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What is a Management Dashboard?

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 08:00:00 +0000

The term Management Dashboard defines a wide range of data reporting and visualization tools or dashboards that allow using various performance & efficiency measures to report on an enterprise’s ability to organize and coordinate its activities in accordance with certain policies and in achievement of pre-determined objectives.

What is a Sustainability Dashboard?

Tue, 05 Jun 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Sustainability Dashboard is an enterprise-wide reporting system that provides an at-a-glance view of key performance measures relevant to a company’s ability to maintain or support an activity or process over a relatively long period. It helps drive profitability, measure performance, and increase shareholder value through measuring and visualizing the progress towards business goals and objectives.

What is a Business Dashboard?

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Business Dashboard is a data reporting system that presents business information in a way which simplifies analysis and decision making. Managers can use the dashboard to understand the effectiveness of their decisions and measure the financial, operational and overall strategic performance of the company.

What is a Printable Dashboard?

Thu, 31 May 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Printable Dashboard is a kind of business dashboard which allows converting on-screen information into printable format. It has advanced print options to setup, preview and print out dashboard reports including graphs, tables, and text. The term can be applied to any business dashboard that features report printing capabilities.

What is an Operational Dashboard?

Wed, 30 May 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Operational Dashboard is a performance monitoring and measurement system that enables management personnel to understand whether their company runs its operations on target. It displays a range of key performance indicators that allow decision makers to see the company’s past and present performance as a way to predict the future, remove inefficiency, and act upon potential problems quickly.

Setting Dependencies between Sub-projects

Thu, 12 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Sub-projects are smaller, interrelated projects that compose larger projects. If sub-projects belong to one and the same project or programme, they are dependent upon each other in some way.

Creating Dependencies between Activities in Task Decomposition

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Dependencies are necessary in any task decomposition design that includes at least two elements. Task dependency allows reaching an understanding of how tasks and sub-tasks are linked to each other and in what sequence they need to be executed.

Managing Dependent Tasks in a Project

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Tasks that belong to one and the same project are usually dependent on each other in some way. They are dependent because they may share common risks, consume the same resource base, or have an impact on each others’ start or finish date.

Establishing Dependencies between Tasks in a Project

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Dependencies between tasks can be set within a project or across multiple projects. Task dependencies are logical relationships that show how tasks are linked to each other and how they relate to their parent projects and sub-projects.

80/20 Estimation Method: Using Baseline Duration

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

80/20 Principle (aka "Pareto Rule") is a popular distribution assessment method that can be used to estimate duration of activities and tasks. The method is applicable to simple and routine tasks that do not require decomposition into smaller pieces.

Risk-based Dependency in Planning Dependent Tasks

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Dependencies between tasks can be set by identifying risks that surround these tasks. Risk-based task dependency means that two or more tasks which are impacted by common risks can be linked to a sequence of dependent activities.

Managing Project Scope Changes through Task Duration Re-estimation

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Once the scope of a project is defined and approved, usually any scope-related changes are not desired because otherwise the project may reach its completion with more time and cost consumed.

Implement Critical Path Method for Defining Task Dependencies

Sat, 07 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Critical Path is a popular method of project planning that lets define and set task dependencies in projects. The method uses time estimation as the basis for developing project schedules.

Tracking Project Progress through Task Burn Charts

Sat, 07 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Gaining insight into project progress is a critical activity that ensures success of project objectives. Through task burn charts it is possible to understand current state of a project, track the work done and the work remaining, and figure out what performance level the project will possibly reach in observable future.

Setting Task Dependency through Design Structure Matrix

Fri, 06 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Design Structure Matrix is an analysis tool to identify and assign task dependency. It is designed in the form of a flat (two-dimensional) table in which tasks appear at rows and columns governed by certain rules of dependency.

Project Scheduling through Task Duration Estimation

Fri, 06 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Task duration estimation serves as a good practice of scheduling project activities in line with project requirements. This practice embraces a range of methods and techniques (e.g. Wideband Delphi, Backward Estimation, Contingency Planning, others) that estimate time limits and durations of project tasks.

How to Plan for Project Resources Using Task Decomposition

Thu, 05 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Through decomposing a given project into tasks and smaller activities it is possible to identify and estimate resources required for this project. Task decomposition allows using a resource analysis of individual tasks and activities to develop a resource management plan for the entire project.

Measuring Project Performance through Task Burn-down Chart

Thu, 05 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Task burn-down chart is a favorite way to gain visibility into a project’s performance and status. Such a chart shows relationships between the work done and the work remaining.

How to Develop a Project Schedule Using Task Decomposition

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Through decomposing project work into simple manageable and measurable activities or tasks it is possible to develop project schedules.

Expert Judgment: Involve Human Experts in Estimating Task Duration

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Expert Judgment is a popular project planning technique that can be used to estimate duration of tasks and simple activities. The technique requires creation of an expert team that comprises people who must provide a duration estimate based upon their understanding of task inputs and outputs (including resources, goals and requirements).

How to Define Critical Path for Tasks in Project Breakdown

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Critical path refer to a set of project activities or tasks organized into the longest sequence which is to be fulfilled on time during the project lifecycle, with no delay and failure.

Contingency Planning: A Parametric Estimation of Task Duration

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Contingency Planning is a general approach to estimating and managing tasks and their durations in an emergency situation. The approach is similar to PERT analysis as it uses certain parameters to make duration estimates.

How to Establish Dependencies between Tasks in Project Breakdown

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Dependencies show specific relationship between two or more tasks which belong to one and the same project. In a project breakdown design task dependencies identify how tasks relate to each other, what common objectives they deal with, and under what constraints they are supposed to be performed.

Reserve Analysis: Use a Reserve Pool of Time to Calculate Task Duration

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Reserve Analysis is a fundamental analytical technique that determines an estimated time reserve for a task and establishes scheduled duration for this task. The technique allows using time reserves to define and protect duration estimates through offsetting unexpected issues that arise.

How to Create and Manage Sub-projects

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Sub-projects are smaller projects subordinated to and aligned with broader projects that belong to the same hierarchy.

Backward Estimation: Calculate Duration through Task End Date

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Backward Estimation is a general estimation method for defining and calculating time length of tasks through a backward analysis. The method is used in cases when end date of a task is set even before the task is defined. For example, such a task can be a component of a larger activity or project that has a definite completion date.

Bottom-Up Analysis: Estimating Task Duration through Decomposition

Sat, 31 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Bottom-up Analysis is a kind of synthetic analysis that aims to improve accuracy of the overall estimation process. This technique uses task decomposition as the basis for making time estimations.

How to Decompose a Project into Tasks

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Successful planning and management of projects can be reached through creating decompositions of tasks and sub-tasks.

Historical Data Analysis: Review Past Task Data to Estimate New Task Duration

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Historical Data Analysis is a popular method that helps forecast task delivery time through investigating and re-appraising durations of past-period tasks and activities. The method involves a portion of comparison analysis to predict future time trends of current tasks.

