Almonds and Molasses Cereal Project

The deliverables section gives us our first level of project definition, and a framework for further structuring. Each of these items can usually be traced back to a basic project objective. Each of these items can usually be assigned to a specific responsible individual, for accountability. The development of the WBS continues in increasing levels of detail. Returning to the bomber project, we can expand the first item of the WBS as follows Thus far, we have illustrated the WBS in an outline...

Practical Uses of Resource Scheduling

In Chapter 4.4, we look at practical uses of resource scheduling. Here is a preview of some things that you should find interesting. Long Term Short Term Practical resource scheduling is best achieved via a balance of long-term resource aggregation (analysis of predicted resource loads) and short-term resource leveling (possibly with user intervention). We outline a recommendation that should suit most applications. Use of Total and Free Float Have you been taught that we use CPM scheduling so...

Controlling Costs Using Management Reserve

Let's examine what we have gained from employing this simple, spreadsheet-based, change control system. We have an audit trail of all changes. We maintain control over the Management Reserve fund, as well as the makeup of the contract dollars. We have a negotiated and accepted change in the project completion date (chg. 2 & 3). We have a valid basis for calculating schedule and cost variances for EVA (if employed). In the example, above, three of the changes involved increased costs to the...

Examples of ProjectsERP Integration

I decided to take a closer look at some of the ERP-based solutions, starting with the one offered by Oracle. It appears to deliver the capabilities advertised in their statement. Looking specifically at the role of a suite of products (sold under the umbrella label of Oracle Projects), we do find a bridge between projects-oriented data and the corporate operations data. Oracle Projects is their doorway into Oracle Financials and other Oracle components, as shown in Figure 10.2a. By partnering...

Setting Up The Project Management Operation

Project management doesn't just happen. Successful project management is the result of a structured and determined effort to develop practices and skills within an organization that has been deliberately designed to support project work and the management of that work. There are almost unlimited options as to how to achieve this. One option that does not exist, however, is to engage in project work without setting up some kind of projects operation. There is no option to engage in project work...

The Shared Contingency Idea

Essentially, any of these solutions might be called shared contingency (my term). In the Goldratt approach, it is applied in several stages. First, he locates the critical path and reduces task durations to be consistent with a 50 percent probability rather than 90 percent. Half of the removed duration is added at the end of the path, as a project buffer. Next, the feeder paths are located and treated in a similar manner, and half of the removed duration is added at the end of each feeder path,...

Functions and Subsystems Associated with Cost Management

There are several functions and subsystems that are often associated with cost management. Some are erroneously believed to be the equivalent of cost management, but fall short of satisfying the full requirements. Rather, they are only elements of a full-fledged cost management system. Project accounting is not cost management. Most often, a project accounting system is no more than assigning an ID number to each authorized project so that costs can be allocated to projects. There is no...

Software for CCPM

Goldratt acknowledges that computer assistance is necessary to calculate the critical chain and to manipulate the various buffers. Here are two products that are available to support CCPM. The first is ProChain Project Scheduling, from ProChain Solutions, Inc., (703) 490-8821 or www.prochain.com. ProChain sits on top of Microsoft Project, and is run from within MSP. Task Bars and ProChain Views are added to the MSP screen. ProChain will first Load Level, considering dependency and resource...

Trends in Resource Management

Resource management may well be the real oldest profession. Certainly it is not a new function. I'll bet that even when the pyramids were built, there were fairly well-structured practices in place for managing the projects and the resources. Frederick Taylor, at the turn of the twentieth century, published new Figure 4.3a Options That Affect Resource Leveling Here is a list of resource scheduling attributes that may be found in traditional CPM products. The range of attributes is quite wide....

Making Project Management Work

Project Management is a SCIENCE. Project Management is a PROCESS. Yes, it is all of these. But, most of all, Project Management is a lot of COMMON SENSE. Without organizing for project management, and without establishing a set of project management practices and developing a project management culture, project management is likely to fail. Yet all of these are not enough to assure that any project management initiative will be successful. This is because project...

Exploring Goldratts Critical Chain Theory

Of all the emerging solutions for shared contingency, the one gaining the most attention is one presented in a very interesting book by Eliyahu Goldratt, called Critical Chain (North River Press, 1997). Eli Goldratt has been successful in using the fiction novel method to promote his hypothesis on the Theory of Constraints, via the subject book and two others The Goal (1992), and It's Not Luck (1994). There have been a plethora of papers, both in print and on websites, either extolling the...

Project Management as a Discipline

Perhaps the most important thing to note is that project management is, indeed, a discipline of its own. It has its own terminology, its own body of knowledge, its own set of skills and practices. One might not need a degree in project management to practice this discipline. But you cannot just have someone wave a magic wand in your direction and bestow these capabilities upon you. As obvious as this might appear, there are far too many instances where this is exactly what happens. A senior...

Cost Management The Weakest Link

A generic definition of project management would undoubtedly talk of planning, controlling, and balancing the scope, schedule, resource, and cost aspects of the project. Yet, when we read about project management, discussion of the latter item, cost, tends to get the least attention. This is often carried over to the design of software for project management. Many of the heavy-duty products, at least back before the PC era, addressed scope, schedule, and resource management and ignored cost...

Using Risk for Microsoft Project

When the PERT approach was first developed, in the late 1950s, it was customary to perform a statistical analysis (whoops, here come the sigmas) to calculate the confidence factor for each potential project completion date. Today, there are several add-on programs that work with popular PC-based CPM programs. We look at two of them here, starting with Risk+ for Project, from C S Solutions Inc. Most of what Risk+ does is virtually transparent to the user, and no expertise in statistics is needed...

Work Breakdown Structure

The first step is usually to define the work breakdown structure (WBS), as this is the framework for the project work scope. If you cannot define the work scope, then you cannot define the schedule, resources, or budget for the project. The WBS first helps with this (work scope) definition, and then becomes the framework for the identification of the details of the project. The WBS is an organization chart for the project work. If you were to draw a typical project WBS, it would look just like...

Organizing for Project Management

If you are in the business of doing projects, then your company has probably modified its organizational structure to help it to respond to the demands of the projects environment. Your firm, like most, has probably migrated from a primarily functional or line type of organizational structure to the currently ubiquitous matrix format. Conceptually, the matrix approach implies that the responsibility for achieving project objectives will be shared equally by the functional and project managers....

Use Accomplishment Value to Supplement Float Analysis

Accomplishment value, or earned value (a.k.a. Budgeted Cost of Work Performed) pertains to the measurement of accomplishment against the plan, once the work is underway. Normally, when we have a critical path schedule, we rely primarily on total float to see how we're doing. If we maintain the desired float, we assume that the schedule progress is satisfactory. This can be a false security. If you read the manuals on the use of the critical path method, you probably were told that CPM analysis...