visual project management

Visual project management

Visual Project Management is an interesting approach to project management. A project management strategy designed to increase success by visualizing project components like data and activities.

It is a proven fact that people receive more than 80% of information through the sense of sight.

From the most tender age, we write and draw in order to visualize our thoughts, emotions and things to remember.

Why not use this way to make work simpler and more efficient? In fact, visualization is something we can implement in project management.

Visual management of the project

By adopting a visual project management, teams and organizations can complete projects of any kind with more speed and efficiency.

Visual project management therefore becomes a technique for work management.

Instead of listing activities in “to do list” or wasting valuable time tracking information in the mailbox, shared files and spreadsheets, it is much easier to track the work using a visual activity management tool.

Visual functionalities can be a valuable resource for any design style, but are more commonly associated with agile methods like Scrum and Kanban.

In a certain way, Visual Project Management is inspired by the old school blackboard.

The board acts as a roadmap, progress tracker and collaboration tool for all types of development teams.

This is why in TW project, besides the use of visual tools we have already talked about (such as the gantt chart and issue management), we have created real blackboards.

Physical boards and digital boards for visual management

Physical whiteboards are a common way to share information, for example to gather topics for a meeting. In Twproject, we find the “digital twins” of physical boards.

A blackboard is an “open space” where everyone (almost everyone, security is always in the background) can insert a message.

Here’s what a used blackboard looks like.

screen1150 lavagne

At any time during a project, hundreds of single data are manipulated, transformed and communicated.

These data include labor estimates, capital and operating expenses, activity lists, performance metrics, calendars, cost-benefit analysis, risk profiles, trend data, etc.

As business speed increases and the need to focus on increasing numbers of data in order to keep project execution under control, new and innovative tools and techniques are needed to help project managers.

The visualization of complex data and processes has proved invaluable in meeting these needs.

Visual Project Management as a facilitator

Traditional visual tools such as Gantt charts, Kanban cards, process diagrams, project team calendars, stakeholder organization graphs and similar are advantageous in their own way, but they do not tell the collective story of the general state of the project.

Complicating the issue, sponsors and key project stakeholders may no longer have time for long project status reports or weekly briefings.

Decisions must be made at the moment, with any data available.

For this reason, the traditional discipline of project management, that exploits processes and documents approaches in a “heavy” way, is quickly abandoned in favor of more agile methods.

Some studies have also shown that the information presented in text formats is ineffective and inefficient.

The human eye can see visual schems 65,000 times faster on an image with respect to a tabular form.

visual project management 1

 

These facts have therefore led to the creation of a new niche within the project management community known as Visual Project Management.

The Scrum-ban style

Regarding the current methodology, many of the useful visual tools combine the best aspects of Kanban and Scrum to which project teams are accustomed.

Some users have started calling this style “Scrum-ban“.

Common visual features include:

  • Real time dashboard
  • Timeline
  • Graphic reports (Gantt, burndown, ecc.)
  • Boards (Kanban)
  • Roadmap of the product
Scrum-ban

The key advantage of this new approach is speed, as critical project information can be produced, replicated and digested in more efficient and effective ways.

The adoption of this new approach also offers further distinct advantages to project managers, team members and, above all, to the most important stakeholders:

  • The state of project planning, execution, monitoring and control activities are available in a single view, at a glance and it is easy to understand
  • Improve clarity, visibility and understanding of the project’s overall scope and operational plan
  • Resource allocations, or over-allocations, through the project or multiple projects, are clearly visible.
  • As a consequence from the previous point: better planning and allocation of resources
  • The impacts of changes to the scope, plan, priority or resources are available in real time
  • The information is provided in such a manner that everyone can access it, at any time, place and convenient way
  • Ability to isolate problem areas faster

Accelerate processes with Visual Project Management

Visual Project Management can accelerate progress by sharing project information in real time in such a way that is easier to access, understand and transmit.

Today’s project manager has much more to manage than just the project scope, deliverables, communications and teams.

The visual management of the project is not really a radically new approach that messes up the discipline.

It is just a set of tools and techniques that reinforce what we already know: people work and manage projects more efficiently when they have a clear vision of how the project components move and connect with each other.

The best way to represent and share this information in real time is not with a spreadsheet or series of emails, but an image.

Have you adopted visual project management in your work too? Tell us about your experience.

Manage your project in a visual and intuitive way.

A try is worth more than a million words.
Work Breakdown Structure meeting

Work Breakdown Structure: some suggestions for using it to the best

A Work Breakdown Structure, abbreviated with WBS, is a visual tool for the definition and tracking of a project deliverable and all the small components necessary to create it.

With a Work Breakdown Structure, the project manager can concentrate on what he has to accomplish as he approaches the project deadline.

This is a fundamental tool for a PM as it helps to plan, manage and evaluate any type of project.

With a WBS, we start from the result or the desired final product, we analyze it and decompose it into smaller deliverables or the activities necessary to create it.

In a WBS, the deliverable can be an object, a service, or an activity.

Focusing on deliverables, rather than methods – the “what”, not the “how” – a Work Breakdown Structure helps to eliminate unnecessary and superfluous work.

A weighted WBS helps in planning, costs estimation and risk analysis.

