is using considerably more time to handle the software rather that working on its projects then that software is useless. In this case a replacement should be the right thing to do.

The sad truth is that for the most part, teams have absolutely no idea how to use their project management tools even months after they’ve supposedly integrated the system into their workflow. And it’s the same with other software… Some vendors just make complicated software that have far too many steps and users end up working more on their project management software to enter tasks and communicate than they do on getting the project done.

A well designed project planning system should allow users to easily create entities like projects, tasks, resources, clients and to add details – data input is a time-consuming process. Another point to keep in mind is that computed data should be always at hand and easy to follow. Navigation between any two views should not require more than a few mouse clicks. An intuitive interface is a big must: the users need to find fast what they are looking for. (more…)

What to Do as a Newbie Project Manager

You were a team member and have just been promoted to the project manager position. Or you became a project manager because you “inherited” a project after the former project manager left the position. In any case, you became the so-called accidental project manager, even though it is rarely an accident that one is promoted to this position. Suddenly, you are a project manager. You have no project management training, nor experience, you are a “newbie”. You were likely assigned the project manager role because of your technical skills and years of experience in the organization, and you are expected to become a project manager in no time.

Technical Skills are Not Enough to be a Project Manager

Having the technical skills and experience in your field without having any project management experience or training is not sufficient. For example, this situation happens often in IT when software developers suddenly find themselves promoted to project manager positions. Just because they know their job is no guarantee that they are automatically good project managers. So what can they do to run the project successfully and make a smooth transition from a technical to a managerial role? Usually, there is no time for them to enroll in a project management course, since they have to run the project in the same time.

Find a Mentor and Read the Lessons Learned Documents

If in your organization there are other project managers who worked on similar projects, their experience is extremely valuable. You should convince them to mentor you, even if it means they can only do that during their lunch break or on their schedule rather than yours. Ask specific questions, rather than what you should do in general. If your organization has had similar projects, consult the lessons learned documentation so that you can plan properly for your project and mitigate at least some of the risks. (more…)