Friday, 24 July 2015

How to pick a project management methodology

Think of project management (PM) methodologies as blueprints, step-by-step instructions that guide your team on how to build a successful project. With so many different – and in some cases, overlapping – approaches to managing the complexities of any given program, how can you know which one is right for your project, team or organization?

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the key PM methodologies:

  • Agile was developed for projects requiring significant flexibility and speed and is comprised of “sprints” – short delivery cycles. Agile may be best-suited for projects requiring less control and real-time communication within self-motivated team settings. Agile is highly iterative, allowing for rapid adjustments throughout a project.
  • Waterfall methodology is sequential in nature; it’s used across many industries, most commonly in software development. It’s comprised of static phases (requirements analysis, design, testing, implementation and maintenance), executed in a specific order. Waterfall allows for increased control throughout each phase but can be highly inflexible if scope changes may be anticipated later.
  • Critical Path Method (CPM) is a step-by-step methodology used for projects with interdependent activities. It contains a list of activities and uses a work-break-down structure (WBS), a timeline to complete and dependencies, milestones and deliverables. It outlines critical and non-critical activities by calculating the “longest” (on the critical path) and “shortest” (float) time to complete tasks to determine which activities are critical and which are not.
  • Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) differs from Critical Path Method (CPM) in that it focuses on the use of resources within a project instead of project activities. To address potential issues with resources, buffers are built in to ensure projects are on-time and that safety is not compromised.
  • Six Sigma was originally developed by Motorola to eliminate waste and improve processes and profits. It is data-driven and has three key components: DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control) DMADV (define, measure, analyze, design and verify) and DFSS (which stands for “Design for Six Sigma” and can include the previous options, as well as others, like IDOV – identify, design, optimize and verify). Six sigma is sometimes debated as a methodology in the PM community.
  • Scrum (named after rugby) is a part of the agile framework and is also iterative in nature. “Scrum sessions” or “30-day sprints” are used to determine prioritized tasks. A Scrum Master is used to facilitate instead of a Project Manager. Small teams may be assembled to focus on specific tasks independently and then meet with the Scrum Master to evaluate progress or results and reprioritize backlogged tasks.
Good, better, best?

While there is no “best” methodology that works for all business types, sizes or industries, there are ways to determine which methodology to use and how to effectively apply it. When evaluating methodologies, these are only a few of the many factors that should be carefully considered:

  • Organizational strategic goals and core values
  • Key business drivers
  • Constraints
  • Stakeholders
  • Risks
  • Complexity
  • Project size & cost

To assist in this regard, the Project Management Institute (PMI) developed the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) – now a globally recognized standard – to enable organizations to identify, measure and improve PM capabilities, standardize processes, help solidify successful project outcomes and ultimately determine best practices and strengthen the connection between strategic planning and execution. OPM3 focuses on overall organizational strategic effectiveness and incorporates project, program and portfolio management. This standard was updated in 2008 and again in 2013 and is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an American National Standard.

[Related: Why agile skills are more valuable than certifications]

In their Implementing Organizational Project Management Practice Guide, the PMI discusses some high-level processes for tailoring PM methodologies. Organizations should carefully evaluate which methodologies work for various projects based on factors in the PMI Methodology Tailoring Process in order to maximize strategic benefits.

Benefits of Organizational Project Management (OPM)

OPM3 is aimed at achieving successful strategic alignment. And since successful project outcomes depend heavily on such alignment, it may make sense for your business to adopt OPM3. Organizations will need include EPMOs (Enterprise Program Management Offices) in high-level planning sessions in order to ensure the right methodologies are deployed for specific projects to increase productivity and customer satisfaction, gain a competitive advantage, improve cost control and communications and predict performance. Ultimately, this will improve and expedite decision making as well as support alignment with company-wide goals.

Different PM methodologies have their strengths and weaknesses; organizations may want to consider selecting multiple project management methodologies based on the project and other factors previously mentioned (among others)…and also develop some standardized best practices that can be tweaked as various factors change.

The key is to figure out how specific projects align with the over-all organization objectives, and, once you determine what factors impact the success or failure of those goals, find the most suitable methodologies that will enable your organization to effectively and efficiently reach the desired business result.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Support for Microsoft Office 2013 RTM has ended

NOTICE from the Microsoft Office Sustained Engineering Team

Support for Microsoft Office 2013 RTM has ended.  Starting with the April 2015 release, all Office 2013 updates will only apply if Office 2013 SP1 is installed.  See KB2817430 for more information about acquiring Office 2013 SP1.