It is usually a graph or a visual diagram that defines the temporal sequence and the process of a project. It breaks down into each activity that will be performed during the project life cycle.

A WBS is often represented as a structure, as a summary, but can also be organized using tabulations or other visual organizational systems.

What are the purposes of a Work Breakdown Structure?

Here are some of the benefits that arise whit the creation of a Work Breakdown Structure:

  • Provides a visual representation of all parts of a project
  • It offers a continuous vision on how the whole project proceeds, helping its management
  • Defines specific and measurable results
  • Decomposes the job into manageable blocks
  • Provides a system that allows successful experiences to be repeatable
  • Sets a basis for estimating costs and allocating resources, both human and other
  • Avoids overlaps or lack of work for the resources
  • Minimizes the possibility of forgetting a critical result or a risk.

 A well-done WBS can make the team work like a well-oiled machine, with the following advantages:

  • Increases productivity
  • Helps project managers predict results based on various scenarios
  • Helps with the project organization
  • Helps to describe the scope of the project to stakeholders
  • Helps to distribute responsibilities
  • Allows a correct estimate of costs, risks and time
  • Increases and improves communication
  • Allows more creativity and brainstorming
  • Focuses on the final results
  • Organizes the details
  • Prevents potential problems
  • Addresses programming issues
  • Helps to manage risks
  • Gives flexibility to the team
  • Eliminates confusion
  • Provides clear descriptions of the tasks of each team member
  • Provides a basis for a clear report on the status of the project, since each task is a measurable unit

Work Breakdown Structure templates

For a WBS, different types of formats and templates are possible:

  • Graphic format: emphasizes visual visualization of the project;
  • Linear structure: presents a time interval and dependencies between the components of a project;

  • Hierarchical structure: puts at the top the most important elements of a project for a greater emphasis;
  • Tabular view: allows team members to easily navigate to the most relevant sections for them.

Not all projects require the same type of format.

This can and must be adapted to the type of project and the type of members in the team.

Work Breakdown Structure: Best practices

1. Focus on the final results, not on the methods / actions.

The key lies in thinking about the “what”, not about “how”.

The main purpose of a WBS is to define the main deliverable taking into consideration the small components that compose it.

If the deliverable is not a physical product, a specific and measurable result must be provided in any case.

For example, if you are creating a WBS for a professional service, you need to define the results of that specific service.

2. 100 percent rule

The work represented by the Work Breakdown Structure must include 100% of the work required to complete the general result without including any extraneous or unrelated work.

Even sub-activities, at any level, should be taken into account, because are all necessary to complete the main activity.

In other words, the elements in the second level are equal to 100% and the elements in the third and lower levels are positioned within the percentage of the higher level with respect to them.

The finished project should never give a sum greater or less than 100 percent.

3. 8/80 rule

One of the common mistakes is to break down the work too much or not decompose it enough. There are several ways to decide when a work package is small enough without being too small.

The 8/80 rule is one of the most common suggestions: a work package should not take less than eight hours of work, and no more than 80 hours.

Other rules suggest not to give activities that exceed ten working days – which is equal to 80 hours if you consider a full-time employee.

In other words, a work package should not take more than a month to complete.

Clearly, this rule should be applied if it makes sense within the project and the industry.

4. Attention to the level of detail

In general, work packages should provide activities that can be completed by a team member, or by the team in general, within a reference period.

If the team is less experienced and needs more supervision and coaching, one solution is to make the work packages smaller and shorter.

If you have a deliverable that may take longer to complete or cost more than your given budget, it may be useful to divide the project into smaller deliverables with shorter work times.

With a more frequent reporting and review time, you can solve problems and solve them earlier.

Another suggestion is to create tasks and delegate activities at the beginning of a project, but in case and if necessary create new tasks and new delegations during a project.

Work Breakdown Structure

How to create a Work Breakdown Structure

The first step to create a WBS is to bring the team together.

Regardless of whether the team works in an office or remotely, it is essential that members participate in identifying derivables.

Collaborators must know exactly what is happening.

The project manager must also assemble the key documents of the project in order to start the development of the Work Breakdown Structure: the project charter, the problem that the project will solve, the scope definition, the documentation that refers to the existing processes for the project management, etc.

To start the creation, it is necessary to define the level one, ie the main result of the project.

Then gradually add as many details as possible. From the second level you will descend to the smaller pieces up to the third level, to the fourth level, and more, if necessary.

It is important to always define what is required in the previous level in the most detailed way possible before moving on to the next levels. It will be essential to further break down the work.

Here is a brief structure that can be useful for writing a WBS:

  • Determine and describe the project result;
  • Highlight all the necessary phases of the project;
  • Divide the final results into manageable tasks;
  • Assign each section and make sure that each owner, ie the corresponding team member, has all the information, skills and knowledge necessary to complete the job.
  • Ensure frequent feedback. The WBS is a dynamic document, whose content can be revisited, even frequently, to ensure the correct execution and delivery of the project.

In conclusion, the creation of a Work Breakdown Structure is a team effort and is the point of arrival of multiple inputs and perspectives for the given project.

Its goal is to make a large project more manageable.

The deconstruction into smaller blocks means that work can be done simultaneously by different team members. This will lead to better productivity and easier management of the project in general.

