Project Management, Resource Leveling And Pregnancy

By | January 31st, 2013|PM Jokes, Resource Management, Time Management|Comments Off on Project Management, Resource Leveling And Pregnancy

The other days I read a funny project management joke: It takes one woman nine months to have a baby. It cannot be done in one month by nine women.

Managing projects is not an easy job. It takes some experience and knowledge if you want to do it well. There are many things to be taken into consideration during the entire process of managing a project but the important thing is to get the job done well, on time and within budget.

A critical factor is the time constraint. Sometimes you are forced to do a work faster and here enter into the stage the so called resource leveling mechanisms. Anyone understands that more people do a work faster than fewer… The same principle is used to finish a task sooner. Hire more personnel and problem solved!

But wait…what if that task just can not be done faster? Well… you can not build the roof for a house until the walls are not finished. And you can not raise the walls until foundation is not ready. But foundation must dry first to be solid and this can not be done faster no matter how many resources you are planning to use.

What all these mean? Simple: make sure you are doing a good, realistic project plan before signing a contract and starting the work. Some tasks just can not be done faster…

Things To Check When Choosing A Work Management Software

By | June 14th, 2011|Project Management Software, Resource Management|Comments Off on Things To Check When Choosing A Work Management Software

There are certain things that a project management software must have in order to be sure you pick the best one available and to maximize your return of investment.

One of the key features that a project management software should have is the possibility to track the progress, for both the project manager supervisors and workers that participate in the project execution. This is related to creating tasks that can be easily and clearly quantified or on short to create deliverables – tasks that have measurable parameters.

Analyzing the workload is very important feature that a work management software must have. Managers must be sure that an optimal work force is assigned to various parts of a project and that no overallocation occurs. Assigning more work force than it is necessary to tasks would be a waste of resources. A good project planning software must have the workload analysis process in inter-dependency with the list of analysis features.

Estimating budget costs and managing budgets makes a great difference between a good profit and waste of investment. A project scheduling software without a detailed cash flow, at task level, can do more harm than help. Tracking project evolution, in each stage, with a good correlation between costs and progress is very important to be sure that the level of funding is adequate at any time.

Also do not forget to check if the selected work management software is capable of handling multiple projects, being able to track resource usage (workforce usage) over multiple projects. You don’t want to assign a worker to two projects at the same time. In the case that it still happens a resource leveling mechanism is always welcomed.

Avoid project management software that do not have a trial version. It is imperative to check all the aspects before deciding if that one is the management program that best suits your needs. (more…)

What Is A Project Portfolio Management Software

By | February 25th, 2011|Project Management Software, Project Portfolio Management|Comments Off on What Is A Project Portfolio Management Software

Manage multiple projects with shared resources within your company

PPM, short for Project Portfolio Management, is a term used by project managers and project management organizations (or PMOs), to describe methods that enables corporate and business users to organize a set of projects into a single portfolio. Project portfolio management software refers to a software product that allows users, usually management or executives within a company, to easily organize and prioritize the projects. It will allow them to review the portfolio and will assist them in making key financial and business decisions for the projects.

A closer look

But project portfolio management is about more than managing multiple projects. Each portfolio of projects must be treated as a whole and needs to be evaluated by its business value and adherence to strategy. As each project must reach its goal and produce its final deliverable in the same way a portfolio should be designed to achieve a specific business objective or benefit. Bob Buttrick summarized it like this: “Directing the individual project correctly will ensure it is done right. Directing ‘all the projects’ successfully will ensure we are doing the right projects.”

A growing number of vendors offer project portfolio management software, which has dramatically simplified the process of building a portfolio. But the first step is for companies to prioritize their business strategies. Portfolios can then be assembled and assessed based on how they meet those strategic needs. Once companies determine the business priorities they want their projects to meet, they need to break down the portfolios. Teams are assigned to different business units, and each of those teams handles a separate portfolio.

Previously, projects were approved and then managed independently. They were evaluated as a whole at the executive level only when it came time to put together annual reports. Nowadays with the latest project management software solutions project managers can better handle the portfolio using executive dashboards and other such tools. Working at portfolio level is about working with summary or key data and as less details as possible. It is important to avoid information overload. The detail of each project should be kept at the project team level, managed by the individual project managers.

