A Software Project manager faces many challenges. One of the challenges is, How to use the tools.
They spend 1000 of dollars of learning MS Project or other tooling and at the end so many of them ending with using MS Excel and still project gets delayed and ending up to pay penalties to the customer or Ends up with HUGE over cost.
This is not only good for your pocket but most important it is not good for your company Image.
And if you are the project manager you have to answer the CEO.
How about MS Project ? Well, Ms Project is still a tool.
Use it correctly. Dont overload it with small un important activities.
Limit number of activities and it gives you more overview to your project.
Dont try to detail plan in your ms project but to use headlines and estimates.
My advice to you is to define your process carefully before starting your project.
“SCRUM and agile Project management is good”
The “Vibe” around Scrum is huge nowadays. Is it only a “Vibe” or is Scrum come to stay?
Scrum is good because
1) It gives overview, because a big project is cut down to small projects (sprints) of 3-30 days.
2) You involve the team to estimate (They know what is going on)
3) Daily Standup instead of weekly meetings.
4) Burndown chart to give the project status. After all the ETC (estimate to Complete) tells you, when your project will be finnished
Burnup (Spent hours) is not much mentioned in the Scrum, but is very important. becuase it tells you, howmuch your project had cost you so far (maybe you are already overbudgeted and you are only half way there ?).
If the ETC on day 1 is 100h and after a 5 days is 80h
and the employee has been present the whole week ?.
The answer is either:
1) He has been doing some other tasks.
2) Or the ETC was not done correctly
3) Or have I forgot “Dependencies” ?
Combine "MS Project with Scrum to gain more control".
Many PM uses MS Project as a listing tool. They just list all the activities and at the end the PM ends up having a long list with 400 lines of activities with many sub activities.
Learn scrum it is easy.
Define Sprints in Ms project. Let the team decide, what are the sub activities. You as project Manager really don’t care about all those details. All you need is deliverables and correct estimate.
Preestimate each Sprint based on the budget you have in MS Project. And Let the come with actual Estimate with scrum.
They will present you an esimate
if their estimates matches your Budget then you are good
However, if the estimates are larger than your budget, then you have three choices,
1) Extend the sprint budget
2) Remove a couple of functionality in the (backlog) product list
3) Move the functionalities to another sprint and hope it can fit there.
Please share your experiences with us or tell what you think is missing in a good Project management tool.
Senior Process Engineer