Material resources over different time than workload in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi,

I have interesting question from one of my Blog readers:
”I am working with Engineering services provider. I have created my resource pool sheet. I have assigned my resources (Employees/Engineers) on different projects. These engineers use different tools (licenses etc.) to complete the task.
We have to pay for those licenses quarterly. I cannot buy these licenses for one month.
I would like to know how to assign the license cost with resource (Employees/Engineers). Sometime my employees have 2 months workload but I have to pay the license cost for three months. Please guide me how can I use MS project for this?”

I will use MS PROJECT 2016 for this example. I will first create simple Projects with two Tasks:

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As you can see Task 1 has 1 month, and Task 2 two months Duration.

Now I am going to create Resources:

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As you can see License is Material cost. I will assign John and License to the Task 1:

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and I will get:

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You can see the result in the Cost table:

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As you can see Total cost is $ 16.300 (John will work 8 hours per day * 100 $ * 20 days e.g. 1 month = $ 16.000 + License $ 300 = $16.300).

Now back to the Problem. How can you assign License to the Task if you for example have to buy License for three months and your Task is shorter? And how to get right Cost.

There are three ways:

  1. You can put price for three months (in my example $ 300) for the License and then assign one license per Task as I did. If you have same license which you will have to pay for 1 month, 2 months etc., then you will have more than one Resource (for example: 1 Month License, 2 Months License etc.)
  2. You can put price per month for License (for example $ 100), and then assign 3 Licenses per Task if you have to pay for three months. this is little bit confusing because even when you have right costs, someone could think that you need 3 Licenses, which you do not
  3. Use fixed Cost like I will do in Task 2, and then write in Notes what are those cost for:

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Hope this helps.

Regards!

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Posted in MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Customized resource calendar and its effect on task duration in MS PROJECT 2016!

Hi,

my blog reader has a question and I’m going to repro his scenario step by step, and answer the question using MS PROJECT 2016.

First I will create a 5 day Task:

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There are 2 resources assigned to the project –  John and Mary:

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Mary is supposed to work on a week  to 4-day 10hrs/week  schedule, so I customize her personal calendar:

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and:

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So Mary is supposed to work 10 hours per day from Monday to Thursday, but she is off at Friday. Now I will assign Mary to the Task:

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As you can see, Duration is 5 days, even Mary is not working at Friday. How is it so?

Let see here:

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and:

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and then:

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As you can see 1 day of Duration is 8 hours! (see hours per Day option in the picture above).

So for Mary, Total work is 40 hours (10 at Monday, 10 at Tuesday, 10 at Wednesday, and 10 at Thursday). Duration of the Task is 40 hours (Total) / 8 hours per day = 5 days.

Now I will  add John to the Task, and he is “regular” worker, so he is suppose to work 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday:

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The question from my Blog reader is: “How Project calculates the new 6-day Duration for the task?”

And the Answer is easy. When only Mary was assigned to the Task the Task duration wad 5 days. Now John will work 1 day more. As simple as that. He will work at Friday. So those 5 days + 1 days (Friday) is 6 days duration. Or let me explain that day by day:

  • Monday to Thursday: John works 8 hours = 1 day. Mary works 10 hours = 10to be worked /8 (hours per day) = 1,25 days. Duration is longest one, so it is 1,25 days
  • Friday: John works 8 hours = 1 day. Mary does not work. Duration is, obviously 1 day.
  • Total: 1,25 (Monday) + 1,25 (Tuesday) + 1,25 (Wednesday) + + 1,25 (Thursday) + 1 (Friday) = 6 days

Hope this helps.

Regards!

Posted in Micsrosoft Project 2016, MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It’s all about People!

group of people in a meeting

Hi,

as a Project Manager I red thousands and thousand articles about Project Management. I focused on tips “how to Manage Projects on right way, and how to get Projects done” and I found a lot of useful and helpful articled. BUT! No in most of them you will find what must be done. And this is great. But, how should something be done? Those answers are usually great, but general! What do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples.

  1. Establish good relationship with sponsor
  2. Establish good communication with all stakeholders
  3. Make a good plan
  4. Communicate with the team often
  5. Raise problems early
  6. …..

You are all aware of that. All those tips have one single question in common, and this is: HOW? Again, examples:

  1. HOW TO Establish good relationship with sponsor
  2. HOW TO Establish good communication with all stakeholders
  3. HOW TO Make a good plan
  4. HOW TO Communicate with the team often
  5. HOW TO Raise problems early
  6. …..

If we ignore problems like Force majeure (Like hurricane or earthquaqe), and technical problems (like server crash), you will see that all challenges and problems are related to the people on the Project. So, when you read tips remember that there is no such a thing like: “One size fits all” tips.

