Define general data of your project

This is where the project starts. Usually a name and maybe a code are used to identify each project. If known, a start date can also be set (though you can get back to this step at any time to set/change it). A short, concise description of the project objective could also be useful.

Project information in RationalPlan

Use notes and links to track project related information

Notes are useful to remember important details.
You can define links to other important documents related to the project (project charter, product description, project deliverables, project objectives etc.). Attach brief, relevant descriptions that will help you to identify the link's target.

Project notes and links in RationalPlan

Define the project working time

Use calendars to specify working times for resources or to schedule project's tasks. Calendar editor helps to create custom calendars.
To define special days, click on Set holidays, days off and other special days tag.

Project working calendars in RationalPlan

Note the assumptions and constraints

During the planning phase assumptions are factors considered to be true, real, or certain and involve a degree of risk (e.g.: if the project development needs a certified staff in a certain domain, the project manager may assume that it will be available).
Constraints are restrictions that affect the performance of the project. The budget is the most popular constraint, which limits the scope, staffing and schedule. In construction weather can be a serious constraint for project success.
Both assumptions and constraints are important issues to be considered along the project life.

Project assumptions and constraints in RationalPlan

Identify risks

Identifying risks at the earliest stages of the project plan increases the chances for the project success.
Set the impact level and the probability to occur and think about a risk response plan to reduce threats to the project's objectives. Describe all these in the Notes area below the table.

Risk management in RationalPlan

Create the project's work breakdown structure

You should never start constructing a schedule for your project before designing a proper WBS; this is considered to be a poor practice.

To put it in simple words, a WBS (work breakdown structure) is a decomposition of a project into smaller components (preferably deliverable-oriented). The WBS is neither a project plan nor a project schedule (and it's not about a chronological listing of project's tasks).
To create the WBS you should first identify the project's major deliverables. You should then decompose those deliverables into smaller components until they are small enough to support definition of the activities..

Work Breakdown Structure in RationalPlan

Define the project activities

Identify the activities that must be performed to produce the deliverables composing the WBS.
Sequence the activities by defining their dependencies (links, constraints) and estimate their duration.

Schedule tasks in RationalPlan

Human resources and equipment

Identify the necessary personnel and equipment based on each project's activities (in the Multi Project version all resources are shared between all projects from the company hence when creating a new project you may already have the necessary resources).
Each resource can use the company's calendar or you can assign a calendar for it as well as define unique exceptions such as vacation, days off etc. Different cost rates can be defined for normal working hours and overtime hours.

Human resources in RationalPlan

Material resources

For each project identify the necessary materials and add them here. For each material resource you can define it's price per unit and measure unit.

Material resources in RationalPlan

Cost resources

These resources may include costs with tools, travel expenses, training or management fees or other kind of fixed costs. When assigning a cost resource to a task you will be able to specify the cost value for that assignment.

Cost resources in RationalPlan

Assign resources to tasks

For each task of the project, decide what material resources are needed and select the human and equipment resources that will accomplish it by taking into considerations the skills and experience in that domain. Fill in the units of the resource-task assignment by considering the maximum units available from that resource. By setting a resource-task assignment unit of 0 means that that resource will not work on that task (it is just responsible for it).

Assign resources to tasks in RationalPlan

Level project resources

Overallocated resources as well as resources that work overtime hours will appear in red, respectively yellow color. Check the time sheet area and zoom in/out to spot the exact period when the problem occurs. Both task and resource details are available in this view so you can easily reallocate resources or take other actions to solve the overallocation issue.

Resource leveling in RationalPlan

Manage costs distribution for tasks

There are cases when besides the costs with resources the projects involves some other costs for tasks. Here you can add them and also specify their accrual method. Tasks costs distribution in time is available at the right side.

Cost management in RationalPlan

Track the evolution of the project

Once the projects have been carefully planned and started the project manager must have a way to monitor the project evolution while updating the schedule with the information about the tasks completion. This view is where you can do this. The completed part of a task will be marked in the Gantt chart with a darker color.
You can also update tasks duration so the schedule will match the actual project's evolution.

Project tracking in RationalPlan

Create and handle multiple projects

A new project can be added from virtually any view just by clicking the New button.
With the same ease you may change the current project.
Project Portfolio view was specifically designed to see all your projects in one place with all necessary details.

Project portfolio in RationalPlan

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