Twproject 7.1.000

Communication is an essential requirement within a team; that’s why in Twproject you can find many different features having this goal.

Today we added an brand new one: the mentions!

Twproject 7.1.000 includes also several security fixes and improvements.

Mentions

Nowadays, using constantly messaging applications, we got used to mentions, an efficient way to refer directly to one or more people within a larger group.
Their purpose in Twproject is therefore to simplify the interactions and dialogue between the members of a work group, improving communication and alerting people when something requires their attention.

But how do they work and where?


People can be mentioned:

  • in chat messaging
  • in project/phase updates
  • in ToDos comments
  • in worklog action (text)
mentions in the chat

If you aim to mention someone in any of these contexts, insert the @ character and start typing the name of the person. Select him with the mouse from the list and repeat this step for all the people you want to quote.
Obviously, the more you type the more refined the search result will be.
Save or send the message and that’s it.

The person mentioned will receive one or more notifications, according to the channels he has enabled in his user options tab (email, digest, sticky note or application log).

mentions options

The new widget “My mentions” is another way to receive notifications. It displays any quotes you receive in real time.
It can be placed in any dashboard.

But what if an user does not activate any notification channels and does not insert the widget?

No problem at all!
Once mentioned, a counter appears in the recipient’s menu and it disappears only once the user has read the message.

Finally, it is worth highlighting three aspects:

  • in chat messages only people who are part of the chat itself can be mentioned. On the other hand, in other interfaces, it is possible to mention all the persons you have permission to see, therefore a wider set
  • if a text containing a mention is modified or deleted, the person previously quoted will not be notified.
  • if someone is quoted in a context he can not read (for example a project he’s not assigned to), he will see only the text within which he was mentioned.

Mentions are active in all Twproject plans!

Security fixes

Within this realease, Twproject has been deeply tested to align it with the directives promulgated by the foundation “Open Web Application Security Project” (https://owasp.org). Its goal is to create guidelines, tools and methodologies to improve the security of software applications.

This makes the adoption of Twproject accompliant to Public Administrations prerequisites.

https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/star/registry/twproject-srl/services/twproject/

Molte altre novità

Dropdown menus: they have been redesigned so as to make easier and more immediate the identification of what is sought among people and tasks.
The search for people returns a list to which have been added personal avatar and company/department.

The search for projects/phases shows the status of the task, its code and ancestors tree.

ToDos: it is now possible to assign a todo to a department so that it can be seen and performed by any of its members.

Hints: new contextual tips and videos have been added.

Task public page: todos list has been splitted into as many tabs as todo types.
Thus reading is much easier!

But all this stuff is just a short excerpt of what you can find in Twproject 7.1.000!


For the complete list of all the features, please consult the changelog!

Download the new release

How important time management is for better productivity

Good time management skills can help in every area of people’s lives.

Especially when it comes to working, time management is vital to help better prioritize and improve productivity.

Managing time effectively helps you work smarter, do more in less time, and exploit more opportunities.

This article explores how important time management is for better productivity.

What is time management?

Time management refers to organizing and managing your hours of the day.

Effective time management is all about taking control of your time and energy while achieving better results without excessive stress.

When working by better organizing your time, you can achieve better results faster and with less effort.

Critical time management skills include prioritization, goal setting, and delegation.

Benefits of time management

Good time management comes with several benefits to increasing productivity. Here are the most important ones:

1.     Less stress

Managing time effectively cuts stress levels and anxiety by helping one become more focused and confident.

Good time management involves meeting tight deadlines by planning work as best as possible without feeling overwhelmed.

2. Better work-life balance

One of the most fantastic perks of time management is a better work-life balance.

Those who successfully achieve a good balance will be more productive at work and have more time to spend on personal relationships.

This is because good time management ensures that efforts focus on the biggest priorities.
the importance of time management

3.     Improved concentration

Effective time management boosts concentration and, by extension, improves productivity.

Increased concentration allows you to find more opportunities and spend more time on what matters.

4.     Less procrastination

Procrastination happens when you do not manage your time effectively.

It is easy to get distracted when you are not focused and do not have your goals clearly in mind.

Good time management skills ensure having control over your workload and, therefore, help stop procrastination.

5.     Increased energy levels

Having effective time management skills increases energy and motivation levels.

Good time managers schedule their activities and take regular breaks during the day so they do not feel overwhelmed, and their concentration levels remain high.

6.     Improved work quality

Having good time management skills helps avoid working extended overtime to meet a deadline.

Poor rest and insufficient or low-quality sleep can interfere not only in your work domain but also your daily life.

Time management, therefore, allows you to manage activities better while spending the right amount of time for rest.

Thus, completed work will be of higher quality than a rushed accomplishment.

7.     More opportunities

One of the hidden dangers of poor time management is that it kills your opportunities to expand your horizons and try new things.

If you spend your life rushing from one task to another, you will never get to explore different opportunities.

With good time management skills, you will be able to have more free time that can be spent discovering new ideas.

8.     Better work image

Rather than going with the flow, by having good time management skills, you can control your life and take the lead at work.

With enough quality rest and sleep, you will be better positioned to make thoughtful and meaningful decisions at the office.

Other people will notice, and this will increase career and promotion opportunities.

7 tips for successful time management

Anyone can learn time management and become proficient in organizing their tasks effectively.

Here are some tips:

1.     Use project management software

Smart time management is a must for project managers and teams dealing with multiple tasks simultaneously.

Lacking good software di project management that allows time tracking puts everyone at a significant disadvantage.

On the other hand, using a tool like TWproject, makes it possible to keep abreast of the schedule and deliver work within set deadlines without sacrificing quality. You might also be interested in this article, where we compared what we consider the best Project Management software.

2.     Plan

Planning plays a big role in time management since both go hand in hand.

You can, in fact, make the most of your time only when it is well-planned.

When it comes to planning, you do not need to follow a strict routine; instead, it means making smarter decisions to know the right time to accomplish specific activities.

 3.     Prioritize

Prioritizing daily activities is key to successful time management.

Focusing on your priorities is important to achieve your goals at work.

Categorization will help focus on what needs to get done before everything else.

4.     Avoid multitasking

Multitasking is one of the most time-consuming activities ever.

The best way to make use of time is to choose one thing and accomplish it before moving on to the next according to your priorities.

This way, you can focus more, reduce distractions, and make fewer mistakes.

5.     Avoid distractions

In our daily lives, distractions cost us many precious hours in a day.

Mobile phones, chatty coworkers, and social media are some ordinary time wasters at work.

To avoid allowing these distractions to become dominant, it is best to cut them out completely.

To do so, it is best to determine which disruptive factors are blocking productivity and set a fixed time of day allocated to them.

6.     Plan breaks

Regular breaks while working is an efficient way to remain productive throughout the day.

However, you can make the opposite mistake by taking too many breaks.

That is why it is important to schedule them during your workday: a short walk, listening to music, stretching, etc. all of these activities allow you to relax and return to work with more energy.

7.     Find the most productive hours

Several studies show that our day is driven by cycles that affect how alert and motivated we are, which vary from person to person.

For example, someone might be at their peak early in the morning, while a colleague might be more focused during the afternoon.

So the trick for good time management is to match the highest priority work to the highest productivity hours.

It is easy to see that starting to improve time management skills can establish a positive cycle.

By optimizing task organization, work quality will increase, opportunities will become more evident, free time will increase, and people will generally feel more energized and happier.

Effective time management reduces overload and helps you prioritize, ensuring that you work smarter and achieve goals faster.

Plan your workand better manage your time.

Make or buy? How important the Project Manager is in decision making

“Make or buy” is one of the strategic choices that project managers face in project management.

As you can imagine, this is not an easy choice. Many factors influence this decision, and it is a critical choice. It is crucial because it determines the sourcing of what’s needed to achieve your goals, affecting planning and the cost of the whole project.

There are pros and cons to doing both, but how do you decide which is the right decision to make? Let’s take a look at it in this article.

Make or buy: 6 factors of decision making

Let’s start from the beginning. When should a make-or-buy decision be made? These are decisions that need to be made when a company is looking for a new product line, is running out of suppliers, or is decreasing production capacity.

In these cases, a make-or-buy analysis will be conducted to determine if in-house production or buying the product from third parties will help the company achieve its goal.

Manufacturing companies face this kind of dilemma quite often. The same, however, also applies to other types of businesses, such as those that manage technologies such as software and customer service.

decide if make or buy

Here are the 6 elements that come into play in the decision:

1. Existing skills

What are the skills available within your team? Are these the right ones to produce the item in-house?

The first step is to consider what kind of knowledge you possess in-house and whether that knowledge is sufficient to produce the sought-after item.

For example, a business might have experienced software developers, but none of them might have the right set of skills to build a new system module.

In this case, relying on a third-party supplier would become imperative.

2. Potential skills

What if the skills are not available within the team? How much would it cost to acquire them? And how long would it take?

And again, would these new skills would they align with the company’s business line?

If the answer is yes, you can move on to make further assessments:

  • what training courses are available?
  • how much do they cost?
  • these courses would actually give employees everything they need to develop the required item?

3. Revision time

How long would it take to deliver this work in-house? Do you have enough time to do it? In this case, software that allows you to measure work time could come in handy.

Should you proceed, what activities would team members be forced to reschedule if they took on this task?

This last question is a crucial one to ask. Unfortunately, it is often completely forgotten. You might be interested in this article about Team workloads.

You may indeed have the right mix of skills and experience to take on the delivery of this work, but that means those resources will not be working on something else.

Therefore, it becomes critical to weigh how important this “something else” is concerning the project.

It is worth taking the time to answer this question and getting any stakeholders involved if necessary.

Once the analysis is done, you can compare it with the timelines proposed by your suppliers.

4. Cost evaluation

This point is straightforward: you must compare the cost of work carried out internally with the cost of work done externally.

This should not be a superficial estimate. External suppliers might be more expensive if taxes and sourcing fees are included that do not figure in the case of using in-house resources.

However, situations may vary widely from project to project and industry to industry.

5. Quality comparison

The fifth step is to compare the quality of what could be produced in-house with the supplier’s samples.

