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shows the activities on a time-scale orientation. Gantt charts display start, end, and durations of tasks within
the project. This format is widely used as a planning, monitoring, and tracking device. Some products show
the interfaces of predecessor(s) to successor(s); some do not.
On-Screen Resource Utilization
On-screen presentation of how and when resources are utilized throughout the duration of the project is
helpful to project managers. Presentation in some cases is displayed not only in tabular form but also in a
graphic form, such as histograms. There may also be a capability to compare resource utilization with the
activities to which the resource is assigned, sometimes on the same screen. Absence of this feature makes
resolution of resource conflict much more difficult than it needs to be.
Resource Leveling Within Float
When one or more resources is overloaded or overutilized, some effort must be made to relieve the situation.
This is called leveling. Through an automatic option or manual intervention, this feature allows two options:
(1) movement of noncritical tasks within float to resolve overloading or (2) the addition of qualified personnel
or other resources. Consequently, this kind of leveling does not affect the scheduled completion date. Most
current packages have a resource leveling option; however, they level by delaying tasks within float (option 1)
only. They will not locate and utilize alternate resources of comparable skill that are underutilized and make a
substitution. However, the product allows the project manager to accomplish this through menu-driven
entries.
Work Breakdown Levels
This is the number of levels to which project work can be broken down and reflected by the project
management package. Generally detailed planning for task and resource assignment is done at the lowest level
of detail and then rolled up to selected intermediate or top levels. For example, the highest levels may be
feasibility phase, preliminary design phase, detailed design phase, development phase, and implementation
phase. Feasibility can then be broken down into market analysis, needs analysis, and current system study,
and market analysis may then be broken into telephone survey of Fortune 500 firms and competition survey.
How many levels of detail and how well the system consolidates those levels is important to the planner. This
person plans and manages at the lowest level but often reports at the higher levels.
Tracking Schedule Progress
Recording the actual start time and duration for each activity, as well as the finish date, permits the planner to
track the project. An additional feature is the ability to forecast the revised completion date based on the
slippage during the earlier activities of the project.
Tracking Budget Expenditures
The ability to record the actual costs (which often deviate from the plan) incurred during the progress of the
project is an important feature of tracking. A project manager must be able to add current actual costs to
update existing actual costs and produce reports documenting the planned and actual expenditures.
Simulations
The capacity to perform a series of what-ifs (simulations of alternative options) iteratively is an effective
option if the various alternative scenarios may be examined individually, saved to disk, and then compared
with the original baseline plan. Effective project managers recognize the need for varied contingency plans, as
well as the need to replan frequently according to circumstances.


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Project Management
by Joan Knudson and Ira Bitz
AMACOM Books
ISBN: 0814450431 Pub Date: 01/01/91