Let me give you example. Some people want reports daily, and they are unhappy if they do not get them. some people like reports in PowerPoint, some in Power BI, some in Word, some in MS PROJECT, and some of them want to have a meeting when you will tell them how is your project going without using single tool. And they are all stakeholders. What will you do? Make multiple types of reports? One for each of them. Or would you pick the most important stakeholder (whatever “most importnat” means) and make just one type of report for this particular stakeholder? Do you want a tip? Real tip? It is: “I do not know!”. you should see what kind of persons are you dealing with. Are you dealing with stubborn one, or reasonable one. Can you show or convince them that making many kinds of reports are waste of time and money? Or not? Do you see where am i pointing at. PEOPLE!

Finally – the Culture differences. Today Business as usual is that you will have a Project surrounded with people around the globe. And they are different. with that I do not mean that some nations or cultures are better than the other. NO! Not at all! I just want to point out that what is common and usual in one culture, is unacceptable in other. For example in one culture that is usual thing to start the meeting with talking about politics or about family. In other that is considered as improper. And this is easy to solve if you have people from one culture in one meeting, and from the other culture in other meeting. but, usually you will have people from different culture in a single meeting in a single room.

I have 30 years of experience in Project Management. And if someone will ask me what are my tips I will say:

  1. Always act as a Professional. This is your job. Never, ever take ANYTHING PERSONAL
  2. Approach to every single person no matter of his/her role (Sponsor, Stakeholder, Developer, ..), differently. Yes, this is hard. But every person in this world is different. Respect that!
  3. Remember that every Project is unique, so do not use same procedures and approaches in every single Project
  4. Be aware that with some people (or many) you will have a problem to make understanding. You will. In every single project you will have at least one person who is hard to deal with. YES. HARD. Do not complain. Again, that is your job.
  5. Hope that you will have a luck, but be prepared that you will not, and expect problems.

My 5 cents

 

Regards

 

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Fixed Duration Tasks and Resource availability in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi,

today I will show you what happens wen you have Fixed Duration Tasks with Resources assigned to them, and those resource are unavailable at the specific time. I will use MS PROJECT 2016

First I will create simple Project with two Tasks (both Fixed Duration Type):

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As you can see, both Tasks has 3 days Duration. I added two more columns to the Gantt Chart View: Work, and Type!

Now I will create two Resources, John and Mary, and I will put for Mary Vacation (e.g. non working time) from 11.06.2018 to 17.06.2017:

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Finally, I will assign John to the Task 1, and Mary to the Task 2:

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As you can see Work for the Task 1 is 40 hours (as expected), but for the Task 2 it is 0 hours. How is it possible? Even if this does not make a sense it is possible because Task has fixed duration, so it is supposed to be worked on from Monday 11.06.2018 to Friday 15.06.2018, and the Resource is unavailable at that specific time. So, when you assign Resource to the Task which is Fixed Duration type be aware and careful on that.

Now, let’s say that, for some reason Task 1 will have 7 days Duration instead of 5:

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Now, as we know, Mary is on her Vacation from 11.06.2018 to 17.06.2017, and Task 2 has now Duration from 12.06.2018 to 19.06. So Mary is available at Monday 18.06.2018, and Tuesday 19.06.2018, but the work for her is still 0 hours.

Now I will put Duration for Task 1 at 1 day:

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You can see that nothing has changed in work for Mary in this example either.

Maybe you have expected that work should be calculated for those days in which Mary is available, but it is not. Well, it is not calculated automatically.  But if he is unassigned from the Task and assigned again, then you will have what you have expected:

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Now you can see that Mary will work from Tuesday 05.06.2018 to Friday 08.09.2018 (e.g. total 32 hours), and next Monday, 11.06.2018 she will not, because she is on Vacation and therefore not available.

Be aware of this:

  1. When you assign a Resource to the Fixed Duration Type, work will be calculated according to available time of that specific resource during specific Task period.
  2. If the Resource is unavailable to the Task for the whole Duration of the Task (e.g. Work is 0 hours), you will not get any warning from MS PROJECT
  3. If Start date of the Task is moved for any reason for the Task and Resource is became available for it (for specific or whole duration), MS PROJECT will NOT recalculate work for Resource! It will remain 0. So for this you should reassign same resource to the Task.

Regards!

Posted in Micsrosoft Project 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Project Management, Processes, Procedures and PMBoK

Screenshot-2014-12-31-13.51.10

Hi,

today I’m going to describe some problems with Processes and Procedures within Projects. First of all what is Process, and what is Procedure?

A process is a set of activities that interact to achieve a result. A procedure is a document written to support a “policy directive”. A procedure is designed to describe who, what, where, when, and why by means of establishing corporate accountability in support of the implementation of a “policy”.