An outside field expert could ensure a higher quality product, but this is not always the case.

6. Emotional reasons

This reason tends to be overlooked when analyzing make-or-buy decisions.

A business may decide to make a product or offer a service based on emotional responses such as pride or contempt instead of following logical reasoning.

Emotionality in making such a choice could be lethal.

Make or buy analysis: project manager’s role

Make or buy analysis is one of those evaluations done by project managers, possibly with the support of other relevant parties.

This type of analysis is performed at two levels: strategic and operational.

Make or buy: strategic and operational levels

The strategic perspective is more long-term and more extensive than the operational perspective.

Factors such as competition, government regulations, key expertise, and the current market scenario impact strategic make-or-buy decisions.

At the operational level, factors may come in the form of lower costs, better quality, unreliable suppliers, or even pride.

Sometimes a product may be challenging to produce or may require a lot of expertise to be created.

Such products are not likely to have many suppliers, and it might be advisable to produce them in-house in such a scenario.

Sometimes, there may be a special order, and an item may only be needed in small quantities.

Instead of manufacturing the product, it is best to buy it in these situations.

A make-or-buy analysis allows you to reduce costs and increase capital investment. This is true regardless of whether you decide to manufacture in-house or outsource to an external supplier.

It can also serve as a source of competitive advantage. An organization can increase its value to customers and shareholders through its core services and expertise.

As a final point, the make-or-buy decision should be made with caution. A make-or-buy decision should be made considering the organization’s core competencies, short-term benefits, and long-term strategic planning.

Both solutions come with pros and cons. However, generally, companies tend to outsource functions where they lack core competency or when the cost of sourcing components from external suppliers is significantly lower.

New targets, a new way of working.

Time reporting: clarity and straightforwardness thanks to a software

Time reporting is a critical component of project management.

Time tracking provides a way to track the hours spent on individual activities and the overall project.

The best way to keep track of time is through project management software.

Let’s see how it works in this article.

Why use time reporting software?

As we saw earlier, time tracking provides a way to keep track of hours spent on each separate task and the overall project.

This visibility helps measure the accuracy of work estimates and employee effectiveness.

Time reporting as part of project management software should allow team members to add time items to activities easily.

Once time has been recorded, the software should allow time reports to be accessed and printed.

These features will help keep track of team members’ workload and report accurate information to stakeholders.

The software makes it remarkably easy to manage time without adding extra work, and not only that… did you know, for example, that you can not only track who uses the software but also incentivize them with Gadgets to use it?

time reporting

How does software time reporting work?

It may sound bizarre, but many of the questions we get from you are about aspects that we take for granted, such as, “to keep track of time, do I have to do everything manually?” or “How do I quickly tell if my project is on schedule?” (Those who have asked this question might also be interested in this article about how to calculate project progress).

We apologize if we took these answers for granted so many times. Here we will try to explain some of the steps more simply.

1. Addition of time entries

Ideally, project management software provides a way of choosing whether to create time entries manually or use an automatic tracker.

Each option has pros and cons, so the best solution depends on your task or project.

Manual time tracking allows employees to choose a task and manually enter the number of minutes or hours spent on it.

The greatest advantage of this method is that time tracking can be completed quickly and at any time without the need to remember to turn a timer on and off.

Yet, the biggest downside is that it can potentially lead to inaccurate tracking.

An alternative is using a tracker to record the time spent on each activity automatically.

Employees would click a button on the software when they begin a task and then pause or stop the timer each time they stop work.

2. Time tracking

  • A project management software should be able to show work hours in many ways:
  • By task: this visualization allows you to manage work down to the detail and helps you find which tasks are exceeding the budget or being delayed.
  • By project: provides a general overview and quick assessment of project progress and performance.
  • By employee: provides a means of monitoring and assessing productivity and workload at an individual level. This measure becomes especially critical if employees are paid by the hour, but it is also helpful for salaried employees. For example, you can compare the time spent by two different employees to complete similar tasks. If one took considerably longer, it could indicate that the other has discovered a better way to do things or that the first employee needs more training. And again, it can be used to monitor and streamline workload. If one of the employees clocked 60 hours of work and another only 20 hours, it might be necessary to redistribute activities.

3. Reporting

There are two types of reports that project management software should be able to produce:

  • Task sheets
  • Time reports

Task sheets allow employees to get a quick overview of the activities they worked on during a given week and the work hours spent working on each.

These activity sheets should include:

  • Activities on which the employee has enabled time tracking during the chosen week,
  • Tasks assigned to the employee, which were scheduled for the selected week,
  • Any task that the employee chooses to add to the task sheet manually.

The benefit of having an activity sheet is that it allows each contributor to track their progress easily.

It also provides a centralized place to see what they need to focus on each week and how their progress toward each activity is going.

Time reports are exciting, helpful documentation to the project manager and other relevant parties.

These should be accessible within the software and downloadable as CSV or PDF files.

In addition, time reports should be customizable so they can be separated by task, project, employee, and/or chosen periods.

Choosing the right tool

Time monitoring does not simply mean having a nice-looking dashboard; it allows you to observe how the team’s work time is distributed.

To choose a tool that will meet expectations, you need to know what the requirements of a project are.

Here are the questions that should be answered:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Which time tracker helps you do this in the least number of steps?
  • Time-tracking software has become a vital tool in most organizations, providing leaders with information to make work more efficient.
  • Although starting time tracking may be challenging at first, the long-term benefits will soon become evident to project managers and team members.
  • The bottom line is time reporting provides the foundation for boosting productivity at work because you can only optimize what you measure.

However, the best way to understand is to try and do! So, why don’t you give TwProject a try for free?

Optimize your time.

Project variance: how best to manage it

Project variances are a real nuisance, and successful project managers must manage them as best they can.

Changes are inevitable and can occur at any point in the project life cycle.

The key is finding the best way to accommodate and adapt to these changes.

Let’s see in this article what a project variance is and how best to manage it.

What are design variations?

Project variants are qualitative or quantitative changes to the project that become necessary due to certain changes, such as:

In essence, a change that leads to a design variance is anything that will impact other design elements.

Some of these changes may be expected, such as a stakeholder sharing details at a later date that, having not been anticipated, could affect the project’s scope.

However, many of these changes may be completely unforeseen and difficult to plan for in advance.

Why is change management important?

Effective change management is a vital skill for a project manager to learn.

However, this does not mean that all required changes are necessary or that a project manager must be so flexible as to allow changes whenever the clients want them.

The ability lies in creating a robust process that tells stakeholders when it is permissible to request changes and how.

This kind of flexibility in project management improves stakeholder satisfaction while helping to establish clear project boundaries and objectives.

How to best manage the project variance

We now come to this article’s critical point: how best to handle a project variance.

Here are what the main steps are:

1. Initiating a change request

The first point is to receive a change request.

There may be numerous reasons for this: for example, content creation may be delayed, and as a result, an adjustment of the due date is required.

Although a request is more likely initiated by a stakeholder or project leader, in principle, anyone can request a change.

A change request must include all the information necessary for its evaluation.

2. Evaluation of the change request

In the evaluation phase, a decision regarding the project variant is not mandatory, but the background information and implications that the request would have on the overall project are checked.

Critical factors in a project include timing, cost and budget, documentation, quality, and resources.

Initiating a change in the life cycle of a project should be done only after changes to these factors have been properly determined and analyzed.

If the change request passes the initial evaluation, it goes to the analysis stage, where a final decision is made.

3. Analysis of the change request

At the analysis stage of the expected effects of the changes, the final decision is made on whether the application will be approved or rejected.

An approved change request must be documented in the change log and at any other point in the project communication to ensure that all interested parties are informed.

Although it is not necessary to notify stakeholders of a denied request, it is still required to document the occurrence.

4. Implementation of the amendment

If the change request is approved, we move on to the implementation phase of the project variance.

Implementation will look different depending on the phase and type of project, but generally, it consists of updating plans and possibly even final results.

the project variance

5. Completion of change request

Once the change request has been documented, shared, and implemented, it can be officially closed.

Although we often do not have a formal closure procedure, keeping this information in a central location to which all stakeholders can refer if necessary is still useful.

In the project’s final phase, documentation, change logs, and all communications should be stored in a common place that can be accessed later.

Project variants: Conclusions

The most important aspect of dealing with a project variance is always to be prepared.

It is important to remember that changes in project management can be commonplace, and many factors, such as resource allocation, finances, and accessibility, can also change several times during the life cycle of a project.

As a result, no matter how detailed the project plan is and how well prepared a project manager may be, changes present challenges that are sometimes very tough.

Fortunately, technology is also a valuable aid in project management.

Good project management software becomes a good ally for project managers in all industries.

This tool can guide you through the entire process of collecting and managing changes throughout the project life cycle.

The project variance can be best managed with the proper knowledge and the best project management software.

We have the tools, we have the culture.

Sprint planning: how to plan it to achieve your goals

Sprint planning is an essential part of the Scrum management process.

Creating a successful sprint planning is similar to writing clues for a treasure hunt – if these are too detailed they will kill the fun, if poorly detailed then nobody will be able to find the treasure.

So let’s take a look at what a sprint planner is and how to plan it to achieve goals in this article.

What is sprint planning?

Sprint planning is an event in the Scrum framework in which the team establishes product backlog elements that they will work on during that particular sprint.

There are several key elements that should be included in any sprint plan. Here are the most important ones:

  • Sprint goals: they must be specific, measurable and achievable. They must also be coherent with the overall goals of the company.
  • Required tasks to achieve said goals: Having established goals, it is time to figure out what needs to be done to achieve them. This includes a time sequence and estimate for each activity.
  • Task assignment to team members: after each task has been outlined, it will be required to assign it to specific team members. This helps to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of what they need to do and prevents overlapping.
  • Sprint backlog: this is a list of all the tasks that need to be completed in the current sprint, as well as their priority level.

Sprint planning execution

Here’s how to perform sprint planning – in most cases:

1.   Sprint planning meeting

The first step is to meet with all stakeholders who need to be updated on the progress of the sprint. This may include, for example, top management, customers, or other departments within the same organization.