The recent trend toward improved resource tracking and leveling functionality in PM software is a great boon to the portfolio manager. Actually, without the possibility of knowing what each human resource in the pool of project personnel is capable of and when they will be available to work, you cannot say that you are managing a portfolio. You need such a work management software in order to keep your project’s work balanced and avoid supplementary costs introduced by overtime working rates.
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RationalPlan Project Management Software v3.12: Resource Availability, Better Tracking and Improved Printing

By | March 11th, 2009|News|Comments Off on RationalPlan Project Management Software v3.12: Resource Availability, Better Tracking and Improved Printing

Stand By Soft has released RationalPlan 3.12, a strong project management software application developed to assist project managers in creating plans, tracking progress, allocating resources, managing budgets and analyzing workload. Suited for applications in the area of construction, engineering, services&consulting, software development or for a simple student project, RationalPlan can help complete projects on time and within budget.

Important changes of this version:

  • Added resource work availability for an easier leveling
  • Better tracking by adding a catch up to date completion
  • Improved printing
  • A more user-friendly interface
  • Bug fixes

RationalPlan added resource work availability for an easier leveling. With this feature RationalPlan makes a step forward in becoming a resource management software and not only a project management software . Now users have an added feature to the mechanism of resource leveling. Project managers have the possibility to supervise the workload of any resource from the company using the available work information. The Resource Sheet view can now be customized to show all kind of data (work/cost): Available, Capacity, Actual, Remaining, Overtime etc. Actual and Remaining are best used for tracking the project workload and cost. But the real powerful help comes from using the Capacity and Available notions. Managers will see now how much a resource can be loaded and how much it is still available. When a resource is available in a certain time period then that available amount will be displayed with a green color such that you know it has a free time. If a project is behind its deadline and the manager need more work force to keep it in schedule it has two possibilities: use more resources and increase the project cost or level the actual ones if possible. With RationalPlan all he has to do is see where resources are green and use that available work where it is needed. Hence it will be obtained an optimum resource workload balance.

With this version it was added a catch up to date mechanism for task completion. Usually managers are updating the project completion status based on the information coming from the field at a higher level of details e.g. analysis phase has been completed. It is inefficient and a lost of time to update the completion of all tasks from that phase. Instead, a mechanism like the one offered in RationalPlan will allow the manager to just select that phase, the completion date and it is done.

Also the printing mechanism was also slightly improved by adding a fit to page action. There are times when a project plan could fit on one single paper page but that should be done by selecting the optimal zoom factor which is a time consuming task. Now users can do this with just one click.

The developers from Stand By Soft worked in this version also on the interface of the products. To be mentioned: the table selection is now extended over the charts giving users a better orientation and synchronization between the table and the associated chart. Also there have been added more actions like insert task and break task to the Gantt chart. Less important changes are straightforward for the user and are left to discover them by himself.

Some important bug fixes of this version are related to the import/export of MS Project files.

RationalPlan suite includes:

RationalPlan Single Project – project management software for single projects
RationalPlan Multi Project – project management software for multiple projects, projects that are interconnected through dependencies and share common resource
RationalPlan Project Viewer – free project management software viewer, the perfect solution for anyone (from project stakeholders to team workers) to view projects details
RationalPlan is designed as an affordable alternative to Microsoft Project with some extra-features like multiproject management and it is covering project management area from WBS construction, project planning and scheduling to critical path management, over allocated resources detection, progress tracking, cost estimation, etc. Gantt chart support as well as various time line reports are also provided. It offers the most important capabilities of a good project management software while being able to operate on various platforms starting with Windows, Mac, Linux and all other Java enabled platforms.

RationalPlan Project Management Software is available at http://www.rationalplan.com. It can be download from https://www.rationalplan.com/download.php.

About Stand By Soft

Stand By Soft was founded in 1997 as a software company specialized in building desktop applications and components.

