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Basic planning techniques

8 replies [Last post]
Hazel Stilgoe-McC...
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My other half is starting to plan and i dont know of any courses or books that cover planning from the basics such as phases through to resourcing and earned values. I cant teach him as we dont work together and dont have enough time when at home to get near the PC to show him. any suggestions for a newbie we dont want software specific planning just genenral planning

thanks

Replies

Hi Hazel
Basic course on project scheduling is included in the Help system of PM software Spider Project. Its Demo version with 40 activities per project restriction can be downloaded from http://www.spiderproject.ru/demo_e.php
Menu item "Help and Support/Project Scheduling Technique" opens the course on project scheduling that starts from the basic things like what is critical path. The course consists of four parts. Third and fourth include advanced features somewhat specific for Spider Project because other PM packages do not support discussed functionality, but first two may be useful for anybody.
So I suggest to download Spider Project Demo that is very compact and study this material.
I will be glad to answer the questions. Besides the questions may be sent to Spider Project Support using "Help and Support/Technical Support E-mail" menu item.
I hope that you will find this course useful.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
R. Catalan
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Mike,

Thanks Mike, you deserve the best from PP.
Will keep my details as is.

Best regards,
Mike Testro
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Hi R****L

You usually use your initial R but this time you signed off with your full first name.

I have blanked it out for now in case it was a mistake but if you want to use your full first name then please change your details.

Best regards

Mike Testro
R. Catalan
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Hazel,

For EV, this is an excellent book;

Earned Value Project Management
by Quentin W. Fleming & Joel M. Koppelman

Regards,
R*****
Samer Zawaydeh
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Dear Hazel,

Yes, a standard already exist. You can order it from Project Management Institute www.pmi.org

"Practice Standard for Earned Value Management"

http://www.pmi.org/Marketplace/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?GMProduct=001000...

With kind regards,

Samer
Hazel Stilgoe-McC...
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Joined: 18 Jan 2006
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thanks yes we were aware of all these helpful hints but he wants to go further into costing and resourcing, and yes he has read lots of stuff on EV but we wondered if there was a book as this is the first time his company are planning and everyone has to be able to do it in the office
Samer Zawaydeh
User offline. Last seen 2 years 47 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 3 Aug 2008
Posts: 1664
Dear Hazel,

Mike provided you with a beautiful process to create an excellent plan. You can apply it to the projects that you want to complete.

I want to bring to your kind attention that you can search the net and read about the Earned Value at the wikkipedia.
Basically, you have the plan to complete the project (time and cost). You will have the cost of completing the activity and the selling price when completing the activity. From these value you can measure the earned value and the percentrage associated with it.

With kind regards,

Samer
Mike Testro
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Joined: 14 Dec 2005
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Hi Hazel

I have never read a book on planning because I am not a planner.

The basic principles are easy and you do not need a computer.

Get a book of A3 graph paper and some coloured pencils.

For a start consider the simple process of cooking Sunday lunch - Roast Beef Yorky and Roast spuds with carrots peas and gravy. (I am druling already now thinking about it)

Now in the left hand space write a vertical list of ALL the things you have to do to complete the meal - from Switch on Oven to Lay Table and Serve - these are your Tasks or Activities.

Allot a duration of 10 miinute time slots in the next column - Peel spuds 1 unit - Par Boils Spuds 2 units - Roast Spuds 5 units etc.

Across the top write in the time sections in 10 minute slots.

Now using a fine pencil draw a slanting line from the top left hand corner of the open graph paper to the bottom right.

Now fill in the time it will take for each of your tasks by drawing a horizontal line of stated length over the sloping line - you can use different colours for Food Prep - Cooking Time etc.

If you have got your left hand tasks in the correct order then your horizontal bars will just slot into place.

If however you have put "Par Boil Spuds" before "Peel Spuds" then you will have to re arrange your sequence of tasks so that they are correct chronologically.

Now you consider what tasks rely on the completion of another task before it can start.

As before Peel Spuds > Par Boil Spuds > Roast Spuds is a reasonable sequence so draw a little arrow between the end of Peel Spuds to Start of Par Boil Spuds - This is a series of Finish to Start Logic links.

Do the same for all such sequences.

Now you want to bring it all to the table piping hot and some tasks are longer than others - Roasting Beef say 2hrs 20 mins = 14 nr 10 minute time slots.

It will need a 10 minute rest before carving so the start of Beef Cooking will be 15 time slots before serving - the beef roasting will have "Warm Up Oven" as the start task so you place the bar in the latest possible point to end at Lunch Time. It may be that the Beef Roasting will be the longest bar in the chart and this will be critical to getting it to the table on time - this is known as the critical path to completion.

While this long task is going on shorter tasks can be done at the same time thus using up the spare time - the spare time is called float.

If you do not have enough pots or cooking rings to do all the veg at once then you will have to work out which of the veg you are going to do first and which can wait - this is resource management.

Let me know how you get on.

I used to complain that my wife did not use the correct sequence so she said "Show Me" which I did and now I have got the whole sequence in my head every Sunday.

Another point to consider is that some construction projects are more complex than cooking Sunday lunch - but not many.

Other people out there will tell you about books but my advice is don’t bother.

Hands on experience works much better.

Best regards

Mike Testro