2. Past sprints review

To establish a realistic plan for the current sprint, it is helpful to review what has been accomplished in the past. This can be a great help in setting achievable goals and avoiding repetition.

3. Establishing your sprint goal

The objective of the sprint should be clearly communicated to all members of the development team and all stakeholders. In addition, it should be in writing and accessible to everyone at all times.

4. Break down the objective into tasks

This is where the real work begins: each task should be clearly outlined and assigned to a specific person to complete.

the sprint planning

5. Resource allocation

Once tasks are assigned, it must be determined who has the time and resources to complete the various tasks.

6. Setting a time period

Each activity should be assigned to a specific time period. This helps keep work on track and prevents activities from dragging on too long.

7. Measuring progress

It is important to keep track of the team’s progress during the sprint to make sure they are on track to achieve their goals. In Twproject, for example, there is an option to check whether the team is using Project tools through a user score.

8. Sprint review

The final step is a review of the sprint at the end of the work to assess what has been accomplished and determine whether the goals have been met. This meeting should also be used to generate feedback that can be used in future sprints.

Benefits of successful sprint planning

Working with sprints is a great way to tackle complicated projects.

By dividing a complex project into smaller tasks, along the lines of the Work breakdown structure, it is possible to ensure the quality of the product and deliver it on time.

The following are some of the benefits of sprint planning:

  1. Greater focus

By dividing the entire project into a series of smaller activities, it is possible to direct the team’s focus on solving the problem at hand and achieving the specific goal.

  1. Reduced costs

By using sprints, it is possible to meet any change requests that affect subsequent sprints, while the activities of previous sprints will remain unaffected. This saves time and reduces overall project costs.

  1. More transparency

Agile teams are required to share all information, and each member works with the same vision of the end result in mind. Since everyone is on the same page the chances of the project going off track are dramatically reduced.

  1. Improved morale

Agile methodologies do not limit team members to the organizational hierarchy; this means that each member’s opinion has equal importance and respect. This feeling of being valued within the team motivates employees to work better and align their personal interests with the organization.

  1. Increased productivity

Sprints in project management increase team efficiency and enable continuous improvements. This obviously has a direct effect on the overall increase in team productivity.

  1. Increased customer satisfaction

Because clients can share their thoughts throughout the project life cycle, the final product generally lives up to their expectations.

  1. Adaptability

Shorter sprints allow the team to change according to the situation and customer demands.

  1. Team building

Project teams are often composed of diverse people who would be unlikely to interact under normal circumstances. Agile sprints encourage collaboration among all members, and these interactions can help employees feel comfortable with each other.

  1. Reduced risks

While working on a project sprint, a team has multiple opportunities to address a potential problem before it materializes. Through daily stand-ups, employees know the problems each member faces and work promptly to address it.

Bottom line, proper sprint planning using the right project management software can turn the end goal into an easy-to-follow path.

After the planning meeting, all team members will know what the end goal is and will be committed to accomplishing it.

Through efficient sprint planning, the risk of unexpected occurrences is significantly reduced, allowing everyone to focus fully on delivering quality work.

Plan your work and your project deadlines.

Project costs: everything under control

A successful project must not only be on time, but also on your budget.

In this article we will see how Twproject manages project costs.

The overall cost of a project depends mainly on the scope of application; the list of items contributing to the total will be very different between a consultancy project, a building construction project or an R&D project.

We can identify two categories of costs: thoserelated to the people involved (resources) and those related to material goods (or “lump sum” services) necessary for the execution of the project..

For the resources we will have both the costs of the work done (simplifying: hours worked x hourly cost) and any costs incurred by the resource for carrying out the work (expense notes).

For all these entries Twproject collects both estimated and actual values. These data compared with the expected budget will give a complete picture of the progress of the project from an economic point of view.
A simple management of expected and actual revenues will also allow an estimate on the cash flow.

Let see in detail how it works.

Resources: the hourly cost

Each resource has its own hourly cost which depends on many factors (duties, seniority, etc.). Its definition is beyond the tasks of the PM.
Once this cost has been determined, it can be entered in the user card:

Resources: hourly cost and cost center

It is quite common to insert a “standardized” cost instead of the actual cost of the resource, doing so solves the problem of the exact calculation which could be complex.
In this editor you can also assign the resource to a cost center for cross-project analysis.

To simplify data input, in Twproject, both the hourly cost and the cost center (but also the working time) can be defined at the resource, department or company level; in this way the value will be inherited unless otherwise specified.

Resource’s cost will be entered only once, as it represents the “business cost” and will be the same on all projects in which this resource will be involved.

Resource costs: the cost of work

On each project, phase, sub-phase, etc. you can indicate resources that are involved through the assignment.
The project estimation are specified during the assignment phase (100 in the example below).

Project: resource assignment phase

Entering the expected hours, the estimated cost of this assignment will be computed using the actual resource hourly cost.

Each time a resource enters the hours worked on the project, a phase or a ToDo, the total will be updated on the project, thus generating a real cost that we could then compare with the one entered in the estimation phase.

In Twproject there are many ways to enter the hours worked; the timesheet (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), the start / stop buttons on projects and ToDo, while closing a ToDo etc.
It’s a very quick and easy operation.

One “worker hour” record, brings with it the hourly cost and the cost center of the resource at the date of insertion.

Resource costs: expense reports

An expense item related to resources is the expenses report.
For some projects it is a non-negligible cost item and Twproject takes it into account; both in the estimation and reporting phases.

Expense reports and work costs close the resources related costs.
The summary dashboard looks like this:

Resource cost summary

For each resource we find the estimated hours, the hours worked, the hourly cost, the equivalent amounts, personal budget, total expenses incurred. At the end the estimated total cost and real cost.
Each overshoot is clearly visible marked in red.
If the project is divided into phases, the last line will report estimates and costs on the entire underlying tree.
Estimates and costs can be structured along the WBS (Work Break-down Structure) simplifying its analysis .
Browsing through WBS will show at a glance where there are discrepancies between estimate and actual:

Overshoot alerts on WBS

Manage your project costs!

With Twproject you can manage your budget, insert fixed costs and expenses.

Try Twproject now!

Additional project costs

This category includes all those costs that are not dependent on the activities of the resources.
Typical examples: materials, licensing costs, external consultancy, suppliers, rental fees, etc.
For each of these items, you can enter estimated and actual value, classification, cost center, any attachment etc .:

Additional cost editor

Also in this case a table will summarize the values for this project / phase and a summary row for the data of the sub-phases:

Project’s budget

So far we have compared the estimated values with the actual.
Twproject allows us to add a dimension, the project budget.
The project budget can have different meanings and uses depending on the goal we aim to achieve.
A very common use, which is adopted by companies that work on order, is that the “budget” represents the “cost to the customer”. In this sense, the summary table is quite clear:

Budget vs Costs Summary table

On the “Forecast” line I will read the expected margin for the entire order. This is the data that comes to the PM from the commercial negotiation.
On the “Estimated” line I will read how much margin I still have to stay in the estimated: depending on the phase of the project (start, ongoing or completed) it can be used in different ways , but in any case it depends on the quality of the estimates made by the PM (or by the project team).
The last line “Actual” also takes on different meanings depending on the phase, but upon completion it will tell us the profit we will “brought home” with the project.

Even for what concerns the budget, it is possible to indicate it both at project level and at phases / sub-phases.
This approach, especially on very complex projects, together with the refined security management of Twproject, allows you to implement a delegation mechanism, in which the PMs of the underlying phases can manage their own budget.

With Twproject you can analyze costs, expense reports and cross-project hours worked with dedicated tools. Of course, there is also an export to Excel for fans 🙂

Remember that all changes to costs, budgets, hours entered, expense reports etc. are recorded daily in the project statistics, so it is always possible to go and see what the situation was on a given date:

Costs chart

To contextualize the costs with the other project parameters (dates, progress, To-Do, hours worked etc.), the statistics page with the use of the slider will allow you to have a complete picture at any point in the past:

Project’s statistic slider

Complementary to cost management, Twproject also provides for revenue management, but we will address this part in a dedicated post.

With Twproject I would always have the project costs under control without complications.

Start now with a proper cost managemen!t

 

Best project management software in 2022

If you’re looking for the best project management software, you’ve finally landed on the right list.

Online you will find many lists like this one, but most of them always include the same software which, let’s face it, does not solve even 10% of all the problems that a project manager and more generally a company face on a daily basis.

And which are these problems?

Managing projects in a heterogeneous way: Who said a company should manage all of its projects with waterfall methodologies rather than agile, why not both?

Relying on a single software for the entire project management: every company is looking for a single software, which gives you the complete overview of everything running around your projects, resources, costs, documents.

A software that is suitable for everyone: what about a software that meets not only the usability needs of the team, but also the completeness of the data for the management?

In this list you will find software that really meets these needs. Not bad right?

1. Twproject

Twproject is a perfect solution for any type of company thanks to its flexibility. It is very easy to use project management software that and at the same time offers all the tools for a complete project overview.

With Twproject you can manage your project from the planning stage, with a WBS and an interactive Gantt tool, balancing resources and checking budgets. Twproject follows the entire life of your project, helping you having everything under controls, deadlines, bottle necks and budget overflow.

At the same time it includes also a set of functionality for managing the every day work, to-do list, kanban board, weekly planner.

The cost of this software starts from 4.89 eur per user / month.

Pros: Twproject is a truly complete tool, which also offers time-tracking, cost and document management, and which better than many others gives the project manager the possibility to have an overall view of the project that is always updated.

Cons: We didn’t detect any

Twproject responds perfectly to all 3 points mentioned: it is flexible, it is complete and it is very easy to use.

2. Monday

Monday also presents itself as a truly complete tool, whose strong points are undoubtedly configurability and integrability. Monday offers a lot of templates to start with and a really nifty set of configurations. It is possible to manage complex projects and resources.

The cost starts from 8 eur per user / month.

Pros: one of the strong points is undoubtedly the assistance, which in our case was really punctual and precise.

Cons: the things that have left us most perplexed are the lack of a time tracking tool and above all the inability to enter a start and end date for the project.

Monday not including time tracking and project dates cannot be considered complete if used alone, but its integrability covers what is not foreseen by default.