Have you ever created a WBS structure for your project? What tools and methods did you use?

Share them with us in the comments below.

Start creating your Work Breakdown Structure.

project management software

Project management software: 7 tips to help your team implement a new software.

Implementing a new project management software is not a trivial task!

It is a very complex process that must be faced in a methodical and thoughtful way.

You must be aware that this is a real change in the company. A profound change, especially if it involves a large number of workers and teams.

Like all changes, this change can also provoke opposition. A real resistance to change.

Fortunately, there are several strategies to follow that allow to create acceptance among employees.

Today we are going to see some of them.

*****************

“CONTENT INDEX”

Before purchasing

After purchasing

  1. Training
  2. User Acceptance Test – UAT
  3. Coordinate the transition between one software and another
  4. Reward the implementation team
  5. Measure the results
  6. Ask for feedbacks

*****************

First of all, it is essential to contextualise the moment of intervention.

This is because the strategies that allow to improve the implementation of the new management system, can be used in two fundamental moments:

  1. Before choosing and purchasing the new software
  2. After the purchase.

Clearly, it is possible to take action at any time. Let’s see how:

Act before selecting and purchasing the new project management software

The first step to facilitate the adoption by the user, in this case the worker, of a new project management tool is to involve him/her.

Finding a team to manage organizational changes is a great way to overcome some of the resistance to change.

This group will be responsible for creating an organizational change plan. The plan will be designed to involve stakeholders during implementation.

This group will therefore be responsible for three key aspects:

  • Identification of the need for change
  • Performance of the impact analysis on the stakeholders
  • Finalization of the requirements

Let’s every point in detail.

Identification of the need for change

This means taking a proactive approach to change and not a passive one.

Active research into ways and tools to improve inefficiencies will not only improve output, it will also be a great way to support the evolution of the project manager in his role.

An organizational strategy should be implemented and initiatives must be linked to business goals.

It is also necessary to know the goals that all the teams, or the company in general, are trying to achieve and all the critical points that can hinder success.

Having identified the goals that project teams are trying to achieve, it is possible to work to decide whether a new project management software can help in achieving these goals.

Performance of the impact analysis on the stakeholders

In order to perform a proper impact analysis on the interested parties, it is essential to create a list of each person, team and department that is going to use the new tool.

Not only is it necessary to indicate who the stakeholders are, but also how they will be influenced by the new software.

The consensus of the stakeholders is the key for a successful implementation.

It is important to communicate because change is essential. Not only that … the parameters that will be used to compare the products and who is responsible for the final decision should also be known.

When stakeholders know why change is occurring and how it will have a direct impact on them, they are more likely to be motivated and involved in using the new tool.

In fact, the best implementations provide an explanation on why the new software is being implemented. Advantages will also derive from the knowledge of benefits for everyone and clarity on the timing of implementation.

Finalization of the requirements

After having done the analysis of the impact on stakeholders, it is necessary to have an idea of the requisites required by each one of them and the way in which they translate into functionality within the new software.

For example, imagine that the result you are trying to achieve is a better planning of a project, with which stakeholders want to keep track of employee skills, availability and performance.

In this case, the key features expected from the new software will include resource management with these specific criteria.

After the purchase of a new project management software

Once the research has been carried out, compared to other products and taking into account the needs and requirements, the new project management software is purchased and installed.

Now begins the proper implementation phase of the new project management tool within the organization.

Software implementation may require a long initial process. The benefits that will result in the long term, however, will be worth the time commitment.

While working in implementing a new system, there are a number of factors to consider. These are factors that can bring undoubted advantages. Let’s see them together:

1) Training

When implementing a new project management software, it is a good practice for the software company to train one or several key people who will be able to manage the system.

That or those people become the “experts” and will therefore be responsible for teaching others.

In some other cases, it is preferable to train all the personnel that will have to deal with the software.

It is important to avoid misalignment regarding the use of new software. Misalignment can mainly be avoided by creating rules, FAQs and practical documents. You can also limit the rights and have a limited number of administrators / moderators.

To support this delicate situation, in TWproject we have thought of two areas of intervention able to provide multiple solutions

  • An area is linked to direct training, through courses and webinars dedicated to the company.

At this link you can find all information: https://twproject.com/it/servizi/

A proper user manual, simple and always available, which updates on the basis of new releises and requests from the users.

2) User Acceptance Test – UAT

This is an important step. The aim is to ensure that the software works as intended and to help in finding any bugs.

project management software uat test

It will be important to test few data in order to see if the software correctly processes all the information and in order to allow the staff to get used step by step.

If the system is integrated with other software tools, it is important to ensure that the systems communicate correctly.

3) Coordinate the transition between one software and another

When it is time to start switching to the new software, it is a good practice to keep the information even in the old software.

This allows the staff to get used to the general appearance of the new software and creates a greater level of trust before moving on to full use.

For a short time, the two systems can run simultaneously.

It can take between 6 and 12 months for users to feel completely comfortable with the new software. During this period, historical information should be always accessible.

