Category : Databases and related files
Archive   : OPTIMA.ZIP
Filename : MANAGE.OPT

 
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Copyright (c) Azimuth Group, Ltd. 1991

This section of the manual provides general guidelines for using
OPTIMA to manage your work. The final pages of BROWSING contain
additional material. It must be general, because individual style is
so important to managing. The material is divided into two broad
categories. First, that which applies to all projects. Second,
special considerations for super projects.

ALL PROJECTS --

When you reach this point, you are assumed to have a fully-acceptable
plan, with all costs, resource usage, and schedules approved. Also,
you will have set the baseline costs and schedule for use with status
analyses.

When this has been done, a meeting with your project team -- at least
the activity leaders -- is appropriate. At this meeting, you should
distribute and discuss several reports:

Work Schedule

Gantt-Type Chart

Resource Assignments and Daily Quantity

The first two reports provide everyone with the over-all schedule for
the work, and the relationship of the parts to the whole. The third
report should be produced for each resource working on the project.
It shows each individual's role in the project, with the expected
daily workload. If your planning involved the people who will be
doing the work, there should be no surprises here.

TOOLS FOR MANAGING:

For any project you may have many activities underway at the same
time. OPTIMA provides many tools to keep you in control. These are
reached from MENU: Project Analyses and Reports, and its sub-menus.
They are:


MENU: Activity Analyses

4. Activity Narrative Report.

6. Activity Status Report Forms -- Print only.


MENU: Schedule Analyses

1. Work Schedule.

2. Activities which are late as of today.

3. Activities with delayed starts.

4. Activities with changed finish dates.

5. Activities which have critical finish dates.

6. Activities which have finished.

7. Gantt-type chart -- Print only.


MENU: Resource Analyses

3. Resource assignments, and daily quantity.

4. Resources Required Between Two Dates.

6. Resources un-allocated between two dates -- Print only

7. Resources used and earned value, by day -- Print only

MENU: Status Analyses:

1. Project Overhead.

2. Selected Activity.

3. Project Summary.

These are discussed below when appropriate to each stage of managing
your project, and in detail in the Glossary.

REGULAR ROUTINES:

The most important routine of all has nothing to do with OPTIMA. It
is walking and listening. There are no reports or other pleasant
magic which can substitute for your personal attention to detail.
This does not imply meddling, or doing other people's work. It does
mean showing a real interest in the job, listening to suggestions, and
maintaining a feel for progress and problems. You can be sure that if
you sit in your office waiting for problems to arise, they will. And
you may be the last to know.

Weekly --

Print Resources Required Between Two Dates, and Resources Un-Allocated
Between Two Dates, for the next two weeks. Activity Status Report
Forms should be printed and distributed for update at least weekly.
More on this later.

Review Project Overhead Status and Project Summary Status. Also,
review Activity Status for currently working activities.

Daily --

Display, Work Schedule. This lists all activities, with their current
status. Review this with your current copies of the Gantt-Type Chart,
and Resources Required Between Two Dates. If you perceive problems,
you should discuss them with the appropriate activity leader. You may
use Display All Data for an Activity, and its underlying review of
resource availablility and status to help you here.

Regularly scheduled progress reports are mandatory to effective
control of your work. Their frequency depends on your particular
situation. Activity Status Report Forms -- Print only, is designed
for this purpose. It is an exception report. Once you have
calculated a Work Schedule for your project, this will print a page
for each activity which is scheduled to have started, and has not been
reported finished.

These reports should be printed on whatever schedule suits your needs,
and distributed to the activity leaders for prompt updating and return
to you.

There are three possible responses --

The activity was finished on . The actual duration, resource
usage, and reported cost were....

The activity is on track, and the scheduled finish date will be met.

The activity is slipping, the proposed recovery plan is.... The new
duration will be....

ADJUSTING TO SCHEDULE VARIANCES AND DISCOVERIES:

Whenever there is a change to the duration of any activity, the new
value must be entered for that activity. Resource usage changes are
made at the same time. When an activity has been finished, the
reported finish date and reported cost are entered. Update the
Narrative as necessary.

If you have made any changes to activity durations or resources, you
must recalculate the project Work Schedule.

Before you may re-calculate a project, OPTIMA will force you to
restore the resources for all projects, to the resource pool. Then
you re-calculate all projects in order of their precedence.

When all needed changes have been made, the Work Schedule is
re-calculated, and the following reports, which are affected by a
schedule change, should be printed:

Work Schedule.

Activities Which Have Critical Finish Dates.

Activities With Changed Finish Dates.

Activities Which Have Finished.

Gantt-Type Chart -- Print only.

Resource Assignments, and Daily Quantity.

The Work Schedule provides an updated summary of the schedule for the
entire project. Copies should be distributed to all interested
parties.

Activities Which Have Critical Finish Dates, is the report which will
alert you to major schedule problems. Whenever an activity on this
report is shown with CONFLICT, you must take prompt action to recover
lost time. Display each problem activity, and examine resource
availability to see who may be available to help.

Another tool which may help you here is, Resources Un-Allocated
Between Two Dates -- Print only. It will show you the availability of
resources which might be assigned to various activities to eliminate
resource conflicts, or allow more activities to proceed concurrently.

