January 16, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

The Benefit of Resource Driven Updates on Projects

By Biraj Borah

Project planning and monitoring may be quite simple on average projects, but for larger projects it is a complex set of tasks and activities. During Planning, once the scope is defined, firstly the high-level activities are listed as Level 1 (L1). A rough time estimate is given and only the major milestones are defined. With respect to the Level 1 milestones, further levels are then defined. And the number of levels depends on the size and complexity of the project.

In Planning, this process of defining all task levels to be done on a project, helps to create the work breakdown structure, also called WBS. And the final level of the WBS is the activity. Completion of all the defined activities under the WBS, will lead to completion of all the in scope deliverables.

Traditional Method to Update Progress

According to the traditional method, we update by dragging the Gantt chart or edit in % completion field. Using this approach, there is no relation to the resource assigned to the task and is mostly manually driven by the user. This seems simple enough. But on a complex project, there is no validation of how that percentage is arrived? Large projects require project task against certain validation. Without any tools, the project manager has to rely on other details and supporting documents which makes the project much more complex to monitor.

traditional progress update

Modern Approach – Driven by Resources (Human, Capital & Material)

TIEMCHART project management software provides the modern approach to monitoring task progress based on resource update assigned to that task. Each task or WBS may be driven by various resources – human, machinery and material resources.

An individual WBS may involve completion of multiple sets of resources. If you are talking about a consulting business, a task may involve assigning the consultant a set number of hours or it may involve delivering a set number of design documents or other reports. Now such tasks can be monitored based on either the number of hours completed or number of design documents submitted against the plan.

Similarly for a procurement task, it may involve delivering a set quantity of cement bags, steel pipes etc. Likewise such deliverables can be assigned against the task or WBS. Progress of the task can be automated based on actual number of cement bags or steel pipes delivered.

Set Resource Planning & Requirement

Once the resources are identified against the task, you can plan the quantity / hours deliverables against the task. Based on such assignments, project progress can be monitored.

  • Single resource – if a task involves using single resource. Deliverables such as number of hours or quantity can be specified against the task
  • Multiple resource – Tasks that involves multiple resources can have a bearing based on number of items delivered against such multiple resources

Resource planning

Monitor Task Progress Based On Resource Assignment

Depending on task planning and resource assignment, task progress can be monitored based on actual delivery of such resources. Be it human or machinery engagement in number of hours, material resources in quantity, task progress can be measured and monitored in real time based on such deliveries.

Tiemchart resource driven updates

Benefits of Resource Driven Updates

TIEMCHART is the first Project Management Software to bring the solution of automated project progress based on resources. This helps businesses to cut down project delays and finishing more projects on time. Being a cloud-based solution, it also simplifies implementation and reduce expensive installation costs.

Visit Tiemchart and request a free demo.

PrimaveraReader – Simple to use viewer for XER schedules

By Joel Roberts

If you manage your construction & engineering projects with Oracle® Primavera P6, you may want to know about a software that goes hand in hand with P6, and how you can benefit by utilizing the features this software provides.

I’m writing about PrimaveraReader, which is a .xer viewer in its nature, able to perform a wide variety of project scheduling functions, beneficial your team and organization.

PrimaveraReader enables users to view Oracle® Primavera P6 Schedules in .xer or xls. format.

View schedules

Project stakeholders like project managers, contractors, and subcontractors can take advantage of the software and gain greater visibility over the project progress by utilizing the following views:

  • Activities
  • WBS – Work Breakdown Structure
  • Projects which represents the Enterprise Project Structure (EPS)
  • Resource assignments
  • Detail view of selected item in current view
  • OBS – Organizational Breakdown Structure
  • Roles view

Why reader for .xer files instead of sharing .pdf files?

PrimaveraReader as .xer file reader provides an interactive overview of the project with personalized view. Moreover, users can use custom and auto filters with flexibility when viewing a file as well as navigate through predecessors and successors with complete overview.

With .xer reader, you can also work with custom layouts imported from .plf files, and take advantage of visual baselines comparison on the activity updates from previous .xer file versions.

Cutting costs on software licensing

Nowadays, as a consequence of the global economic crisis and slow recovery from it, companies are trying to tighten up their spending and budgets on costly software technologies and services.

Moreover, if we consider a project where most of the people work on their assignments, while only project managers, executives, and coordinators make changes on the schedule, then a lightweight application to display project views could dramatically reduce costs for software licensing.

Reduce license costsОne of the most eminent attributes of PrimaveraReader is its speed. Anyone having issues with importing large .xer files knows how important is the speed. It takes minutes, and some managers even reported hours to open a large .xer files in P6.

But that’s not the case with PrimaveraReader, as it will open .xer files in a matter of seconds.

Progress Update

The Progress Update functionality at PrimaveraReader allows team members to propose assignment progress and activity status in their respective views. The Project Scheduler then decides whether to accept or reject the updates proposed by the team members.

progress updates

Project Baselines

Baselines functionality allows comparison of up to four updated versions of a project schedule. Users can view precise graphical presentation of what has been changed from the original schedule in the Gantt preview. It’s an easy visual comparison utility, helping you to keep track on the project progress.

project baselines

Filters and Search

With the latest release of PrimaveraReader, users can filter project data that meets certain criteria, such as milestones, completed activities, in progress or critical activities. User can pick between User Defined and Default Filters to be applied to the current view.