4) Reward the implementation team

When certain employees have worked harder to implement the new software, it is a good idea to reward them

A party, a small bonus, a gift, a verbal “thank you”. These gestures can mean a lot. Such gratification is often worth more than a cash prize.

project management software - team

5) Measure the results

After the implementation of the new software, it is a good idea to analyze and measure the results in order to monitor the trend.

This can include things like the ability to process more orders in a day, the reduction wages paid for overtime or other factors.

Continuing to monitor and measure during the year is a good practice to make sure that the investment made sense.

6)Ask for feedbacks

Problems always arise during the early stages of implementation. It is absolutely necessary for the team to expose the problems it faces.

To get suggestions and create a positive feedback loop, a suggestion is to perform an internal survey about a month after the introduction of the new system. The survey will be repeated again after three months.

Team members will feel listened to and the process will also lead to useful tips and best practices for the future.

These tips will help both the project manager and the team to properly plan the change.

However, it is fundamental to ensure that, in general, new implementations are not misaligned with company goals, otherwise they will be destined to fail for sure.

Have you ever experienced the implementation of a new project management software?

How was your feeling towards this change? Tell us your experience and write us your suggestions.

Access your new project management software.

Project milestone

The project milestones: planning objectives and results

Milestone or project milestone is the management tool used to define a specific point in the project planning.

The points define, in fact, the beginning and the end of work and mark the end of an important phase of the work.

Milestones can be used to symbolize all started and finished stuff.

If a milestone focuses on the main points of project progress, it becomes useful as a planning tool.

Just as the tasks break down a larger project into manageable parts, the milestones split a project into milestones.

So, when starting a project, milestones can help immensely with programming.

Milestones are usually present in project management software, and of course also in TWproject.

They have their own specific icon in the Gantt chart function, and are diamond-shaped.

Project milestones: the planning

Project milestones are a way to estimate the time needed to complete the project more accurately.

Hence, they become essential for precise project planning.

With milestones, you can better calculate project planning by segmenting it into more manageable and easier-to-control time intervals.

They are also a flexible tool for planning.

With a little bit of flexibility, they can do much more than act as mere indicators of the project phases.

For example, milestones can be used as reminder of important meetings for the project or to report other interesting events, such as workshops or training courses.

project milestone

In an important editorial plan, for example, a digital project manager, can use them to define the release of individual articles within the blog.

In short, using this diamond icon is a great way to make sure everyone is aware of upcoming deadlines and upcoming important meetings.

Naturally, milestones can indicate the deadlines for anything related to the project.

For example, they can report a result from another linked project or an impending delivery from a supplier.

In addition, milestones are good to mark a point where there is a transition between two phases of a project.

Milestones, like activities, can be linked and connected to each other.

This happens for example when a milestone’s phase can’t begin until the end of the previous phase, linked to another milestone.

Project milestones: Keep track of progress

Part of a project’s planning is the ability to monitor and keep track the progress of that program in real time.

Milestones are a way to see both at what point is a specific single activity, and the general state of progress of the project itself.

This is useful when dealing mainly with stakeholders.

In fact, these are generally not interested in a detailed report of the project progress.

What they want to know is if the project moves forward or not as initially planned.

Milestones are ideal for this type of report because they show the main phases completed.

Project milestones: Simple task or milestone?

Discern between what to consider a task and what to consider a project milestone can be difficult.

More projects are complex, more difficult is to recognize the difference between task and milestone.

To resolve the doubt it is essential to ask itself the following questions:

  • Is this a task or a final result?
  • Will this affect the final deadline?
  • Is this an important moment in the project that will indicate future progress?
  • Are stakeholders to be informed about this particular point?
  • Is it an event that has an impact on the project?

Answering these questions will help you understand if we are talking about a task or a milestone.

Basically, the most important events of your project must be reported as milestones, so that they can be easily visualized and mapped by the project team.

The milestones have, in essence, a greater mean than “simple” activities.

Project milestones: Why use them?

Milestones can improve project planning and execution in different ways:

1) Monitor deadlines

No plan is complete without a list of deadlines. The best way is to use the project milestones to indicate them.

The milestones, as already mentioned, are usually marked as a diamond-shape icon in the project planning software.

Hence, this icon represents a delivery, a presentation of the deliverable or in any case a deadline that mustn’t be forgotten.

2) Make it easy to identify important dates

Are there important days that may have an impact on the project?

Perhaps a training course for the project team or a workshop?

Or a meeting with the stakeholders?

It is important to keep in mind all these events in project planning.

project milestone

These are events of such importance that they can have an impact on the whole project and it must be easy to identify them.

3) Identify potential blocks of the project

Many projects rely on work produced by external teams or partners in order to progress.

If these external factors are not monitored, the probability to forget or not following them increases.

So, if you are working on a project that depends – even – on someone or something of external with which you do not have frequent contact, it is important to list these results as milestones.

As we have seen, milestones are a very useful project management tool.

It is also an easy-to-use tool for project planning and reporting.

In Twproject a milestone always coincides with the beginning or end of a task, this because normally a milestone is linked to a delivery or a kick-off phase.

In order to support the team in achieving the goal, TWproject also sets up a milestone notification system.

The notifications make even easier the work of the team that will automatically receive the alerts of the activities expiring or delayed and they will complete the tasks.