Activities With Changed Finish Dates will show you general schedule
trends. It shows you which activities have gained time, and which
have slipped.

Activities Which Have Finished is a good way to report progress to
your boss. It includes finish dates and reported costs.

Gantt-Type Chart -- Print only. This, too, is a good summary of
project status. You and the activity leaders should have copies for
frequent reference.

Resource Assignments, and Daily Quantity. This should be printed for
each resource working on the project. It shows exactly what
activities that resource is working on, the dates for each, and the
amount of time required each day. A copy of this should go to that
resource.

The Activity Narrative Report may be printed as a formal report, with
a dated cover and numbered pages, or only for selected activities. If
you only use the narrative to discuss the status of work on an
activity, this report can be submitted to your boss or a client. If,
however, you keep notes about costs, etc., you may choose to limit its
distribution.

Remember that any OPTIMA report may be 'printed' to a DISKFILE. These
files may be further edited before actual printing. Also remember
that DISKFILES are over-written. If you intend to keep historical
records on disk, copy the files which are written to the PROJECT DATA
DISK to another disk, and use a new TEXT DISK for the others.

Overall project trends are best evaluated from the three STATUS
ANALYSES. Cost trends can be analyzed from Resources Used, and Earned
Value, by Day -- Print only. Each time that this is run, after data
have been updated and the schedule recalculated, past costs will
reflect actual resource usage, but not reported costs, since these may
include other costs. Future costs, will still be estimates. The
project total will be the currently expected resource costs to
complete the work.

CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGE:

These vary with the nature of the change. If you have used all of the
powers of OPTIMA to help you anticipate problems and work to prevent
them, changes should be minor and should never become serious.

Sometimes a 'discovery', an unforeseen occurence which affects the
project plan, will be made dur ing the course of work. Discoveries
may be made with very little advanced warning. They may require
changes to project logic; including new activities, and changing
dependencies among existing activities. The PERT-Type Diagram and
Activity Data on Labels will help revise the plan. Then, the project
must be modified to include new activities and change dependencies.
The procedures for doing this are the same as those discussed in
PLANNING.

OPTIMA has some very powerful tools which can help revise your project
plan. These tools require careful use. Sometimes you may not get
what you expect. Remember that a computer has no brains. It can only
do what you tell it to do.

Use particular care when you decide to DELETE an activity. OPTIMA
handles the logic correctly, but you may find some activity
dependencies which you did not anticipate. An example of this is
provided in PLANNING.

Regardless of the changes required, you will have a clear picture of
where you are, how you got there, and the options which are open to
you. Whatever decisions must be made, will be made on good historical
information, and not panic reaction.

SUPER PROJECTS --

DEPENDENT PROJECTS:

The super-project, composed of dependent projects, is treated almost
the same as a project composed of dependent activities. One
difference is that of scale. It is unlikely that more than a dozen
projects will be linked together in a super-project. The other
difference is in managing the work. The super-project requires
leading other managers rather than directing workers. Therefore, each
of the following steps may be less complex than its counterpart in a
large project.

MANAGING THE WORK:

Managing a super-project is significantly different from managing a
project. It is really a test of your leadership: Your ability to
select managers, and let them manage. The super-project exists
because significant work has been delegated to capable and responsible
people. Once they have planned their projects, and the plans have
been approved, they must be allowed to run them.

This entails some risk-taking. They may not do everything your way.
They may make mistakes. They must overcome their own mistakes,
otherwise they can never prove themselves.

This does not mean that their projects will be allowed to run to
disaster. You have delegated some authority. You cannot delegate
ultimate responsibility.

With OPTIMA, and the super-project, you can manage with a light touch
-- tracking progress and checking details as necessary -- without
losing control.

In addition to informal contacts, and regular meetings with all
project managers, formal report criteria must be set when a project is
delegated. These include both scheduled reports and reports to be
submitted when agreed-upon limits are exceeded -- exception reports.

You should get some reports on each project on a regular schedule.
Exactly how often depends on you, your situation, and your needs. You
may only need one report per project on a regular basis. This is,
Activities with Critical Completion Dates. As long as all of the
listed activities are 'OK', you may not need any more information. If
you are not comfortable with this, you may wish to see the current
Work Schedule and Activities Which Have Finished, also. With these,
you can monitor progress against plan.

This is probably the limit to what should be submitted and assessed
regularly. If you need more details, you probably delegated the
project to the wrong person, or you are not growing in your own job.

The criteria for exception reports are based on discoveries, schedule
CONFLICTS, and cost in creases. In each case, the report should
clearly identify the nature of the problem and state the actions being
taken by the project manager. These cover the gamut from modest
overtime on an activity, to additional or significantly modified
activities and activity dependencies. This latter may be a new
project plan, required because of major discoveries. The details need
not be discussed here, after all you are an experienced senior manager
and you are fully qualified to deter mine what is needed.

ADJUSTING TO CHANGE:

All of the tools for adjusting to change have been discussed. The
only point to make is that most of the adjustments will be made by the
project managers in their individual projects. Proper oversight, and
attention to detail, should preclude most really unpleasant surprises.


  3 Responses to “Category : Databases and related files
Archive   : OPTIMA.ZIP
Filename : MANAGE.OPT

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