3. Zoho

Zoho offers a bundle of tools that once purchased as a package will really cover all your needs, one of the main advantages is the possibility to buy only those that are really needed in the company, thus eliminating unsolicited features, but it is clearly one of the most expensive one.

Zoho offers features dedicated to project management, customer management with its CRM and a suite dedicated to smart working

The cost per user for the complete bundle is 37 eur user / month.

Pros: Zoho has launched artificial intelligence-based technology that will help you with design assumptions. A truly innovative tool.

Cons: In our experience, the most lacking part is in terms of customer support, in addition to the cost. On the use side of the platform, no particular problems were found.

Zoho responds effectively to all the issues mentioned, albeit in a somewhat expensive way.

4. Basecamp

It is one of the best known tools and probably the easiest to use. Although in our opinion it is not complete in terms of functionality for top management, it still deserves to be included for its ease of use. If your team is really adamant about not accepting new software then Basecamp could help you.

Its to-do list management is truly comprehensive, and connects all team members effectively and productively.

Pros: undoubtedly its ease of use and the cost of 99 usd per month for unlimited users

Cons: it does not include the time tracking tool which in our opinion is a fundamental element for project management, in addition to the possibility of structuring projects in a complex way.

Basecamp isn’t complete but it’s the answer if you need to give in to a team that isn’t willing to use anything more complicated than a ToDo list

Conclusion

In summary, each of these 4 software is worth trying, based on your needs and in consideration of the context in which it is to be inserted.

Each of them has its strengths and some weaknesses, Twproject is perfect if you need to really rely on a single simple yet complete software, Basecamp is the right one if you need a really basic and easy to use software, Zoho on the contrary if you are looking for a suite that, although expensive, covers all possible features.

Let us know your experience and your final choice!

Measuring Project Progress

There comes a time in the life of a project in which the PM will find himself having to answer the fateful question: “where are we?”

At the dawn of my activity in this field, many years ago, the main purpose of the PM’s job was summed up by the creation of a huge Gantt (the more detailed it was the better ), which was punctually printed, or at the time “plotted” and hung in the office behind the PM’s desk.

Then the project started and ….

Unfortunately, the reality had not been informed on the path traced by the PM and despite good intentions they could be separated.

But here unexpectedly the atrocious question fell from above on the head of the unsuspecting PM: “WHERE ARE WE AT?”

Following days were generally full of excited phone calls, rounds of emails, exchanges of Excel, screams and anxieties to be able to collect data and update the evil Gantt (which was the more detailed and the more difficult to update).

The idea of Twproject was born in that troubled era (we are talking about the distant 2001) precisely to solve this situation.

Twproject should:

  • be a tool for the whole company
  • being able to collect information where the activities are carried out, i.e. at the operational level
  • provide updated data and management tools to the PM
  • present aggregate data and statistics for top management

Without the aid of a project management software such as Twproject, the PM, once the data was collected and the Gantt updated, had to make a manual estimate of the project’s progress percentage, the extreme synthesis.

66.6%

I consider it “diabolical” to synthesize an infinite number of parameters in a single figure, but basically this is what is required of us.
A good PM will still be able to extrapolate a plausible datum, but how useful can a software be to helps us with this evaluation?

Manual progress estimation

Twproject provides you with a view of the main parameters, so that the PM can base their considerations and then manually enter the progress.

Let’s see an example: the data of the development project of Twproject 7.0.007.

Without going into too much detail, the project is managed in Scrum-like mode; we have a backlog where we collect all the ideas, improvements, bugs in the form of ToDo. Sprints, lasting 20 days, represent the Twproject releases.

For each sprint / release we move the ToDo’s that we are going to develop from the Backlog.

This is the structure we currently use:

Struttura del progetto Twproject 7.0 – Scrum

On each sprint resources (Scrum team) are assigned with the estimated hours to close the ToDo’s.

Here is how Twproject summarizes the data useful for determining the progress.

Dati riassuntivi Sprint 7.0.007

Looking at the figures, I see that 69% of the time has passed for this project, 82% of the to-do’s have been closed, 84% of the hours worked.

Surely a project in good health that could be estimated at 80% of completion.

Leaving this task in the hands of the PM, however, has two negative implications:

  • top management does not have this information available in real time and therefore the PM must update the assessment when necessary
  • the subjectivity of the assessment is a harbinger of discussions and requests for clarification

Check your project progress

with Twproject you can monitor your project progress easily with a complete overview over your statistics.

Try Twproject now!

Automatic progress calculation

To solve these two problems, the solution was to introduce an automatic mechanism for calculating the progress of the project.

To do this, we have identified the most common situations and combined them to allow you to easily model the behavior of even complex projects.

Let’s see in detail the other types of calculation besides the manual one:

Worklog done on estimated

I estimated to work 100 hours I worked 45, I’m 45%.
Optimistic. It models well both the hourly package support contracts and the budgeting and study phases.

Completed phases over totals

The project consists of 3 phases; after the first two they are at 66%.
A rather brutal calculation, but easy to understand.
It can be useful for projects consisting of many repetitive phases.
Eg: installation of 200 identical appliances.

ToDo closed over total

I have 100 ToDo’s on the project / phase, I have closed 50, I’m at 50%.
Suitable when the project activities can be summarized in lists (see ToDO lists in Twproject).
This calculation is particularly fitting with Agile methodologies.

ToDo weighed closed over total

It is a refinement of the previous one with which the “severity” of the ToDo is considered.
If I have the same 80 ToDo’s as before, including 40 “Blockers” and 40 “low priority”, if I close the 40 blockers I will have a higher advancement than closing the low priority ones.
It is a stimulus to induce to follow good practices

Encountered costs over estimated or budget

You have an expenditure (or budget) forecast of 100, if you have spent 30, you are at 30%.
Model different types of contracts related to SALs.
It also works for some no-estimate iterative Agile methodologies
Not my favorite algorithms 🙂

By dates

90% of the expected time has passed we are at 90%
Everything is always fine; by far my favorite!
Unfortunately, it cannot be applied often in real projects. Typical is the use in construction in some “waiting” phases such as settling, drying and the like.
However, it is very useful for modeling annual support contracts and similar situations

By phases weighed

I have deliberately left this type of calculation for last because it is the most flexible and “refined”.

It is based on the percentage of progress of the phases that make up the project, weighed on the importance of each of them.

Suppose we have a project consisting of three phases that can proceed in parallel, the first of relevance 60, the second 30 and the third 10.

If the progress of the first stage is 20%, the second 50% and 100% the third, the result will be

60 * 20% + 30 * 50% + 10 * 100% = 37%

When a phase advances, the project will automatically advance as well.

If it seems complicated to give relevance, don’t worry, Twproject levels all the values even if the total does not make 100.

Conclusion

Returning to our example of the sprint Twproject 7.0.007, the most suitable automatic formula is the ” ToDo weighed closed over total “, because the sprint is completely determined by the set of ToDo’s that compose it.

If we edit the project and change the type of calculation we will immediately see the effect:

So slightly better than the 80% expected per sensation.

Twproject allows you to use progress calculation rules not only on the project, but also on each phase, sub-phase, sub-sub-phase and so on.
In this way it will be possible to easily model even complex and heterogeneous behaviors.

For the Twproject 7.0 project we have development partners; in their case we have purchased packages of days and for the progress we use the “done / estimated worklog”

I could therefore have a phase of study progressing with the work done, an Agile development phase progressing by completed ToDo and a maintenance phase progressing by time.

Easy, powerful, intuitive, automatic, objective and above all without too much effort for the PM!

The information relating to the progress is then visible in Twproject not only in the summary lists but also in specific dashboards that high-level users can independently verify without disturbing the team.

Of course, all progress changes will also be tracked in the project’s statistical data, but we’ll talk about this in another post as well.

It’s your turn now! Let’s Twproject help you calculating your progress.

 



Projects and workload: what you need to know

In project management, evaluating the work load that insists over the resources shoulders plays a fundamental role for the project Happy Ending.

In an ideal world where you work with infinite resources, projects are always in-time.

In the real world, on the other hand, we often have to deal with teams simultaneously involved in multiple projects, which have to manage daily activities and several emergencies.

In this case, an indication on “sustainability” is essential to understand who and when will be able to positively bring our project to completion.

Duration and effort: which is the difference?

At the beginning, I was surprised by the difficulties that some of our customers face to understand the difference between duration and effort. For many of them the ratio was one to one.

This type of approach is not only wrong in management terms (a phase that lasts 30 days could require an effort of one hour e.g.: waiting for material from a supplier), but implies a total and exclusive allocation of the resource on that one activity.

If this approach works well in the analysis and budgeting phase, it cannot work in the planning phase.

A good question to ask yourself at this point is: “How many hours can a resource work on his project per day?”

To answer correctly, several parameters must be considered:

  • the obvious working hours (full-time, horizontal or vertical part-time)
  • holidays, illnesses, permits etc.
  • what has already been allocated to other projects
  • routine activities
  • spot activities already planned

The first two points are intuitive and partly out of the PM’s control, so we will analyze the others and we will see how they contribute to generating the “work load” of a resource.

Project activities

A project, or rather a phase, always has a start date, an end date (therefore a duration, usually expressed in working days), and some resources assigned on it.

Each resource must perform the estimated activities for a total of days / hours (effort).

Without going into too much detail, we can evaluate the load on a resource by dividing the estimated hours by the project/phase duration.

For example: a 10 days phase with an effort of 20h generates an average load of 2h per day or 25% (assuming 8 hours a day).

Easy, at least before the project starts.

But once it get started, what happens if for the first 5 days I have not been able to work on this project?

It happens that I will have to work 20h on 5 remaining days, with a load of 50%.

Therefore in the project activities the hours “not yet done” give an incremental feedback to the load, accumulating in the remaining days.

Having the opportunity to compare the “ideal” situation (the one planned by the PM, without taking into account the done/ not done), with the “real” one (which takes into account the feedback) gives many food for thought and possible corrections.

It is interesting to note that the failure to work on the planned project can be read from the worklog records.

