Entering Goals Into Project

Once you have placed your goal into Project 98, your schedule should look as follows:

There is another way to enter information into Project 98. Double click on any part of the row you have created. You will now see the following form:

Select the Advanced tab: under Constrain task change the Type to As Soon As Possible:

Select the Notes tab and type in the following note:

I will be focusing on learning several of the new features in Visual Basic. The skills I will be focusing on are the new data source classes, web classes and IIS classes. During the envisionment phase I will spend a maximum of five hours on skills and drop to zero hours during the development phase.

This will look as follows:

Select OK. Notice a note icon has been added to the information column of the left of the goal name.

Some of you may be thinking that it is unrealistic to study at work. I once worked at a large company that did not allow reading of any material at your work desk. I found out about this policy because one of my coworkers spotted me reading a magazine at my cubicle and reported me to my senior manager. I was immediately called into the manager's office. I explained to my manager that I was reading an article in VBPJ and using the code sample in the magazine for the current project I was working on. I was referring to the article as I typed code into my project. I was told that reading any magazine at work was not allowed, and if one of the company's vice presidents had seen me, I would have been fired on the spot. I was advised to go to the cafeteria or step outside if I wanted to do research on my coding during work hours. While this may seem like it came out of a Dilbert cartoon, this really happened to me.

During times when programmers have slack time, such as during the envisionment phase or between projects, team members should be allowed to study. I cannot emphasize this enough. Visual Basic is a constantly evolving language, as is the entire Enterprise technology. There is just too much to learn during off hours. If a company wants highly skilled Visual Basic team members, then they must allow their full time Visual Basic employees to spend some time improving their skills during work time. They should also be willing to invest in training.

I would go as far as setting a quiet office aside and turning it into a study room. The room should be made comfortable and also have one, preferably several, computers set up to work with Visual Basic and Back Office. The computer should have as much source code as possible, the MSDN and tech net loaded onto it, and as many study aids as possible. There should be shelves loaded with good reference materials. A conference room should also be set aside when several developers have downtime so that they can work together on learning a topic. If someone has expertise in a field, they should give a talk on that topic. The company can also pay to have experts in certain areas come in and give classes to the developers.

Learning new Visual Basic 6 skills is a goal that will be scheduled over a one-month period. We would like to see how many hours we can devote to this goal each day. To do this with a Gantt chart we must divide our goal into sub-goals. Each sub-goal can be accomplished within the number of hours you can spend on the overall goal (learning new VB 6 skills in our example) in one day. On Tuesday, January 15 you can put five hours towards learning the new features of Visual Basic 6. This is enough time to learn the basics of Visual Basic 6's new Data provider classes. We will make this a sub-goal for January 15 that will have a duration of five hours.

Goal Name

Duration

Start

Finish

Learn basic

5 hrs

Tue

Tue

skills of VB 6

01/15/02

01/15/02

data source class

In our schedule we now have:

In our schedule we now have:

I have changed the major timescale to days and the minor timescale to hours - notice how there is now a bar on the right hand side representing the length of this goal.

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