How to Use Activity Network in Decomposing Project Tasks?

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Activity network can be used in task decomposition to chart the flow of simple activities or sub-tasks between separate tasks within a project. It helps plan project tasks by creating a graphical representation of smaller pieces of work.

Three-Point Technique: Use Assumptions in Appraising Task Time

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Three-Point is an estimation technique that allows considering three groups (optimistic, pessimistic and probable) of scenarios or assumptions in estimating task duration.

Reach Optimized Task Decomposition through Comparative Analysis

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Comparative Analysis can be used as a great method for planning work and decomposing it into smaller items. This kind of analysis offers a comparison-based examination of two or more alternative work plans to understand and review their hierarchies of tasks and sub-tasks.

Wideband Delphi: Gain a Consensus-based Estimate of Task Duration

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Wideband Delphi is an effort estimation method that can be used for calculating and defining task durations. This method assumes that several groups of experts review and analyze tasks to gain consensus on duration estimates for the tasks.

Organize Focus Groups to Plan for Task Decomposition

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

The method of Focus Groups is used to organize tasks into hierarchies of sub-tasks and create task decompositions.

Creating Task Analytics Reports

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Task reporting is the final step in creating task analytics. Reporting means reviewing results of the task monitoring activity to develop a task analytics report that summarizes data on tasks and their performance by certain parameters and for a specific period.

Decomposing Tasks through Historical Data Analysis

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Historical Data Analysis is a popular method of knowledge management that can be successfully used in task decomposition. The method makes it possible to decompose tasks into sub-tasks by following already existing rules that have been successfully used in previous attempts of developing task breakdowns and hierarchies.

Task Monitoring – Track Information on Current Status and Results of Tasks

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Task Monitoring is the second step in creating task analytics. This step aggregates and analyzes gathered data about tasks to create a kind of presentation for decision making.

Delphi Method: Using Expert Knowledge to Decompose Tasks

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Delphi is a great method to decompose tasks and develop task hierarchies. It offers specialized forecasting process that involves interactions between groups of people who are experts on the problem of task decomposition.

Task Data Gathering – Capture and Log Input Data for Task Analytics

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Task Data Gathering is the first step in creating task analytics. It is about collecting, capturing and recording any information that appears to be essential to task analysis.

Time-based Decomposition, or How to Decompose Tasks by Time

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Time-based decomposition is one of the methods for dividing and organizing larger tasks into smaller activities or sub-tasks. The key advantage of this method is to use time periods as the major parameter for identifying sub-tasks and defining their durations or time-frames.

Visualize Task Performance through Charting

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Charting in task analytics helps create a visual representation of task data for performance analysis, monitoring and forecasting. It is an effective task analytics tool that plots various factors on a graph to visualize current task behaviors and provide input data for creating performance forecasts and trends.

Task Decomposition through Brainstorming

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Brainstorming can be used as a method for task decomposition. In the broader sense, it is a process for generating ideas and solutions to a problem through proactive and freewheeling group discussions.

Carry Out an In-depth Analysis of Task Performance through Hierarchies

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

A thorough analysis of task performance can be carried out with use of OLAP cube. The dimensions of such a cube create hierarchies of task attributes, and through summarizing each of the dimensions it is possible to understand what task attributes of what hierarchy cause current failing/winning task performance.

Decompose tasks through effort estimation

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Task decomposition can be reached by estimating effort that is required from people involved to perform their tasks.

Multi-dimensional Analysis of Tasks through OLAP Cube

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Analysis of tasks by multiple indicators and parameters ensures weighted decision making because it allows gaining a better understanding of task state and performance. OLAP cube is an analytical method that makes it possible to use multi-dimensional task analysis.

Use Mind Mapping Technique to Decompose Tasks

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Mind Mapping is a popular information management technique that can be used to reach task decomposition or to divide a broad task into a series of interrelated sub-tasks.

Using To-do Lists for Managing Dependent Tasks in Projects

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Hierarchical to-do lists let decompose projects into smaller interrelated tasks and sub-tasks for further planning and management.

Viewing task data in various ways through Pivot Grid

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

One of the ways to gain task analytics for decision making is to use pivot grid within an OLAP cube model. Pivot grid is a two-dimensional spreadsheet that consists of task attributes used as measures and dimensions for OLAP cube.

What is Task Decomposition?

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Find out how to plan and manage tasks and activities through decomposition techniques. Read this section to learn about best practices of task decomposition that will explore how to divide broader tasks into smaller activities, how to define sub-tasks, and what methods and approaches to use in creating task hierarchies and project breakdowns.

Using PERT chart for managing dependencies between project tasks

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) chart is a project planning tool that helps schedule, organize and coordinate interrelated tasks and activities within a project.

Accomplish Goals with Full Task Analytics

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Successful accomplishment of goals can be reached when all tasks relating to these goals are successfully done. Task-based goal accomplishment is widely used by many organizations to manage business activities and projects.

Use KPIs to Reach Optimization in Task Performance

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

KPIs are special measures in task analytics to evaluate employee performance over a fixed time period. They report on the employee’s ability to reach preset objectives or plans.

Keep Track of Your Activity to Avoid Delays and Overdue Tasks

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Activity tracking allows you to explore and improve your performance. It helps prevent such probable troubles as delays and overdue tasks.

See the Big Picture of Task Performance through Visualizing Workload

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Visualizing workload through charts and diagrams will help you see the big picture of your task performance. Workload is the amount of tasks and jobs that you are assigned to and that you need to complete over a certain period.

Measure Your Productivity with Task Velocity Reports

Thu, 15 Mar 2012 08:00:00 +0000

Measuring productivity is a critical activity that helps you determine how fast you do your tasks and whether you adhere to your schedule. Velocity reports are used in measuring productivity to help you understand schedule efficiency.

Interactive Task Priority Template

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

We all have to cope with dozens of our daily tasks (whether at work or at home), and it is easy to lose effectiveness while approaching all this abundance of commitments. We may do something all day long, but in the evening, when being completely tired, we just realize that we have missed to complete something really important – this happens because we lose control over the priorities.

In business such mismanagement may appear quite “expensive”, that’s why it would be helpful to use database – an instrument to keep accurate control over the workflow priorities and objectives. Good example of task priority organizer for personal use is VIP Organizer that features a template (its interface) for inputting your tasks and operating with priorities. With a help of this tool you can:

  • Enter all essential task information and then record it into your list.
  • Select appropriate priority (with a help of selecting a fine task priority icon).
  • Sort, group or filter your task list by priority to display the most urgent or pressing tasks.
  • Once something is done change its task priority status to exclude it from the list.

VIP Task Manager is business-oriented software with certain project management capabilities, including three possible modes to review tasks – Task Tree, Task List and Calendar.

