PM Dashboard -Time Management

Folks, welcome back to my Project Management Dashboard blog series, where I’m walking you through Project Management Institute’s 9 knowledge areas (Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Risk, Procurement, and Integration), to help you identify which metrics you should be actively monitoring. In the end, after collecting the relevant metrics for each knowledge area, I’ll show you how to aggregate this information into a dashboard that you can use to quickly communicate the health of your project.  Last time we talked about Scope, now let’s discuss Time.

Work Breakdown Structure
This goes without saying, but when you’re developing your schedule you should first create a work breakdown to sufficiently split large work items (or deliverables) into smaller items so you can more effectively estimate the time and resources need to complete the task.  For example, estimating the time and cost to develop an F-22 Raptor Fighter is much more difficult than estimating the time and cost to develop the F-22’s landing gear.

Network Diagram
After you’ve broken down your project’s workload, you can then create a network diagram.  The network diagram is used to identify the critical path of your project by incorporating optimistic and pessimistic estimations.  The significance of the critical path is that if any work item on your critical path is delayed, then your overall project is delayed.  The second diagram illustrates a work breakdown structure for an aerospace project. 

Gantt Chart and Resource Diagram
Next it’s time to create a Gantt chart and resource diagram.  There are a handful of software packages out there available for you to use.  In the second diagram I used Microsoft Project for the same aerospace project as the first illustration.  The software you use will likely depend on the organizational or PMO (project management office) standard.  Like I mentioned before, all the metrics you need, to create a project management dashboard, are probably already being recorded by your underlying business processes.. which makes this process easier than most people think.  Join me on Thursday as we discuss Cost Management.

You’re Fired – Episode 2 of The Apprentice

Folks, if you’re not tuning into The Apprentice, Then You Are Definitely Missing Out!! This season the show is doing a theme based on the down economy, therefore all of the contestants are unemployed professionals. As such, the sense of urgency is like no other and the competition is fierce! No worries if you miss an episode.. I’m doing a weekly blog to recap each episode, and highlight the real world lessons that practicing project managers can apply to their careers.

The challenge
This week’s challenge was to sell ice cream on the streets of New York City, with the winner being the team that generated the most revenue. The women chose Poppy as their PM and David volunteered to be the men’s PM. As soon as I heard the challenge I thought ‘Women Win’, and when David volunteered I thought ‘You’re Fired’.

Pick Your Battles
David, David, David…. Last week you proved to everyone how cocky you are when you openly criticized your project manager (Gene), which surely would have landed you in the boardroom had your team lost. That being said, I’m still surprised that you guys didn’t lose last week! You could learn a thing or two from the human resources lesson in my Project Management Basic and PMP Exam Prep classes! This week, you proved that in addition to being cocky, you’re also an idiot for thinking you could outsell 7 attractive women! Time and time again I talk about project failure, and how good project managers can anticipate projects that are doomed from the onset, and avoid them, which in turn saves your organization valuable resources and jump starts your career. David, I wonder if there is a reason that you’re unemployed????

Control Your Team
Despite the women doing everything in their power to lose the challenge, they still won, which further emphasizes David’s bad decision making! Poppy you are very bright, and very cute, but you have a thing or two to learn about project management, and leadership at that. Stephanie showed her true colors this week and is a cut-throat competitor, on a side note.. I also think she’s crazy but let’s stay focused here =) Poppy, there are two things that you need to learn: #1) How to manage negative stakeholders and #2) How to be an effective leader. Stephanie’s number 1 priority was not your project, but rather her objective was to throw you under the bus! Therefore, she is a negative stakeholder and you should manage her accordingly. At EPIC Project Management we teach that you should confine your negative stakeholders to passive communication domains. Another words, don’t let them voice their negative opinion of your project. If I were the project manager, I would have found a meaningless task for Stephanie and would have sent her off to Dodge to accomplish it.. in order to keep her away from my project team! That being said, you need to learn how to lead and inspire your team. When your team senses that you can’t lead them, you invite destructive people like Stephanie to push you out of the way and foster all kinds of chaos!

I would love to hear your opinion on Episode 2! Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at brandon.beemer@epicpm.org.