By default the alarm (milestone of the neighboring task) is 3 days before the milestone, but it is also possible to change it from the configuration pages. (insert a screen)

Reaching and overcoming a project milestone is also good for the morale of the team and of the project manager himself.

This is why every tool (like the alert) that facilitates the task is always very well received.

Have you ever used the milestones in your projects? What is your opinion?

Leave us your comment.

Set the milestones of your project.

Kanban method

How to apply the Kanban method to project management

The Kanban method was developed as a methodology to improve production efficiency.

The Japanese word “Kanban” means “billboard” in English and it was born in the company of Toyota, in Japan.

Today this method is widely used.

Nowadays, the Kanban method is not only used as a planning system for lean production, but also in Agile projects in order to manage the backlog of activities.

Actually, thanks to the popularity of Kanban, there are now countless project management tools that follow this method. The goal is to help people plan and prioritize.

The advantages of this method are different.

Kanban cards work like visual panels with virtual notes that can be added.

These notes can be moved to organize the order of activities or in order to prioritize the things to do.

Kanban method

Therefore, the Kanban method enables more flexible planning options, a quickier output, as well as more carefullness and transparency throughout the project life cycle.

The Toyota company, where this system was first implemented, has created six rules that permit to apply the Kanban method to the production process.

Today, people and project managers of the most different sectors use the Kanban method for planning and managing activities and their priorities.

In fact, Kanban is a structured process of prioritization.

What is a Kanban Board?

A Kanban Board is like a blackboard.

A space in which Kanban cards  stand for the individual activities that have to performed and are categorized based on priority and delivery.

Nowadays, Kanban cards are used mainly as online softwares, or in some cases are directly integrated in more complex project management softwares.

In general, they allow to track the work flow not only of a team, but also of the single collaborators.

It is particularly used by the software development teams that follow the Agile methodology.

It is used to define user history and the activity priorities in the backlog or as a collaboration tool for innovation.

If we consider the most basic (and more structured) form, the Kanban card can be divided into three levels:

  • Work/activity in standby;
  • Work/activity in progress;
  • Work/activity completed;

Obviously, the complexity of the card depends on the goal of the project.

As every task is completed, team members move Kanban cards through the different sections of the board.

Kanban cards allow to:

  • Visualize the workflow;
  • Limit the number of activities in progress;
  • Move an activity from one section to another;
  • Monitor, adapt, and improve the process.

What are Kanban cards?

The Kanban method can be considerated as a system of knowledge and the cards permit to represent each singular object of work or activity.

Each Kanban card includes the critical data for the specific activity to which it refers.

The cards have different colors that indicate the type of task performed.

Different colors can also refer to other distinctions that have been agreed upon at the beginning of the project.

Some of the ways a Kanban card helps teams and project managers: 

  • Quick understanding of the details of every activity/task;
  • Easy communication within the team;
  • Information on documents;
  • Support with the future workflow.

How to use the Kanban method in project management

In order to manage different projects in an efficient and productive way, different methodologies are required.

In general, the Kanban method is an excellent tool for planning the project and prioritizing the activities.

It can increase team efficiency, optimize time management, as well as allow a more fluid and simple overall project management.

It is also excellent for supporting with resource allocation, workflow management and waste reduction.

Here is why in more detail:

Use the Kanban method to: Assign resources

The first step is to create the activities and then assign them to a team member.

It’s fundamental to make sure that the right people are working on the right job in the proper manner.

This will help to correctly manage the work, without blocking any other member of the team or delaying production.

Everytime a new project activity is added into the workflow, the right resource can be assigned to it in a easy and quick way.

Use the Kanban method to: Workflow management

The Kanban method is a perfect tool that allows to visualize the workflow of any project.

The workflow is a sequential series of activities and the Kanban card with its visual representation makes everything more understandable.

Kanban method

Thanks to the observation on how activities are related, collaboration within the team will be promoted and at the same time greater efficiency and productivity can be achieved.

Use the Kanban method to: Reduce waste

The reduction of waste, whether of resources or costs in general, is not only the rule of a lean system.

Every project manager is interested in obtaining results in this sense.

Kanban cards help in the identification of a probable expensive process.

Something that does not work as planned, an overproduction or a situation where team members are blocking the workflow are easily detectable.

The big advantage lies in detecting these factors before they become problems.

There is no limit to the number of cards, integrations and workflow management that the Kanban method allows.

This method can work not only in a small company with a single office, but also in a multinational company with offices all around the world.

The Kanban method in the software

The common thread that permits to use all the advantages of this method is a project management software.

For this reason, we added in TWproject the Kanban functionality in order to organize the to-do-list of the project.

The Issues that in Twproject are used as to-do can be easily managed with the Kanban multi-dimensional of TWproject.

Indeed, it allows to organize the issues in a fully visual way.

It is possible to move them and organize them by task, assignee, status or severity degree.

Shortly, a very flexible multi-dimensional Kanban.

Kanban method

Do you also use the Kanban method for your projects?

Give us your suggestion and tell us about your experience.

Use the Kanban feature to organize the to-do-list of the project

A proof is worth a thousand words.
the sixth edition of the PMbok

The sixth edition of PMbok

General overview and differences from the fifth edition

At the end of 2017, the sixth edition of the PMbok was published. 