The June 2015 Public Update releases for Office are now live. June 2015 Office Update Release

Friday, 5 June 2015

OLAP Excel Report - How to Show Work in Days rather than Hours?

Applies: Project Server 2007, 2010, 2013 OLAP Reporting

This post will guide you to create a custom column in OLAP cube report;

1. Once you have configured OLAP and have created pivot table. Click on MDX Calculate Measures (Analyze >> Calculations >> OLAP Tools >> MDX Calculate Measures)


Figure 1 Showing MDX Calculated Measures

2. In New Calculated Measure window.

· Enter Name of measure i.e. name of calculated field.

· Select the field to be used from “Fields and Items” tab.

· Click on “Insert”. Selected field will be displayed in White area under “MDX” label apply appropriate formulation.

· Select appropriate group from “Measure Group”

· To verify MDX click on “Test MDX”.

· Click on Ok.


Figure 2 Creating MDX Calculated Measures

3. Above newly added Measure one can find in Pivot Table field listing under a group selected during above step.


Figure3: Showing newly added Measure in PivotTable fields

4. Click on check box next to field to add field to Pivot Table.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Microsoft Shoring Up Tasks with Wunderlist To-Do App

The Berlin-based company behind the Wunderlist to-do app has been purchased by Microsoft Relevant Products/Services. Redmond reportedly agreed to buy 6Wunderkinder GmbH for between $100 million and $200 million.

The purchase will indeed bring Microsoft something it lacks, namely mobile task management capability.

"Microsoft Project is a very heavyweight solution, geared toward large teams and complex project planning, and is not targeted to individual or small team use," said Stowe,managing director of research and analyst firm workfutures. "Although Project is integrated with Office as Project Online, it doesn't really solve the need for lighter weight task management, and is definitely not a 'mobile first, people first' product, which Wunderlist is, with very popular iOS and Android apps." 


I personally would like to see this integrated with SharePoint and Project Server Task Management.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Enterprise Calendars Use Case

Applies: Project Server 2007+

Here are a few considerations when working with Enterprise Calendars. Enterprise Calendars can be assigned to Projects, Resources and Tasks.


1) Project Calendar

An Enterprise Calendar assigned to a Project impacts all the Tasks within the project schedule. E.g. tasking will NOT take place on weekends etc.

Note: ensure that the project scheduling OPTIONS for task working times match that of the project calendar.

PMO will need to keep this Enterprise Calendar updated for exceptions such as weekends, public holiday etc.


2) Resource Calendar

Resource Calendars are based on a specific Enterprise Calendar, normally the BASE calendar that the project is based on, so that it inherits the exceptions such as weekends, public holiday etc.


Resource Managers/PMO can add further exceptions to the resource calendar for specific resource availability/exceptions e.g. holidays etc.

Note: if a Resource calendar is based on a different BASE calendar to that of the project, then the resource calendar scheduling will take precedence. E.g.  an international Project is based on UK holidays and Resource in Middle East is based on UAE calendar (with Friday/Sat off and Sun working). Any task that has the UAE resource assigned will show as working on Sunday. The scheduling for the assigned task  is governed by the working times of the resource on that task, i.e. based on that resource’s calendar (BASE Calendar + exceptions).


3) Task Calendar

If you want to override the default scheduling behaviour of resource calendar, then you will need to set the scheduling exception against the task and assign a different/specific calendar. See figure below to override the Resource Calendar scheduling.


Note: if you want to update multiple[le task calendars en-mass, inside of a project,  you can insert the following two columns/built in fields. And then Copy/fill-down to all the tasks in the project. Alternatively, you can write a macro and add to Enterprise Global, to do this for programmatically.


Hope this helps.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

SharePoint Server 2016 update

Today, Microsoft confirmed that SharePoint Server 2016 will become generally available in Q2 2016, with a public beta planned for Q4 2015, and commitment to delivering on-premises releases of SharePoint for the foreseeable future. There will be support for combination of on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments for many years to come.  Learn More>>

Thursday, 12 March 2015

How to Delete OLD Status Reports to avoid Receiving Alerts and Notifications

Affects: Project Server 2007+

To delete/remove old Status Reports, do the following;

1) Navigate to the the Status Reports Page

2) Select the specific Status Report Request

3) Click Delete Request on the Toolbar


If you delete your REQUEST the associated RESPONSES for that Request will also be deleted by the system automatically. If, however, another PM has sent you a REQUEST that you need to respond to, then please ask them to remove their REQUEST.

Hope this helps.