Forum Replies Created
- 01/15/2015 at 3:50 pm in reply to: How many resources should I assign to each task? What standard should I use? #296399
There is no standard as such. Define the work for each task, both labor and non-labor, then determine how you are going to measure the work.
If you are coding software, and there is training required for the staff, and there are software and hardware purchases to be made, I would breaking those out into separate tasks.
Thus, you would have 1) labor, 3) Training costs, 4) Possible travel for training, 5) software purchases, and 6) hardware purchases. I would not include #3-#5 in the coding and design tasks, for example.
Very simple example.
Project XYZ Software Development Work Package
Software Development Work Package (Assign labor resources)
External Training Work Package (assign training costs)
Computing Hardware Purchases Work Package (assign hardware costs)
Desktop and Laptop Purchase
I have not run into that. but let’s take it from the beginning. How are you defining the materail resource?
Typically it is defined with a “Type” of “Material”, “Standard Rate” equal to some value; e.g. $1,000.00 and “Cost/Use” of $.00
Example: I would assign “.4” units, then you would have to decide how to allocate that cost over tinme. In the Task Usage view you could allocate “.1” units per calendar day, allocate the whole amount on the last day or the first day or whatever your process is.
It could be some combination of the resource definition and allocation over time is affecting the result.
I do not have the answer, however, once a project has gone live I would propose that only one person be allowed to update the schedule file directly. This is not to say to avoid the ability to allow status to be made via the Server, is to maintain good configuration control over the project file itself. Consider yourself fortunate not to have the file corrupted by multiple updating it; specifically not knowing if they just do things that might cause corruption.
Scott, there a number of questions contained within the “big” question. I’ll offer what I generally do with regard to a) updating and 2) status reports.
As far as updating the schedule (again, just looking at the simple picture of obtaining “% complete” status), use whatever rhythm the program requires; i.e., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly. First, I use indicators (plenty of information on MPUG about creating formulas) for the most simple status events: late start, late finish, early start, future start, completed. Secondly, I create an Excel extract using basic schedule information; e.g., Unique ID, Task Name, Start, Finish, Duration, % Complete, Program Key Indicators (PKI) as stated previously. “Update”/”Input” columns are added for start/finish/% completed and any notes the PM/CAM/Lead would like to add. Then this spreadsheet is distributed to the appropriate person for updating. Many schedulers with whom I have worked used a similar process.
Schedule views can be created to distribute PDFs, for example, and oftentimes people like to have a copy of the schedule to manipulate for their own needs. “OnePager and “Milestones Professional” are some 3rd party reporting apps.
Updating costs and baselining changes are separate subjects, though a process needs to be used to capture them as well.
What type of data are you capturing? Perhaps a Microsoft Access application can be used instead of Project.
Chuck, is this aircraft development (new) or aircraft modification? By “Basing” I presume where the aircraft is located/(airport, militarybase, etc.)?
Regardless, there has to be a structure of the work defined to assign resources and to track performance. Do you have this structure in place? As I mentioned previously, is there a Work Breakdown Structure defined? If development, all aircraft work would be similar, other than modifications. If a modification effort, then not all aircraft may be undergoing the same work flow, but the WBS would accomodate which systems are being overhauled and repaired, hence, my question.
To reiterate what Larry mentioned, what data are you intending to get out of this, and how are you planning on managing the work=?
First, a solid WBS needs to be created to define the entire program down to the Work Package level. Project’s WBS field is lacking in flexibility, so you might want to use a custom field. The entire aircraft systems and sub-systems, including sub-contractor work needs to be incorporated into the WBS (flight controls, structures, avionics, electrical design, engines, cabin systems & etc.).
Are you planning on using earned value and/or tracking cost? If so, this further highlights the need for a good WBS. And, the labor charging system needs to be aligned with the work packages to which labor and material costs will accrue.,
Secondly, how large a program is this (rhetorical question as the answer is none of my business)?. You will have to make a determination on how large your master schedule will be.
Third, all IPT members must be included in planning process for scheduling development.
I know from experience how large an effort this is. If EV/cost management/labor tracking is involved and the schedule is lookinbg like it is going to be very large, I would propose re-assessing which scheduling tool you employ, and highly recommend bringing in scheduler(s) as consultants/contractors who have this specific experience.
There are very unique and complex aspects to aerospace development, and I am suspecting that your question is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Can also create circular references. Avod!
If one were to assign all the resources for a task to its summary task, then, at the very least, one would have to hand calculate the work and determine which period of time (month, week & etc. in which to record the planned work for the resources. This defeats the purpose of using a scheduling tool. Why not use Project to do that (of course, some manual work assignments may be needed for updates to tasks)?
Further, as stated by Heather, all the planned work is hidden in the summary task, and that makes it difficult to track status of each task, and to perform resource planning. If tasks slipped or needed changes to work or duration, this would make the schedule a nightmare to maintain. There would be no way to accurately maintain a baseline or to manage a project accurately.
This would be the equivalent of removing all the the gauges from a vehicle’s dashboard and driving by feel. How could you tell if the engine were overheating, or speed?
Even one task hidden in the summary task defeats the purpose of using a scheduling tool. Yes, it’s done, no, it’s not good practice.05/13/2014 at 4:38 pm in reply to: Set baseline cost for old baseline that did not have rates #112998
Earned Value is cumulative; that is, it incorporates any baseline changes made during the period of performance. If cost was not incorporated into the baseline from which EV is calculated you have a problem. You would have to rebuild the schedule and its associated costs from the beginning, then apply actual costs and status (% completions) to each prior period (monthly, weekly).
Are you using an EV tool, or are you calculating EV manually? Do you have all the backups of the schedule after each baseline change?
It is possible to calculate EV outside the schedule (IMS) in Excel, for example, but you would still need resource rates and actuals and status for prior periods – thus you could estimate the EV.
This is a complex question requiring much more than this simple answer.
It might help your career, however, you will have to get hands on experience. That said, MS Project Server is a totally different product than Primavera in term of architecture. The scheduling mechanism is similar, but that’s where the similarity ends.03/17/2014 at 10:41 am in reply to: Is it possible to use the SPI when your organization is not very mature in PM? #101318
It is possible, but can be difficult. Basic criteria include 1) Well thought out WBS that incorporates labor budgeting and charging at the appropriate level. This means that you will need to be able to obtain actual hours charged against the related tasks for the schedule’s planned work. 2) The PM, leads, cost account/WBS managers & etc. need to be included in the scheduling process to insure buy-in for the schedule’s planned work, labor charging, and obraining of status (% Complete). 3) Status needs to be obtained and reported upon on a regular basis, weekly or monthly, for example 4) Be sure to have an accurate reporting and charting mechanism to share the information. The simpler the better.
And, good luck! Perhaps you can lead the way!03/06/2014 at 11:28 am in reply to: What are some of the resistance you have encountered from users? #98436
It all comes down to PMs, leads, managers, & etc. resisting taking the tinme to plan and status and re-plan properly. Scheduling is a discipline, and it takes discipline to plan and manage a successful project.
MS Project cannot solve this problem, it is just a tool.
You would need to perform a baseline change to add the resource and work/cost to that task, and thus the total budget. at the point in time mandated by your baseline change management process. The presumption on my part is that scope is either being increased, or that the work is behind schedule, thus the need to add resources. This would need to occur even if another task was being reduced and the increase in cost for the in question was being offset by that reduction. BOTH tasks would then need to be re-baselined.
One wouldn’t normally change resource/cost/schedule in an EV environment without updating the baseline, and yes, it would most likely mess up your EV and violate good EV practice (and the law if you were working on a Defense Department project).