The worklog is an excellent indicator from this point of view, it is a sort of “heartbeat of the project“; if the heart doesn’t beat the project is dead!

What said above consider the “average load”.
Twproject allows you to plan all the hours or just a part by assigning them directly on the calendar (there are various tools to do this), but the substance does not change; 20h needs to be done in the 10 days of the phase.

If a resource works on several projects at the same time, the calculations can become complicated and for this Twproject helps us by presenting this information in an optimal way.

Balance your resource as we do!

with Twproject you can manage your resource allocation, insert worklog and resolve peaks.

Try Twproject now!

Routine Activities: Do you work eight hours a day?

They are the Cinderella of activities.

Many of us, despite being in the office for 8 hours (at best :-)) can only dedicate a percentage of their time to “real projects”.

We spend a lot of time (note: I didn’t say “we lose it”) in activities not attributable to a project.

In my case: reading incoming emails, department meetings, phone calls, supporting colleagues.

In addition to these generic ones, there can be other more specific ones such as updating, training, document archiving, backup verification, maintenance etc.

How much time do I spend on these activities? Almost 3 hours a day!

I know this with some confidence because, with the help of Twproject, I recorded daily , for years, the hours spent and I know that, on average, the 38% of my time goes like this.

If I were planning a project that involves me 100% for a period longer than a few days, it would definitely go out of dates.

The funniest part is that if someone asked me how many hours I can work on one thing every day by instinct I would say “eight hours“. To avoid these errors it is important to have objective data on which to base our choices and analysis.

The worklog recording is the basis for good planning, not just for good cost control.

I know very well that this is an additional effort and in fact when I tell our clients to record the “lost” hours, the first reaction I get is of the “reluctant / snorting / I get up and walk away” type.

This is why it is important that the worklog registration activity is as “painless” as possible.

On this point Twproject is unbeatable; you can record the worklog at the close of the To-do, with the start-stop buttons, on one / two / three weeks, on the whole month day-by-day, etc .. The overhead is minimal!

With the aim of “measuring” routine activities, having a “cauldron” available where you can put everything that cannot be traced back to a project greatly lightens the recording by helping us to “reach 8“.

We always advise our customers to create a non-project “cauldron” (or “basket” or “BAU” Business As Usual for the more chic ones) which starts on 1/1 and ends on 12/31 for the recording of non-project activities .

After a few months of recordings, you can better understand how long our resources can really devote to their projects.

It also happens that it is necessary to take a look at what went into the “cauldron”; perhaps it could be structured to better “classify” routine activities.

For example this is what we use in Twproject:

Business-as-usual structured example

We understand how to use the worklog to measure the hours we can devote to “real projects”, but how do routine “projects” behave from a work-load point of view?

More or less like real projects. The effort is “spread” evenly over the period.
There is a small difference: they do not have incremental feedback.

Let’s take an example: my support activity to the development team takes me “on average” one hour a day.
If I don’t get support requests today, it’s not necessarily true that I will receive twice as much tomorrow.
In practice, the effort is considered constant over the entire period.
Its graphical representation is a constant bar:

Routine activities

Spot activities

These are activities that take place within a “contract” without knowing first how much and when.

The best example is the interventions to be made on request as part of an annual maintenance contract.

In this case, you can create a “project” that has the same dates as the “contract” and assign resources if necessary.

Since it is difficult to predict the overall effort first, for simplicity we can not specify it and leave it at zero.

If, on the other hand, you want to track it, because a package of hours has been sold to the customer, you can enter them, these will not be considered by the load anyway.

Therefore, unlike projects and routine activities, spot activities do not generate a “spread” load over the duration of the project / contract, but only on that days in which the activities are planned.

With Twproject this can be done directly by assigning ToDo’s or by using the work plan.

A practical example: Giorgio’s workload

Giorgio works in a production company and has been dealing with a specific product for many years, he supports customers who buy it and participates in the development of his customizations.

Giorgio’s daily work is therefore composed of projects of a different types, let’s create them in Twproject and see how his workload looks.

Giorgio has a general customer support project that lasts all year and takes up more or less a couple of hours a day. This project is routine:

And this is how the workload will look like:

Routine activity that takes about 2 hours a day – 25%

Giorgio is then involved in a project for a custom product of one of his customers. The phase in which he is involved lasts only 10 days and his effort is estimated at 40 hours.

This is the new assignment:

And the new workload evaluated:

75% load with the addition of a project

Finally, Giorgio has an active support contract with a specific customer, with a 40-hour pay-as-you-go package. Giorgio does not work on this project unless the customer calls him. This activity is spot and even if we insert the effort, the load does not change.

But what happens to Giorgio’s load if the customer calls him and they schedule an intervention on the product? Giorgio will create a scheduled ToDo and this will modify his load.

Workload with the spot activity scheduled

As can be seen from the image, the commercial activity has stolen some time from the Analysis project and in fact the hours that Giorgio will have to dedicate to it in the remaining days have increased.

These are just 3 simple examples managed by Twproject but which give a good idea of how to map the different types of business activities. With Twproject 7 we have worked a lot on these aspects and introduced a tool, which using the information of the load “suggests” a “sustainable” project end date for the team.

We have also introduced a tool to quickly solve load peaks and overlaps, because not always everything goes smoothly like our Giorgio, we will see this tool in a dedicated post.

Start now with a proper resource allocation

 

Motivate and monitor the use of a tool: user scores

A project management software like Twproject, to be really effective, has to be used by all the team, so, how can we valuate if and how much the software is really used?

The question is apparently simple, but it hides some pitfalls.

Twproject is a PM software used by different user profiles: Project managers, Workers, Supervisors just to name the best known ones.
 
Each of these profiles uses different tools, has different approaches and has specific needs.
For example, when a “worker” accesses Twproject, he wants to know what to work on.
A project manager would like to know how its projects are going.
She/he want to know if the team is working at a sustainable load level or is in trouble.
So, the CEO (supervisor) want an overall view on open / closed projects, their economic values and in monitoring a portfolio of key projects.

Measuring “usage” with a simple login number or connection time counter would be simplistic and ineffective.
 
Twproject 7 measure the use of the tool as well as the compliance to some good project management practices.
 
The processing of this complex data is then summarized in two simple “motivational” widgets that show users’ scores.
 
A healthy “competition” between users will help to better use Twproject and better manage their projects. It is a not negligible aspect.
 
In this post we will examine in detail how this new tool works.

 Data collection

To be able to make statistics you need good data.
I clarify immediately that the collection of this information takes place within the database of your Twproject.
The data is yours and does NOT leave your server. This information serves you, our customers, to know how your users use Twproject and manage their projects, in total respect of privacy.
If this feature is not interesting for you, you can simply disable it.

Daily, Twproject collects, for each user, a series of indicators.
Real time of use of the tool, planned hours, recorded hours and workable hours are basic indicators, not linked to a concept of “quality”.
There are also indicators more related to operations such as the number of todo closed, todo created, chat used etc..
The matching between what planned and what done are more quality oriented. These indicators are valid for all profiles, but are more significant for the operative profiles. Management profiles will find useful expired projects / phases, expired todo, overrun budgets.
 
UsageHistoryBuilder job carry out this activity .

Score computing

The collected data are processed daily and the user score calculated using a moving average over n days (with n configurable).
 
Of course, the importance given to each of the parameters described above depends on how your company works.
If it is more “agile”, thus ToDo-oriented, those parameters should have more “weight” than others.
 
We have therefore made available a tool for configuring these “weights”, here some of those:

The score is calculated as follows:
whoever has made the greatest value for a certain indicator takes the “weight”, whoever has made the smallest value still takes some points. Eg: operator “a” has closed 100 ToDo, “b” has closed 30. Since the “weight” for closed ToDo is 100, “a” will take 100, “b” 30.
 
Note that some weights are negative, ie they are “penalties”. If I have let the ToDo’s “expire”, or rather I am the operator who has let the most expire, I will have a penalty of 100 points.
Penalties encourages compliance with the project quality indicators, dates, milestones, budgets, estimates, planning.

Tuning weights over time you can incentivize use and good practices depending on which of them you change.
The widgets seen above summarises very well the data. In reality they relies on a collection of information that allows more in-depth analysis.
 
Technically this task is done by the “UsersScoreBuilder” job.
 
This tool is meant to be extended and accommodate new “dimensions”, so if you have an idea for some other indicator let us know what you think 🙂

Manage your team with ease

 

ToDo’s become adults?

A “to-do list” is a primal yet powerful tool for organizing.

We make lists for all occasions. You start as a child with the wish list for Santa Claus. You are growing up and your list becomes a shopping list,  a travel list or a documents list necessary to open a bank account.

Even at work you make lists for goods ordered, for the forthcoming week tasks, for the activities needed to close a project.

 

What makes lists so attractive?

The immediate answer is “they help us not to forget anything”.

Why you go shopping with a list in hand or we have a paper notebook next to our workstation? “not to forget anything”.
 

So it seems like we don’t trust our ability to remember too much, but that’s only part of the story.

Do you think that it is the fault of modernity and our hectic life that does not allow us the time to stop and reflect and put ideas together? Unfortunately it is not.

To do List di Michelangelo

Even Michelangelo, in 1518, had the same problem even though his list was by far more artistic than ours.

The best feature of a list is to “free us from the fear of forgetting“.

Have you ever had, in the middle of the night, a genial idea that will solve an age-old problem?
Fear of forgetting it will prevent you from sleeping.
So take a sheet of paper, write it down, turn the other side sleep peacefully.

The simple fact of being able to deposit in a safe place (the paper) helps to “unload” the mind.

So the “list” can be a check-list (the travel or shopping list), a container of ideas, but also a list of tasks  aka  to-do list.

Do To-do lists work?

I was able to experience the power of to-do lists in the home environment. I like doing small repairs, building objects, sewing, recycling etc.
I admit I am a DIY fanatic. Unfortunately free time is short and when finally I find a few minutes only complex jobs came to my mind. Then laziness took over and I turn on the TV.

For some years now I have started using Twproject to manage these small activities. I create a private project that starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st (do you know that private projects in Twproject can only be seen by the people who work there and no one else?) on which I register my ToDo’s.