Address: Aleea Parului, Nr.4A, Craiova, Dolj, 200346, Romania
Email: marketing@rationalplan.com
Phone: +40727159969

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RationalPlan Project Management Software v3.11: Spreadsheets Integration, Split Tasks and Easier Resource Leveling

By | February 10th, 2009|News|Comments Off on RationalPlan Project Management Software v3.11: Spreadsheets Integration, Split Tasks and Easier Resource Leveling

Stand By Soft has released RationalPlan 3.11, a strong project management software application developed to assist project managers in creating plans, tracking progress, allocating resources, managing budgets and analyzing workload. Suited for applications in the area of construction, engineering, services&consulting, software development or for a simple student project, RationalPlan can help complete projects on time and within budget.

Important changes of this version:

  • Integration with spreadsheets from Excel, iWork Numbers and OpenOffice
  • Split tasks and easier manual leveling for resources
  • A more user-friendly interface (outline number, code for resources, automatic selection of resources and predecessors when direct typing)
  • Bug fixes

Starting with this version RationalPlan integrates with spreadsheets from Excel, iWork Numbers or OpenOffice. Users can copy tasks or resources and then paste them in these spreadsheets. In this way they will be able to create custom reports or send certain information from a project to potential stakeholders. This feature is an addition to the free project viewer already available and it will be mostly used for generating some custom privacy reports that can not be generated directly through RationalPlan products. Users will also be able to paste data from spreadsheets
into RationalPlan. The application will try to detect the type of data that was copied from the spreadsheet and convert it to actual data. This way the users will have a very efficient way to import their data instead of manually inserting it.

Another strong feature that was added is the possibility to split tasks. Hence users will be able to split a task in several parts in case a certain task work can not be performed in a contiguous time interval. Each of these splitted parts will inherit all the information from the original task but they can be individually managed. The biggest advantage is that managers will be able to have a better control over the work allocation for the resources. As an example the manager will be able to assign a resource only over a certain time period on a task and not for the full duration of that task as this was the only possibility in previous versions of RationalPlan. This is a powerfull feature that comes to complete the resource leveling feature that was added in version 3.10. Now project managers have the full mechanism for doing their manual leveling for resources.

Certain improvements were made to the interface of the application to make users experience easier. One is the outline number that was added for tasks. This way tasks are easier to be identified in a big project structure. Another improvement is the addition of an editable combo box in the predecessors and assignments tables for a task, that will automatically select the desired items when typing. This way the navigation is also improved. Also it must be mentioned the fact that MS Project files (.mpp, .xml, .mpx) can now be openned directly with RationalPlan and there is no need to import them as before.

An important bug fix of this version is related to the import of MS Project .mpp files. Other minor improvements are straightforward for the user and there is no need to fill the list here with them.

RationalPlan suite includes:

RationalPlan Single Project – project management software for single projects

RationalPlan Multi Project – project management software for multiple projects, projects that are interconnected through dependencies and share common resource

RationalPlan Project Viewer – free project management software viewer, the perfect solution for anyone (from project stakeholders to team workers) to view projects details

RationalPlan is designed as an affordable alternative to Microsoft Project with some extra-features like multiproject management and it is covering project management area from WBS construction, project planning and scheduling to critical path management, over allocated resources detection, progress tracking, cost estimation, etc. Gantt chart support as well as various time line reports are also provided. It offers the most important capabilities of a good project management software while being able to operate on various platforms starting with Windows, Mac, Linux and all other Java enabled platforms.

RationalPlan Project Management Software is available at http://www.rationalplan.com. It can be download from https://www.rationalplan.com/download.php.

About Stand By Soft

Stand By Soft was founded in 1997 as a software company specialized in building desktop applications and components.
Address: Aleea Parului, Nr.4A, Craiova, Dolj, 200346, Romania
Email: marketing@rationalplan.com
Phone: +40727159969

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RationalPlan Project Management Software v3.10: Easier Resource Leveling, Privacy Export and Better Mac Integration

By | December 11th, 2008|News|Comments Off on RationalPlan Project Management Software v3.10: Easier Resource Leveling, Privacy Export and Better Mac Integration

Stand By Soft has released RationalPlan 3.10 , a strong project management software application developed to assist project managers in creating plans, tracking progress, allocating resources, managing budgets and analyzing workload. Suited for applications in the area of construction, engineering, services&consulting, software development or for a simple student project, RationalPlan can help complete projects on time and within budget.