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Calendar Flexibility
Title
Software users may need to plan in intervals ranging from hours to months. Small projects may be planned in
hours or days, whereas larger projects may be planned in weeks and months. Decide what units of time you
need, from lowest to highest. Also decide if you need a combination of intervals in one project or when
comparing multiple projects.
-----------
Resource Calendars
You may need the ability to create unique calendars for each resource with varying workweeks, shifts,
holidays, and/or shutdowns. Each of the individual resource calendars can be adjusted independently to
accommodate a particular individual™s availability. Some programs allow a calendar for each resource,
especially helpful if personnel have different amounts of time available or you must schedule computer time,
equipment time, or a subcontractor™s time.
Number of Subprojects
This capability allows you to create two or more subprojects linked to tasks in the main project. The details of
the subprojects may be rolled up and summarized in the main project. Any change in network scheduling
affecting the parent task will be reflected in the subproject, and vice versa.
Multiproject Resource Allocation
This feature is critical in an environment where individual and group resources are assigned to several
concurrent projects. Projects sharing common resources need to be reviewed as a group in order to examine
the aggregate resource utilization and costs over particular time periods. Multiproject composite resource
allocation tables are useful to point out both overloading and underutilization of resources and to facilitate
their reassignment, change task relationships, or other actions to accomplish resource leveling.
Cost and Budget Documentation
A comprehensive project management software package must be able to create or accept baseline budget data
and actual costs and create comparative reports. The reports should be available in tabular and graph format
identifying variances for specific resources, activities, or categories of costs. Although planners may not place
a lot of weight on this feature, most managers will.
Report Generator
A good software package will provide you with the capability to prepare standard and special reports. Many
standard report formats do not meet specific needs. The addition of a report generator to customize output
allows timely creation of meaningful output and greatly expands the utility of a program.
Graphics/Plotter
Newer programs support an increasing number of attractively priced plotters. Some programs, however,
require the purchase of a supplemental piece of software to accomplish this end. The addition of a plotter or
plotter-quality printer allows you to create presentation-quality output, as well as large-size document for
project displays.
Data Export
A common means of performing detailed analysis on project data not available within a project management
package is to export data to other programs. A project management software program should accomplish all
of the primary and essential planning activities. Some allow export of project data to other types of programs
that perform auxiliary tasks. Spread sheets, database, and graphic display packages are more appropriate for
certain jobs, and the easy transfer of data makes this interface particularly attractive.
Windows
Windows permit the simultaneous presentation of two or more program displays on screen, such as Gantt
charts and resource histograms. Such dual displays allow you to compare cause and effect without continually
switching from one display to another.
Micro/Mainframe Connection
The availability of software to accommodate transfer of data between the micro-based software and the
mainframe environments can be invaluable. This option offers the ability to transfer data from the personal
computer(s) to the mainframe (and vice versa) and permits the accumulation, manipulation, and reporting of
companywide information on a compatible mainframe project management package. This migration of data to
the mainframe also allows multiuser access to project management data. There may be a further interface of
these data into accounting, inventory, or purchasing systems.
Vendor Support
The vendor or publisher should provide some or all of the following: training, installation, maintenance and
updates, and hot-line support. Updates are supplied free of charge within a certain period from purchase or at
a per-copy fee. It is important to explore the vendor™s customer support services before you purchase a
system. Verify that there is a telephone number and responsive staff to answer questions.
User Manual
This document must provide a well-organized, broad coverage of the program™s features, with a complete
index. A well-written manual facilitates the learning process, explains clearly the full features of the program,
and provides quick access to sections relating to specific problems. The quality of a user manual can be
judged by the speed with which needed information can be quickly located and understood.
Choosing the right software program can be an expensive and time-consuming process. For those of you who
have had to live with a less-than-perfect choice and for those of you who wish to avoid one, the time and
money is well spent. If you are in the process of choosing software, consider using the following seven-step
process.
1. Work with the people who will be using the product and decide on the features you require and
those that you would like.
2. Obtain some literature on project management. The Project Management Institute in Drexel Hill,
Pennsylvania, has a directory, and PC magazines often publish articles comparing products. Another
alternative is to ask around.
3. Pick several products that will satisfy your specifications.
4. Acquire demonstration versions of the products you have decided will fit your needs.
5. Conduct benchmark tests against each product™s demonstration package. Set up a small project that
typifies the data in your organization. Run the data through each of the products to determine if the
product meets your criteria. In general, evaluate the products for ease of data entry, what-if simulations,
entering actual data and extracting reports and management roll-ups of data, quality of screen and
report presentation, multiple project analysis (if this is one of your criteria), and processing volumes of
data. Reproduce your benchmark test data to equal the maximum transactions you will want to process.
Run this mass of data through several functions of the product and see if the processing speed slows
down.
6. Now that you have made your choice, send out a public relations memo explaining your
expectations with this new software. Then provide training on the basics of project management (if
necessary) and on the product, and offer some assistance to those trying to get up to speed. You may
want to be their in-house hot-line.
7. Demonstrate to the project team and to management that you intend to maintain the discipline
required to use this product. The minute you relax the requirements for plans or status reports from the
project management scheduling, almost everyone will drop the software like a hot potato. If you keep
the energy and urgency high, you can expect support.