Then when I have a free time, I take my phone, I open Twproject, I take a look at the ToDO list, I choose the one that inspires me (and that is compatible with the time availabl)e and I get to work.
If I can’t find it ….. I turn on the TV.

Since using Twproject, or better,  its ToDo list, I have done hundreds of repairs, dozens of new items, mending and so on,  who had been sadly waiting for years:

Grind a bottle and make a bench fan
Engrave a new mountain stick
Making glasses from old wine bottles
Cover an old floor lamp
Repair the kitchen table

It works!

Complex projects and to do lists, now it’s possible

In Twproject you find everything you need to manage your projects in an agile way keeping everything under control.

Try Twproject now

ToDO and Project Management

Can we use To Do List for project management? Of course.

“Classic” project management has always considered this unstructured, somewhat simplistic and immature approach. Definitely not suitable for managing complex projects.

The advent of Agile methodologies changed this perception; simplifying we can consider some of them, like Kanban, an empowered to-do list management. This brought to a sort of acceptance of the to-do lists in the classical PM world.
But scepticism remains, also due to inadequate tools.

There are several to-do list products on the market that pass themselves off as project management systems. Is it possible that they work well? What are the requirements they should have to get the most out of managing a project?

Let’s see some of them.

To Do List: Basic data

We do not know what data our ToDo will have to contain to be effective.
A large descriptive space is a must! A title to ease a compact view of the list will be very useful.

If you have to manage many ToDo’s you must have the possibility to tag them. The teams should be able to create its own types such as “ideas”, “repairs”, “to discuss” etc.. Strong typed types will help defining a common taxonomy about what each ToDo stands for.

 

In Twproject, you will also find code, impact, severity, priority, estimated duration, reporting date, comments and  attachments:

to do list nel project management

… and, icing on the cake, up to eight fully customizable fields.

To Do List: Status

In a simplistic view a ToDo has two states: “to do” or “done”.

In a more complex setting you will need to fit better the business process.
It is convenient having the option of multiple states, such as “suspended”, “to be tested“, “boss approval” and so on . This possibility will allow you to better model your Agile project management.

With Twproject you can define as many states you need in order to adapt perfectly to your modus operandi.
By defining a state you can tell if it behaves as “closed” or “open”:

stato nelle to do list nel project management

You may not know it, but in Twproject, when you close a ToDo you may be asked to enter how long it took to “close” it.

If you will track working times (and therefore the costs) of project, the collection of the closing times of the ToDo’s is an “high quality” information.
At the very moment of closing you remember how long it took, you are happy to have closed the activity and therefore you are in the right mood to put accurate information.

If you will track working times (and therefore the costs) of project, the collection of the closing times of the ToDo’s is an “high quality” information.

The fact that entry is quick and easy increases the quality of the information itself.

To Do List: Scope

When working with non-trivial projects, a single ToDo list could soon become very long and difficult to manage. It is necessary that it is possible to break down the “big one” into sub-list or group the ToDo’s.

There are many solutions that can be adopted, but without inventing new ones, the breakdown according to hierarchical structures, well known to PMs, such as the WBS or temporal structures such as Gantt, are the preferable ones.
They are preferable as tools designed precisely to give a rough order of execution. It is not necessary to go into too much detail with the structuring: 2-3 levels are more than enough even for moderately complex projects.

ToDo’s are in Twproject the smallest elements of a project and “live” within a project / phase, which makes management very easy.

In this case, navigation will take place through the project and its WBS:

scope nelle to do list del project management

A cross-project summary list can be viewed through filtering criteria (… do you know that all the lists in Twproject use a powerful Query By Example filtering system and that they can always be exported to Excel? If you want to know more see “search in Twproject“.

To Do List: Responsability

When a team tackles a ToDo list it must have the ability to specify who is responsible for completing a task. Our tool will therefore have to manage the information relating to the assignee.

The assignment can take place according to different criteria; specific skills, less workload, responsibility on the client or on the project, etc.

In particular, it would be important to clearly keep track of who is the applicant for the activity, since not all applicants have the same “weight”.

In Twproject, the assignee and the applicant are always clearly visible:

nelle to do list

To Do List: Timing

Typically the listed tasks are performed as ordered, but you should be able to specify the “when”.

With this information, your ToDo list can become a real schedule.

The expected execution date is important for the assignee’s workload, but also for any constraints with dependent activities.

Another aspect is that the activities can be repetitive so the tool should also manage recurring ToDo’s.

Even the date on which an activity was requested can be of great importance when our ToDo are “tickets”. In this case, there could be time constraints for execution based on “severity”.

In Twproject you will always know when a ToDo has been reported, you can specify the expected execution date or enter a recurrence.

Since the ToDo’s “live” within a project / phase, they will have to respect its dates and any dependencies. A project / phase cannot be declared closed if it still has ToDo’s that have not been completed.

If a project is managed through ToDo lists, in Twproject, you can automatically calculate the project progress percentage based on the completed ToDo’s.

To Do List: Management tools

To be truly functional, a ToDo management tool must allow a quick and effortless reorganization of the list.

Sorting: a list cannot transcend the possibility of being sortable. It is essential that you can sort the ToDo’s according to your criteria. Almost all tools allow the drag & drop of ToDo’s.

With Twproject you can order both manually with the D&D but also by acting directly on the columns for greater control:

tools nelle to do list del project management

Then there are some typical activities that it would be necessary to be able to manage on one or many ToDo’s with a few clicks such as assignment.

When distributing tasks among team members it is important that you can easily re-assign the ToDOs.

It will also be important to be able to reclassify via tags, merge similar ToDo’s, move to different lists, change status, assign a date, add comments etc.

Furthermore, the possibility of doing actions on many ToDo’s at once should not be neglected if you intend to use them in environments with a minimum of complexity.

Twproject provides you with a series of “bulk” actions that you can apply with a few clicks:

tools to do list del project management

You will also have two more visual tools for organizing your ToDo’s, the Kanban and the Planner.

The first allows you to organize between states, phases, assignees and severity:

tools to do list del project management

The second allows you to schedule the ToDo’s, i.e. your schedule:

to do list del project management

Conclusions

ToDo lists represent an Agile, quick and easy to understand approach, therefore well accepted by work groups.
In order to take full advantage of managing multiple projects with heterogeneous work teams, it is important that the tool allows you to enrich your ToDo’s with all the necessary information and provides you with the necessary management and supervision tools.

Twproject combines all these aspects in the best possible way, providing you with a work tool that is very easy to use, but at the same time with professional management tools that can satisfy both the need for immediacy of small companies and the requirements of complex projects with large working groups of large corporates.

Manage your projects and to do list in Twproject

Kanban software for project management

Kanban, is a Japanese words which means + or- sign or tag, it is part of a production organization method (called TPS) adopted in the 1950s at Toyota factories.

In project management, the use of Kanban has become a real methodology that is perfectly reflected in the principles of the Agile Methodology.

The Agile movement was born in the field of software development, but many of its principles, tools and methodologies are widely used outside this specific niche.

In particular, in this post we will talk about Kanban, how it works, how we can use it in our projects.

Kanban Board: what it is and how it works

The basic idea is quite simple and consists in arranging on a “board”, the Kanban board, some cards describing the activities to be carried out.

These “activity cards” are arranged in columns according to the stage of production they have reached and moved when an activity changes “state”.
Typically the shift occurs from left to right.

Here’s what a kanban board looks like in Twproject:

The immediate advantage of this tool is that all resources engaged in the process are informed, or rather see, the current overall state. Another advantage is the ease of use that does not waste too much time for updating cards.

The column names are specific to the activity of the company applying the Kanban.
For example, for a software development project you could use columns like “open, under development, under test, completed, failed”.
A small mechanical parts manufacturing company might use “queuing, cad / cam design, machine setup, manufacturing, finishing, shipping, completed, locked”.
It is mandatory to be able to configure the columns according to your needs.

Kanban Board and cards

The lead time, i.e. the time needed to make the card pass from the first to the last column, depends on the type of process and can range from a few hours for a Support call center to several weeks for a plastic molding company.

This consideration leads us to investigate what a single card represents.

Also in this case it depends on the process / project in which we use the Kanban; in the cases reported above, for example, a card could be a bug to be solved or a feature to be developed and therefore to be solved in a few hours, just as it could be an entire order of several days for the mechanical company.

Within the same company, I may need different Kanban boards. For example I could have software releases or “epics” on boards dedicated to planning / management use and have team kanban boards for the more operational part.
This is why it is important to have a flexible tool that makes it possible in an easy way.

It is therefore important that the cards are simple to use but at the same time capable of carrying a lot of information with them, for example: descriptions, codes, tags, annotations, attached files or images.

Kanban card in Twproject

One kanban card in Twproject is one ToDo; simple and powerful at the same time.

ToDo’s bring with them two additional pieces of information, the assignee and the project / phase that greatly extend the possibilities of the classic kanban.

In Twproject it will be possible to organize the kanban board not only by the classic “open / under development / etc …” status, but also by phase / project, assignee or severity (other groupings are under development).

Here is the classic view by status:

If we order it by project / phase it assumes new potential:

In this case columns are not simple labels, but are the objects dear to project managers with all the information, the potential, the constraints necessary for the management of the most complex projects.

In this case the Kanban acts as a trait d’union between a classic approach (projects, phases, WBS, Gantt, budget etc.) and a more agile one oriented to ToDo.

Twproject is, if not the only one, one of the few tools that allows this versatility, you can have a project created with the classic waterfall methodology, which from a certain depth can instead be managed in an agile way.

Kanban Board for balancing resources’ activities

The grouping by assigned resource is also interesting:

In this case the focus is the balancing of activities, the assignment by skills, the supervision.

This grouping is particularly useful for the team within a project phase in order to assign tasks to themselves.

A last but not less useful grouping is by severity / priority.

It is often used when working with a single “infinite queue”. In this case the work group focuses on completing the high-gravity tasks. Sometimes perception errors or more commonly bad habits cause only the highest priority column to grow.
In this case the kanban board helps us to carry out a new “triage” quickly, allowing us to re-distribute the activities correctly.
Of course it is advisable to have objective parameters for the assignment of priorities so as not to create this type of situation.

