Looking for a project management app, software or tool? If your project involves a small number of tasks, you will probably choose Excel, but if you have multiple tasks, you’ll probably go with Primavera, Project or ASTA…
What project management tools do you need to optimally manage your project?
How do we select a project management app or software that will be most beneficial to us?
Today’s projects are becoming larger and more complex and we are all looking for project management tools to make our lives easier.
Projects consist of at least 3 major fields that require handling and management: scope of work, budget and time. (Other fields might include quality, communications and other professional factors relevant to the project).
Relating to time, one must prepare a work plan and schedule see a related blog .
To prepare a schedule, we want to have an appropriate tool to help us. We should decide which tool to use and ask ourselves two main questions:
1. How many tasks are there to do?
If we have several dozen tasks, we will look for a different tool than one that is used in a project of hundreds or even thousands of tasks (or activities, action Items);
2. How strong is the link between the topics and execution?
• If it is weak to nonexistent, i.e. there is no real significance of the order of execution and we have several dozens of tasks, we will look for a tool that will help us with checklists – i.e. a to-do list of items regardless of the order of execution;
• If the items are highly interrelated, i.e. the order of execution is significant or, in other words, one cannot be performed before the other is completed, we will look for software that focuses on the project’s logic.
Project Management Tools – Project Management Software: Making it efficient
If you have a project with a few but strongly interrelated tasks, you will probably choose Excel to outline the tasks and their order. But if you have many tasks – you will probably choose Project, Primavera or ASTA. If your project consists of multiple sequential tasks (one after the other) and especially if the project is conducted physically along a line, such as a road or railroad tracks, you might choose Tilos for project management.
In any event, regardless of the project management tool or software that you choose, you’ll want to determine your critical path. You should define your critical path using CPM (Critical Path Method) and HCP (Hidden Critical Path).
To learn more about the difference between the two methods. Knowing these paths and the tasks that comprise them is key to good project management!
The CPM is embedded in Project, enabling you to define the path that takes the project to the latest date. To integrate HCP in Project, you must download it at https://www.hcp-consulting.com/hcp-go/ (first month free).
Project Management Software – Project Management Tools – HCP-Go
The HCP-Go provides three added values beyond the question of which is the longest path and what are the critical paths:
1. Executive summary – How successful is the project?
- mathematical development to map all of the network paths provides a map for assessing the probability of completing the project in time, executing the defined scope of work and meeting the budget. Once the project managers see the probability map, they are able to reach immediate conclusions toward managing the project. For example:
Project A looks like this:
Project B looks like this:
Project C looks like this:
If you want to test that, try HCP-Go
Clearly, Project A is in the worse condition and Project C is in the best while Project B, although it seems that the schedule can be met, will require a budget adjustment.
Every project has a map of its own (which may vary from one month to the next based on the progress report) and one cannot predict what the map will say. It all depends on the Gantt – the schedule – devised for project execution.
2. Schedule integrity analysis report – Summary of the number of issues related to schedule integrity:
- In order for a schedule to be a good one, it must be free of logical flaws. Logical flaws are often caused by “scribal errors” but, in most cases, project issues are what underly such flaws. Identifying the logical flaws enables us to immediately “point a finger” at the most problematic parts of the project and do what good project managers do – locate problems and relieve obstacles or, in other words “release the pressure”.
Project D, for example, will have the following summary:
While Project E, will reflect the desired summary:
3. Reflecting the project structure:
- Mapping the critical and hidden paths provides information on the number of such paths in each interval. When placing the data in a histogram, we create a picture that is very easy to decipher.
- A good project, i.e. a project that is not simple to execute but is possible, is a project whose histogram looks like a normal probability distribution curve (also called a Gaussian or bell curve) or the beginning of one. Take Project F, for example:
A project that resembles a human EKG chart is one fraught with multiple flaws and problems. The pulse, so essential to humans, is what thwarts the project… The path histogram for Project G looks like this:
- And what does the path histogram for Project H tell us?
Which project is it more suited for – a project where one “sits on a suitcase” to close it?
Or a project where everything is handled in an orderly manner and without pressure?
The answer is the “stuffing the suitcase” project with the turquoise background…❗
A project management software and app that shortens your schedules
HCP provides many more insights, such as possibilities for shortening project schedules, identifying project risk factors – like parallel tasks along the HCP, general CPM and HCP tasks – that underly project risk management, tasks that are difficult to monitor, etc.
Do I have to be a scheduling expert to understand and work with the tool? Not at all. Of course, being an expert is an advantage, but even if you’re not, the tool is simple to integrate and use in Project, the report is generated in English (or Hebrew) and every report finding is explained. CPM and HCP results are integrated into Project at the press of a button, making everything simple to see. And if you purchase a license, the full report is generated with your logo, under your name – you have the HCP tool at your full disposal and now… good luck with the project!
HCP-Go protects your project.
How? Would you like to talk to Tal Levanon about it?