To manage priorities on the project – do the following:

  • use appropriate mode to set a suitable layout of project task groups (ex: by project stages);
  • prioritize team tasks;
  • add instructions on how to perform them;
  • plan tasks in terms of priorities, costs, target dates, etc;
  • assign tasks to performers and supervise execution in real-time regime

What is Task Breakdown? (Its definition, formats, and purposes)

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project Task Breakdown (also called WBS, or work decomposition) is a practice of creating a hierarchical structure (representation) of interconnected project deliverables or tasks that need to be performed to accomplish a project. It shows the scope of work decomposed from general to specific matters. Correctly composed breakdown gives a clear-cut work scope overlook and better understanding of activities to be done.

There are two formats: Activity-oriented and Deliverable-oriented, where the first one means a work breakdown in terms of verbs (assignable actions or tasks) and the second one is a nouns-based way (products and sub-products of the project). The practice of task breakdown appears vitally important, because the following purposes are covered in projects:

  • WBS assists on developing a rational view of resources and labor required to accomplish the job (the amount, scope and character of work demanded);
  • It helps to understand the skills, qualifications and experience required;
  • It provides a framework for assigning clear-cut work definitions (work packages) to the project participants;
  • It assists on determining the inter-dependencies between project tasks or deliverables;
  • It gives the basis for scheduling the actual project milestones (enables composing a schedule);
  • It locates isolated functional areas for determination and managing connected project risks;

VIP Task Manager is designed to help you in managing projects and tasks within your team. This application can be used to decompose projects into smaller tasks and deliverables.

To breakdown the project into smaller tasks – do the following:

  • start your project planning software;
  • use Task Tree mode to set a suitable layout of project task groups (ex: by project stages);
  • prioritize team tasks and add instructions on how to perform them;
  • plan tasks in terms of priorities, costs, target dates, etc;
  • assign tasks to performers and supervise execution in real-time regime;

What is Task Priority?

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Priority definition: It is one of the key features in task and time management, as it stands for rating your tasks by their values for you in order to build your action plans in regard to urgency and importance of your tasks. Priority management is a practice that every work planner should master and use to avoid wasting valuable resources (time, energy, labor, money, etc) at senseless activities, while the vital or just really important goals stay almost unserved.

In order to prevent situations when some minor tasks (even if they seem to be quite important at the moment) occupy too much attention and resources of their doers, time managers are offered to create and conduct their registers – prioritized to-do lists, organized in a manner when the most important tasks are put at the top of the list to be served in the first place.

There are different prioritization methods, while appropriate tools can be applied to simplify using of these methods in practice. Such a tool is task priority software, like VIP Task Manager that allows you to plan, assign, schedule and prioritize tasks in teams working at projects.

To prioritize tasks on the project – do the following:

  • start your project planning software;
  • set a suitable layout of task groups (Task Tree mode);
  • set target dates of all tasks;
  • assign tasks to performers;
  • plan these tasks in terms of their costs, priorities, objectives, etc;
  • Set Priorities suiting value of the tasks;
  • control project execution in real-time regime;

What is Task Dependency?

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Discover the methods and techniques of creating dependencies between tasks and activities. Visit this section to find out best practices of task dependency and explore how to plan dependent tasks in projects. Understand how to set various kinds of dependencies and what tools to use in managing dependent tasks.

What is Task Estimation?

Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Explore this section to find out how to examine and appraise tasks against the time constraint. Learn to estimate task duration, manage due dates, determine start and finish date, and analyze task performance. Benefit from a number of tips and suggestions about the optimization of task time and duration.

What is Project Test Plan

Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project Test Plan is a document which describes procedures to be used for assessing the project’s results (deliverables and products) in terms of their suitability, usability and quality. This document expounds the entire test process to be carried out along with implementation of the project’s results. As well as any other activity, a testing process needs a good plan to avoid chaos and inefficiency, so a Project Test Plan is composed to guide and direct performers from initial stage of test planning to documentation, up to the final steps of project implementation.

Project Test Plan usually addresses the following matters:

  • Identifies available project results and their components to be tested;
  • Gives requirements for testing;
  • Specifies testing strategy and methods;
  • Lists recommendations and guidelines for test organization;
  • Identifies and specifies required resources (manpower, equipment, etc);
  • Provides a test effort estimate (schedule and budget);
  • Lists documents and other deliverables to be produced during the test;

What is Employee Recognition

Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Recognition is a one-time action or consistent systematic practice (a program) by which an employer appreciates and acknowledges the efforts or achievements of an employee. Employee Recognition is a practice including tangible and intangible rewards, which plays the major role in staff motivation and one of the key roles in HR matters such as:

  • Employee Retention (an employee’s level of loyalty to the company);
  • Employee Satisfaction (how well an employee is pleased with terms of employment, etc);
  • Employee Productivity (an employee’s ability to produce a good level of results);
  • Employee Performance (an employee’s adherence to proficiency and the best standards);

Tangible methods of Employee Recognition include:

  • Regular Wages;
  • Results-related Fees;
  • Bonuses;
  • Valuable Gifts;
  • Souvenirs;
  • Benefits (Social and Corporate);

 Intangible methods of Employee Recognition include:

  • Professional Reputation;
  • Thanks and Praise;
  • Sense of Content;
  • Sense of Achievement;
  • Sense of Advancement;

What is Task Inventory

Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Inventory is a list of tasks involved into the typical performance of a specific job. Such an inventory can be compiled for every job in your organization. It is usually done for the purposes of HR (human resource) management and business process improvement: Task Inventory is a method of job analysis that learns a workplace in terms of practical tasks and typical activities which are to be performed regularly. There are some basic facts about Task Inventory to explain this conception:

  • Task Inventory considers essential tasks forming up the regular duties peculiar to a specific job. These considered tasks are well-defined routine actions taking place recurrently;
  • All the tasks which are performed by a jobholder can be listed in a special table that contains the description of each activity, its current level of performance posted along with a desired level;
  • Information for a task inventory is collected using documented studies, interviews, observation, and questionnaires. The sources of information are employees and managers;
  • Task Inventory is not a job description, it is a way to get a deep overview of the real sense of a job to know what practical activities forms it up;
  • Tasks used in this method are characterized in the following way:
    • Task are actions with identifiable start and end points;
    • Tasks results are measurable accomplishments or products;
    • Tasks utilize Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes (SKA) to be performed;
    • Tasks are observable (obvious) and performed in relatively short periods of time;

Product Development Guide

Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Product Development Definition: a very important process directed at designing new and improving existing business products and services. Every company may have its own system of generating and screening exploitable ideas, as well as their own description of this practice, so their corporate strategy and objectives can seamlessly regulate goals which are mainly focused on the following functions:

  • Keeping the company competitive by offering new high-quality and good-featured products;
  • Designing new innovative solutions and studying ways for implementing better technologies;
  • Approbation, modeling and prototyping new products to ensure their workability;
  • Creating new quality-driven production processes to reduce defects and decrease costs;

Product development: how to organize this process in your company?