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Project Management
by Joan Knudson and Ira Bitz
AMACOM Books
ISBN: 0814450431 Pub Date: 01/01/91

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Current Trends
Title

Speed
New releases are being reworked to increase the speed of processing. In some cases, only certain features of
the product have speed increases; in others, all of the system™s processing is being accelerated. The speed
-----------
increases range from barely discernible to dramatic; certain products tout increases of close to 1,000 percent
on many functions. Some products are now pushing the speed limitations of the hardware, yet there is room
for further improvements in speed through hardware upgrades. As chip-based machines proliferate in the
businss community, dramatic speed increases in all microcomputer-based project management products will
be experienced.
Work Breakdown Structure Support
More software vendors are coming to realize the critical role of the work breakdown structure in project
management and are including support for WBS in their products. Some are including the ability to print or
plot the WBS diagram among the features of their new releases.
Increased Capacity
Many vendors are increasing the capacity of their products, typically in tasks per project, resources per
database, resources per task, predecessors per task, and direct costs per task. Even memory-based products
(the project must be resident in memory while being worked upon) are increasing their capacity by taking
advantage of memory above the 640K limitation on MS-DOS microcomputers. Because of increased
capacity, field sizes are being increased, allowing more flexibility, especially for adding narrative comments.
More Resource Functions
This may be the area in which the most significant improvements are being made. The new features that are
surfacing in some products include the ability to make nonlinear resource assignments within a task, so that
an individual can work on a ten-day task for four hours per day the first week and eight hours per day the
second week. More products are including resource-constrained scheduling capabilities, so that the demand
for resources can be reduced to the capacity of the organization, at the expense of the end date of the project.
The algorithms used for resource-constrained scheduling are improving. They take the critical path into
account and minimize the delay in the project while leveling the demand for resources. Many products are
adding resource leveling (within float) capabilities to the system. Unlike resource-constrained scheduling,
resource leveling does not allow the project end date to change and often yields imperfect leveling results.
The algorithms for resource leveling are also improving; many can now factor a user-determined task priority
into the calculations. Some systems now allow the assignment of resources in hours, days, weeks, or months,
all within the same project. Many products are addressing the need to alter the cost of resources on a
time-scaled basis. It is now possible to vary the hourly rate of a resource either annually or by establishing
“from” and “to” dates for the rates. The number of resources allowed per task and per database has been
increasing. The use of different calendars for each resource is becoming more popular. The major advantage
to the resource calendar approach is that it allows the organization to track and to factor into project schedules
planned training, vacations, and other administrative time. Finally, ability to use PERT (Program Evaluation
Review Technique) and earned value calculations is becoming available.
Scheduling Flexibility
Many systems have limited the user to input of durations in one standard unit per project. Thus, prior to data
entry, the user had to decide to enter all durations in hours, days, weeks, or months. Once the decision was
made, it could not be changed. An increasing number of systems now allow the time units to be determined at
the task level rather than at the project level. Thus, Task A can be entered with a duration of forty hours, and
Task B can be entered with a duration of three weeks. In some older systems, only durations entered in days
were allowed if holidays were to be factored into the schedule calculations. Holidays were ignored if
durations were entered in weeks or months. Increasingly that is no longer the case. Holidays are now
recognized regardless of the units used for entry of durations.
Better Reporting
In systems that lack report writers, a more impressive menu of standard reports is becoming available.
Although there is still a lack of flexibility in this feature, the end user is more likely to find what is desired in
the expanded menu of reports. The report writers are also becoming more flexible, allowing users a wider
range of choices in structuring personalized reports. One annoying characteristic of the older report writers is
gradually disappearing. In many older systems, the personalized report had to be recreated each time it was
run; there was no provision to save the report so that it could be rerun periodically. More systems are now
allowing the user to save the personalized report and to recall and rerun it as required. A few menu-driven
systems even allow the user to place the personalized report name in the menu of reports.
Ease of Data Entry
Many systems are adding features that can reduce the amount of time and effort required to get the project
data into the system. Screens on which multiple tasks can be entered are one result of this improvement.
Copy, paste, and combine functions are another. The user can now create a group of repeating tasks and copy
them as many times as required in building the plan. If there are ten tasks to the design of a circuit board, for
example, and nine circuit boards to be designed, ten entries (rather than ninety) are required. The combine
function allows models to be built and then used in many projects.
Output Device Support
The range of printers and plotters supported by the software is increasing dramatically. Larger and faster
printers and plotters are now being supported, even by microcomputer-based products. This gives an
acceptable output speed to the product, even when very large projects are being reported upon.
System Linkages
There is an increasing trend for smaller, easier-to-use products to provide uploading facilities to more capable
systems. This allows the plan to be built in an interactive mode on a small, very user-friendly system and the
status reports to be generated on a larger, more complex, and full-featured project management system.
Project management software vendors are becoming more responsive to the user community. When the first
microcomputer-based products were introduced, people bought them because there was little choice, and
some functionality was better than none. Today, with a broad range of choices for the end user, a more
responsive approach is required. The future will continue to bring greater functionality and increased speed.


