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As Soon As Impossible

Faster than ASAP?As Soon As Impossible Gantt

Enterprise Project Management Software is helping teams accomplish their Project Based Work more efficiently than ever. Most Projects are designed to be done As Soon As Possible (ASAP). The PPM Software that teams use may even have email alerts to expedite Tasks that can start early.

But a colleague recenty posed an interesting challege: "Is there a way to easily reset the start date of successor tasks when a task completes early, essentially setting planned dates to the projected dates? I thought this would be down by looking at recalculate timeline, but this does not seem to do it."




How’s My Portfolio?

TSN Turning PointMyPie

Our local sportscaster uses the phrase "TSN Turning Point" to highlight the pivotal play that enabled the win. In my Project Based Work, I use it to refer to that pivotal event when someone I’ve been coaching thinks of their own solution in a way I wouldn’t have. I always like to make a big deal of it, both to encourage them for taking ownership, and to celebrate their progress.




Get Some Professional Help!

Logo Loco

If you’ve been using Workfront as your Project Portfolio Management Software for a while, you might remember the old layout, where you could put your own company’s logo in the top left corner. As the administrator, I used to keep a couple of versions of my logo handy. I’d set the regular one for normal operations, but set a black and white one when I was doing maintenance. It was a way of broadcasting to my team.

Although the top left logo is no longer an option — to be fair, that really is the primest location of them all — I’ve figured out a slicker way to broadcast announcements. And share Help Files. And get my logo back.




Rekindling Burndown

Is the Campfire Cold?Match Burning Down

Back at the 2009 Workfront User Conference, there was quite a bit of buzz around Agile Project Management tools. One concept I like was a burndown chart: pick some Tasks, choose a timeframe, then use a picture to confirm you’re on track to meet your goal.

I haven’t heard much about burndown charts since then, so I wonder…has the fire gone out?




Face The Interfaces

Mirror MirrorInterfaces

One of the happy paradoxes of good Enterprise Project Management Software is that the more information users find and believe, the more information users believe they will find.

That extra information often lives in other tools; and rightly so. But to be effective, it often needs to be visible along side our Project Based Work. For those of us managing such Project Management Tools, this leads to an inescapable truth: eventually, we’ve got to face the Interfaces.




Going the Extra Milestone

Choose Your Path

Most Project Management Software has the ability to mark certain Tasks as Milestones. Some PPM softwares also offer a set of customizable Milestones — a "Milestone Path" – to encourage standardization across Projects. A few sophisticated Project Portfolio Management Software packages even let you pre-assign a Milestone Path to Tasks in a Template, ensuring consistency across Projects.

However, what if the detailed Tasks required to support the work plan don’t align well with the Milestones the Project Management Office (PMO) wants to see? Or what if Projects encompass multiple, similar Milestones across large parts of work? Even in some of the most advanced Project Management Tools, the built-in Milestone features simply can’t accommodate these requirements.

Fortunately, there is a different technique that not only addresses these limitations, but opens the door to a whole new way of presenting Project Information in a Gantt Chart.




Bar Tending 101 (no table)

A Toast. "To our new guests: The Business"

Those of us who have worked with Business Project Management Software have sampled from its vineyard of features. Over time, we acquired a taste for what we like, learned to avoid those we don’t, and ultimately settled in on our favorites.

As PPM Software has matured, The Business has come to appreciate how they too can enjoy these Project Management Tools. As Project Management professionals, wouldn’t it be decadent if we had time to play the role of connoisseur, sharing the subtleties of our experience as we tour The Business around?

Well, sober up. There’s never that much time.

That said, may I offer to at least fill your cup with one popular Project Management concept I’ve uncorked?




Can your PPM software defuse a bomb?

Spy vs SpyWhen Companies Merge

Synergies…Efficiencies…Economies of scale….that all sounds great! Why wouldn’t two big companies want to merge?

Well, one reason might be that if they’re in the same industry, they probably use a lot of the same software, and sorting out which packages to Retain and what to Decommission is an enormous undertaking.

It’s a good thing that one of my clients knew about Workfront when they needed to sort it all out.




PPM Performance Testing For PMs

Food for Thought

It was over 20 years ago, around 8 pm. Three Business Analysts and two fellow coders crowded around my desk with the sinking realization that it was going to take an all-nighter to pull off our deliverable. Just then, the senior PM poked her head in with a concerned look and a "What can I do to help?" We shot a round of blank looks at each other, but before we could even formulate a polite reply, she nodded quickly, and said: "Right: I’ll go get some food."

Surely, figuring out what the team needs to keep them going efficiently is one of the most important skills a PM can offer.

But what happens when your team’s Online Project Management itself isn’t keeping up? The prospect of assessing the performance of sophisticated Web-based PPM Software is pretty daunting, even if you are a technical PM.




Sufferin’ SaaS-afras! Where Can I Test?

ExSaaSperation

Online Project Management is a great fit for Software as a Service (SaaS). Teams can perform their project based work in different locations and timezones, but still collaborate in a loosely coupled way. And as vendors improve the underlying PPM Software, everyone instantly benefits when the production website is upgraded. What more could you want?

Well, when a major new release that changes the user interface is coming down the pipe…how about a place to test?




Spiral Adoption

Chasing the Rainbow

Today’s Project Portfolio Management Software packages have incredible features to help teams collaborate and visualize their project based work like never before. Some of the best are also intended to be customized to meet specific business terminology and events. Given that resources and schedules are often shared, this powerful combination of insight and adaptability can help companies reach an elusive goal that faces every PPM Software implementation: how can you increase adoption across related departments?




Switchback Workflow

Gravity: it’s not just a rule. It’s the law.

There’s a tactile satisfaction to the way a wooden marble run game plonks steadily from top to bottom. At a glance, we recognize the path. As it runs, we appreciate the steady pace. And at the end — plop! — we know with certainty it’s reached its goal.

Wouldn’t it be great if Project Management Software worked the same way?




One Chart to Rule them All

One RingYessssss….My Preciousssssss…

Can you imagine Golum as a Project Manager? Instead of a ring, though, he’d be clutching a printout of the latest status report with his favorite chart. It’s funny to picture. But I must admit: I’m starting to see the attraction.




Who’s On First?

Abbot and Costello’s routing is still funny. Unless it’s YOUR Project.

In traditional work management, one of the key positions is the person who provides the actual work assignments. Project Managers may use placeholders such as Business Lead 1 and Developer 4 in their preliminary plans, but eventually, someone has to pick who’s on first. Depending on the size of the project, that might be a full time job or even a team of people. I’ve been on Projects where that group ends up becoming a bottleneck, despite having really good PPM Software.

By the time I find out Who’s been picked and What’s been worked on, I Don’t Know Why and I Don’t Care!




Project Management Time Travel

Flying DeLoreanHmm…where is that Flying DeLorean I ordered, anyway?

Remember Back to the Future? Great movie. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could shift Project Management back through time and see exactly how things looked back then? Although lots of PPM Software packages have auditing — after all, no one likes mismatched SOX — wading through a laundry pile of data edits to reconstruct what your Project was wearing at the time is no way to spend a Friday night.