As you can see product development helps the whole company to keep up itself afloat. You can use task management software to cope with tasks and ideas, to carry out all related functions and establish proper workflow disciplines across the team. VIP Task Manager is such a product, as it can be used for planning and scheduling tasks in a collaborating team. 

To develop products in business – do the following:

  • start your work planning software;
  • use Task Tree mode to set up a suitable layout of task groups;
  • prioritize team tasks and add instructions on how to perform them;
  • plan tasks in terms of priorities, costs, target dates, etc;
  • assign tasks to performers and supervise execution in real-time regime;

What is Task Duration?

Wed, 17 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Duration definition: it is a task characteristic showing amount of time it takes to complete this job. Determining task durations is one of the key practices in the project management, as it enables calculating the overall project task duration (how much of time the project takes). When a project manager composes a project plan he foresees (estimates) scheduled durations that get mapped out on project’s timeline. Of course, during the actual project performance these durations of tasks may vary (usually within certain allowance interval), as there is a number of risks & factors influencing probability of tasks delaying (as well as early completion).

A project manager may create a schedule including the following types of durations:

  • Effort-driven Task Duration – duration of a task shortens or lengthens as resources (manpower, labor, equipment capacity, etc) are added or removed from a task, while the amount of effort (work) necessary to complete a task remains unchanged;
  • Fixed duration task – as its name states task’s duration remains the same disregarding resources added or removed, but when assigning additional resources the amount of work decreases for each individual;

VIP Task Manager is a product to be used for planning, scheduling and controlling durations of tasks in a collaborating team.

To plan durations of tasks – do the following:

  • start your work planning software;
  • use Task Tree mode to set up a suitable layout of task groups;
  • prioritize team tasks and add instructions on how to perform them;
  • plan tasks in terms of durations (Start and Finish date), priorities, costs, target dates, etc;
  • assign tasks to performers and supervise execution in real-time regime;

What is Schedule Deviation

Tue, 16 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Schedule Deviation means a lack of convergence between the baseline plan of a project and the actual achievements obtained on certain date. It can be derived by comparing the budgeted value of work scheduled in a specified time (its planned value) against the budgeted value of work actually accomplished on that date. Also it can be derived through defining a percentage of work completed (in terms of results and deliverables) on a specific date against the percentage which was expected to be completed on the same date. Schedule Deviations must be accurately and promptly reviewed and investigated to discover a cause.

Schedule Deviation should be analyzed and handled in terms of:

  • Delays: what work exactly has been delayed? The project managers need to discover what areas and tasks have suffered from delays badly (to figure out what has been failed and why);
  • Impacts: how severe the deviation is and how straightly it will grow up into further project delay (impossibility to meet the due date);
  • Productivity problems: why some tasks have been failed, even though a company has invested into planning them? The project managers need to know what weak links they have in the plan, which conditions add to risks, and what project resources appear ineffective and why;
  • Resolution: the project managers need to come up with a solution early as possible to minimize overall impact of delays to the project schedule;

What is Schedule Slack

Tue, 16 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Schedule Slack (or float) is a measure of flexibility in the project schedule: there is total float that means the amount of time which a task can be protracted without delaying the overall project’s completion date, and free float – a period of time that a task can be procrastinated without affecting any other tasks in the project’s schedule. In other words schedule slack is used by project managers to know how many of appropriate time units (days, hours, etc) an activity can be delayed before the project completion date will be delayed as well. Tasks on the project’s schedule, which do not have any slack time are considered as critical ones (cannot be delayed).

To calculate schedule slack you need to:

  • Calculate the earliest start (ES), the earliest finish (EF), the latest finish (LF) and the latest start (LS) for every activity;
  • Slack time is the amount of time between its earliest and latest start time (ES-LS), or between its earliest and latest finish time (EF-LF). Slack time is the time that an activity can be delayed past its earliest start (ES) or earliest finish (EF) without making the whole project late;

What is Employee Tardiness

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Tardiness is an employee misconduct meaning that a person sticks to a wrong behavior that makes him or her repeatedly late for work. It makes sense to speak about employee tardiness when an employee is late to his or her workplace for 5-15 minutes (or even more) daily, or when the number of late arrivals prevails over the number of on-time arrivals. An employee who is habitually late can cause a demoralizing effect on other employees who arrive for work on time.

Many of HR researchers and professionals insist on the fact that Employee Tardiness is not a sign of employee irresponsibility, as far as a big number of workers suffering from the tardiness are characterized by their managers as hardworking, competent and effective professionals (except for their tardiness habit). The way to beat this misconduct includes:

  • Having a discussion with the employee to know his or her explanation of the tardiness;
  • Considering possible ways for the employee to arrive for work on time;
  • Stating the manager’s firm expectations to see the employee arriving to workplace on-time;
  • Giving a trial period (for example a month) to the employee to enable him or her trying different ways to arrive for work on-time systematically;

What is Process Element

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Process Elements comprise all the items and matters which it somehow makes sense to depict at a business process diagram (that is a visually descriptive roadmap of a process). Reasoning from this definition the Process Elements are the following:

  • Plan that directs the whole structure of how things are built up on the process;
  • Tasks (operations, activities, steps) which are to be effectuated on the process flow;
  • Transitions between tasks to identify where we should transit to after each step;
  • Ramifications on transitions to support different scenarios for the process;
  • Conditions (inputs) on every process step and following transitions reasoned by these inputs;
  • Results (outputs) to be produced on every step to keep up progressing with the process;
  • Variability of inputs an outputs to support different process ramifications and scenarios;
  • Process participants: workers (employees who effectuate the process tasks) and suppliers (those who input anything necessary for the process, such as material, information, etc);
  • Resources (equipment, tools and utilities consumed on every process step);
  • External and internal agents affecting the process (risks, decisions, suppliers, etc);

What is Process Report

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Process Report is a common name for a series of documents which are utilized by organizational management for controlling corporate business processes in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, risks, design gaps and needs for improvement. Process Reports can be composed on-demand or regularly, as it is required by a specific company’s strategy on process management. There are different kinds of process reports, for example:

  • Business process summary report: it includes the process diagram, process specification, and the specifications of each element involved into the process. This report is used by management to grasp a high-level picture of the process and revise its elements or design as appropriate.
  • Business process performance report: it is used to represent values of quantitative indicators by all parameters included into the process, such as timing on its steps, costs, level of service, etc. This report can be created after every turn of process performance (each time a process works).
  • Business process statistics report: this report is used to display how strong the fluctuations on the performance parameters are during the reviewed period of time, so management can make a conclusion if the process is effective enough or it needs a revision. It is based upon the process performance reports collected during certain period of time.
  • Business process analytics report: it is composed after a process is subjected to an audit. In this report the analysts suggest their vision of process problems, gaps and required improvements.