Now, for managing Project almost every company has prescribed Processes and Procedures. And that is good. Without that one severe problem will occur during the Project. Every single time when new Project starts, Project Manager and the Team will have to start from the scratch. With this said I mean that instead of Planning the Project, PM and the team should start with: “How will we do it? Which tools should be best, which approach should be best, etc”. and this is waste of time, which they  do not have. On the other hand, if there are Processes and Procedures prescribed for managing Projects, PM and the Team will be familiar with them, and therefore they will know exactly how to manage the Project upfront. It doesn’t mean that it will leave them without usual problems in the project, but it will help you with Planning, Execution, and most important, Monitoring, Controlling the Project and when problem occur, fixing it!

As usual, there is always – BUT! I saw many time that Processes and Procedures are burden to the Project. why is it so? According to PMBoK: “Project is temporary endeavor undertaken for creating unique product, service or result!”. U N I Q U E! There is no such a thing like two SAME Projects. They can be similar, but they cannot be SAME! Therefore each and every Project should start with the simple, but important question: “Which Procedures and Processes should we change (adopt), which we should throw away, and which must be added as new ones for this particular Project?”. Procedures and Processes are not written in a stone. They are here for help PM and Project Team, but they should be adopted to every single Project. If Management insists to use every single Process and Procedure for every single Project, then they are on the wrong way.

Finally, PMBoK- The Project Management Body of Knowledge by PMI. It is framework which has a lot of Procedure and Processes inside. But also you can find inside remarks which says that they should be used if you need them, and how you need them. Of course, there are some exceptions. For example, Project without Project Charter could not exist, neither without Project Plan, WBS, etc. But other parts should be used if, and how you need them.

Regards!

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How to avoid unnecessary Resources in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi,

as you may already know, you can put Resources in MS PROJECT in many different ways. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes it can be very annoying. I will show you one example with MS PROJECT 2016!

First I’m going to create new Project:

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and some Resources:

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Now I will assign some of them to the Task 1 through Gantt chart View:

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and I will get:

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Now let’s say that I want to assign Johnny Cash to Task 2, but I accidentally type Jonhhy and hit the Enter key:

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As you can see MS PROJECT let me do that, and if I now look at the Resource Usage View I will find new Resource in it, even if I didn’t want it because this was obviously a mistake:

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So, to correct this error I should erase Jonhhy form this sheet. If I do  not want MS PROJECT let me to enter Resource which is not already in Resource sheet, like in example above, I should disable it like this:

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and:

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and then:

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Now, for example if I want to add Mary to Task 3, I will get:

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when I hit Enter key:

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Now I can choose if I want or not add Mary to my Resources, because she doesn’t exist in Resource Pool.

also be aware that this will apply only for the current Project on which I’m working at. If I want this option to be applied on al new Project I should choose:

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Hope this helps.

Regards!

Posted in MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Project Manager, Manager, and Micromanagement

image

Hi,

today I want to discuss with you about Micromanagement. What is Micromanagement anyway? It is a Management style whereby a Manager closely observes and/or controls the work of his/her subordinates or employees, or project team. Is it bad? YES! YES! YES!

Who can do Micromanagement in Projects? Managers, and Project Managers. Whoever does it it is evidence of lack of trust. Why? If you need to control every single detail, every single line of code (in SW development), every decision, than you do not trust the person who make those decisions.

Now let’s first focus on Project Manager. It’s role is not to have every single detail under the control. NOT AT ALL. He/she is responsible for control Project as a whole! It means he/she should know is the Project on track (within time, budget, scope, quality), what are the Risks, what are the problems in the Project, and finally to manage Stakeholders. Are they getting what they asked for? Is everything OK with your team?, etc.

Remember, if you are Project Manager, than you are supposed to let your team to make decisions how to make their Tasks in the best way. So, if we are talking about software development, you must be aware that you team is developing it following standards which are set up upfront. Your job is NOT to check every single line of code. Let your team breath! And help them. You are not in the Army. Command and control doesn’t work. It never did, and it never will.

In my region we have a lot of SW companies which have a Micromanagement problems with company Managers. Why? Because those Managers has started their companies in “garage”. What does this mean? It means that they were developers at the very beginning. And there is nothing wrong about that. But, their company is big now. And they are dealing with Management. And Management is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes the activities of setting the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its employees (or of volunteers) to accomplish its objectives through the application of available resources, such as financial, natural, technological, and human resources. To be a Manager you should be educated. PERIOD! E D U C A T E D! If you were excellent developer, and company owner, it does NOT mean that you are now (when your company is large) good Manager, just because you are in that position. And more important, you should STOP acting like developer! Because you WERE developer, and now you are suppose to be MANAGER!

So, prerequisites for good manager are:

  1. Take the education about Management
  2. Set your mind in a way that you are not Developer any more
  3. Do not interfere in your Developers everyday work

Not so long ago I was external PM in one famous company in the region. And I was told what to do, and what I’m not supposed to do! I have no freedom to do my work for what I am educated for. After three months I left! Why? Because I was supposed to be responsible for a Project but without authority of making decisions.

Believe me, I know what I am talking about.

Regards,

Nenad

Posted in PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged | 1 Comment