Let’s start from the base: what is the PMbok?

It is the Project Management Body of Knowledge, a guide, published by the Project Management Institute – PMI, which aims to document, gather and standardize the practices generally used and recognized in project management.

“Generally recognized” practices means the ones that can be applied to most projects and on which there is a widespread consensus on their value and usefulness.

This means that sometimes the latest project management trends promoted by some consultants, even if interesting from an evolutionary point of view, may not be part of the latest version of the PMbok, because they are not “generally recognized” practices.

The PMbok made its debut in 1987 and it has evolved over the years, up to the current sixth edition of 2017.

But which are the PMbok changes from the fifth edition to the current one?

Let’s summarize the differencies in this article.

PMBOK sixth edition: Increase of total chapters

In the fifth edition of PMbok five groups of processes were listed:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Monitoring and Control
  5. Closing

The number of processes remain unchanged in the sixth edition, but what changes is the number of sub-processes within each process.

Furthermore, in the fifth edition there were a total of 13 chapters. In the sixth edition we find instead a new chapter that deals with the role of the project manager and its functions.

In addition to this, the skills and competences that a project manager must possess are now aligned with the so-called Triangle of Talent.

It is not enough to have technical skills, but due to the dynamism of the working environment and the evolutionary trends in the sector, it is necessary that the project manager possesses also additional skills. The most relevant include:

 

  • Strategic and corporate management: It is necessary to understand the progress and the functioning of the company business in order to adapt the project to it. The project manager must therefore possess the skills to analyze the competition, the market, know the legal implications, business models, etc.
  • Leadership skills: In the fifth edition of the PMbok, this skill is already explained, but the new edition gives it more emphasis. Among the leadership skills, we find emotional intelligence, problem solving, team building and the ability to influence and motivate the team;
  • Technical skills: This refers mainly to the sector in which a person works and the specific skills required for the project.

 The sixth edition of the PMbok: The knowledge areas

In the fifth edition of PMbok 10 areas of knowledge were listed.

These still remain in the sixth edition, but two appear with new names, as specified in the following list:

  1. Integration Management
  2. Scope Management
  3. Time Management is replaced by Schedule Management
  4. Cost Management
  5. Quality Management
  6. Human Resource Management is replaced by Resource Management
  7. Communications Management
  8. Risk Management
  9. Procurement Management
  10. Stakeholder Management

Why these two changes?

The new term Resource Management refers not only to the human workforce, but also to the physical resources (such as materials, equipment, licenses, etc.) that can be part of a project and contribute to its success.

Time Management has been replaced with Schedule Management, so that the importance of project management planning is emphasized.

 

the sixth edition of the PMbok

Moreover, in the sixth edition of the PMbok, each area of knowledge has four additional sections:

Furthermore, in the sixth edition of the PMbok, each area of knowledge will have four additional sections:

  • Key concepts;
  • Tailoring considerations: they must help to focus on the important processes of a project depending to its size and, of course, on the scope of work;
  • Developments and new project management practices;
  • Focus on the Agile  and adaptive Methodology.

PMBOK sixth edition: The three new processes

The sixth edition of the PMbok lists 49 processes, 2 more than the last edition.

In reality the changes to the processes are 4 because the three processes have been added while one has been eliminated.

The Close Procurement process has been removed. This refers to the closing of vendor contracts, a task that in most organizations is not performed by the project manager.

Among the new processes added we find:

  1. Manage Project Knowledge: born from the need to process the data of the market and the business in which the company operates to transform them into knowledge and “wisdom” on which certain decisions will be based. Knowledge is a power that will help the project manager to use data processing technologies and make decisions based on concrete analysis;
  2. Implement Risk Response: PMI surveys have stated that most project failures are due to improper risk management. Therefore, implementing the risk response in the management of the project is a necessary addition;
  3. Control Resources: this new process refers to the monitoring and control of the various resources present in the project and is aligned with the modification, seen previously, in the area of knowledge from human resources.

PMBOK sixth edition: 6 changes in existing processes

6 processes are renamed in the current PMbok edition, even if their content remains unchanged:

  1. Perform Quality Assurance becomes Manage Quality.
  2. Plan Human Resource Management becomes Plan Resource Management.
  3. Control Communications becomes Monitor Communications.
  4. Control Risks becomes Monitor Risks.
  5. Plan Stakeholder Management becomes Plan Stakeholder Engagement.
  6. Control Stakeholder Engagement becomes Monitor Stakeholder Engagement.

From Perform Quality Assurance to Manage Quality. This refers to the fact that, while quality assurance is a way to manage quality during execution, in reality there are also other qualitative aspects to consider.

This overall quality management is what reflects the name change.

The change from “Control” to “Monitor” indicates that, during the execution of the project, we monitor it to understand what is happening everyday and personalize the strategy to meet the changing needs.

the sixth edition of the PMbok

Points 5 and 6 on stakeholders refer to the essential factor of understanding how to involve the stakeholders to ensure that everyone agrees with progress and results.

Who will be affected by these changes?

The role of the Project Manager is becoming more and more important and is spreading in every sectors; this is why the need to certify its skills increases.

The PMbok then becomes a fundamental text for all those who are dealing with an official exam to get the title of Project Manager.

