Tag Archives: Scheduling

Featured Speaker at the upcoming Northeast Florida PMI Conference!

Most of you know I’m a road warrior, with constant travel a part of my normal day-to-day as I’m heading to and from clients and conferences around the country. As I often do, I’ll be presenting at a local chapter of the Project Management Institute on April 7 – 8, and I’m really looking forward to this one!

The Northeast Florida chapter in Jacksonville has invited me to present a couple of very timely topics to their Expand Your Horizons conference attendees, held at the beautiful Jacksonville Public Library event facility.

The event seeks to enhance leadership and management skills and offer solutions to keeping up with business trends essential for all professionals, for those new to the profession and those with many years of experience. Attendees will earn 14 PDU’s and you can register up to the start of the conference.

I’m looking forward to leading two sessions at the conference. The first is “Agile in Action.” Agile is one of those methodologies that seems to make sense on the surface but does not always translate easily into real-life situations. In this session, you will participate in hands-on exercises to learn agile techniques and how to make them work for you and your organization. Attendees will learn general agile techniques and gather takeaways that may be applied to a wide variety of agile methodologies implemented by organizations.

And second, I’ll present “Best Practices in Schedule Development.” Attendees will have the opportunity to learn best practices from someone who has made scheduling a career and has worked with thousands of companies. I’ll describe how often the issue with the schedule is not your ability to provide a logical plan but your approach to the schedule. This session will answer the questions on how to know if your schedule has the right level of detail, if your task estimates are uniform, if your schedule makes sense, if you are managing resource expectations, and if you are setting up your schedule for success.

There are several other valuable sessions available led by 11 other presenters on such topics as Leadership, SharePoint, Communication, Strategy and Project Online.

Will you be at the NEFL PMI conference? I’d love to hear from you on what you most desire out of the conference. Are you curious about my sessions and want to hear more about my experience and capabilities? Contact me today to start the conversation!

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Postponing a Microsoft Project Schedule – 2 Techniques

When I observe individuals using Microsoft Project, I sometimes see them using techniques that do not optimize the features available. An example of such a technique is when someone changes the start date of the first task when they really wanted to move the entire project. This typically leads to adding a task constraint and locking in a date instead of letting the software calculate the date. As many of you know, locking in a task limits the ability of flexible adjustments later on in the software.

What I recommend instead is choosing between one of the two built-in options to postpone a project. Before I explain these options, let’s explore a few reasons why you might postpone a project.

Funding delay – If an internal approval is delayed or if a business has not raised enough funds to start the project, a delay may be needed.

Decision delay – If a key sponsor or stakeholder on the project has not made a decision that is critical to the project following a specific path, this may delay the project.

Agency delay – If an organization is involved in any industry with regulation including construction, health care, finance, and film, there are often certifications that must be obtained to authorize work. If the individuals, businesses, equipment or facilities are not able to obtain these certifications, this may delay the project.

Available in the last few versions of Microsoft Project, you have two ways to postpone a schedule. Both of these options are available on the Project tab of the Ribbon.

You may choose to:

  1. Move scheduled start date only
  2. Move scheduled start date and incrementally move deadlines and constraints

Move Scheduled Start Date Only

Project Information button

Project Information Dialog Box

This option shifts the start date of all tasks scheduled to begin the day the project starts. It also dynamically shifts any tasks that are linked together. Deadlines and locked in constraints on the schedule do not adjust.

Move Scheduled Start Date and Incrementally Move Deadlines and Constraints

Move Project button

Move Project Dialog Box

This option shifts the start date of all tasks scheduled to begin the day the project starts. Deadlines and locked in constraints on the schedule move the same distance. If the project start date moves 30 days, all deadlines and constraints on the project also move 30 days.

Tip – The dialog box does not specify constraints are moving, but they definitely do. You may want to test this yourself.

While many of us hope our projects start on time, it is good to know that we have options available if they don’t.

Many of you probably have specific business reasons for choosing one of these options. Please feel free to share those in the comments section.

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Should You Strive To Be An Expert In Everything In Your Field?

This post was adapted from a previous submission to a BeMo newsletter.

“Should you strive to be an expert in everything in your field?” This is a question that took me years to answer for myself and ironically the answer came to light through a personal experience.

Doctor with Stethoscope
Doctor

Years ago my ear, nose, and throat doctor was evaluating me for a second surgery to correct a new breathing problem I was having. After having such great success with my last surgery, I put all of my faith in him to perform my next operation. What happened after I left the office was something I was not expecting. After some time had passed, my doctor called me personally to tell me that he felt my current issue with my nose is something that he can do; however, he really felt I needed an expert who specialized in external facial surgery to correct my current problem. His expertise was more internal.

I have extreme respect for my doctor who knew where his expertise was and was not. He even recommended a surgeon who he already personally evaluated based on the work done on his own son after a dog bite to the face. My doctor did not just send me off on my own, he personally explained the situation to my new doctor and even wrote a letter on my behalf to my insurance company to negotiate for reimbursement. I felt like I was working with a team, not just one person to achieve the best results I could get.

Over the years, I have personally applied this approach to what I do with customers. I will let them know where I am an expert at and where I am not. While it might seem like everyone can be an expert at everything within their field, that just isn’t practical. What worked for me instead was to decide what my specialty is and partner with someone else who has a complementary specialty. I find that this approach works well for several reasons:

  1. Customers appreciate my honesty
  2. I can recommend the best comprehensive solution
  3. I can eliminate things from my head that I do not want to specialize in and leave that knowledge to true experts

BeMo is a great example of a company that I partner with for these reasons. Their expertise is hosting and that is what they focus on. Just like my customers count on me to know all the ins and outs of scheduling and configuring with Microsoft Project/Project Server/Project Online. This partnership helps me to provide a best practices, customer tailored, solution.

As illustrated in my personal story above, I could perform the role of two different doctors. First by creating a hosted solution and second by configuring it, but there is no way for me to be an expert at two things which require years of practice, experience and constantly pushing the limits of knowledge to stay on top of the latest updates. Instead, I choose to be a scheduling expert and I hope you respect me for that decision.

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