In conclusion, with Twproject, you can manage even complex projects, in an agile way, thanks to the multidimensional kanban board.

Twproject is Agile:

is designed by Agile people
developed with Agile methodology
to be used by Agile customers

And it is concrete, to give a real answer to the daily problems of project managers and teams who on the one hand want to monitor progress and on the other work with simplicity.

Now that you have discovered such a versatile tool, all that remains is to try it.

 

Manage projects with a kanban board

Manage projects with WBS (Work Breakdown Structure)

The WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is a “hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables”, at least that’s how PMBOK5 defines it.
 
This approach allows you to scheme-out complex projects starting from a “macro” level and gradually breaking down each “phase” into simpler elements. Simpler elements allows a better precision in estimation, management, control and verification. We do not want to enter into the good practices related to the WBS here, but we will focus on how to use it in Twproject. You will find on our blog several articles about it; a good start How to decompose a project: WBS examples
 
We will create an example project: “My bike”; at this stage we will not worry about dates, resources, types etc. Twproject allows us to create a new project with 2 clicks:
 

Twproject will automatically assign an unique code to the project (we will return to the topic of auto-coding with a dedicated post) and will assign us as “project manager” (also on this topic there will be a lot to say).

The area highlighted in yellow will contain our WBS.
Everything starts by clicking on the “+” circled in orange; with a few clicks our structure will be ready:

We can break down our project without a predefined limit. Usually 4 or 5 levels are enough even for very complex projects.

The WBS allows us to “collapse”, as highlighted, the phases we are not working on, to focus on the phases of interest.

The WBS also allows us to remove phases created by mistake.

As before mentioned, at this stage we did not deal with dates, but with the logical decomposition.

The WBS can organize documents, costs, micro activities (ToDo). The project security configuration will use the WBS structure as well.
The WBS is the skeleton of the project!

The WBS will behave like a menu to navigate within the project, by far better than previous Twproject versions.
 
 
But the Twproject WBS is not only a project definition tool, but also for a quick check.
 
In fact, once our project has started and fed with planning data, work done, costs, documentation, our WBS enrich with information.

For example, if our project does not respect the dates we will have alerts on the offending phases.

 
Note the color of the alerts which for the “Frame set” phase is gray while it is red for the “Braking system” phase.
 
This means that “Frame set” is not delayed, but keeps one or more phases that are.

Indeed expanding the phase, we see that the late sub-phase is “Seat”:

The same alert logic applies to

– costs in case of budget or estimate overrun
– allocations in case of overrun of the working capacity of the resources
– on ToDo’s in case of overrun of the planned dates

Twproject’s WBS is a powerful definition, edit and control tool for projects of any size.

Want to try the WBS with your own project?

2020 Project Management Trends

It is essential to know and be aware of the 2020 project management trends.

Projects have always existed and will always exist.

Their implementation will always remain a challenge, sometimes overcome, sometimes defeated. Unique methods and solutions, however, will continue to arise in the market and take this area to a new level. It is human nature that leads to evolution and Project Management is no less important.

So let’s see what are the trends in project management for the coming year.

2020 Project Management Trends: Automation and Artificial Intelligence

The first trend of 2020 we want to address is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is pushing our global society into its fourth industrial revolution.

In digital products and services, artificial intelligence algorithms are employed to customize the products and services of companies in real time to meet market demands.

Artificial intelligence technologies will help to set priorities for projects and allocate resources for production.

Real-time scheduling of operations means that organizations can adapt on the fly according to employee availability or customer needs.

Artificial intelligence can also help improve multi-level decision-making within an organization.

Consistency in decision making is achieved much more easily by machines than by people.

The more complex the projects are, the more value can be derived from automated learning strategies to understand the process, risks and results.

Artificial Intelligence research teams are developing automated learning systems to increase a project manager’s decision-making capacity by analyzing data from multiple projects. Previously, the PM used to decide in accordance with the lessons learned, now the trend is that the artificial intelligence will suggest decisions.

2020 Project Management Trends: increasing the commercial value of soft skills

Artificial intelligence and machines can definitely process, learn and visualize the most diverse information, but they lack a key ingredient in the management of successful projects: humanity.

Social skills, such as emotional intelligence and coordination and negotiation skills are increasingly considered to be some of the most valuable professional resources.

In fact, in a forecast of the professional skills most in demand by 2020 in the Report on the future of the work of the World Economic Forum, “social skills” have been classified as the second most desired skill by employers.

This means that as the use of artificial intelligence to manage some parts of the processes becomes more and more prominent, the project manager’s role as an empathic listener, forerunner of needs, expert coordinator, discreet negotiator and motivational leader becomes equally fundamental.
2020 pm trends

2020 Project Management Trends: an increasing trend towards fusion of methods

The Agile Methodology is no longer truly innovative, but to apply it well is still complicated.

And the Waterfall method, for example, is only suitable for switching from A to B, especially in those cases where the project path and the final result are well defined.

As a result of complex work environments, Agile, Waterfall and a number of different methodologies are often combined.

Organizations are adopting more and more simultaneous planning and flat hierarchies, replacing the linear and traditional method for a mix of methods.

For project managers, the mix of methodologies is a challenge, as it is necessary to recognize which parts of which methodology or combination of them will be relevant to a given case.

For this reason, PMs need to keep up with the latest methodologies and the way they are implemented.

 2020 Project Management Trends: the shifting and globalized “gig” economy

Project managers already possess direct knowledge of the ever-increasing gig economy. In many teams we already have gig workers and the growing number of working arrangements and remote collaborations has already begun to affect project management.

More than any other trend in project management, the gig economy has direct and immediate results in the work of a project manager.

There is often a smaller pool of full-time team members within the company who are supported by a widespread mobile network of freelancers.

To PMs, the management of a a remote team poses a whole new set of challenges in terms of time, people and activity management.

2020 Project Management Trends: an increasingly competitive market

The margins for organizations are becoming tighter than ever, partly as a result of the commodification of the digital industry.

Customers are expecting more, at a lower cost, and are becoming more and more expert on the subject.

In an increasingly competitive environment and tighter margins, organizations are therefore driven to specialize if they want to survive.

In short, PMs need to keep up with the times and understand market dynamics and customer needs.

Also for PM, it is necessary to develop skills that surpass the competition.

2020 Project Management Trends: the growing relevance of human-centred design

Human-centered design is a way of developing products with people at the heart of the design and the implementation process and can be considered as a way of integrating business and technology based around human needs.

This concept has already existed for several years, but has taken on a key role with the rise of the Agile and Lean principles and their emphasis on product design based on direct user feedback.

As digital products become more prevalent in our lives, organizations are becoming increasingly aware of how to proceed with their design.

Products that meet real needs, ensure the best user experience, present the least risk and have the greatest positive impact on humans are being sought.

Increasingly, companies will therefore be responsible for creating products that meet the needs of users, driven by the vision of customers and their feedback.

Today it is necessary to produce something innovative and with a strong impact, built on empathy towards human needs and desires.

2020 Project Management Trends: a greater attention to data

With new project management tools you can collect large amounts of data, but you also need to use them properly.

From understanding customer needs to retailing risks, analyzing data for important information is a key activity in almost every project.

A PM has to become a sort of data translator so that it can extract the basic information for the optimal execution of the project.

Understanding project management trends for 2020 will help both organizations and project managers to coordinate new and existing business strategies.

Whatever the future trends, the main thing is to understand that the key to success will remain people’s skills and creativity.

These two components will help to create the best project team and create a high quality product, in any industry.

Manage your goals with Twproject

One try is worth a million words.

Save yourself from those creepy projects!

It’s Halloween this night and you, just like a toddler, are scared…not by vampires, witches or creepy mummies but by those projects that will never end in time nor in budget. I know it sounds familiar, but Twproject is here to help with a new fantastic release and a special 15% coupon discount for all those brave project managers who want to fight monsters 🙂

HALLOWEEN15

The coupon is valid until the 4th of November so do not waste your time and start organizing your projects better so that you can just focus on candies!

The new release (6.5.65012) includes several bug-fixes and small improvements. The complete lists is available here.

New Twproject Release – Project progress check bars on Gantt

Twproject is out with a small new release including some bug fixes and a new interesting feature.

Twproject 6.5.65011 includes a new bar that can be activated on your Gantt showing task progress over time. You can pick a date, or more than one and see the progress status of your task at that specific date:

You can check the entire list of features/bug fixes in our change log.

 

 

Communicate with the project team: the best techniques to use

A good communication with team is the main method for excellent project management. In fact, effective communication allows a project to have a successful conclusion, but on the other hand, bad communication could be fatal.

The project teams are in a constant state of communication: e-mails, videoconferences, phone calls, messages, face-to-face discussions, and non-verbal interactions.

Whatever the type of media used, project teams can increase the chances of reaching goals if the right communication strategies are developed and if everyone is kept informed about what is happening.

Here are some suggestions for the project manager in order to communicate effectively with the team during the project.

Adopt an “open door” policy

An “open door” policy allows anyone to ask questions and expose concerns and ideas at any time.

This is an important part of building trust within the team. Knowing that it is possible to ask questions about any concern is a great motivation for team members. It makes them feel important and an integral part of the project.

Another suggestion is not only to “open the door” figuratively, but also literally. Removing physical obstacles between employees creates a sense of mutual trust and encourages an open exchange of ideas.

Be open to mutual feedback

Nobody is perfect, so we all need a feedback from time to time.

A criticism or feedback is useful when it is constructive and, to be effective, it must be clear and detailed.

And we must not forget that feedback or criticism, whatever it may be, must be accepted and processed by the person who receives it. A good Project Manager must be ready to carefully examine the feedback received from the team and to take, where necessary, the right measures and / or corrections.

Be clear about the activities so that everyone knows his responsibility

No one can complete an activity if he is not sure what his responsibilities are.

For a project manager, it is essential to make sure that the whole team knows the purpose of the project and that each individual has a clear idea of what exactly is expected of him. In this a RACI matrix can be very useful.

