9 Benefits of Tracking Project Schedule

By | January 19th, 2016|Project Tracking|0 Comments

Are you Tracking Project Schedule Regularly?

tracking project schedule

There can be only 2 answers to the above question. Yes and No.

I am appalled when I hear PMs say No to the above question. I hear all sorts of myriad funny reasons for not tracking Project Schedule. Here are some of them:

  • Why should I track Project Schedule? The project is going on just fine.
  • Oh! The customer demanded to prepare a Schedule and we prepared it. Now, there is no reason to waste more time on it.
  • There was a project audit some time ago. We prepared a Schedule to keep Auditors happy. Otherwise developing or tracking it is not at all required.
  • Tracking Project Schedule is just a waste of time. It does not provide any tangible benefit.
  • I never track Project Schedule and I have been managing projects for donkey years.
  • Tracking Project Schedule is not a priority at this time.

But many other PMs say Yes to the above question.

It is true that many PMs do track Project Schedule regularly. But some of them do not understand how to do it properly. They would just enter actual dates and/or duration and be done with it. They do not analyse the Actual Project data to see the variances, modify Project Network as necessary, do forecasting etc.

A good PM must use a Project Scheduling tool like RationalPlan to develop and track Project Schedule. The tracking can be done without a tool also but a tool helps in saving time and improving productivity.

In the next article I will throw some more light on what is meant by tracking and how one should track the Schedule. But for now let us understand why Project Schedule tracking is important. Let us take a look at some of its benefits. (more…)

Earned Value Management—An “Overhead” View (PART 2: EVM Drawbacks and Benefits)

By | May 23rd, 2014|Project Management, Project Management Methodology, Project Tracking|Comments Off on Earned Value Management—An “Overhead” View (PART 2: EVM Drawbacks and Benefits)

Earned value management (EVM) is an efficient methodology for monitoring and predicting project performance only if it is correctly and timely applied. Otherwise, it can become a negative risk for the project, as it ends up consuming managers’ and project teams’ time without producing accurate estimates.

EVM Drawbacks or Limitations

Putting an EVM system in place attracts implementation costs, training costs, software costs, and other associated costs. In addition, generally only organizations with a mature project management system – that is, those that use well-defined processes and procedures consistently across projects – rely on EVM. Organizations that have inconsistent project management practices or little experience with projects may have more to lose than to win if attempting to invest their efforts into using EVM, as it requires accurate project planning and effective change management practices. Proper project planning includes, among many others, documenting requirements well and creating a good work breakdown structure – both essential for EVM.

If the project plan is faulty, EVM will result in misleading results, which are not only a waste of time and effort, but may also lead to project failure. Some organizations start employing EVA analyses in their projects, only to find out later that they got no reliable results. Instead, they realize that employing this technique only added to the cost of managing their projects. Usually, in these situations, the culprit is not EVA, but a missing earned value management system, which may well be the case in an organization with little experience in running projects. (more…)

Earned Value Management—An “Overhead” View (PART 1: EVM Basics)

Despite being one of those topics that put project management students into the doldrums, earned value management remains the most effective way for monitoring project performance. It is a project management methodology used by the U.S. Department of Defense and by many private companies all over the world. Besides a PMBOK chapter and the U.S. Department of Defense EVM Implementation Guide, many other resources cover this topic.

This article—structured in two parts—outlines earned value management in an attempt to provide a starting point for anyone interested in exploring the topic or wanting to decide if it is something his or her organization might use.

EVM, EV, EVA, and EVMS—Not Interchangeable Acronyms

According to the authors of the PMBOK, earned value management (EVM) “integrates project scope, cost, and schedule measures to help the project management team assess and measure project performance and progress.” EVM is a system for project management control that uses earned value as a criterion.

PMBOK defines earned value (EV) as “the value of work performed expressed in terms of approved budget assigned to that work for an activity or work breakdown structure component. It is the authorized work that has been completed, plus the authorized budget for such completed work.” (more…)

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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