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Improving Project Portfolio Management Maturity: Resource Leveling

Improving Project Portfolio Management Maturity: Resource Leveling
By Claire Schwartz

A quick trip to Wikipedia yields the following definition for resource leveling: ‘a project management technique used to examine unbalance use of resources (usually people or equipment) over time, and for resolving over-allocations or conflicts.’ In other words, through resource leveling we can ensure that the project schedule is reasonable and realistic from a resource perspective – that the people or equipment needed to execute the work will be available when and where they are needed.

Sounds simple? The reality is that resource leveling needs to take multiple factors into account and can be anything but simple. And, like anything else that’s really complicated, most of us are looking for better tools to help us accomplish the task. That’s when the question about automatic resource leveling comes up.

While some project scheduling tools provide a process to see if resources are overloaded, others also provide a function that will recalculate the schedule to eliminate any overloads. Read the Complete Article

Optimal Decision-Making: Effectively Communicating Information

Optimal Decision-Making: Effectively Communicating Information
By Claire Schwartz

In the last couple of posts, we’ve written about the challenges of providing information for decision-making. From collecting data to converting the data to information that tells a story, it’s all about making sure that we’re providing decision-makers, including ourselves, with what is necessary to make solid, fact-based decisions. But there is one more variable we need to consider: what is the best way to communicate that information?

The channels used for communicating, as well as the form and format in which the information is presented, influence both the decision-maker and the decision. Besides concerning ourselves with the ‘what’ we need to consider the ‘how’. How can we present the information in a way that assures timely receipt and accurate interpretation?

If you’re like me, you receive and send information for decision-making in lots of ways: emails, reports, presentations and meetings. While each of these can be effective, in the aggregate we find ourselves bombarded with information from all directions. Read the Complete Article

Optimal Decision-Making: Turning Data into Actionable Information

Optimal Decision-Making: Turning Data into Actionable Information
By Claire Schwartz

In my last post, I wrote about collecting data to provide information for decision-making. There is no question that data is where we begin, but facts are not enough. What we really need is information—a meaningful interpretation and presentation of the data that gives us insight into a condition or situation.

For example, when I manage a project, I collect data about task performance, such as “Task A” started on January 5 and finished on January 12, it took 27 hours of effort and we spent $3000 on travel.

Interesting facts, but they really don’t tell me enough to evaluate the task’s performance, its impact on the project, or help me make decisions about the remaining work or cost.

It turns out that “Task A” was scheduled to complete on January 14, making it ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, it isn’t on the critical path, so there’s no impact to the project schedule. Read the Complete Article

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