Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to view resource histogram

On the request of many, here is how you view resource via printer mode


video

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Project Planning Tender Specs

Upon he request of many, I hereby include a possible specification for the Planning Procedures

Project Planning Specification

1.0 The Planner
1.1 Planner Qualification
The planner will need to show adequate and recognized credentials of a education level beyond secondary education with compatibility to the works being conducted in the project. Such experience must fully commensurate to the work scope and a high degree of detail understanding of the work.

1.2 Planner Experience and portfolio
The planner will need to have not less than 3 years experience in the designation of a Scheduler and more then 5 years as a Planner, thus a total of 8 years working experience. In the event the candidate in concern has less then the stated term of experience, then CLIENT and their representative can request for an interview of the candidate. The candidate if on the satisfaction of the auditing representative can be allowed to work on the project on a probationary period, fulfilling their capabilities to the auditing representative. The Client and their representatives can request the Planner to show proof via previous work done in a portfolio based submission. If necessary the planner can and may be called to explain and defend his portfolio to show understanding and ability skills. The Auditing representative can reject a candidate who fails to meet the requirements set above and the onus is upon the Project Implementer to get a replacement. In the event the Project Construction Implementer is unable to employ a Planner of acceptable abilities, qualification and experience, CLIENT and its representatives can appoint a Planner to fulfill the Project Implementation Plan (PIP) completion and all charges will be borne directly by the Project Implementer. The Project Implementer will also need to submit to CLIENT an officer candidate who will stand in the role of updating the progress of the PIP in the event the Planner is deemed unfit to hold designation. In no way whatsoever will this officer hold designation as an approved Planner to the project.

2.0 The Works Program
2.1 The software
As CLIENT is also a Microsoft Business Partner and is in use of the Microsoft Software operating systems and Office software, the software to be utilized fully on the Proposed ............................ to be Microsoft Project 200x Professional and higher Versions. It is to be ensured by the Project Implementer that the software utilized is ORIGINAL and in line with the Malaysian Copyrights regulations. The Project Implementer will need to furbish a copy of the 16 digit Authentication key of the software used to MAB or their Planning representatives. The usage of illegal software is forbidden and is not an accepted practice. The Project Implementer will need also to submit to MAB or their Planning Representatives, original Microsoft Project software Client for the Project utilization.

2.2 Format of Project Implementation Plan (PIP)
The Project Implementer is required to submit to Client or its representative a Critical Path based work program fulfilling the following conditions. The Critical Path will need to run the entire course of the PIP from the Start Milestone to the Finish Milestone.

2.21 The works program must consist of the four basic elements of planning which is Project Name, milestones, task or activities and relationships.

2.22 The works program will start with a milestone and finish or complete with a milestone

2.23 The commencement and finish date must coincide with the contractual dates.

2.24 All tasks and activities must have both predecessor and successor element linked with exceptions to Milestones

2.25 PIP Submission. The contractor can submit either a PERT or GANTT formatted program, preference will be on the GANTT layout. The PIP will need to display on the chart the following, Task Name, Duration and Resources Names


2.26 The works program must be resource loaded with machinery and manpower to the quantum that the contractor proposed to carry out the works with. For example General Worker [2] where “General Worker” is the resource type and [2] is the number or quantity proposed.

2.27 The works program must be financially loaded as per the tender items & cost. In the event the tender is of lump sum nature, the contractor will need to disperse their tender cost across the work programs, task & activities, to values, rationalized and approved by MAB or its authorized representatives.

2.28 The works program must indicate clearly all designated governmental approved holidays and any other holidays they wish to adhere to during the course of the project time. This selected list of holidays must be on the timeline chart display or extractable via the calendar view.

2.29 The program must be presented in a Works Breakdown Structure (WBS) format, using codes approved by CLIENT or its representatives.



2.30 PIP Submission. The contractor will be required to submit to CLIENT a soft copy of the works program in compact disk (CD) format. The CD must be submitted in a completely close case and labeled to show
a) Project Name
b) Tender Name (if different from Project Name)
c) Contractor’s Name & Address
d) Reference number (If any)
e) Further Information as needed or instructed later

2.31 The contractor is required to attach a colour printout copy of the works program, binded into a presentable format and labeled accordingly to this CD at point of submission.

2.32 The contractor will be required to submit 5 colour copies to Client for binding into the contract documents upon receipt of approval for the works program. The Project Implementer will also submit 5 sets of PIP at every designated progress meeting to CLIENT or their representatives.

2.33 The soft copy will not be saved as Baseline, unless otherwise approved by MAB or its representatives.

2.34 All FLOAT or Total Slack is owned and controlled by Client and it is the their right to approve or deny the float use in all possesses of changing the works program when such approval is attained by the contractor or the implementing agent

2.35 The contractor or the implementing agent will need to produce and seek approval from CLIENT for the work program to be use before proceeding with the physical work proper. The PIP MUST be approved before allowing work progress to exceed 5 % of the Physical Work Progress.

2.36 The Code requirements
The coding system to be utilized here will not exceed a six (6) alphanumeric array
An example will be as follow.
ABC.1.1
ABCDE 2.2
LSIDE 2.1
The Alphanumeric code is to be separated from the WBS numbering with a space.

2.37 Work Breakdown Structure. In following to the Code layout. The Work Breakdown Structure will commensurate the arrangement the PIP is to be broken down. Level 1 is designated to the Title of the Project; Level 2 will be the Sub Zone of that project. Level 3 will detail out the work in that project. Level 4 is the further breakdown of that work. Level 5 will be the resources required to implement the work itself

2.38 The Relationship to be utilized. The relationships approved for use are either finish to start, start-to-start, finish-to-finish and start to finish. Usage of the relationship Start to Finish is not encouraged

2.39 Progress Reporting. The PIP will be made to show the following features in the progress reports.
a) Task Name
b) Duration
c) Start Date
d) Finish Date
e) Schedule %
f) Actual; %
g) % Difference
h) Duration Difference

2.40 Variance reporting. In the event the PIP shows delays, the Project Implementer will need to show to CLIENT or its Planning Representatives, their mitigation plans to recover such shortfalls. (More on PIP changes in section 3)
2.41 Constraints in the PIP are not allowed as it will restrict the logic flow of the PIP.

