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RE: Why to use a Planning Software!?

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Ernesto Puyana
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I don´t see anybody generating weekly status reports which include activities finished, activities started, on-going activities, critical path changes, near-critical future activities, finish date forecasts, accumulated percent complete figures, projected s-curves, etc. without the use of a scheduling package.

Just as don´t see any better way to convey that information to third parties, than a well designed spreadsheet. But it only performs as a presentation tool, never as an analitical engine. (by the way, I prefer Lotus 123 over excel all the time).
Alex Wong
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I had a chat with some of the senior exec in Primavera in a conference, and they stated that Excel is their biggest competitor, you can see why. Almost every project managers @ some stage of their career will try to plan their works in Excel, however my guess is not too many will success to run a big project in Excel.

My point is, project manager need to have a software/system to manager his project. To manage/control something you need to able to measure it. As a result, some sort of mechanism is require to "Plan" and "Measure" the project. For small projects, Excel may be more than enough or even a skech will do the job. However, in a large complex project project manager need to have a tool to help him to do the number cranching and thats whent he Planning Software comes in. I guess thats when we actually need to use a planning software to min. the calculation and max. the analysis.

Alex
Ernesto Puyana
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If it isn’t clear enough that you need a scheduling software in order to produce a decent plan, try doing control without it.
Luca Basile
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Yeah, something is just preparing You activity description, coding, reasourcing, etc in excel, then use excel or access for reporting purpose. Another one is what happened to a friend planner, that heard from the PM that he must start to use excel as he want to cut the cost for license of the planning application!!!
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I think the issue is more on the comfort level of each project participant. If the Project Manager is not comfortable, meaning he doesn’t know how Project Management Softwares are working, you can not expect him to manage his project using these softwares. He will really use one way or the other some softwares to which he is adept. It is really upto the planner how he can communicate the project plan, be it prepared first in excel then to PM software or vice versa. I think as long as the planner can communicate clearly, concisely, efficiently, effectively and on time, whatever method a planner used will be appreciated by any kind of Project Manager. Anyway PM Softwares are here to stay because ordinary spreadsheet softwares can not be relied on when it comes to producing responsive & dynamic planning & scheduling plans which is very very important in managing a project. I repeat the phrase is, "DYNAMIC PLANNING & SCHEDULING".
Luca Basile
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I prefer to make big part of my work in excel or access and the export it in P3.
But is different from when the management is telling You that from excel You should be able to have the critical path and make resource leveling!
Luca Basile
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I am agree with You, for this reason as planner To Your manager You have to give the schedule rolled up to high level (by coding strcture or Wbs). From the analysis he can ask You where are coming some differences or better or where to improve the completion data, and You work at your down level schedule.
Only if Your PM is asking You will give him a low level detail schedule.
With all the problem is not interesetd to go through thosand of activities to look at the differences, but is in our scope as planners.
Rahmat Hidayat
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What Drago saying is correct, it’s normal that somestimes PM refuse planning software outputs. Planning and scheduling is mainly art not pure technical calculation. For mgt consumption schedule should be presented in simple format but complete information. Planning softwares are mostly emphasized to scheduling and resources calculation to handle thousand activities.

thks
Lloyd Young
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Project Managers should have an understanding and value of a Project Plan, not only should it be part of their project lifecycle but it should be their methodology of carrying out a project, i would still like to meet someone whom can remember after several months all the problems that have occurred during the implementation stage, to a detailed level.

Having said all this the plans are only as good as the planner.
Mark Lomas
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Guys,

I too have met "project managers" that don’t understand planning, let alone how P3 facilitates planning.

Unfortunately "project manager" is a very broad term that covers a multitude of sins. Just look at the job ads in your regional papers, everyone wants a project manager.

A professional PM should have the foresight to value planners. How I wish some of our contractors would !
Luca Basile
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Time by time happen, special when some one succeed to reach a position without any particolar background.
before to reach the PM "status symbol", because it look like it is, You have to covered different positions, from site to office works (planner, estimators, etc...) as You need a knowledge of all it.

Or a PM is just some one able to screeming to every body and comply if something is going wrong with out be able to undestand why and to bring an action?

So it can happen to hear that you can do better in excel all what an expensive toold like Primavera is doing costing a lot of money to Your company!

If possible try to change project!