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Project Management
by Joan Knudson and Ira Bitz
AMACOM Books
ISBN: 0814450431 Pub Date: 01/01/91

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Training Support
Title

With or withour project management software, training support positions a project organization for success.
Training is not a one-time effort. It should be planned on an annual basis. There is new information to learn
relative to the tools of the trade and relative to how to work in project organizations. Moreover, new staff who
-----------
join the project team need to be brought up to speed.
This section looks at two relatively new modes of training, both reliant on computer support: a self-paced,
independent study training approach called computer-based training or (CBT) and a classroom training
technique called computer simulation training. We also discuss an older approach, on-the-job training, a
technique that is not being used as frequently as it might.
Computer-Based Training
Computer-based training (CBT) is an automated version of programmed instruction. This type of training
consists of text that presents a problem to which the student provides an answer. Then the student refers to the
solution to determine whether he or she has the correct answer. The problem may be in the form of multiple
choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, mathematical problems, or charts or graphs to be drawn.
CBT presents these problems on a computer screen. The student responds via the keyboard. The software not
only validates the answer with approval or disapproval, but the response is specific relative to the student™s
answer, provides guidance and rationale as to why the answer was wrong, and describes what constitutes a
correct answer.
The most effective project management CBT products are those that are accompanied by an interactive
workbook. The software enables students to survey the subject, identify the key points, and do a minimal
amount of practice. The interactive workbook encourages students to practice the new skill using paper and
pencil until they become facile with the technique. The workbook presents a case study from beginning to end
to enable students to visualize and develop a perspective of how the tools integrate with one another.
Furthermore, the workbook can allow students to explore subjects in greater depth than is covered in the
software.
The combined power of the CBT software and the workbook provides diversity in training modes, variation
of pace in training activities, and changes in perspective, all designed to keep the student stimulated.
CBT is not intended to replace classroom training. The classroom provides a forum for exploration of ideas,
for presenting questions and problems, and for communicating with others of similar backgrounds; CBT is
designed as a primer before going into a classroom setting, as a reinforcement after a seminar is completed, or
as a stop-gap training for a new project team member until the next seminar is scheduled.
CBT was not created with the goal of being completed at a single session; users set their own pace. A novice
user may want to work systematically through each part of the package in sequence, whereas more advanced
users may want to review selected sections. This flexibility in the training tool allows students to access
specific functions within project management to support individual needs and growth.