Searching within the project data is also a feature to be highlighted and useful when you need to find a specific item from the current view.

Mobile Support is expanding

Not all people from the team might work on a PC. That’s why the vendors developed iOS application to support users with iPhone and iPad devices.

The iOS app supports reading files hosted in iCloud or One Drive for business. There are plans to extend with an Android version in the following period.

Benefits of PrimaveraReader

The benefits of using PrimaveraReader are huge for project teams of any size. I’ll highlight some of the most important:

  • Save time and share plans in XER format without exporting to PDF.
  • Greater control over team members and reduce the risk of having unclear tasks.
  • Reduce manual workload and avoid mistakes when receiving progress updates.
  • Worry-free sharing of the project details without the risk of unwanted changes.

Thanks to this powerful reader for Oracle® Primavera P6 files, you have an affordable, user friendly, and comprehensive addition to Primavera P6. If you want a tool that you can use to view .xer files, you’re very well advised to get PrimaveraReader.

Project Management Software: How to manage Project Issues better?

By Sharon Thomson

project issuesDuring project execution there are typically a number of issues that need to be resolved. It is important to involve like-minded individuals who can share their knowledge and experience and provide valuable inputs for a breakthrough in resolving an issue.

Why is there a need to hold a discussion over an issue?

An issue that is creating a problem for the project needs an in depth understanding and analysis. Some issues are too complex to come up with an easy solution. Some issues are specific to individuals working in a particular department like marketing, procurement, etc.
For example, a marketing project that is launching a new product into the market require input from people who have the experience in the marketing field to resolve issues. These type of issues need to be addressed fast enough, so as not to delay the implementation of a project.

With many modern day projects having virtual teams who are distributed geographically, it poses a challenge as to how to bring them together on the same platform in order to have a discussion accurately and timely.

Technology comes to the rescue here. Project management systems are specifically designed to enable team members to collaborate over a common issue instantly and spontaneously. The centralized structure of a project management system allows a project issue to be discussed actively by the project members and in a fool-proof manner.

A project management tool allows people to be looped into the project. They can receive email notifications about their expected role in a project and how they can contribute to the project. They can express their willingness to join a project through email. Once their reply is received, they get connected to the project automatically and can start contributing to the discussions. Since certain stakeholders will only participate to help resolve project issues, their security access will be limited. The discussions feature promotes communication amongst small teams comprising of some selected members who are involved in discussions over an issue.

Project discussions can be categorised into two types. The first category is where every member of a project is involved and the other category is where only a few selective and knowledgeable individuals can participate. By applying this structure overloading of shared information can be avoided. Any type of discussion can be initiated depending on the need, scope and sensitivity of the issue.

The facilitation of issue discussions is done effectively by a project management system like ProofHub allowing users to deal with issues faster, contributing to a successful execution of a project.

About the Author:
Sharon Thomson is an author who likes to write on themes and issues related to project management. Through her write-ups she provides tips and suggestions for businesses, so they can better manage their projects and duly achieve their business objectives.

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Project Software Selection Criteria for Non-Profit Organizations

By Sarah Clare

project-software selection criteria Non-profit organizations have special needs when trying to manage the resources to meet their goals. Unlike for-profit organizations, they primarily rely on a “staff” of volunteers, and the majority of their funding comes from grants and donor funds. Project software must have special characteristics to help non-profits meet their goals.

Here are just a few selection criteria that non-profit organizations can use when choosing the right project management software for them.

Ease of Use

A large staff of volunteers may not have much technical expertise or feel comfortable learning complicated software systems. Any project management software that you choose, must be easy to use and learn. Basecamp is one example of an easy-to-use program that allows you to track projects and tasks in an online system.

Ability to Handle Grant Applications and Monitoring

Grants and donations are the lifeblood of non-profit operations. Without them, the organization would not be able to go on or complete its goals. It is critical that any project software you choose have the ability to handle grant applications and monitoring.

The software program, AwardVision, allows you to monitor your grants, including restrictions on use, tracking in multiple currencies, and creating and managing sub-awards.

Ability to Manage Volunteers

After fundraising, recruiting and managing volunteers is one of the biggest tasks that non-profits face. Project software should make that job easy by allowing you to monitor all your volunteers in one database. Podio is one useful system that allows you to collaborate with your team, monitor tasks and projects, and monitor your recruiting efforts.

Free or Low Cost

Non-profits are always working on a budget, and being at the whim of grants and donations makes it especially important to find ways to cut costs. There are a few options for free or low-cost project management software, like Basecamp, and Huddle. Explore these options to find one with the best features to meet your needs. Cost shouldn’t be the only factor, even though it’s an important one!

Project software can help you to better track your goals, manage the work of your volunteers, manage recruitment, track grant application and expenditures, and much more. It is important to keep these criteria in mind when shopping for project software, including trying to find some free or low-cost options to meet your budget.

What other criteria did you use when selecting project management software for your non-profit? Share your picks in the comments!

Sarah Clare is a writer and researcher for projectmanagementsoftware.com, which offers advice and reviews of project management solutions.  She has recently been researching project planning software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.

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