Nowadays, there are five internationally recognized certifications:

 

  • CAPM – Certified Associate in Project Management
  • PMP – Project Management Professional
  • PgMP – Program Management Professional
  • PMI-SP – PMI Scheduling Professional
  • PMI-RMP – PMI Risk Management Professional
  • PMI-ACP – PMI Agile Certified Practitioner

Regardless of the type of certification, students and prospective Project Managers will refer to the Pmbok and, consequently, their work will for sure be influenced by the changes in the sixth edition of PMbok.

But not only.

Even a certified Project Manager must be updated on the changes contained in the new edition of PMbok.

Being up-to-date is the best quality of a serious and competent professional.

A careful reading of the new edition of the Pmbok will certainly be useful and a source of interesting reflections that could help guiding any type of project in an efficient and professional manner.

Leave us your comment or your impression on the new edition of the Pmbok.

 

Get familiar with the phases of your project.

Tips & Tricks: Create Projects by E-mail

Even if I’ve worked with Twproject for several years I get surprised every day by  its number of hidden features. The one that I show you today could really help you, if, for example, you cannot access the application and you have to create a task to save information that you can loose otherwise.

Twproject is able to create a task, with document attached and assignments simply reading an email written in a specific yet simple defined format.

Example:

Email Subject
NEW PROJECT Twproject Mobile Release 3.0
Email Message
CODE TW_MOB3.0
START 08/11/2016
END 15/03/2017
A complete redesigned user interface and functionality for Twproject mobile app.

This email will create a task with name “Twproject Mobile Release 3.0” and code “TW_MOB3.0”. As you can imagine this task will start on the eight of November and it will end in the middle of March.
All the text of the message will be saved inside the description, and last but not least, in case you attach documents to this e-mail, those will be saved as document in the task.

Twproject security model works also in this case, the sender e-mail, in fact,  needs to be related to a user with task create permission.

ScreenShot005

Is that simple, isn’t it? You can even create a template of your message that you can use to compose it in seconds!

 

 

The Map For Great Customization – Twproject Objects Reference

One of the most interesting characteristics of Twproject is the great customization capability that it offers to all its customers. Customizable dashboards and web parts, custom fields on all main objects, custom filters, custom Excel exports, this is what Twproject lets you modify in order to best fit your own work habits.

In order to help you generating great reports in few minutes we recently introduced an interactive page showing a complete Twproject Objects reference. Navigation between Twproject Objects is intuitive giving you access to the complete set of field you can add in your own report.

This new page is available from the customizing page in the admin section, let’s see an example of how to use it.

Say I want to modify the Excel Export on my task list adding task start date, the number of issues created, the number of open ones and also the first custom field I’ve added on my tasks.

First of all I need to go in the admin page in the Excel customization part and change the value of the CUSTOM_EXPORT_EXCEL_TASK field.

Custom Excel is created reading a JSON object specifying the name of the column and the values.

Clicking on “see Twproject’s object reference” you will be able to navigate all the task fields and methods finding all data you need to read:

ScreenShot113

The number of total issues, the open ones and the custom field are available directly on the object as fields using:

  obj.totalIssuesOpen
  obj.totalIssues
  obj.customField1

Instead there is not a direct start date field but a schedule which represents a Period object that can be navigated.

Navigating the Period object you will find the start field, reachable this way:

obj.getSchedule().getStartDate()

So here is what you have to write in the export customization field:

{"id":"obj.id","code":"obj.code","start":"obj.getSchedule().getStartDate()",
"status":"obj.status","custom Field 1": "obj.customField1", "total issues": "obj.totalIssues", 
"total open issues":"obj.totalIssuesOpen"}

Navigating all Twproject object is really easy using this reference, but in case you need help writing your Excel export do not hesitate and write us.

Let’s check this new feature.

Lots more…

Twproject facilitates user interaction and at the same time offers tools and tricks for the power user.

Languages, dates, currency

Twproject is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Russian, Slovenian, Chinese and Japanese. You can easily create and modify labels. Notice that also non-latin alphabets are supported. So also aesthetic and linguistic preferences can be satisfied. Moreover, dates and currency handling can be configured to adapt to your regional settings on a user basis.

Search anywhere from everywhere

The search field in the menu accepts a “prefix syntax” of search shortcuts: by default it searches in resources, t: searches in tasks, d: in documents, etc. . Notice how what you’ve written appears in the resulting filter, and can be further refined.

Templates

Any project can be used as template for any other. This holds for sub-trees, assignments, issues and more.

Cross links from any text

You can refer and link to any “entity” from any descriptive field. For example, you can link any task, resource or issue from any event in the agenda. You can link any other task from a project description or deliverable. Same from the issue description and so on.

Query by example (QBE)

The query by example search method offers an easy way to compose complex queries, by using operators in the search fields. Even date functions can be used in searches (and also saved in filters). A complete guide to QBE is linked from all search pages. Now filter by datecontrols support dates shortcuts.

Search and saveable filters

All filters can be saved, reused, refined. You can also define a default filter and order to be applied on accessing the search page. Notice also that all lists are paged, page size can be defined, applied immediately.