What is Schedule Slippage

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Schedule slippage means a delay in project performance which leads to non-meeting of the initially estimated due date of the project completion. If the schedule slippage is detected then it means that a project begins floating towards its upper limit of the schedule (the last time limit; deadline which bounds the area of the project’s profitability). To mitigate a schedule slippage it is recommended to accomplish the following:

  • Identify rout causes of the schedule slippage: it could happen because of poor or ambitious time estimation done on the planning phase, ambiguous project requirements, interpersonal conflicts in the team, and many other factors.
  • Forecast a likely delivery date: for example by utilizing CPM (Critical Path Method) that will help you in identifying slack (possible leeway) of the tasks.
  • Address the identified causes and rectify these problems effectively.
  • Identify some methods to neutralize/mitigate the schedule slippage: for example by adding more resources to make some critical tasks completed faster, or by making some trade-offs;
  • Negotiation with the project customers to communicate and discuss the current situation;  

What is Project RBS

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project RBS is abbreviation that can be deciphered in two different ways:

  • Risk Breakdown Structure;
  • Resource Breakdown Structure;

These two structures are highly important for the project management in two different respects:

  • Risk Breakdown Structure: this one is a map of project areas decomposed into smaller elements to identify risks associated with each of these areas. This document works as an important input for the Project Risks Assessment Team to guide them through addressing each of the risks listed on the project’s RBS in terms of its probability and impact. This type of RBS greatly helps the project managers to foresee concentrations of risks, their root causes and impact areas.
  • Resource Breakdown Structure: it is a hierarchical list of the resources engaged into the work at a project: mainly they include manpower, materials and equipment. RBS is a tool for organizing and structuring the resources required to accomplish the project deliverables and to reach the project objectives: by resource categories, functions (departments), and other sub-levels. This kind of RBS is widely used for directing and supporting procurement and HR management strategies of organizations.

What is Project Tendering Process

Mon, 15 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project Tendering Process (also known as Inviation to Tender process) is established to enable an organization to find out the preferred suppliers: it is aimed to assist a company on selecting the right supplier (the most suiting one among competitors) at the right time. Tender is a public release of an organization’s demand and requirements for supplies and services for their project(s). The sense of this process is to regulate procedures of requesting, receiving, analyzing, evaluating and prioritizing (screening out the less competitive) of the suppliers’ proposals.

Project Tendering Process is a formal way for an organization to reach representatives of the external market with their demands for supply and services required by their project(s). During the tendering process there are several major documents to be composed:

  • Statement of Work (defines the work or service you request from an external supplier);
  • Request for Information (defines the information that suppliers should provide to you);
  • Rrequest for Proposal (verifies that you have all the information to support you in making your preferred supplier decision and specifies the key terms you are going to include into a supplier agreement);

What is Process Reuse

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Process Reuse is a driving principle for designing business processes to be unitary for a number of related purposes. It is aimed to adapt more as possible components to be reused for different goals within one business function, so it will help companies to economize on planning, documenting and controlling business processes as the differences between them will be just minimal as necessary. In other words Process Reuse stands for minimizing number of independent, but still related, processes by merging them with each other to be held as a smaller number of unitary processes sharing the common schemas, controls, measures and documents.

Process Reuse example can be given with a Sales Process: the ways to sell to private customers and to corporate clients can be very different in their details. Each way has its own essential traits, but on the general level they are the same Sales Process with the same major steps, hence there is no sense to treat them as two different processes, but it really makes sense to merge these two ways into a sole process which supports a variability of actions and tools, while major common elements can be seamlessly shared and utilized as organic parts of the unitary body of the Sales Process being driven by a single set of controls, measures and regulations.

What is Employee Talent

Sat, 13 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Talent is a concept which is usually considered in two dimensions: it could be perceived as an employee’s outstanding quality or a set of qualities making him or her uniquely valuable to a company, while another approach tells about identifying and developing talents of employees in a manner suiting a company’s interests (making investments into talents). A lot of companies employ special policies which are together called Employee Talent Management. This function is aimed to promote attractiveness of a company for highly skilled workers, along with supporting retention of current qualified workers, and developing talents of newly employed or available workers.

The Employee Talents are important to business because:

  • They are employee’s personal or professional traits which help him or her to be successful in his or her major or marginal job functions, surpassing the average level of success;
  • They are signs of employee’s promotional potential which can be developed and utilized both for a talented employee’s own welfare and for success of a company employing him or her;
  • They are elements of a company’s competitiveness – the more talented people a company has in the staff, the better advantages it owns on the market;

What is Employee Roster

Fri, 12 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Roster is a tabular document (a printed or electronic one) where employers can allocate their staff members to associate them with different shifts, roles and statuses. The purpose of the employee rosters is to provide the reader with the information on the following (optional):

  • The staff members available in the company, in its particular departments, affiliates, etc;
  • Their working shifts, or time they are available for business (when they are on duty);
  • Their roles, positions and competencies (professional degree, skills, etc);

Employee rosters (which can be also called rotas) can be composed using different patterns suiting needs of a company: patterns might be very different in their general design, layout and number of columns. Columns used in employee rosters need to represent different pieces of information which make sense or value for the reader. They can include:

  • Names and surnames of employees;
  • Their roles and positions;
  • Working hours daily or within certain timeframe;
  • Their competencies and experience;
  • Their photos and business details (phones, emails, etc);

What is Task Partitioning

Thu, 11 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Partitioning usually refers to the process of division of one task into sequential actions which are to be assigned to particular individuals or units. This conception means that one task can be sub-divided, allotted among multiple performers or groups, and coordinated within a single workflow. With a help of task partitioning people can accomplish more within less amount of time and energy. Working units can process their portions one after another or in parallel – it is defined by character and requirements of each specific task being partitioned. The essential requirements along with the best manner to partition a task are derived with a help of task analysis practice.

Task Partitioning is a process of translating a task’s workflow into terms of division of labour – the ancient mechanism that has been developing over centuries and underlies the modern civilization of mankind. The phenomenon of task partitioning is also known as a part of animate nature – social insects (such as bees, wasps or ants) employ this practice for their survival, including collection of resources (food, water, building material) and construction of their nests. 

What is Task Rotation

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Rotation is a method used to create work schedules which are friendly to health of employees and efficient in terms of production yet. This method is particularly suitable for environments with manual production. The root principle of Task Rotation states that for a better and faster recovery (hence a higher productivity level) the employees need to be involved into certain combinations of different tasks which are to be executed by turns, so employees avoid long periods of occupancy by some monotonous work and following exhaustion. The major principles of the Task Rotation are:

  • Every task has specific time limits for its safe performance, as over the working time, employee tiredness and tension increases, while attentiveness and concentration decreases. When these safe limits are violated, the productivity and effectiveness start reducing, while the risks of some errors, spoilage or injury begin to grow;
  • Overfatigue and other problems can be prevented if an employee will combine different kinds of tasks and will do them by turns (to stay at each task only within its safe limits), so his or her physical and mental workload over jobs can be equally divided and balanced. Rotating tasks is a way to rest from one task (for example which stresses your attention), while doing another task (which do not need so much of attention and accuracy);
  • It is necessary to analyze the tasks which are to be done by the employees: to define balance between the mental and manual components of each job and to classify them, so the optimal combinations of tasks can be determined for each position; 

What is Employee Equity

Tue, 09 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Equity is a state policy which protects the employment and labour rights of people who often face discrimination, in the most common sense they are: women, people with disabilities and minorities (for example, in Canada the employee equity law requires from employers the proactive employment of the representatives of Aboriginal peoples). The conception of Employee Equity laws means more than treating all employees in the same way, but rather recognition and respect of their diversity.