Important changes of this version:

  • Easier resource leveling
  • Better Mac integration
  • Import of MS Project .mpx files
  • Configurable toolbar
  • Privacy export in Multi Project
  • File type association
  • Bug fixes

Resource leveling is an important step in project management. The easier this process is done the more productive you are. During the control phase of a project many unpredicted events can occur that can influence the initial project plan. Hence certain tasks are delayed or are going to take a longer period of time to be completed. Once that happened all the resources that where assigned on those tasks will have a different working plan. They may or may not be able to work on that given plan either because they are not available on that period or because they were already assigned on other tasks.

The solution to all these problems is called resource leveling. It is a mechanism through which the project manager will solve the overallocation or unavailability of resources. Some fast and easy solutions are: moving overlapping tasks, assigning other resources on tasks that overlap, changing working calendars on resources and tasks. All these actions are easy to be performed with the help of a project management software that will show you at the same time the resources work and the task scheduling plan. This way the manager can easily see which is the best solution to solve the overallocation problem. Version 3.10 of RationalPlan adds this possibility. The users can now see in the same view and synchronized
on the same time scale both the Gantt chart and the Resource sheet.

As promised previously Mac users will have a better experience with the release of this version. The application interface is cleaner. Buttons, split bars, tool bar items, color pickers… all have a better look and feel. The opened file icon is now set on the title bar with grayed/darkened colors based on the saving state of the file. The close button’s look also changes according to the state of the file: saved on not. Little things that Mac users are used to find on their applications can now be found on RationalPlan. Even more from now the .xrp file extension is associated with the application. Just double-click or drag a file over the dock icon and it will be opened. .xrp file type association is added starting with this version not only for the Mac version but also for Windows.

Usually project managers plan and control the projects from start to end and make the necessary changes. However, there are some other people (like stakeholders) that have to check and overview the projects’ evolution into their smallest detail. In this aim was developed RationalPlan Project Viewer that can be freely distributed. Still certain details of a project are preffered not to be made public. For example the clients and the resources that are working on a project would like to see how the project is evolving but the manager and the developer of the project would not want to make public the working rates or other costs… That is why a privacy export would be welcomed. Starting with this version RationalPlan users can create such filtered files that can be shared with any stakeholder. All they have to do is to select the information that they want to keep private and then export it.

Older MS Project .mpx files can now be imported in RationalPlan. This completes the list of file formats generated by Microsoft Project that can be imported.

Since over time the product has become more and more complex, toolbars have increased in size making the work with them more difficult for users. Hence it appeared the need of tool bar configuration. Now it is possible to show/hide certain actions or buttons from the toolbar based on the actual needs of each user.

RationalPlan suite includes:

RationalPlan Single Project – project management software for single projects

RationalPlan Multi Project – project management software for multiple projects, projects that are interconnected through dependencies and share common resource

RationalPlan Project Viewer – free project management software viewer, the perfect solution for anyone (from project stakeholders to team workers) to view projects details

RationalPlan is designed as an affordable alternative to Microsoft Project with some extra-features like multiproject management and it is covering project management area from WBS construction, project planning and scheduling to critical path management, over allocated resources detection, progress tracking, cost estimation, etc. Gantt chart support as well as various time line reports are also provided. It offers the most important capabilities of a good project management software while being able to operate on various platforms starting with Windows, Mac, Linux and all other Java enabled platforms.

About Stand By Soft

Stand By Soft was founded in 1997 as a software company specialized in building desktop applications and components. RationalPlan is a project management software that follows the general recommended guidelines from project management domain. MOOS Project viewer is a Microsoft Project viewer that allows you to open, view in a dynamic way and print any Microsoft Project file.

Contact name: Lucian Ioan
Address: Aleea Parului, Nr.4A, Craiova, Dolj, 200346, Romania
Email: marketing@rationalplan.com
Phone: +40771610710

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