3 Alterations to Work Program
3.21 Initial Submission of Works Program
The Project Implementer will need to produce a fully resource and financially loaded PIP within 10 working days upon receiving of the Letter of award. The PIP at this stage must be at the level of suggested actual work implementation on site. The PIP will be audited and categorized into 3 possible categories.
a) Category C – The PIP is rejected and a new submission will need to be submitted within 5 working days.
b) Category B – The PIP is conditionally accepted with some changes and rectification needed
c) Category A – The PIP is approved for use on the project

Upon receipt of Category A, the Project Implementer will submit the PIP with Version Number 0000 to CLIENT or its planning representatives for filing and reference. No change to the program task duration, logic arrangement, relationship, addition and removal of task or resource changing is allowed without prior approval of MAB or its planning representatives.

3.22 Subsequent submission
In the event of a PIP change, the Project Implementer will need to submit to CLIENT or its planning representatives, the new PIP along with a list of the amendments made and the reasons to each request for change. Client and its planning representatives will audit such changes and issue further directives on the matter. Once the changes are accepted, the PIP will now be coded to Version 0001 and so on with new changes or amendments.

3.23 Approval of changes
3.24 Inability to conform for a successful completion

Friday, September 25, 2009

MICROSOFT PROJECT 2010 - NEWS FLASH

Microsoft Project 2010 has officially been announced. Now all the people who have been saying to me here at the Project Conference in Phoenix, "Come talk to me on Wednesday," will finally be able to share their impressions. While I'm racing around the show today capturing tips, insights, and opinions on video, here's the rundown captured from the notes I took during this morning's keynote, presented by Chris Capossela, a senior VP with the Microsoft Business Division.

Calling it the "most important release of Project in the last decade," Capossela said the four pillars of the new product line are these:

* Making the end user experience far more intuitive and simpler.
* Doing a better job of collaboration and reporting.
* Providing unified project and portfolio management.
* Providing a scalable and connected platform.

Project Professional

The ribbon, which is built into Word and Excel, makes its appearance in Project Standard and Project Professional. This exposes more functionality to the casual user. Also, in a brief demo, Project Group Program Manager Keshav Puttaswamy showed how project activities can be manipulated with greater ease. He opened up an Outlook message with a list of tasks, which he copied and pasted into a new project plan. Project preserved the formatting. He did quick manual scheduling, entered values (when a conflict surfaces, Project puts a red squiggly line under the offending entry akin to a misspelling in Word, which can be corrected, adjusted, or ignored), then with a click to a checkbox showed all critical tasks highlighted in the plan.

A team planner feature provides a people-centric view of the user's work in the project, highlighting over-allocated resources, unassigned tasks, tasks that still need owners. Puttaswamy did some quick dragging and dropping to manage the resources and then amazingly quickly created a timeline view that could be compressed or stretched and reformatted to his liking. He copied that timeline into a response email to that initial email message, did some additional format tweaking, and it was ready to send out.

Puttaswamy spent a couple of minutes to display new syncing features with SharePoint Server. When people talk about how the new release of Project integrates more tightly with SharePoint, this is what they're referring to. In the demo, he created a new task list, clicked a sync button, and the project was synced with the SharePoint site. From within SharePoint, a user can drill down on a given project plan and view the details of tasks. The plan is also fully editable from within SharePoint. Changes made by team members then flow back into the original plan maintained in Project.

Project Server 2010

Capossela said that Project Server 2010 is built on top of SharePoint 2010. This means, he said, "We can create fantastic dashboards, key performance indicators, better time and status reporting." On the latter, now there's a single interface for time sheeting and statusing -- a component that generated much applause. Web access will now include the abilities to create and edit project plans. He alluded to predefined workflows that allow projects to flow through a standard approval processes. Also, permissions can now be delegated by role.

On the connectivity front, Capossela said Project Server has been integrated with Exchange Server 2010, which means users will be able to tap into project plans as they move from machine to machine or device to device. That includes mobile access for statusing and tasking.

For developers, the company has extended interoperability with Visual Studio. Microsoft announced the Project Server Interface (PSI), which allows partners to tap into Project functionality through other applications.

PSI, said Capossela, will be backward compatible with work done on Project Server 2007. This may be a necessity, since Portfolio Server is going away with the 2010 release. Some functionality from that product -- such as analytics -- will be integrated with Project Server. Details on what won't make the transition are still a bit vague. However, Microsoft may be expecting its partners to pick up the slack through the PSI.

Seth Patton, senior director in the Project group, demoed Project Server, showing off the multi-level undo feature that will be introduced along with additional features that the server release will share with the Standard and Pro offerings, such as the ribbon interface and ability for the user to manually interact with the project plan.

Among the new features: a dashboard function that uses SQL Server Reporting Services. Each role can view its own set of indicators in dashboard form. Also, reports themselves can be edited through Excel 2010, including editing the report, adding new fields, and changing chart types. "You don't need to be a [business intelligence] guru to do that," said Patton. "You need to be able to find the report and render it."

To show the portfolio management capabilities now built into Server, Patton pulled up a collection of projects -- $20 million worth -- and ranked them according to strategic elements: cost, potential return, etc. He then showed how the product can prioritize them when the budget is only $6 million. An Analyzer feature moved some projects out based on relative cost vs. return. He saved that scenario, and then performed a what-if exercise: "What would happen if I added three more resources or moved the start-date out on some of the projects?" The program modeled a new list of projects.