The features of Employee Equity regulations enacted in the most of developed countries include: 

  • The laws restrict creating special barriers for candidates who would like to get a job: nobody can be neglected because of gender, nationality, religion, physical disabilities that are not concerned with the job, etc;
  • Employees cannot be offered different terms of employment because of their gender, nationality, religion, etc. – everyone who works has the right for adequate, fair and transparent compensation for his or her labour;
  • Employer is restricted to create some situations or support some practices which can make some people in the staff feel uncomfortable: for example the business meetings cannot be held in strip clubs, etc;
  • Employers have to organize and maintain the building, premises and individual workplaces to be comfortable for people with certain disabilities, for example a building needs to be convenient for people using wheelchairs;

What is Employee Effort

Mon, 08 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Effort is an earnest, diligent and strenuous working attempt: a workplace episode when some results are achieved by an employee through exertion or hard work. Assessment of employee effort is a result of observations and subjective judgment made by his or her supervisors. It is commonly believed that a good level of employee effort is an indicator of valuable employee traits, such as assiduity, enthusiasm, ambition, professionalism, discipline. These traits may identify that an individual is not only one who possesses certain potential, but one who has capabilities to realize and develop it at a full scale.

When a person applies poor efforts to complete a job, he or she may reach just mediocre results, even though his or her perfect knowledge and skills. That’s why big numbers of employees are dismissed from their positions because of their unwillingness to apply sufficient level of efforts, but not because of their lack of ability. A strategic objective of any serious employer is to encourage, recognize and appreciate employee efforts with a help of verbal or written praise, thanks and some adequate tangible rewards such as promotions, bonuses and valuable souvenirs. 

Project Management Training Guide

Mon, 08 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project management training is a course of exercises which are called to develop special skills of Project Managers. People who are appointed to manage projects must possess a number of essential skills making them highly effective. If a project manager wants to be called a real professional, he or she needs to approve this valuable status by passing examinations and getting appropriate PM certificate. The knowledge to be trained includes: Creating Project Plans; Estimating Time and Budget; Composing Project Schedules; Assembling Project Teams; Negotiation with customers and communications with the team; Resources scheduling and allocation; Training goals are not bounded only by getting this certification, but they stand for continuous professional development of project managers, because even if they have their qualifications approved, they still have a plenty of skills to be raised. Training benefits are the following: Project managers get more confidence and respect from customers and project management community as persons committed to their profession; Project managers stay on the top of recent situation and trends in the industry; Project managers have more chances to be employed by large corporations; VIP Task Manager is designed to help professionals in managing projects and tasks within their teams. This application can be used by trained project managers for work planning and controlling.To work at your project – do the following: start your project planning software; use Task Tree mode to set a suitable layout of project task groups (ex: by project stages); prioritize team tasks and add instructions on how to perform them; plan tasks in terms of priorities, costs, target dates, etc; assign tasks to performers and supervise execution in real-time regime; [...]

What is Project Termination?

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project Termination (aka "project close-out" and "project finalization") is a situation when a given project is supposed to be closed or finalized because there’s no more need or sense for further continuation. Project termination is managed under a respective procedure that requires the management team to examine current state of the project work, review progress of goals and objectives, evaluate the project against success criteria, and check status of deliverables. The procedure of terminating a project is usually carried out in 8 steps, including: Close outstanding agreements with suppliers Transfer any responsibilities (if necessary) Dismiss or re-assign the team Release all remaining resources Close the project book (resolve all accounting and finance issues) Document lessons learned Accept (reject) the product Install and use the product. Failure and Success are two basic reasons for terminating projects. In order to determine which of the reason is relevant to a project, first the team needs to understand criteria for success and failure and then evaluate the project against those criteria. Here’re some tips on this point: Success: a project reaches success when its goals and objectives are accomplished on time and under budget, deliverables are produced as expected by stakeholders, and the final product is accepted by and handed over to the customer (end-user). Failure: a project is regarded as failed when its requirements are not met; the customer refuses accepting the product; there’re some technical issues that can’t be resolved by using existing tools and technologies; there’s an unanticipated loss or lack of human, funding and other valuable resources; the project effort becomes counter-productive because initial goals and objectives are unmet. [...]

What is Employee Time Sheet?

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Time Sheet is a formal document designed in the form of a spreadsheet that indicates an amount of working hours an employee has spent on doing designated tasks and jobs, generally separated by days of the workweek. The spreadsheet is used by HR or accounting department of an organization to calculate pay-checks and develop the payroll.

A typical employee time sheet highlights the following key data:

  • Tasks and jobs completed each workweek
  • Date and time consumed for completing the tasks
  • Number of working hours spent each workweek
  • Names of workers assigned to the tasks

Employee time sheets are helpful for recording and monitoring the total amount of time employees have consumed to do their tasks during a certain period of time (workweek is the most frequently used period). Employers use the document for calculating salaries and imposing penalties for various forbidden or unauthorized actions (e.g. delay, procrastination, absence without leave, etc.). Besides, employee time sheets are used to:

  • Record all activities performed by workers
  • Request approval for time spent
  • Make employee re-assignments and delegate tasks
  • Detect and resolve any time management issues
  • Determine whether a worker is currently on track.

What is Process Transparency?

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Process Transparency means a process’s capability of being monitored, controlled and managed by decision makers (those who control and manage the process) in the way that ensures higher process performance and increases the likelihood of successful completion. When the process is transparent, stakeholders (those who are impacted by or have an interest in the process) are better explained about the process functioning.

Transparency of a process entails more than just simplicity in monitoring, controlling and managing the process. It allows decision makers to address three important issues, such as:

  • Factual Issues
  • Normative Issues.
  • Stakeholders’ Concern.

When a process is transparent, decision makers are enabled to compare actual (factual) process performance against expected (normative) performance to determine any discrepancies and then develop a corrective action plan. Meanwhile, process requirements and expectations of stakeholders will be the primary condition for such a plan. It means in case of any performance gap detected, decision makers need to create a solution that meets stakeholders’ requirements. Such a solution should also ensure that current level of process transparency remains the same.

What is Employee Utilization?

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Utilization is a method of utilizing available workforce of a company for the purpose of maximizing the employee efficiency. It is the company’s vision regarding the best possible use of available human resources for accomplishing strategic goals and addressing tactical decisions.

The idea behind employee utilization is to prevent wasteful and inappropriate use of available HR through reaching optimization in the working environment. Successful realization of this idea entails a continuous increase in a company’s revenues in the long run. 