Delete preview

Deleting a task or a resource can have far reaching consequences; it is essential before proceeding to have a detailed picture of what we are eventually removing. Twproject provides an accurate and interactive feedback.

Worklog <-> agenda

You can move between worklog weekly view and the corresponding agenda week and meetings with one click. Hence you can evaluate resource availability.

Acting by e-mail

Not only agenda events can be added from Outlook, but also documents can be added to tasks by sending an e-mail, and resources created by sending a VCard. See the “manage by mail” video.

Additional fields on tasks, resources, assignments, issues, costs

By just giving labels to them, you enable additional fields on tasks, resources, assignments, issues, costs which can be used in search and filters.

Custom forms and prints

Twproject supports the creation of complete custom forms, which are automatically linked to projects and tasks, according to type. Example forms are provided. Additional prints, and actually any kind of wizard and page can be added quite easily.

Counters

Which number should I give to the next document? An easy protocol numbering system is included. You don’t need to keep counters in Microsoft Excel or in mind :-D.

Remember my choices

Whenever it makes sense, the interface automatically records the filtering options you chose. See a few examples.

Custom homes

Every user can customize the layout and content of her/his home page, with a simple drag and drop interface with an immediate preview of what will be obtained. With the help of your technical staff, you can easily build custom parts and integrate them in the homes. With the built in news management system, “company news” can be published in all home pages; the news archive constitutes a sort of “company history”.

History in short

For all objects (tasks, resources, issues, assignments, appointments …) you always see when they were created, by whom, who last modified them, in which area they belong; also from lists.

Compute in fields

You can use arithmetic expressions in numeric fields: the result of the computation will be saved. You don’t need to bring out the calculator (actually, there is one built in Twproject).

Shamelessly cheap

Well, it simply is the cheapest complete work management application ever.

Access projects anywhere

Access all your Twproject projects, issues, worklogs, events. Add and close issues, record worklogs, add events, read contacts. Read documents. And a nice last touch, access Twproject ‘s file storages acting as a gateway to your intranet documents.You won’t need to install anything on your mobile, It is simply HTML5 so it runs on all devices.
twproject mobile

It integration

Twproject runs on any server (is built in Java), on any application server, on your database, on all main browsers and in your language (all utf-8 encodings are supported). Moreover, its sources are available. It is the easiest application to integrate with your IT infrastructure. Being on your database in a normal and simple relational form, you are always in control of your data.
it-integration

Get your projects done

How do you facilitate getting your projects done? Twproject answer is capturing work done in real time. With Twproject you will be always able to access up-to-date projects data: tracking progress, forthcoming deadlines, worklogs and costs will be much easier. And you can do this while changing projects structures, creating new tasks, moving one task from one project to another.
tour-get-things-done
This makes it possible to adapt and change projects as does the real state of the matter you are working with. Twproject has a built-in agile backbone that makes it useful in the most diverse situations.

More projects done by:

  • quickly create and change projects with the powerful tree and Gantt editor
  • insert and manage quickly tens of issues with several dynamic editors
  • real time monitoring and projections of work state, past and future
  • active time-sheet definitions, and hence cost control

And more!

Moreover projects support cut/paste, cloning, creating templates, have milestones, dependencies, have integrated issue tracking, a diary, boards, detailed log of scope creep, have deliverables, have customizable project forms for evaluating complexity/risk/value …

Workflows

With Twproject you get the advantages of both project management and workflows in an integrated solution. Twproject has complete coverage of business process patterns giving you flexibility and standardization of processes and easier change support.

tour-business-process

Agile / Scrum / Kanban

Designed to adapt to your organization’s processes, Twproject supports different flavours of Agile methodologies: XP, Scrum, Kanban.
Twproject is so flexible that it lets you map projects, tasks, issues to people and customers, in many different ways, but so that all data from the different projects and methodologies ends up in the same place.
Twproject includes tools such as Kanban, burn down graph, tasks as sprints, panic board, delegation by contract.

tour-kanban

Twproject tracks your issues

In Twproject you define and organize your team’s issues, prioritize, order, and take action on what’s important, staying up to date with what’s going on around you.
Twproject makes all of this easy, so your team can spend less time managing the work and more time making your business grow.

tour-issues

Documents at one-click distance

In Twproject your documents always are at one-click distance from the project. Just drag your documents on the browser to have them available on your project. Versioning, file locking, authoring and classification are all supported.Do you want to spare the hassle of upload/download of files already secured and classified on your server file system? Easy: you can directly link projects to a set of folders and files on your servers.
tour-documents

Keep your teams connected

Twproject dynamically creates teams according to the project you are working on. You can communicate, prioritize, check their work load, share agendas, files.
Join the team discussion available on every project, keep your teams connected.
tour-agenda-week

Your time is valuable: log it with Twproject

However you work, there is a solution in Twproject time tracking system: time can be logged in several different ways because Twproject will adapt to your habits.
tour-timesheet

For instance, if you are a graphic designer, a developer or a customer support specialist, issue/ticket based worklog is your way of work logging. If you are an architect who is often doing field work, you may need a weekly plan; also a detailed view is available. If you are a project manager or an accountant, you may need timer based recording.

Work log can be validated, approved, and monitored in real time.
Generated costs can be verified any moment.