So far we have been talking about different aspects of project and project management, which was primarily focused on bringing in enough clarity about the scope, people involved, risks, assumptions, constraints, methodology and process to ensure that we have done what we intended to do. While all those things are extremely important, what is even more important to use that information / resource as an input and deliver the project on time and within budget. That is where we must come up with unambiguous and precise project execution and implementation plan.
2) A client can have one or more project for you
3) A project contains one or more phases (which often you use as milestones and use them to define payment terms)
4) A phase consists of one or more activity (here it is shown as tasks). Some of the software even allows you to create hierarchies among the activities , which is specifically useful if you want to do micromanagement for certain tasks / activities
5) You may be using one or more product / service to execute the project, which will allow you to calculate costs and it will also help you in managing your project accounts
6) You need notes like feature and other communication features like chat and email for effective communication
7) Account Summary or something similar keep you updated on the initial budget, how much you have already spent, what is your margin and any other financial stuffs that you may like to track.
A close look at above image clearly indicates that as a Project Manager – managing (adding / removing and updating) activities is what you will be doing most of the time. These activities will be often assigned to your contractors / resources and if something is yet to be assigned you may like to know about them. Also, depending on your business model, you may like to manually assign these activities and / or you may like to have automated assignments. Another important aspect is to specify dependency among various items, which becomes very handy while calculating start date and end date of the activities. Finally, when you also assign resources to these activities, you get your Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) ready for usage!
Typically any activity should contain following detail:
- Project Name
- Activity Name
- Activity Description
- Input required to start this activity
- Expected Start Date
- Expected End Date
- Main Assignee
- Other Resources
- Efforts required from these resources – including main assignee
- Expected Output
- Actual Start Date
- Actual Output
- Actual End Date
- Notes & other communications
In addition to above attributes, few additional capabilities are really useful during the project management:
- Notes which can act as “To Do” list with appropriate reminder and follow-up
- Capability to add and share documents to the activities
- Capability to configure reminders in desired format and associate them with activities
- Capability to introduce holidays for a resource while you are in the middle of an activity
- Ability to consider and use buffer days for the resources – for example – consideration that resources may take off. Well, for a small and medium size IT company, this becomes tricky. However – if you are working in a highly professional environment – and specially when you are executing project with the help of contractors, it is better to consider all these aspects.
While I have talked about activities, dependencies among these activities and how they become part of the schedule one of the important aspect that I am yet to talk about is estimates. In fact – based on the type of activity and average resource skill we often come up with estimates, which becomes basis for defining task / activity duration.
Walking Tree has customized its EagleRP solution – a generic framework to meet all the ERP, CRM and SCM needs – to build a project management solution. We understand that although project management is a generic concept, in order to make it more effective there is always a need to give it a custom structure and ensure that your business processes are mapped properly. At Walking Tree we will be happy to ensure that you get the project management tool that you will use to enhance your overall organizational efficiency.