Any nontrivial project needs a plan—especially if it requires complex tasks and resources. The enterprise project planning component of Project Workforce Management interacts with workforce planning and time and expense tracking. It also generates earned value reports, which measure the true value created during project execution in any given point in time. Together, these features keep projects on track and on budget throughout their life cycles.
The project planning process begins after project initiation, during which requirements and scope are defined. The deliverables of project planning include:
- Project Work Breakdown Structure (PWBS): a hierarchical grouping of the project’s tasks and milestones.
- Gantt Chart: A display of the PWBS showing task dependencies, scheduling constraints, task durations, percentage complete, and the critical path.
- Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS): a hierarchical list of the personnel on the project, including functional groups , skill sets, and roles.
- Reports: Real-time project earned value, project status, budget, and cost/revenue reports, based on data collected during project execution.
Earned value reporting provides simple but powerful answers to questions such as: “How much is it going to cost to finish the project based on current progress?” and “What are our problem areas? And why?” Earned value analysis calculates many indicators that are used to directly answer these questions. These indicators include: Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS), Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP), Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Variance (SV), and To-Complete Performance Index (TCPI).
Calculating these indicators provides a systematic method for comparing budgets to actual for the parts of the project that have actually been completed, so that performance can be measured throughout the delivery of the work. When budgets and costs are attributed to each element of the PWBS, then these can be evaluated to determine which tasks and milestones are on track, and which need additional support—while it is early enough to take corrective action. Earned value analysis can even calculate the amount of effort required to get a late project back on schedule, and where that effort needs to be applied.
Budget and Status Reports
The project planning tool allows the project manager to compare budgets, estimates and actual for individual tasks, milestones, or the total project. Automated alerts, integration with timesheets, and a workflow engine are a few of the features that tool provides to keep project managers abreast of all aspects of the project’s progress.
Through effort tracking (enabled by integration with timesheet data), estimated time to complete, and written status reports, project contributors can use the project planning tool to communicate their progress to the project manager. The tool should also support schedule management that is based on milestones as well as deliverables.
For more details about project management and Sarbanes-Oxley, see Rise of the Project Workforce.
Rudolf Melik is the author of The Rise of the Project Workforce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World, and is the CEO and a founder of Tenrox. In his writings and speeches, Melik explores the ways that companies can thrive in a world where rapid technological advances and globalization are changing how we get work done and manage the people who do it. Rudolf’s professional blog can be found at: http://www.talentontarget.com/talent_on_target.
- Rise of the Project Workforce, Chapter 9: Workforce Planning
- Rise of the Project Workforce, Chapter 8: Initiating Projects
- Rise of the Project Workforce, Chapter 11: Enterprise Timesheet Management
- Project Management - Planning and Software
- What is "Good Enough"? - Project Quality Management, Part 1: Planning
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