Employee utilization is an attempt to make current use of workforce more efficient through the following activities:

  • Training and education (improving skills and knowledge of workers)
  • Time management (better planning and allocation of time among employee tasks)
  • Delegation (more optimized assignment of tasks)
  • Increased pay rates (workers earn more for the same period of time)
  • Recognition and rewarding (employees recognize their importance to the company and are rewarded for work success)
  • Motivation and leadership (employees are well motivated and led).

What is Process Tolerance?

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Process Tolerance is a blueprint specification of a process to describe an unwanted but acceptable deviation from a given dimension of the process. It determines maximum and minimum average magnitudes of possible deviations as well as a maximum standard deviation. The term "process tolerance" is often used in manufacturing when there’s some process or a set of interrelated procedures designated for producing large quantities of products or product components.

The measure of tolerance indicates a process’s capability to be stable and controllable. It’s supposed that when a process is tolerant, there is a higher probability that this process is performed as desired, within acceptable deviations.

 There are two common approaches for estimating process tolerance. They’re briefly described below:

  • Statistical tolerance. This approach assumes that there’s a scenario for a process to specify requirements for variations while supposing that there’s some centered process serving as the baseline for measuring tolerance of the first process.
  • Worst-case tolerance. This approach entails using minimum and maximum average values of variations for a process to determine the worst-case scenario and define the tolerance measure. It actually means that such a scenario brings zero standard deviations, allowing the process to be performed at the extreme level.

What is Task Presentation?

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Presentation is an instructional event intended to communicate some information about planned tasks and to summarize the amount of work to be done. It is also a process of engaging the audience in understanding goals and objectives of the tasks. The purpose of a typical presentation of tasks is to present a challenging problem and provide listeners with a clear and proper understanding of the problem, so that the listeners get involved in the problem solving process.

Just like any other type of presentation, task presentation uses physical messages (posture, eye contact), story messages (words, sentences) and visual massages (pictures, slides) as ways to communicate necessary information to the audience. The speaker (a person leading the presentation) needs to use all possible ways of communication to deliver a better understanding of the challenging problem to the audience. Here’re the key points the speaker should focus on during task presentation:

  • Tasks to be accomplished
  • Goals of the tasks
  • Resources (incl. people and funds) involved
  • How the team is supposed to accomplish the tasks
  • Supervisory mechanisms to be used to manage the team.

What is Schedule-Driven Project?

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Schedule-Driven Project is a project that is performed and managed under the overriding constraint of time. The management process of such a project is mainly based on the final delivery date. It actually means that time becomes the key condition for making project management decisions. Time scheduling will be the prioritized activity among other activities (such as staffing, budgeting, quality control etc.) of the project management process.

A project becomes schedule-driven when either the sponsor (a person/organization investing funds in the project) or the customer (a person/organization supposed to use/consume the project’s product) determines time as the core constraint of the implementation process. The team is allowed to use as many resources as possible to implement the project and create the product within the desired delivery date.

Schedule-driven projects differ from resource-driver projects. A resource-driver project tends to consume resources in optimal way because availability, quality and quantity of project resources (personnel, funds, technology etc.) are regarded as the overriding constraint. Therefore, the time duration of such a project can be expanded as much as needed until the project remains within the dominant constraint of resources.

What is Schedule Sharing?

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Schedule Sharing is a procedure of making the whole schedule or certain portion(s) available for accessing and viewing by employees assigned to and supervising the schedule. It means employees are supposed to use the schedule jointly with each other for the purpose of monitoring personal and group assignments and contributing to the overall schedule implementation.

Sharing a schedule means distributing the schedule content among assigned employees and supervisors in order to apply collaborative efforts to schedule implementation. There are several reasons for scheduling schedules. These reasons are:

  • An individual schedule can’t be done by the assigned worker. It means there’s a lack of time, skills, knowledge or other resources required for the worker to do the schedule. Hence, the schedule is shared in order to allocate more human and time resources.
  • A schedule is supposed to be done by a group of workers. For example, a project schedule involves the team in performing scheduled events and activities in a collaborative manner.
  • There’s a need to supervise a schedule. It means senior management wants to monitor and control performance of the schedule. Then the sharing procedure serves as a way to let supervisors access and view the schedule content.
  • Lessons learned. When some schedule is successfully completed, it can be distributed among employees to show them how it is supposed to do other schedules.

Project Management Difficulties

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 00:00:00 +0000

There are a plenty of possible difficulties, obstacles and challenges that may rise against the project management. The major objective for project management, when facing any significant troubles, is to secure the main project’s constraints – approved schedule, quality requirements and budget. Let’s consider some possible hardships that a project management may suffer from: Difficult People – usually some difficult personalities may appear in the staff. They may oppose commonly accepted discipline, practices, and decision-making, they may try to contest competence of the project’s stakeholders, and create interpersonal problems. It is necessary to organize proper staff selection to screen out problematic candidates (who do not pass certain success criteria) at the entry. Difficult Situations – the project management needs to maneuver in a case of any unforeseen conditions to save the project mission and its resources, avoid project scope creep, budget or schedule overruns. To get ready against such problems, it is helpful to handle a good risks assessment practice that will give you proper backgrounds to prepare some reserves (pre-schedule time lags, assign reserve funds, etc). Difficult Customers – sometimes project management suffers from “difficult customers” – project owners who mismanage their part of work – they provide faulty, loose or obscure inputs (requirements, vision, information, etc), or tend to changing them while project is on the run. This may result into hard disputes about project’s outcomes and customer satisfaction. To protect yourself against[...]

What is Project Rationale?

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Project Rationale is a detailed description of fundamental reasons or principles behind the need for starting a project. It explicitly explains why launch the project, what prerequisites for the project are, and what outcome is supposed to be obtained when the project reaches successful completion. Often project rationally is regarded as a formal document describing major incentives, causes and motives for project initiation.

As a document, project rationale has a certain structure that determines how the document content will be designed and organized. Here’re key elements of a typical project rationale document:

  • Background. The first element of the document content briefly explores existing challenges to be handled by the future project.
  • Purpose. The second element makes a description of why there’s a need to address those challenges and what core objectives are needed for completion.
  • Focus. The third element clarifies key actions the project will focus on to accomplish the purpose and objectives.
  • Expectations. The final, forth element explains what results are rationally expected to be produced through focusing on taking the actions and leading the project to success.

What is Employee Turnover?

