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Definition of Crashing (In Project Management Terms)

Definition of Crashing (In Project Management Terms)
By Sivaraj Dhanasekaran

Crashing is a schedule compression technique used to reduce or shorten the project schedule.

The PM can various measures to accomplish this goal. Some of the common methods used are

  • Adding additional resources to the critical path tasks
    This option has various constraints such as the securing of the budget to add the resources, and the availability of the resources.
  • Reduce the project requirements or scope
    This can be done only if the sponsor and major stakeholders agree to reduce the scope

After applying the crashing, the critical path might have changed and result in creating a different critical path. Always revisit the project schedule to ensure the schedule has been crashed.

Dhanasekaran, Sivaraj is a certified PMP and works as a Senior Project Manager in one of the leading MNC banks in Singapore. He has over 13 years IT experience and handled banking projects as well as managed production support team for complex Treasury applications for various MNC banks. Read the Complete Article

Deliverable-based Project Schedules: Part 1

Deliverable-based Project Schedules: Part 1 (#1 in the series Deliverable-based Project Schedules
By Thomas Cutting

People build many different types of project schedules. There are the massive checklist and the one liner varieties. I’ve seen them with Phases, Activities, Tasks, Sub-Tasks, Sub-sub-tasks and sub-sub-sub-tasks. Some have randomly bolded Milestones and still others fail to communicate anything.

For projects that span more than a couple of months and a handful of individuals, a deliverable-based project plan offers the best way to track and report on it. Over the next several entries we’ll look at:

  1. Definitions
  2. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – what it is and how to use it
  3. Creating the Schedule
  4. When is enough too much?

Definitions. Since there are 3 words there are obviously 5 definitions that we need to review.

Deliverable – pre-defined, tangible work product. This could be a report, document, web page, server upgrade or any other building block to your overall project. Read the Complete Article

Relationship vs. Task Oriented Management

Relationship vs. Task Oriented Management
By Thomas Cutting

Within project management there are two main types of personalities: Relationship oriented and Task oriented. It is fairly easy to tell the two apart. Aside from having a detailed project schedule, the Task oriented manager has a separate list of things they need to accomplish today and they feel great when all of them are checked off. The Relationship oriented manager’s schedule is really a guideline and they are more likely to have a list of people to call today.

Relationship Oriented managers are great at building a cohesive team. When planning out projects they take in the big picture and appoint people or groups to handle the details. Consensus is a major tool in their arsenal. One of the first artifacts they put together is an org chart and inevitably there is a spreadsheet with contact information posted close at hand. It probably even has birth dates written in. Read the Complete Article

Need Help with a Tight Schedule?

Need Help with a Tight Schedule?
By Christian Bisson

One of the main concerns for project managers is delivering the project on time. More often than we would love to admit, this can be hard, and a variety of reasons explain why it can be a challenge (events, client expectations, business need, etc.).

Either while we’re planning the initial schedule, or as the project evolves, there are many different ways to help shortened a schedule so you can deliver your project on time.

In the past, I’ve written an article that listed a few tips to help you out, here is complementary information and more alternatives:

The two typical tools that can applied to all projects are the following:

  1. Fast tracking

    Fast Tracking consists of starting a phase of a project sooner, overlapping with the previous phase.

    For example:

    • If design is only partly approve, development could start earlier with what is approved;
    • If only parts of the projects are developed, QA can start for those pieces instead of waiting for the very end of development.

Read the Complete Article

4 Huge Problems that a Resource Planning Tool Solve

4 Huge Problems that a Resource Planning Tool Solve
By Patricia Goh

For the communication, ease-of-use, integrations and accessibilities, you are not only taking better care of your business but also taking better care of your employees. The best part is that it doesn’t stop here, with the constant development of technology, you are looking at more and more issues being addressed by your trusted resource planner.

Significant Improvement by PM software

Figure 1: Significant Improvement by PM Software

Infographic Data

This infographic shows the relationship between success and project management softwares. It is found that 77% of companies use project management softwares and 87% of high-performing companies use project management software. The business aspects significantly improved by project management software are team communication, final product quality, project that met budgets, projects that met deadlines and customer satisfaction. The distribution of these aspects are quite even, with team communication taking up 23.42%, final product quality, project that met budgets and project that met deadlines at 19.82%, and customer satisfaction not too far off at 17.12%. Read the Complete Article

Crashing Your Schedule Is Not Your Only Choice when Facing Delays!