Other Bits and Pieces

Microsoft is dumping "Office" from the product line names. Hallelujah! Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 was a bit of a mouthful. (Of course, since Portfolio Server is biting the dust, it's a moot point there.)

There will be three SKUs, as Microsoft calls them: Project Standard (geared to the casual or part-time user), Project Professional (geared to the professional project manager), and Project Server 2010 (geared to business users beyond the project management folks).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Microsoft Project Tips & Tricks

1. Press Alt-Home in the Gantt chart to position the chart on the start of the project.
2. If you have indented tasks to create Summary Tasks and Detail Tasks, click the little box with the minus sign to the left of the Summary Task name to quickly hide the detail tasks below it. Click the box with the plus sign to display the detail tasks that were hidden.
3. In the Gantt chart, you can create dependencies by clicking on the Gantt bar of a task and dragging to another Gantt bar to create a Finish-to-Start dependency between the two tasks.
4. To quickly modify or delete a dependency, doubleclick on the dependency line between the two tasks to display the Task Dependency form (be sure to place your cursor directly on the dependency line).
5. In any drop down list such as the list of Resource Names or the list of Filters you can press the first letter of the item you are looking for to quickly go that item.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Effective Project and Planning Managements Skills.


Some of Dr. Syed’s life tips and tricks in 30 minutes
For participants of PETRONAS CoP 21st January 2009


A project at any cost is still a project. Managing a 1 million dollar or a 100 million dollar projects will still have the same sets of problems. Only the scale or magnitude of the headache differs.

One thing that I ALWAYS adheres to is keep the work to its elemental. Sophistication will breed confusion.

A project runs on resources, everybody in the field knows that. You need the 4M features (Manpower, Machinery, Materials and Money), these need to be done it a set time frame. OK, that is simple enough. Managing it is actually simple too.
*if you want your solution to be simple, keep your tool simple too*

I have always relied on simple tools of the trade to assist me. In 1983 when I first came into the rat-race, I relied on massive amounts of paper to put things in order and at the same time allows me access to any information that I need, fast. These are some of my methods that I adopted thru the years.

When I get a project to run, manage and complete, I will look at it in 3 areas.
1. The Resources that I need and have
2. The interfacing that need to be done and
3. The financial issues that it will have.

The Resources that I need and have
This is a case of needs and availabilities. Most of the time the person who created a work implementation program is NOT the person doing the job, thus the “feel” of the job requirements is not there. The amount in the submitted workforce histogram is for most of the time inaccurate. (Further explanations and examples in forum)
The interfacing that needs to be done
This is the most important link in Project Management – The human interfacing. The catalyst to the implementation of 4M is Human. Know your team, and know them well. (Further explanations and examples in forum)

The financial issues that will happen
My initial habit is to do a financial analysis of the project before it starts. I will load my Implementation program with the 4M and then do a Resource versus financial comparison; this will give me a feel of the work contribution to the cash flow. I will next do a Financial versus time, which will assist me for payments and claim by the time intervals I set (Further explanations and examples in forum)

One important format I used is putting information that can be read by ALL, from the Planner Up AND Down.

The situation today is quite scaring, the Planner creates a very detailed looking program and upon completion, the program is distributed to all parties in the project.

The problem here is the tool of the planner is very sophisticated software and beyond a planner, not many understand these data. The Management just asks the planner the overall status and standard questions in the areas of progress, delays etc.

The missing link here is the ones implementing the work physically. Some are tradesmen who IT knowledge is quite minimal (or none at all). Are these implementers briefed on what is expected from them daily?

Information not understood by ALL in the team is not worth churning out.

The simple facts
a) The Management needs the important gist only. When they ask for a progress report give them what they really need to see to know the problems. Their report therefore must be summarized to these data.
b) The Implementers needs to be given the daily TO DO list, based on their individual skills and trade. Filter out the relevant details, distribute.
c) The Consultants, in most cases the consultants work progress is minimally monitored. There is very rarely any Progress monitoring works program for Consultants
d) Authorities (if ever) should be given their required involvement time frame tables or List.

Pre-Implementation

I had always looked at a Development/Construction program as a “Diary that has yet to happen”. This made me put things in perspective to get it done, Period.

I adopted a reality check mindset
-Weekly values
-Big Job Bigger Detailing
-Downsize in documents, upgrade in field
-Resource list is always first before program

Weekly values
Rethink to add in reality. I week is 5 Working days (or 5.5 or 6 in some cases), NEVER 7 days

Bigger Jobs Bigger Detailing
For a $1,000,000 job, you could be happy with a proposed implementation plan of 500 activities but with a $100,000,000 job, it would be safer to detail out as much as possible in order to really have a good feel and better zeroing to the area of delays etc.
The rest will be explained in the forum

I identified the Productivity of each resource; I had the foresight then to keep in a data base. With such productivity Index, I was able to make a fairly accurate time frame requirement to do a particular work. I always use FOS on my targeted time frame values. Nothing in reality is sure. Follow this simple rule. New People- Low Productivity, Old (experienced) People better productivity. New Machineries – Higher Productivity, Old ones – Low.
(Some “elderly” people can behave worse then some new ones.)

I use the FOS on each of the resource available for me
Say a 5 year old excavator whose productivity of work is 20m3/hour, due to its age I will devalue the 20m3/hour by say 20% and use a value of 16m3/hour

Pre-Implementation requirements always involves 3rd party. However this is rarely addressed to effectively

In most project Plans, most activities identified for Pre-Implementations are never thought out carefully. In most case, their durations are impossible to be done in real life. (Examples in the forum)

Areas of shortfalls
Understating duration of approval,
Can the allocated resources do it in that duration? We need to really know the output of each of the resources we are inputting into the works program. Don’t assume.

