Have you ever seen a Gantt chart with a resource requirements bar chart? In other words, a bar chart that updates as you drag task bars on the Gantt timeline. I know… that takes some time to mentally process. Watch the video below, and then scroll down from more discussion.
Image dragging task bars on your Gantt chart, and watching a resource requirements bar chart update as you do. That’s essentially what is being described here.
It’s one thing to see a nice timeline with task bars (that’s a Gantt chart), and it’s also one nice thing to see a bar chart with resource requirements for each week, but combining the two is really helpful. When you drag task bars on the timeline, you see what impact that had on resource requirements.
How many engineers do you need on week 34? How many forklifts in July verses August? How many assemblers on line 12 in November before the holiday rush? These are questions answered by a resource requirements chart.
Slotting projects on a timeline is also necessary. But you can’t do that without making sure you’ve got the manpower and materials. So, you need resource allocation. The two work hand-in-hand.
Standard Time® is a minimalist MRP with these exact capabilities. You can try these ideas for free. If you’re new to Gantt charts or resource allocation, this is the perfect place to learn. Click here: www.stdtime.com/manufacturing
The video below shows a quick overview of task link dependencies. In other words, one task is dependent upon another. When the first task is completed, the next one can start. What the video, then scroll down below it for more information.
There are four types of link relationships in this video:
As the names suggest, these link relationships are associated with task dates. Start and Finish dates affect other tasks. When a predecessor date changes, a successor task will be moved to reflect the link relationship.
Need up-to-the-minute status on all your projects, jobs, and work orders? What if you had a screen like those airport departure and arrival screens that showed your jobs?
That would be cool!
Well, here it is. This screen updates every 15 seconds, and displays the current status of all your jobs that have activity in the last thirty days. You see who performed the work, when it was performed, and the current status of each job.
Let’s say you’ve got a crew out in the field with Android’s. They are syncing time and materials used on the job. Those synchronizations could occur any time. So, this screen updates constantly, every fifteen seconds to show the latest status.
Or, let’s say you have a shop floor with barcode scanners and RFID. Workers are constantly scanning and entering time and materials used on the shop floor. This airport screen shows the status of every work order on the shop floor.
Or, let’s say you have an engineering shop with engineers entering hours against projects. Want the latest status? You get the idea. This screen does it.
Take a look at the video and let us know what you think!
Here’s a persistent problem project managers face: Their project schedules are obsolete within a week of completion. So what is your solution to that?
(scroll down for a video solution)
One solution is to get input from the boots on the ground. Get the actual employees doing the work to enter the tasks they are working on, and updating estimates. If you combine that with getting time and material “actuals” from employee timesheets, you have just about everything you need to fix this issue.
Getting input from the boots on the ground
Employees may not know the full strategic direction your project is going in, but they do know the tactical maneuvers to get things done. So let them have that input into your schedule. Let employees input their project tasks and update estimates based on their understanding of the conditions on the ground. That may be entirely different than your 30,000 foot birds-eye view.
Both perspectives help.
The video below shows how to sync project tasks with your timesheet, which lets employees on the ground have their input. Give it a watch, and let us know what you think!
Do you want the actual end-users of your MS Project plans to have input?
After all, what’s a project plan without input and adjustments from the boots on the ground? It’s static and lifeless. The project manager creates the plan, and minutes later it’s out of date. Why? Because the project manager doesn’t know the actual conditions on the ground. Only the actual employees know that. So you need their input.
This video describes getting input in the form of materials and costs that are synchronized with MS Project. Get a look below!
Information collected in your timesheet can double the value you get from it. Especially if you are only using the basics of client billing or employee payroll. Those things are great, but they are only half what you can get.
Check this video out.
Lingering behind your timesheet is a wealth of new information. It’s behind the “Project Tasks” tab. Your timesheet is feeding information to project tasks every time you enter hours or start a timer. And the information that is collected is completely free.
That is to say… completely free of managing computations like costs, percent complete, and budgets. For example: as soon as you receive an email notification that your project has reached 90% of its budget, you’ll understand “free.” You didn’t have to do anything to get that; it just happened for free.
And in case you were wondering… we also know that it’s not pronounced “PMO Office.” The extra “Office” at the end is redundant because the acronym “PMO” has the word Office in it. So if you said “PMO Office” you would really be saying “Project Management Office Office.” That’s dumb.
Watch the video, and then watch the “ten tools” video above. Comment on each one to let us know what you think. Talk to you soon!
Project management is such a broad term that it can include a lot of activities. And everyone has a unique perspective or opinion of its meaning. But it’s basically everything related to doing a project. Please comment on the video below.
Define Project Management: The activities and methods used to successfully complete a project or job, usually constrained by time, cost, or scope.
The constraints listed above are the biggies! We all have an idea what the activities are. But often the constraints are not given the priorities they should. Consequently, projects go over their budgets, both from a time and cost perspective. This usually happens when the scope becomes a moving target you can never catch up to. The customer wants more and more, but forgets that it costs more and more, and that it takes time to reach that elusive goal.
Consider these two videos to learn more about project management and the constraints you’ll face:
Isn’t it crazy how nobody on your project team expects your project and task finish dates to ever come to pass? We put them out there like hazy mirages you never seems to reach. And then those dates come and go without the task being completed, and everybody forgets. Oops, we missed that date. Does that annoy you? Or aren’t you OCD enough?
Define Task Finish Date: A date for the completion of a task or project, usually computed from a starting date and calendar days.
What’s weird is that project completion dates in the future never seem quite real. You throw them out there, and so far into the future that nobody can quite grasp the possible conditions of the project in that distant time. It’s like it’s unreal. But everyone agrees… yeah… we’ll definitely be done by then. That’s definitely enough time to get this thing done.
Problem is, there are either not enough steps to get you to completion, or little accountability to those steps. You just trust that this “sufficiently distant date” is so far out that you must be able to complete the project by then. How could you not finish by then? Missing a date like that would be inconceivable!
And yet we miss them every time. And forget we missed them. Jeeeez, we’re dumb…
Did you know there are (at least) three competing demands on your project? And did you know that you can’t have all three? You can only pick two. (video below) Here they are:
Define Project Management Triangle: A triangular graph illustrating the three project constraints of time, cost, and scope.
So those are the three constraints that pull your project all out of shape. Time, cost, and scope. And the crazy thing is, as a project manager or project stakeholder you can only pick two. You have to let the other go where it goes. Are you ready for that.
Scenario #1: Let’s say you want your project right now, and really cheap. Guess what? You’ll get something really junky. In other words, the scope will be small and probably less than what you’re expecting. You chose time and cost. You got scope handed to you.
Scenario #2: You want your project right now, and you want everything under the sun. Okay, now you’ll find that your project costs you a fortune. You chose time and scope. Cost now depends on those two, and it’s going to cost you big-time.
Scenario #3: You want this thing done cheap and you want a lot. Well, that is going to take some time. Because it’s cheap, you’ll just have to wait for some things. You chose cost and scope, and so time is the one thing you’ll have to live with.
See how these things all inter-depend? Did you know you can see a graph of your own results? Watch the video and try it out.