Crashing Your Schedule Is Not Your Only Choice when Facing Delays!
By Kiron D. Bondale

When our projects begin to experience schedule delays, a very common reaction from our customers may be to ask the team to work longer hours or to leverage their influence to provide additional resources to work on critical path tasks such that the project can get back on track.

Of course, nothing comes for free – such additional labor hours usually will result in increased costs which in turn increases the likelihood of going over budget. If the existing team is asked to work longer hours for a sustained period of time, this is likely to impact team morale and deliverable quality. If new team members are added, while they are coming up-to-speed, the overall productivity of the team is likely to suffer as existing high performers may be engaged in onboarding the newcomers.

So before looking at crashing your schedule, here are a few ideas. Read the Complete Article

The Fallacy of Man Hours

The Fallacy of Man Hours
By Tim Bryce

I’ve never been comfortable with the concept of “Man Hours,” not that it’s a gender issue, but rather it implies ignorance of how time is used in the work place and fumbles away some simple management concepts needed to run any business, namely accountability and commitment. Actually, I thought the “Man Hour” concept disappeared with the passing of the 20th century, but it appears to be making a comeback.

The fallacy of the “Man Hour” concept is that it assumes a person is working productively 100% of the time. This, of course, is hardly the case in any company. Workers are either working on their assignments, be they what they may, or there are interferences keeping them from their work, such as meetings, phone calls, e-mails, reading, breaks, etc. Time spent on work assignments is referred to as “Direct,” and time spent on interferences is referred to as “Indirect.” The relationship of Direct to Indirect time is referred to as an “Effectiveness Rate” delineating the use of time during the work day. Read the Complete Article

Useful Tips to Help You Streamline Your IT Project Schedule

Useful Tips to Help You Streamline Your IT Project Schedule
By Michelle Symonds

If you are a project manager in the IT industry, it is possible that you have attended project management training during some point in your career. If so, you will have no doubt learnt some handy tips and tricks for the successful completion of your IT project. However, there is always more that you can learn. Here are some useful tips and checks to make to help you successfully complete your IT project.

Pre-Assessment Metrics

There are six metrics to calculate before you can begin the quality checks on your project. These are:

  1. Complete Tasks – those with an actual finish date.
  2. Incomplete Tasks – those without an actual finish date.

  3. Total Tasks – all tasks with the exception of summaries, milestone, zero baseline duration and sub-project tasks.

  4. Baseline Count – all tasks completed before the status project date.

Read the Complete Article

The Importance of Confidence and Estimates

The Importance of Confidence and Estimates
By Ray W. Frohnhoefer

As a project leader, it’s critically important to be earnest – have an intense conviction and confidence in the plan. Staying calm and confident is reassuring to the team, sponsor, and stakeholders alike. The team will take their cues from you, follow your lead, and rise to meet any challenges or setbacks in a positive way. Whether you are looking at the Inc. list, the Forbes list, or anyone’s list of leadership traits, confidence is usually on the short list of important leadership traits (or a part of the description of another trait).

So given its importance, how can you build this confidence in the plan? It comes from having a solid, believable plan that stakeholders, including you and the project team, buy into. And how do you get that solid, believable plan stakeholders will buy into? It comes from having solid steps and estimates for completing the project. Read the Complete Article

8 Bad Habits – Creating and Maintaining Your Project Schedule

8 Bad Habits – Creating and Maintaining Your Project Schedule
By Steve Hart

I have always believed that you can learn as much or more from challenges and problems on projects as you do from successes. It is amazing how much you as a project manager contribute to the project’s challenges (in a bad way). The project schedule is a good example of where a project manager can have the best intentions in the world, and yet they create a schedule that is difficult to understand and nearly impossible to maintain. The bad thing about a poorly constructed project schedule is that it is something you have to live with the entire project life cycle. I have been on more than one project where we decided it was best to have a “do over” on the schedule than continue to struggle along with the one we were using.

There are a handful of traps that project managers fall into when creating a project schedule, either because at the time it seems like their approach is a “shortcut”, or they don’t understand the scheduling tool well enough to know any better. Read the Complete Article