Human and work environment interfacing allowances not given, especially across different regions
- Example given in Forum

Availability of authorities in the set timeframe
Can the authorities concerned come and attend at the time you set in your implementation plan?
Failure to identify and inform external parties/authorities, Utilities providers

Lead time should never be assumed
Lead time estimates are one of the common contributors to project progress delays
- Explained in forum
Implementation Stage
a) Observe the progress at the ground; always audit 3rd party information gathering (if possible)
b) When you track progress, keep the tracking to a reasonable duration interval.
c) Audit the targeted (proposed) workforce

Item (a) bring your laptop or PDA (it must have at least Pocket Excel), collect it yourself (if you have a progress reported submitted by your team/implementers (soft copy is better), use it as a point of reference but never final, you decide.

Item (b) tracking a project progress must be done a regularly as possible; a delay event noted early gets rectified or addressed to earlier. A week’s delay can be addressed to on the weekend. Too long a delay and the float time of weekends and public holidays will never be enough.
Note.
Productivity during Overtime works (after the normal 8hours output) is only at 75% efficiency. You will be paying more for less. (See attached Productivity Data Analysis char above)

Item I when you do your walk-about, talk with the implementers. Ask them and visually check if possible, the quantum available. Simple logic will show you that if there are not enough resources, then progress too will be less. Use your tools of PM (Software- MS Project or Primavera), list out/filter the following –
I. What work is on-going today
II. Who is doing what (and quantum)

*try this tip*
Using PM software, do a system projections or update of the progress by a certain date, then filter the program for works or activities on-going items
That will be your look-ahead program.

Post Implementation
Close project documentation as fast as possible. This will free up management and administrative resources. One thing I observe, site documentation is for most of the time badly stored.
Instruction, Correspondences, Addendums etc are always kept in the legacy format. Adapt a better or simple filing system. This will help in many issues e.g. Extension of time claims, Litigation, financial variations etc. For the last 15 years I utilized Microsoft ODBC and the Microsoft Office family to do this for me. I get a scanner and convert all relevant documents into JPEG format and cross link these document to Activities in my Project Plan document, upon completion, I will burn the entire works program and its related scanned documents into a CD (JPEG documents will degrade in quality if left in a magnetic media for a long time)

This is only some of the approached that I have been doing in my 20plus years in the field of Project Management, in the event that you might like some second opinion on some of your daily work issues related to PM and planning, do pop by and participate in my Project Management web blog

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Syllabus available on Cost Control from ASYNC

Project Cost Controls Solutions via Microsoft Project Professional

Basic Requirement

This syllabus is a specializing field which a participant can precede upon completion of the Intermediate Level Project Management and Microsoft Project Professional and or Streetwise Project Management Intermediate level syllabus as it will require an extensive level of understanding in the software usage since the syllabus will include hands-on application and real life test cases.

This course is an intensive 2-day event requiring the skilled use of both software and analytical mindset. The participants will need to go through at least a total of 8 hours hands-on software use and completing the course with an individual presentation and defense of his/her project on audit by facilitator and peers

Syllabus content

Day 1
1. Material and Resource Costing
2. Productivity and cost controls
3. Cash Flow and Budget requirements
4. Resource costing by use and trade
5. Resource sharing and Resource Pooling
6. Project 1 (Individual)

Day 2

1. Multiple Project Management and Cost compilation
2. Progress Payments processing
3. Cost Price fluctuations and adapting to it
4. Cost and Project Acceleration
5. Project Costing and Behavioral pattern analysis (requires good spreadsheet understanding)
6. Project 2 (Final Evaluation for certification)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What if your project is late because some managers or seniors fail to cooperate?



Without encouraging "future career prospects" I can only make suggestions about what you as a project manager can do the next time to cover your own posterior. (None of these suggestions address the behavior of the managers since this appears to be outside the scope of your authority and control as the project manager. Without the organizational authority to affect their behavior, there is little point in trying to impact them. You probably won't succeed and it may have serious repercussions for you personally.)

1. Don't take the situation too personally. There is a real danger in getting too emotionally "involved" in your projects. When this happens, anything that negatively impacts the project - whether you can do anything about it or not - takes on a sinister aspect. You must accept that there will always be things that will impact your projects over which you have little or no control. When these occur, you can only react as best you can with the good of the project as your primary aim.

2. Make sure that the impact of withheld information, resources, work output, etc., is clear. A good change-control process is helpful here. It allows you to describe the change being made as well as the impact of that change on the project. Document this and be sure that everyone who should be informed is informed.

3. Realize that shifting priorities are a fact of organizational life. Priorities change constantly in any organization. New challenges arise that require a response from the organization and that response requires that resources be moved from one activity to another. In most instances, those resources come from projects that are as a result of the shift in emphasis no longer as important as they were yesterday. Unfortunately, many times, the project manager is not told the reason they've lost their resources.

4. Document what happens. Always document the things that happen during a project. Never assume that "everyone knows why this happened." They may, but, then again, they may not, or they may have a completely different understanding of the situation. Try to document the occurrence in a factual way. Try to avoid accusations and conjecture about "why" the thing happened. Document what happened and the impact it had on the project. A good change-control system can help with this. This documentation should become part of the total project documentation and can be included as part of the final project report. A good, carefully worded narrative about why the project was delivered late can reference this documentation.
5. Use your sponsor or product champion. A sponsor is someone in a position of authority in the organization who has agreed to act on behalf of you and the project when an issue is outside your scope of authority and control. If you do not normally identify a sponsor for your projects, seriously consider doing so. One of the functions of a sponsor is to intercede in situations like the one described. When a conflict occurs, the sponsor should be informed and asked for both advice and for direct assistance in resolving the conflict. The most common conflicts are over needed resources but they can also occur over issues of cooperation and delivery of work or information.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Project Management Software Versions

At the recent Petronas Project Management CoP, a participant asked about the latest Project Management software available.

