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Re: Project Management Package?

From: Gil Hauer
Subject: Re: Project Management Package?
Date: 21 Mar 2002 08:43:11 -0500

On Thu, 2002-03-21 at 05:12, Mark H Smith wrote:
> On 13 March 2002 Gil Hauer wrote
> >  - a major part of the planning process is accomodating resources. In
> > other words, I have a pool of engineers and equipment and I need to know
> > their availability which means that all projects need to draw from a
> > common resource pool.
> The common resource pool can be based on the Human Resources  data, if you
> are using that package also. HR data often  includes the skills,
> qualifications and experience that staff have. 

Yes -- in fact I think that the project management package is very much
an integration of other gnue packages: HR, accounting, dcl, etc.
Additional functionality would include scheduling, resource leveling,
resource management.

> The HR data might need to be
> supplemented  with info about contractors if they are used, and equipment. A
> project manager should be able to search the HR data for staff with the
> required skills, and then check on people's availability by seeing what
> other projects they are already committed to.

One of the best project management packages that I've ever used was Open
Plan from Welcom Software. The only detractor that I ever found was that
it only ran on Windows. At any rate, it allowed the project manager to
assign skill to people/things in the resource pool. It also allowed the
project manager to assign a skill to a task rather than a person. During
the scheduling phase the project selected the 'best' candidate from the
pool that satisfied the skill. 'Best' generally meant 'the most
available' I think.

> > It's also rather
> > important to document how each activity in the project was estimated so
> > that these can be revisited ("why the hell did I only allocate 5 days
> > for this one?")
> Ah yes..., that familiar feeling. Part of the business of comparing
> estimates to actuals depends on getting the actual hours into the project
> management application, which I find isn't well catered for generally. 

Try 'never'. I'm stuck right now having to use MS Project in VMware
under Linux 'cause it's the only solution. I can't even find a way to
assign a fixed cost to an activity. I guess reading the manual would
help :)

> It
> would be really good if there could be a 'Time and Expenses' module where
> everyone can enter the hours worked each week on each task within a project.
> You would then have the basis for tracking project progress against
> forecast. A time and expenses module could also be used to feed data into
> Payroll, or in the case of Expenses, into Financials.

I think that this is where integration with DCL would happen --
activities in the project plan could be bound to work-order entries in
DCL where engineers enter hours as well as completion information. I
don't know enough about DCL yet though.

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