Bringing the team together regularly in order to monitor progress, ask questions, and tackle any problem is another effective way to keep everyone on track. Make sure all team members are aware of their responsibilities within the project.

Do fun things to boost morale

Team building exercises have long been used to improve communication between team members.

In addition to organizing role-plays or other workplace activities, it is also possible to organize a dinner (for example once a month).

The goal is to create socialization among team members. When colleagues are comfortable with each other, they communicate better.

The feeling of having a second family at work makes people more willing to work harder towards a common goal.

Give a purpose to coffee breaks

coffee break
Linked to the previous point and team building: a coffee break allows everyone to interact informally while still in the workplace.

Coffee is the fuel that allows most people to “survive” during working days, so why not make it enjoyable and productive at the same time?

Communication training courses

This can be very effective for improving group communication.

Communication-focused training is not just about basic conversation skills but, depending on the course, it could include presentation skills, writing skills, and training on managerial skills.

Decide which form of communication works best

Different situations require different ways of communication.

For a project that involves team members working remotely, for example, a video conference is an excellent way to keep in touch and exchange information on progress and goals.

For projects with an internal team, face-to-face meetings are often the best method of communication.

In short, depending on the type of project and team, the most efficient form of communication could be different. Therefore, it is important to choose it well.

Use project management software for greater transparency

Project management software enables transparency across the team, giving the possibility to monitor progress, collaborate with other members, and check details and deadlines.

With a simplified system, everyone has access to project specifications and can leave comments that others can see. Moreover, a chat inside the software, will greatly facilitate the communication between members.

Identify group leaders

In most project teams, there may be several leaders (below the project manager) who coordinate team subgroups.

It is important to make clear from the start who those leaders are, let the team members, but also the project manager himself, know exactly who to contact in case of problems or questions.

This process distributes work more equitably among leaders and reduces stress on individual team members.

Understanding diversity problems

When people of different nationalities, ideologies, and languages collaborate, the ideas that come from them can create something really special.

But diversity does not come without its challenges: accents, dialects, and cultural dialogues can sometimes lead to confuse communication and create misunderstandings.

To avoid these difficulties, team leaders, together with the project manager, must work on a strategy to minimize these problems.

Identify the strengths of each individual

Not all people like to communicate in the same way.

Visual people, for example, tend to prefer written forms of communication, such as e-mail or software, whereas other type of people benefit more from a phone call, video chat, or face-to-face meetings.

Taking note of the fact that everyone is different and prefers a different form of communication, not only does it improve the spread of information, but it allows us to recognize people as individuals and not as mere numbers.

Be open and honest with team members

Perhaps the most effective way to improve interpersonal communication in the workplace is to spread a sense of trust among team members.

Transparency is the key. If team members feel that some information is kept secret, any trust that has built up over time goes away.

Obviously, some sensitive information must be kept secret, but when it comes to something related to team members, they have the right to know.

The project manager must therefore be open and honest with them and ask them to do the same.

Mutual trust is important in every relationship, including professional relationships.

Take advantage of mobile devices

mobile devices

Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone or other mobile device connected to the network.

So why not take advantage of the opportunities that technological progress gives us?

Some software solutions for project management, for example, can offer an app for project managers and team members, with which it is possible to stay up to date on project developments in real time. In Twproject, for example, you can use the chat.

Make an anonymous survey

In many workplaces, it can be difficult for team members to always be honest.

In order to understand the needs and concerns of the team, a solution can be that of an anonymous survey.

In this way, it will be possible to collect all the concerns that are not directly communicated and find out possible problems that the project manager could not know.

People are more likely to be honest if they know their opinions are and will remain anonymous.

Take responsibility for errors

The best managers are those who assume their responsibilities, even – and above all – when it comes to errors.

Everyone makes mistakes, so by confessing his own fault, a project manager will show to be a human just like his employees.

Using these suggestions, you can bring the team together, improve communication and, in general, make the workplace a better place.

These factors lead to an improvement in the quality of the project, better control over the budget, and greater customer satisfaction.

When the workplace becomes a second home and colleagues become a second family, this cohesion translates into maximum team productivity.

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The level of detail of a time schedule

Creating a complete schedule is one of the most difficult tasks that a project manager has to face.

Precisely for this reason, we want to speak about this subject again in order to better clarify some points that concern the level of detail of the time schedule or, in other words, how deep we must go into details in order to predict the timing of the project.

The preparation of a time schedule should be carried out within a formal structure, in which clear lines of authority and responsibility should be established. Let’s start by seeing what the steps are.

5 basic steps for preparing a time schedule

There is a commonly used five-step process for preparing the time schedule. It looks like that:

  1. Definition of the activity: involves the identification and definition of those activities that must be carried out to achieve the goals.
  2. Sequencing of activities: involves the accurate identification of the constraints and relations between activities and establishes the order in which these will be carried out.
  3. Estimate of the duration of the activity: determination of the time required to complete the activities that make up the program.
  4. Development planning: involves the development of realistic start and end dates for each activity.
  5. Control planning: identify program changes and manage actual changes to the program.

The time schedule is therefore fundamental for the correct execution of the planning and control functions of the project management.

The planning phase of a project contributes to the development of detailed plans and budgets and the identification and allocation of the resources required in all project activities.

Moreover, during this phase, a series of integrated programs are developed at multiple levels that link all the activities of the time schedule, showing their logical relationships and possible constraints.

The level of detail developed for these programs depends on the scope and risk of the project.

This process provides a hierarchy of functional and layered programs that can be useful for monitoring the progress of the project.

The details of a time schedule

So let’s see what are the different levels of detail that a schedule can present.

Level 1: The Project Master Schedule (PMS).

This is usually reported in one single page, in which the main activities of the project are highlighted, the milestones, and the key results for the entire project.

It is used to summarize project planning in reports and other documents when more detailed planning is not required.

Frequently developed by the “client” as part of his first feasibility studies for the project and then maintained by the contractor; it can be used to assist in decision making.

Level 2: Summary Master Schedule (SMS).

It describes the overall project divided into main components by area and is used for higher level management reports.

It will include Level 1 information, but in more details in order to show the activities by area.

It should demonstrate the guiding path for the structures and the main process systems based on the purpose of the project.

The relevant public of this type of program includes – but is not limited to – general managers, sponsors, and project managers.

schedule

Level 3: Project Coordination Schedule (PCS)

This program is a summary of planning activities and is generally developed by the main contractor or project team during the initial planning stages.

Level 3 planning covers the entire project and is used to support the monthly report.

This includes all the major milestones, the main design, procurement, construction, verification, and start-up elements.

During the project execution phase, this planning defines the general critical path and is the main coordination tool for the project as a whole.

Level 4: Project Working Level Schedule

Level 4 presents the detailed plan of the work that needs to be done, where each part is an expansion of a part of the Level 3 program.

This is the program that shows the activities that must be performed by the project team.

The dates generated by the activities included in this program represent the expected start and completion of the project.

The level 4 program can cover the entire project or part of the project, depending on the size and complexity of the project.

A critical factor is to keep this type of planning in such a dimension that can be easily managed, updated, and validated.

The recipients of this type of program are mainly project managers with their teams.

Level 5: Detail Schedule

This program presents the further subdivision of the activities included in Level 4.

In short, this is a program used to map the detailed activities necessary to coordinate daily work in specific areas.

Level 5 schedules are developed by workforce supervisors to plan and coordinate their work in detail.

These level 5 programs are generally replaced every 1 or 2 weeks, depending on the complexity of the job.

Important notes on the level of detail in a time schedule

  • Level 1 and 2 programs are normally developed as part of the project’s pre-feasibility studies.
  • Only in the case of very complex projects, there will be a complete planning of Level 1 and Level 2. Generally, less complex projects have just level 2 planning.
  • If the project is relatively small, the level 3 program is expanded into a level 4 program to coordinate the execution of the work. In large projects with multiple Level 4 schedules, Level 3 planning is maintained as overall project planning.
  • Each project requires a level 4 program to coordinate the project work day by day. However, the overall size of this program must be “manageable” and focused on work in a single area. Therefore, Level 3 planning becomes essential for the overall coordination of the project.

In conclusion, each level of a time schedule has its specific function, also based on the complexity that a project presents.

It is important for a project manager to be able to “navigate” between the different levels and to be at the right level of detail in order to bring a project to its success. To do this, it is essential that a project management software such as TWproject is available with which to manage each time program level.

Try it now by clicking here. The test is free!

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New Twproject Release – Attendance Overview & Task File Storage

We are finally out with a new great release (6.5.65009). Among lots of improvements and fixes, we include 3 new fantastic features: a dedicate page for resource attendance, 1 new widgets that will enrich your dashboard and last but not least a new way to link a specific file storage to your entire task tree.

You can download the new release here, it includes some database schema updates so do a complete backup before upgrading.

Widget dashboard

A new widget will help you having an idea of the load of your team, you can also change tho workgroup checking the load of different resources.

Attendance Overview

The other great feature we added in this new release is a dedicated page for attendance overview.

For this purpose we changed the event type behavior. Since this new release you will not have the unavailable check anymore in your event, but you will need to specify a type, types are now marked as unavailable or not:

So, for example, to create an unavailable event for holidays, you will need a holidays type marked as unavailable.

The update procedure will create automatically a new event type called”unavailable” and will assign it to all events marked that way. After you create the correct events types, like permit or trip, you should change events, at least those in the future, with the correct types.

To help you in this procedure we also changed the event list page to bulk change types.

Thanks to this the attendance overview will look like this:

You will have the list of your event types with relatives events, a specific row for worklogs (red if missing) and one specific row for overtime: calculated according to your work settings, worklog inserted and unavailable events.

Task File Storage

The first step to assign a file storage dedicated to your tree is to create it (tools -> file storages).

Once You have it (copy the filestorage code) you can go in the dedicated section from admin -> project defaults:

In this case FT is the code of the file storage that I have created before, a folder in my file server I pick to save projects file:

Thanks to this simple step, from now on you will have on your project/tasks a dedicated folder for your files. The system will create a dedicated folder for every node of the project tree, and the name of this folder will follow the specification you insert, in my example I chose the task code.

The complete list of all new features is available on the change log page.

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