These are the most popular and the latest versions

Microsoft Project 2007
Primavera Project Management P6
Artemis 9000
Project Kickstart
Project Insight 2007
MacProject OSX


Others (but not so popular)
AMS REALTIME 7
Collanos Workplace
Contactizer
FastTrack Schedule
InLoox
LisaProject
MicroPlanner X-Pert
O3spaces
OmniPlan
OpenMind Business
Planner Suite
Planisware 5
Primavera Project Planner
Project KickStart
RationalPlan
RiskyProject
Teamcenter
Tracker Suite

Friday, January 16, 2009

Effective Project and Planning Managements Skills.

This article was presented in Petronas PoC Forum held at Malacca, Malaysia on the 22nd January 2009 The examples was shown in the forum but due to their size, it was not posted here. Should you need to see these examples, send me an e-mail.

The article proper -

A project at any cost is still a project. Managing a 1 million dollar or a 100 million dollar projects will still have the same sets of problems. Only the scale or magnitude of the headache differs.

One thing that I ALWAYS adheres to is keep the work to its elemental. Sophistication will breed confusion.

A project runs on resources, everybody in the field knows that. You need the 4M features (Manpower, Machinery, Materials and Money), these need to be done it a set time frame. OK, that is simple enough. Managing it is actually simple too.
*if you want your solution to be simple, keep your tool simple too*

I have always relied on simple tools of the trade to assist me. In 1983 when I first came into the rat-race, I relied on massive amounts of paper to put things in order and at the same time allows me access to any information that I need, fast. These are some of my methods that I adopted thru the years.

When I get a project to run, manage and complete, I will look at it in 3 areas.
1. The Resources that I need and have
2. The interfacing that need to be done and
3. The financial issues that it will have.

The Resources that I need and have
This is a case of needs and availabilities. Most of the time the person who created a work implementation program is NOT the person doing the job, thus the “feel” of the job requirements is not there. The amount in the submitted workforce histogram is for most of the time inaccurate.

The interfacing that needs to be done
This is the most important link in Project Management – The human interfacing. The catalyst to the implementation of 4M is Human. Know your team, and know them well.


The financial issues that will happen

My initial habit is to do a financial analysis of the project before it starts. I will load my Implementation program with the 4M and then do a Resource versus financial comparison; this will give me a feel of the work contribution to the cash flow. I will next do a Financial versus time, which will assist me for payments and claim by the time intervals I set

One important format I used is putting information that can be read by ALL, from the Planner Up AND Down. (See Chart on left) The situation today is quite scaring, the Planner creates a very detailed looking program and upon completion, the program is distributed to all parties in the project.

The problem here is the tool of the planner is very sophisticated software and beyond a planner, not many understand these data. The Management just asks the planner the overall status and standard questions in the areas of progress, delays etc.

The missing link here is the ones implementing the work physically. Some are tradesmen who IT knowledge is quite minimal (or none at all). Are these implementers briefed on what is expected from them daily?

Information not understood by ALL in the team is not worth churning out.




The simple facts
a) The Management needs the important gist only. When they ask for a progress report give them what they really need to see to know the problems. Their report therefore must be summarized to these data.
b) The Implementers needs to be given the daily TO DO list, based on their individual skills and trade. Filter out the relevant details, distribute.
c) The Consultants, in most cases the consultants work progress is minimally monitored. There is very rarely any Progress monitoring works program for Consultants
d) Authorities (if ever) should be given their required involvement time frame tables or List.

Pre-Implementation

I had always looked at a Development/Construction program as a “Diary that has yet to happen”. This made me put things in perspective to get it done, Period.

I adopted a reality check mindset
-Weekly values
-Big Job Bigger Detailing
-Downsize in documents, upgrade in field
-Resource list is always first before program

Weekly values
Rethink to add in reality. I week is 5 Working days (or 5.5 or 6 in some cases), NEVER 7 days

Bigger Jobs Bigger Detailing
For a $1,000,000 job, you could be happy with a proposed implementation plan of 500 activities but with a $100,000,000 job, it would be safer to detail out as much as possible in order to really have a good feel and better zeroing to the area of delays etc.
The rest will be explained in the forum

I identified the Productivity of each resource; I had the foresight then to keep in a data base. With such productivity Index, I was able to make a fairly accurate time frame requirement to do a particular work. I always use FOS on my targeted time frame values. Nothing in reality is sure. Follow this simple rule. New People- Low Productivity, Old (experienced) People better productivity. New Machinery – Higher Productivity, Old ones – Low.
(Some “elderly” people can behave worse then some new ones.)

I use the FOS on each of the resource available for me
Say a 5 year old excavator whose productivity of work is 20m3/hour, due to its age I will devalue the 20m3/hour by say 20% and use a value of 16m3/hour

Pre-Implementation requirements always involves 3rd party. However this is rarely addressed to effectively

In most project Plans, most activities identified for Pre-Implementations are never thought out carefully. In most case, their durations are impossible to be done in real life.

Areas of shortfalls
Understating duration of approval,
Can the allocated resources do it in that duration? We need to really know the output of each of the resources we are inputting into the works program. Don’t assume.

Human and work environment interfacing allowances not given, especially across different regions


Availability of authorities in the set time frame
Can the authorities concerned come and attend at the time you set in your implementation plan?
Failure to identify and inform external parties/authorities, Utilities providers

Lead time should never be assumed
Lead time estimates are one of the common contributors to project progress delays
- Explained in forum
Implementation Stage
a) Observe the progress at the ground; always audit 3rd party information gathering (if possible)
b) When you track progress, keep the tracking to a reasonable duration interval.
c) Audit the targeted (proposed) workforce

Item (a) bring your laptop or PDA (it must have at least Pocket Excel), collect it yourself (if you have a progress reported submitted by your team/implementers (soft copy is better), use it as a point of reference but never final, you decide.