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Turnover (aka "staff turnover", "personnel turnover", "labor turnover") is a ratio comparison between the number of workers an organization must replace in a certain period of time and the average number of total workers available on the last day of the previous reporting period. Employee turnover occurs when workers decide on leaving their places of employment voluntarily. Such workers should be replaced; otherwise, the organization gets lack of workforce. Note that employee turnover does not reflect any redundancies; only natural turnover (such as termination, resignations, retirement etc.) is included. There can be some essential reasons for a worker to decide on job leaving. These reasons are: The worker has no required skills and knowledge to adequately do the job Insufficient salary rate Inappropriate organizational/corporate culture Workload or hard working conditions causing employee burnout Personality and relationships with colleagues and senior management If one or several of the reasons occurs, there’s a high probability that the worker will decide on leaving current job place and start looking for the environment that will satisfy the worker’s needs. All the reasons for employee turnover are explained by Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy reflects the structure of human needs. In case at least one of the needs is not fulfilled, an employee is likely to search for a better place of employment.[...]

What is Task Uncertainty

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task Uncertainty is what we face when dealing with some new kind of work never done before, or when we have to cope with some task that has a plenty of X-factors in its structure. A case of Task Uncertainty occurs when we cannot determine all aspects of the work lying ahead due to objective deficit of exact information. A concept of Task Uncertainty is used to define a challenging state of work that people face in some extreme conditions (example: medical or military personnel) where: We cannot get all necessary information, but we still need to act shortly; We need to make immediate decisions without having proper grounds; We cannot be fully sure about consequences of our actions; We need to get maximum of use from a limited amount of information we have; In business terms, Task Uncertainty is used to characterize some portion of guesswork embedded in a project, some blank spots in its plan, something kept for later elaboration, or something based not upon determination and calculations, but rather on someone’s expertise, opinion, vision, informal assurance, etc. Making decisions in conditions of Task Uncertainty is usually based upon proficiency and expertise of those who are involved into such a task, but people who usually stand against situations of uncertain conditions can be supported with instructions and guideline which will help them to find a right way out, or at least not to make some false decisions.[...]

What is Employee Expenses

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee Expenses are necessary to maintain the employment of a worker: supporting his or her social welfare, development, related taxes, etc. It is stated in constitutions and laws of many modern countries that a laboring person deserves adequate compensation for his/her efforts from a company or other person employing this worker. People are the most important business resource, as all other resources cannot work efficiently without appropriate input from the employees; therefore people are the primal object for investments of a company which wishes to survive and prosper in a long-term prospect.

The Employee Expenses are a complex matter and may incur the following items:

  • Selection and recruitment (employing the right person to the right position);
  • Training and development (improving skills and knowledge of employees);
  • Paying regular compensations (salaries, bonuses and pension plan payments);
  • Social package (insurance, healthcare compensations, lodging, etc);
  • Workplace expenses (maintaining on-the-job tools, uniform, equipment, software, etc);
  • Social taxes (different kinds of employment taxes collected by government);
  • Transportation (company vehicles, fuel for personal cars, etc);

What is Employee Role?

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Employee role is a prescribed or expected behavior of a worker who performs certain functions associated with a particular position or status within a group or organization. A role of an employee means a set of duties and responsibilities the employee is expected to carry out in a particular operation, process or workflow. Generally speaking, employee roles define a variety of assignments and objectives to be accomplished by workforce. When an employee is assigned to a certain role within a team or organization, this person takes responsibility to do some job while focusing on solving current problems and communicating with colleagues and senior management. If the employee cannot perform the role there’s some portion of risk that the rest jobs associated with the role will be failed. That’s why, proper selection and assignment of employee roles is of high significance to success. There are two possible types of employee roles, including: Technical role. The first type requires a worker to be is accountable for doing assigned tasks and duties as prescribed. It actually means this worker needs to be appropriately skilled, have necessary knowledge, and be responsible for work results. Social role. The second type refers to the necessity of an employee to socialize with colleagues and supervisors when doing assigned duties and responsibilities. It requires using communication as an effective mechanism to exchange information and share knowled[...]

What is Task Revision?

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task revision refers to a consistent process of revising or correcting a defective task-based activity or procedure that has a negative effect to the overall working environment or its separate parts within an organization. It is a way of re-thinking and re-examining the working environment to determine dysfunctional or faulty activities and then develop a corrective plan for revising.

Task revision is a great mechanism to handle work performance. When a manager successfully revises task-based activities and removes faulty procedures, he/she improves individual performance of employees and reduces the probability of occurring activity dysfunction.

The process of revising tasks or task-based activities can be carried out in three main steps, such as:

  • Examine. A thorough analysis of activities is conducted to determine dysfunctional or defective activities.
  • Isolate. The defective activities are isolated from the rest activities of the working environment in order to ensure continuity of the working procedure.
  • Revise. A corrective plan of actions is designed and used to revise the faulty activities and remove dysfunctions.

What is Schedule Plan?

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Schedule Plan is a detailed description of how some scheduled activities are supposed to be carried out and what duties and responsibilities are assigned to employees for performing the activities. It serves as documented guidelines for employees to learn what’s expected of them to carry out the activities on schedule.

Schedule plans are used in various fields to determine key actions for human resources to produce an expected outcome within a scheduled period of time. For example, in finance and accounting schedule plans are used to describe how an accountant can act to reconcile expenses in line with a preset schedule of allowances. In project management schedule plans serve as a standardized document to reflect tasks to be done by assigned team participants as well time requirements the team is supposed to meet when doing the tasks.

A typical schedule plan includes the following key components:

  • A list of tasks and activities to be done
  • Any dependencies and relationships between the tasks and activities
  • Time limits and requirements
  • A list of assigned human resources
  • A list of milestones or scheduled checkpoints to monitor the schedule plan.

What is Process Effectiveness?

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Process effectiveness is a measure of a process’s ability to produce desired results or effect that can be qualitatively evaluated. It refers to a qualitative output of some process to measure the degree of achievement of goals or requirements associated with the given process.

Process effectiveness serves as one of the main sources of information for making well-founded decisions on better process management. In particular, it allows decision makers to:

  • Measure process performance
  • Develop better management strategies and tactics.
  • Plan for improvements.
  • Conduct further process evaluations.

As a basic qualitative characteristic, process effectiveness allows auditing for the ability to achieve desired goals and objectives. It is used in various fields of management to determine if some process is performed as it’s planned to be.

For instance, in business management it can be used to evaluate effectiveness of the selling process and find out if this process produces a desired effect, so that prospective and current buyers wish to purchase products and services being offered.

What is Task Element?

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 00:00:00 +0000

Task element is a component or constituent of a task to describe a certain part or the entire entity of the task and to explain what assumptions and principles are established for managing the task. It is the basis for creating tasks. Task elements compose the elemental structure of a task and determine input data for the task.

There are various elements of tasks. A number and type of elements for a certain task depends in the task’s size, type and nature. However, for any kind of task there are three typical elements, including:

  • Title. This element determines name and heading of a task.
  • Description. It specifies additional information about a task.
  • Body. The element describes steps, methods, approaches and techniques to be used for implementing a task.

Task elements serve as building blocks to define a task. In contrast to task attributes, elements determine the highest-level components of a task while attributes focus on specifying separate task parameters. Actually attributes are components of elements. For example, Description is a task element that consists of such attributes as Notes, Priority, Comments, Dependency, Associated Files, others.