Computer-Based Simulation Training
This mode of training simulates risks in the environment as a means to stimulate creative solutions and
produce high-quality results. Simulation-type training has been used for centuries in a classroom with teams
such as the military, to teach tactics and strategies to use in combat. Alternative scenarios were presented to
the students; the students responded, and their choices were classified as successful or unsuccessful. The
students benefited by learning from their failures and being reinforced by their successes.
Flight simulators facilitate trainee pilots™ learning the controls and the proper responses during varied flight
conditions without risking their lives or the lives of others. After World War II, Monopoly was used to teach
returning veterans how to operate in the real estate industry without risking any of their capital.
Simulation training is employing a case study approach. Traditionally, a case is presented to the student in a
classroom, the student responds, and the response is classified as successful or unsuccessful. There are two
drawbacks with this type of case study training: the evaluations of success or failure are often subjective and
dependent on the instructor or fellow team members, and no matter what the student™s response is, the case
study itself is not dynamic, and change is not in response to the choices of the student.
Computer-based simulation training introduces an element of reality to the case study. Since the computer is
driven by dynamic software, its response is dependent on the input. That response is fast paced and
encourages the student to move quickly from scenario to scenario and from learning experience to learning
experience. There is no delay while the instructor reconfigures the case or the team members critique the
action taken.
In computer-based project management simulation training, the participant develops an initial plan and enters
the schedule, resource assignments, and budget into the system. The software is not a project management
scheduling system; it is not a programmed-instruction computer-based training; it is not a game. The software
presents alternative scenarios to the participant, the participant responds, and his or her actions are graded as
either successful or unsuccessful by the successive actions of the simulation and its output status reports. The
participants are reinforced by their successes and learn from their failures.
The case thus transforms schedule, resources (both internal and external), and costs into conflict situations.
All the classic project management charts and graphs are utilized. The participant is confronted with all the
decision situations found in a project management environment. For example, during the simulation, project
team members may quit, the equipment may malfunction, and contractors may not be productive. We say may
because each team goes through its own unique labyrinth of situations when actual versus plan data are
presented. Many months of project evolution are consolidated into a three- or four-day classroom experience,
and each team follows a very different scenario.
Simulation training creates a classroom environment in which the members of the teams are closely united.
Their one goal is to win. They win not by beating out the other teams (although competition can be felt within
the room) but by meeting their original commitments: schedule, budget, morale of their team members, and
quality. They are competing with themselves to do the best that they can. In order to accomplish this, the team
must be able to reach consensus, be efficient in the assignment of roles within the group, and, most important,
be proactive rather than reactive.
There are few project management computer-based simulation products on the market. One that we are
familiar with offers two versions of project management simulations. The first addresses a single
environment; the second, a multiproject scenario within a matrixed environment. The multiproject simulation
assigns to each of the team members the role of one of three project managers or one of two functional
managers. Single-project and multiproject management are very different and need to be positioned from
different perspectives.
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Project Management
by Joan Knudson and Ira Bitz
AMACOM Books
ISBN: 0814450431 Pub Date: 01/01/91

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Computer-based simulations provide an exciting environment: lecture, team practice, dynamic feedback,
Title
baseline analysis, and, most important, real-world application embedded in the learning process. Project
management simulation training is designed for those who say, “I™ve seen it all. I™ve been to project
management seminars before. If there is something new, something beyond the basics, I™d be willing to go to
another program. But until then, I™d be bored.” Our experience indicates that those attending a simulation
----------- course are highly stimulated. Attendees have requested that the classroom be opened earlier than scheduled
each morning and on the last day have negotiated with the instructor to keep the machines active “for just
another half-hour.”

On-the-Job Training
What is on-the-job training in project management? Why is it needed, how does it work, and what are its
benefits? Classroom training in project management has been the standard since the 1960s. It is a fine vehicle
for presenting the concepts of project management, dealing with organizational issues, and establishing the
mind-set necessary to plan and control work effort. Computer-based training has taken a place in the
development of skills in scheduling, resource-cost planning, and control data processing. But neither

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