Item (b) tracking a project progress must be done a regularly as possible; a delay event noted early gets rectified or addressed to earlier. A week’s delay can be addressed to on the weekend. Too long a delay and the float time of weekends and public holidays will never be enough.
Note.
Productivity during Overtime works (after the normal 8hours output) is only at 75% efficiency. You will be paying more for less. (See attached Productivity Data Analysis char above)

Item I when you do your walk-about, talk with the implementers. Ask them and visually check if possible, the quantum available. Simple logic will show you that if there are not enough resources, then progress too will be less. Use your tools of PM (Software- MS Project or Primavera), list out/filter the following –
I. What work is on-going today
II. Who is doing what (and quantum)

*try this tip*
Using PM software, do a system projections or update of the progress by a certain date, then filter the program for works or activities on-going items
That will be your look-ahead program.

Post Implementation

Close project documentation as fast as possible. This will free up management and administrative resources. One thing I observe, site documentation is for most of the time badly stored.
Instruction, Correspondences, Addendum etc are always kept in the legacy format. Adapt a better or simple filing system. This will help in many issues e.g. Extension of time claims, Litigation, financial variations etc. For the last 15 years I utilized Microsoft ODBC and the Microsoft Office family to do this for me. I get a scanner and convert all relevant documents into JPEG format and cross link these document to Activities in my Project Plan document, upon completion, I will burn the entire works program and its related scanned documents into a CD (JPEG documents will degrade in quality if left in a magnetic media for a long time)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Productivity Rates - What is it?


The time required to do a job = Duration
Material Quantity divided by Productivity Index = Duration (E.g. 3000 pcs of Bricks/ Bricklayer of Productivity 300 piece day = 10 days duration)
A resource loaded work program, enables the SO to check the Practicality of the duration by allowing the SO to ask STRUCTURED question & get the person who made the work program to Expose the situation.

Example. PILING WORK, Duration Suggested 12 days, SO asks - How many Piling Rigs? How many pile points? How many Pile points can be complete by 1 Rig in a day?

PI is not a fixed value
PI changes with Distance, Height, Locality, Work Culture, Race etc
Distance Increase Productivity Drops, Similarly Height increase Productivity Drops
Compensations will be needed to maximize PI with Height or Distance increase. Compensation – Usage of Machines etc

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

When times are hard, good project planning always helps saves the day. Proper control of resources (Manpower, Machinery, Materials) will help save Money.

No solution is hard, everything has its simplicity and Microsoft Project 200X via my method of approach is the best there is (10,486 participants as of ending 2008) can't be wrong.

So in ending the year of 2008, here's wishing all my followers and fellow planners ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR and may all your Project Plans be planned to perfection!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Charts and Reports (Part 1)




I had a discussion with Brother Alex of Petronas, Malaysia and the topic we dwelled on was the difference in the types of charts that will/can be derived from project data.

Different data will produce different charts and of course, with different data type, the chart pattern will differ. The simple explanation here is the data and its scale.

In some cases, the pattern might be almost similar to each other (see chart above) but with different scales of reference, the values might not be similar.

In some other cases, the chart can produce different pattern, say an s-curve versus an X=Y curve.

The good thing about using Microsoft Project is, the software's ability to plot many different types of chart from one project plan, like - Resource Loaded Progress Curve, Cumulative Financial Curves, Targeted Percentage Curves and many more.

Wait for my next input

Sunday, November 09, 2008

How to track Progress (VIDEO)

video

How to track progress. This is one of the many other videos available on my SWPM module

Stay tuned for more or call/e-mail me

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Microsoft Project 2007

I am still getting questions from my PM Blog followers on Microsoft's Project 2007 and whether it is a good buy or not?

Actually I have put in an article on the issue some time back (see Archive) and frankly, I am not for the use of Project 2007 at all.

My main grouse is Project 2007 can't plot charts when compared with ALL Microsoft Project since Project 199x (even before the Y2K)

Secondly, it is full of calculation errors

and thirdly, it uses up too much memory.

Yes, Project 2007 does have its good points, which says it can do multiple UNDO .... I guess that is its only good point

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Microsoft ends VISTA

Microsoft Corp finally decided to stop production of its very problematic VISTA and will be replacing it with WINDOWS 7.

So far I can vouch that Microsoft Project 2003 Professional is still compatible with Windows 7 but I will be doing more beta testing on the compatibility and most important, its stability.

Stay tuned

Read more on www.microsoft.com

Microsoft Project Basics (Getting Started)

Open Microsoft Project 200X (Double Click the program icon or click at START and go to PROGRAM and scroll to MICROSOFT PROJECT and let go of the mouse.

Click inside a cell in the TASK NAME column, Type in START, Click in the next cell (DURATION) and type in 0 (zero), press enter.

You should by now see the change of the blue box into a black diamond, indication the presence of a milestone.

Click the cell below START and type in Activity 1, repeat again for Activity 2.3 and 4. Type in after that FINISH with a duration value of zero. For Activity 1 type in 3 days duration. Activity 2, Duration of 4 days and Activity 3 , duration 3 days and Activity 4, Duration of 5 days.


Linking the ACTIVITIES
Click the START milestone (don’t let go of the mouse) drag the arrow to ACTIVITY 1, release the mouse button.
You will see a black line joining START to ACTIVITY 1.
Repeat the following:

Link ACTIVITY 1 to ACTIVITY 2

Link ACTIVITY 2 to FINISH

Link START to ACTIVITY 3

Link ACTIVITY 3 to ACTIVITY 4

Link ACTIVITY 5 to FINISH

You should get the chart o your left.

If you do, then congratulations, it’s your first work flow diagram. If you don’t, Close the screen and repeat step 1 all over again.

Click the WIZARD icon (it’s is a picture of a Magician’s wand against a bar chart diagram)
The following message box will appear, click NEXT

Select CRITICAL PATH
Click FINISH click FORMAT IT and click EXIT WIZARD. The program will display your work program with blue and red bars.
Blue bars are activities that are not critical, i.e. will not contribute to any delay against your project should it not be complete within the duration set (but if you really delay it seriously bad, it can become red). A red bar is indicating a critical activity namely so if you don’t finish the work within it’s stated duration, then the whole project gets delayed big time.


* Still not sure how to do it?

Call me at
+60122312037

Saturday, September 20, 2008

NEW 2008 Streetwise Project Management Syllanus

Streetwise Project Management

Intermediate level module

Course Content

Introduction to Project Management principals

Setting realistic timelines, objectives, and expectations

Walkthrough to features in Project Management tools

Understanding Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)

Hands on sessions to GANTT, PERT and CPM

Determining the best approach for accomplishing project goals

Time line management

Human Resource and Equipments management

Progress Tracking

Progress reporting including Target or Scheduled Progress versus Actual Progress

S-Curves and Resource driven Charts

Automating your software for reports

8 hours of Hands-On training included in this training module

Course Peripherals

Legal Microsoft Project Professional Training Software

Compact Disk containing Real-Life working programs

Leatherette Organizer

Certificate awarded upon completion

Streetwise Project Management

Advance level module

Note – Entry to the Advanced Level is only upon completion of the Streetwise Project Management Intermediate Level program or from an equivalent course conducted from an approved project management program such as PMI. Candidate must furnish proof of such attendance.

Course Content

Material Management

Project Budget versus Actual Expenses

Facilitating communication among project participants, including outside vendors

Monitoring production, quality, and costs

Multiple Project Management

Document and data management within your project Plan

Resource sharing and advanced level resource management

Addressing Extension of Time and Litigation issues

10 hours of Hands-On training included in this training module

Risk analyzing your project plan

Auditing Submitted Work Plans

Financial Charts, Cash Flow Charts and Resources Costing by use

Course Peripherals

Legal Microsoft Project Professional Training Software

Compact Disk containing Real-Life working programs

2 Gigabytes Memory Stick with Built-in Firewall and Licensed Anti Virus Software

Leatherette Organizer

Certificate awarded upon completion

Streetwise Project Management

Comprehensive Intermediate to Advance level module

* Most Popular module for those seeking Fast Track and low turn around time in understanding real life hands on Project Management

Course Content

Introduction to Project Management principals

Setting realistic timelines, objectives, and expectations

Walkthrough to features in Project Management tools

Understanding Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)

Hands on sessions to GANTT, PERT and CPM

Determining the best approach for accomplishing project goals

Time line management

Human Resource and Equipments management

Progress Tracking

Progress reporting including Target or Scheduled Progress versus Actual Progress

S-Curves and Resource driven Charts

Automating your software for reports

Material Management

Project Budget versus Actual Expenses

Facilitating communication among project participants, including outside vendors

Monitoring production, quality, and costs

Multiple Project Management

Financial Charts, Cash Flow Charts and Resources Costing by use

Document and data management within your project Plan

Resource sharing and advanced level resource management

Addressing Extension of Time and Litigation issues

16 hours of Hands-On training included in this training module

Risk analyzing your project plan

Auditing Submitted Work Plans

Course Peripherals

Legal Microsoft Project Professional Training Software

Compact Disk containing Real-Life working programs and Video on using your Project Management tools

4 Gigabytes Memory Stick with Built-in Firewall, legal software and Licensed Anti Virus Software

Leatherette Organizer

Certificate awarded upon completion

*Please note, in order to ensure participants comfort and optimum knowledge transfer quality, we will not conduct a class beyond 15 persons per session.

All participants will have unlimited access to questions and answers to the facilitator for 3 months after the training. They may do so via phone calls and on-line Blogs and e-mails.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Project Management and Your Career

Project Management and Your Career
Success is the reward of anyone who goes looking for trouble.
—Walter Winchell
“I think our manager is burning out,” one project team member told another.
The second one answered, “I’ve noticed that he’s been a bit short-tempered lately.”
“That’s not what I mean,” the first one said. “Yesterday, he sent me down to the lunchroom to
get him a cup of coffee.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Instead of just giving me a list, he drew out the instructions on a network diagram.”
Who gets promoted in your company? Is it the person who is merely capable, who doesn’t make waves, and
who survives without upsetting the delicate balance of the corporate culture? Or is it the person who excels?
Because the “survivor” is not a risk taker, in the long term, it is the exceptional manager who receives the
promotions and creates a permanent career. Whether your performance as a department manager is
exceptional, or only average, if you also manage projects, you have the opportunity to exceed the “average”
category.
In many departments, budgets, staff, tasks, and other factors will limit your freedom to demonstrate leadership
abilities. You may have to struggle just to maintain the minimum requirements of the job. There may be few
opportunities to demonstrate your skill, or even to put it to the test. When a project comes along, it’s your
opportunity to manage in a more creative way, and it allows you to develop a greater skills level than you’d
ever need as a department manager.
AN ORGANIZATIONAL SCIENCE
A large part of your success as a project manager will depend on your ability to organize and define. In
comparison, the actual work is not difficult. In fact, the better you do the job of organization, the easier it will
be to execute the task of the project.
Organizing the project requires several leadership actions, including:
• Defining the purpose and goals of the project. Getting to the point of understanding between you and
the person giving you a project assignment may require a great deal of effort on your part. Many
people, including executives, have difficulty defining exactly what they want. Thus, you may be
assigned a project, but with no clearly defined purpose or goal.
Your first organizational challenge is to ask the right questions at the point of assignment. You need to
know exactly what the assignment is meant to achieve.
• Organizing a schedule. Once a schedule is completed, it might look like a fairly simple document:
each phrase has been broken down and defined; deadlines have been made clear; and tasks have been
assigned to each team member. But a complex and lengthy project will demand a high level of
organizational skill in the beginning. You need to be aware of the time demands for each phase, as well
as the time restrictions for your team members. You also need to look far ahead to make sure that your
deadlines do not conflict with other deadlines.
• Developing a team approach. Your ability to lead a project team effectively depends on how well
your team works together. This does not happen without focused, motivated leadership. Simply
creating a team does not ensure that it will function as you want it to. The better able you are to
organize all aspects of the project, the easier it will be to develop your team.
• Resolving conflicts. Invariably, the time demands of your project, the schedule, and the use of
resources will create conflicts at some point. Many of these relate to time priority for team members.
You may need to act in the capacity of a corporate diplomat to resolve these conflicts, while at the same
time avoiding power confrontations or ill feelings.
• Keeping the lines of communication open. As a project manager, you will need to continually define,
redefine, and modify. You must also reassure other people: team members, other department managers,
outside resources, and top management. Your project team does not operate in isolation, so you must
function as organizer and operator of a network of conflicting interests and priorities.
• Meeting budgets and deadlines. An organized project manager needs to review status day by day by
tracking the budget, looking for signs of emerging variances, and then taking action to control them.
You will monitor each phase as it proceeds, with an eye on immediate and final deadlines. You will use
many tools to organize your monitoring, such as PERT/CPM and network diagrams.
• Training and supervising. While the project is underway, you may need to supervise team members
directly. Some of them may not know how to execute a task, and will require training while working on
the project.
ATTRIBUTES OF PROJECT LEADERSHIP
Achieving the many organizational goals while you work as a project manager places many demands on
you—and your leadership skills. In some departments, “participative” management is not always possible nor
practical; but in project management, it’s essential.
Example: A manager of a processing department must ensure that transactions are executed, errors are caught
and corrected, and deadlines are met. Her task is specific. There is little opportunity for employee
involvement in her relatively mechanical supervisory job. However, when she’s given a project with a team of
expert employees, her leadership style changes: In this situation she coordinates efforts and encourages people
to become involved in the process of developing the schedule, determining the sequence of phases, and
overcoming problems of scheduling and budgeting.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Project Management and the CONSULTANT Project Team

Project Management is a word too often used so much so that it is deemed an ordinary skill and therefore neglected.

Project Management in its most general meaning (forget those fanciful description those Academicians uses) is the management of manpower, machineries, materials and money within a set timeframe. 4M in short.

So we now know what Project Management stands for, so now how can it really help us?

Let’s start the whole understanding game with a scary bedtime story.


Project Failed to deliver on time!

This news clipping is a local and recent happening right here in fast developing Malaysia.

The news got into the lime light right after the elections, even though the delay started long before the elections.

What was the reason given for the delay?

Design Delays

Land Acquisition delays

Cost increase contributing to delays

The real reason for the delay is PROJECT MANAGEMENT failure at its best.

A Point by point dissection to the problem will be done.

Let’s just look at DESIGN DELAYS since the team here is in the same area of interest.

Design segment caused the delay

How did the design segment contribute to the delay? Was the Design team unable to churn out the design and drawings in time? Was the design changed numerous times due to clients’ interference?

When a project is of a massive scale in size, logically it will generate a massive amount of documentation requirement. Documents here are in the form of plans, technical detail drawings, engineering drawings and whatever specification data that is necessary to carry out the project.

Where then is the delay?

Fact

1. Almost all consultants never Project Manage their team to achieve a full submission of designs, drawings and specifications so as to submit them at a set milestone

2. All consultants never have a benchmark on how long can a set of plans for a particular work or area needs in order to complete

3. Most consultants have little or no logging procedure to identify when a 3rd party inference caused a delay in regenerating a new set of designs in order to adapt to these “requests”. Most of them can’t argue with the clients that the delay is not theirs but a 3rd party or even the client themselves

Not happy with these facts?

Try answering these questions.

a) Do you know how long will it take your designers to come out with a certain specification?

b) How long does it take your draftsperson to churn out an A0 sized drawing?

c) The client has asked to add in some new features, in doing so, you need to redesign out an entire section of designs. Can you tell there and then how much of time will be required to put in these new changes?

If you answer “Not sure” to even one of the above, then you better tune up your Project Management skills, FAST!

Solution

The TEAM here is required here is to create a progress monitoring control to manage your 4M

Manpower (your design team)

Machineries (PC, Plotter)

Materials (Print outs, Construction drawings)

Money (I don’t have to explain this one)

And set a time frame for all of these items

Let’s begin putting the 4M into reality

Start by understanding your Team’s productivity index. Know each person’s ability to churn out a certain document.

Tabulate this data into your own Manpower Production Sheet

Next, set out the quantum of drawings (or documents) to be produced.

DELIGATE to each person doing the design his or her quantum. This individual quantum divided with each person’s ability will give you the duration needed to create the needed designs or documents

Put each person’s time frame needed into a Gantt chart and you can now show how long it will take to do all those design works.

Get a good Project Management software, punch in all these data and now you are ready to do the following

a) Track who is doing what designs and when that work is to be completed

b) If a new client’s request comes in the middle of the job and the need to redesign, thus additional time (and cost) is needed, just add in the new work to your Gantt chart and the new date is calculated and if you want to claim for additional money from the client, this program can also show you that value.

This demonstration should show you a clearer insight into how simple Project Management is and how it will really help you get your Project done, on time, on cost and document your potential claims and variation works


Syed Naguib Syed Abu Bakar


Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Doc is back!

Project Management Training is back on line again.

Sorry, I have been busy WORKING lately. Yup even we successful Project Managers must work once in a while. I have been attached with World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland for 3.5 months.

WHO needed a PM to get their projects back in line, so they called on the best (ahem) and I came.

.... more on this later