Chapter 4: Project Management

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Projects

When you select the Project Management node, a search screen is displayed. You can search for a project either by its ID, or a set of other search criteria. To search by ID, choose 'By ID' from the Search drop-down list and enter the ID in the ID field. Alternatively, select 'By Criteria' from the Search drop-down list. In this case, you can search using Business Unit, Stage, Name, Description, Traffic Light, Category, Status, Priority, Run By, or For Client fields.

If you leave these blank, a wild-card search is performed, which will return all projects. Press Find to perform your search. The search result is displayed in the table below the search criteria.

Provided that you have the relevant permissions, you can:

The Graphical View tab displays the search result as a pie chart.

The pie chart can be organized in terms of project Traffic Light, Status, Category, Priority, or For Client as denoted by the View By drop-list. You can view the projects represented by each pie chart segment by clicking on that segment. You will be asked if you want those projects to be added to the navigation tree.

The Find Requirements tab allows you to search for requirements across projects. You can search for requirements by Business Unit, Project, Requirement title, Description, Attachment, Category, Complexity, and Status.

To view a requirement's details, select its row and press the Details button, or simply dooble-click the row. The parent project for the requirement will be opened and the requested requirement highlighted in the Requirements tab of the project, so that its details can be viewed.


General Details

When you create a project or view the details of an existing project, the project is added to the navigation tree, as a child of the Project Management node.

The General tab displays project summary information. If you have project edit permission, you can modify some of these fields. Fields specified as read-only are managed by the system.

User Access

The User Access tab allows you to restrict project access to specific groups or users. For a new project, the user access table is initially empty, meaning that there is no access restriction (other than imposed by a user's security permissions and their business unit).

To restrict access, add rows to the user access table by pressing the New button. The row cells are editable. Simply click on a cell and select from the drop-down list.

The above example illustrates user access by giving the "Project Manager" security group update access to the project, and giving "Peter Gate" view access.

One important point to note is that the user access table can only be used to restrict access, and never to broaden it. For example, if a user in the "Project Manager" group is not in the project's business unit, then s/he won't be able to access the project anyway.


Requirements

The Requirements tab displays the project requirements as a hierarchy.

Each row in the table specifies a project requirement. Atomic requirements are displayed in normal face, whereas nested requirements are displayed in bold face. The latter can be expanded by clicking on the + symbol to view the sub-requirements. Requirements can be nested to any depth.

Requirement Details

When you select a requirement row in the table, its details are displayed in a panel below the table, so that you can edit them. If you don't have project edit permission, then the details will be displayed as read-only.

The Title field should contain a meaningful title for the requirement. The Category, Complexity, and Status fields are used to classify requirements as they evolve.

Requirements description can be captured in one of two ways. For a simple requirement, choose the Described Below radio button and enter the description into the text box below it. A long and more complex requirement (e.g., containing images) is best captured in a separate document. Choose the Described in radio button, and press the Pick button. The view switches to project Attachments tab, where you can attach the document and then press the Pick button. The result is that the document is attached to the project and linked to the requirement. Subsequently, you can view/edit this document by pressing the Goto button. The view switches to the project Attachments tab and the attachment is automatically selected so that you can view/edit it by pressing the View or Edit button. To detach the document from the requirement, press the Unpick button.

Requirement Toolbar

The toolbar above the requirements table provides a set of tools for managing the requirements. You can apply an operation to multiple requirements by selecting them (for multiple selection, use the shift or control key when you click). The button names used below are the same as the button tooltips (these show when you hover the mouse over a button). Generally when you apply an operation to a requirement (e.g., delete), all its children (if any) are also similarly affected. A handy way of viewing a requirement's details is to double-click its row. This causes the requirement details panel to be shown (if hidden) and, at the same time, selects the contents of the Title field so that you can type over it.


Resources

The Resources tab displays the human resources (users) allocated to the project.

For each resources, the resource name, job, project role, and steering committee membership are displayed. The Name and Job fields are as per system-wide users definition. The Project Role cell is editable: when you click on this cell, a drop-down list of project roles is displayed for you to choose from. The Steering Committee Member field is also editable: click in the cell to tick or untick the check box.

Resource Details

When you select a user in the table, the user details are displayed as read-only in the panel below the table. You can drill-down the user by pressing the Details button. If you have user edit permission, you can then edit the user. However, this is usually not required, as the intent here is just to pick the resources for the project and set their role and steering committee membership status.

Resource Tasks

The Tasks tab in the bottom panel allows you to search for tasks allocated to the currently selected resource.

This is useful for finding out which tasks the user is allocated to across any number of projects.

You can search for tasks using Project name, task date range (any task whose duration overlaps with the From and To dates, matches), task Status, and task Priority. Press Find to begin the search. If you leave all these blank then a wild card search is performed.

The matching tasks are listed in the table below the search criteria. You can drill-down a task by selecting its row and pressing the Details button, or by simply double-clicking the row. The view switches to the project Plan tab, and the task is highlighted.

Resource Load

The Load tab in the bottom panel allows you to view the work load for the currently selected resource.

This is useful for finding out the extent to which the resource is utilized, so that any under/over-utilization can be addressed.

You can search for the load using a date range as denoted by the From and To fields, task Status, and task Priority. The Frequency field controls the granularity of the search result and may be one of: Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. For example, if you set this to Weekly, each row in the search result covers a one week period. The Tolerance% field can be used to specify a tolerance for detecting under/over-utilization. For example, if you set this to 10%, the search result is highlighted accordingly:

The Format field controls the search result format and may be one of: Table+Graph, Table, or Graph.

Press Find to begin the search. If you leave the search criteria blank then a wild card search is performed.

The search result shows resource load across all projects.

You can drill-down both the load table and the load graph to determine the cause of under/over-utilization. To drill-down the graph, place the mouse pointer over a graph at the point of interest (the cursor will change to a hand). If you click the mouse, the corresponding row in the table is selected. To drill-down a row in the load table, double-click it. The view will change to the Tasks tab, the From andTo date fields are set for that duration, and an implicit search is performed, showing all matching tasks. You can then drill-down any of the matched tasks.

Resource Toolbar

The toolbar above the resource table provides a set of tools for managing the resources. You can apply an operation to multiple resources by selecting them (for multiple selection, use the shift or control key when you click). The button names used below are the same as the button tooltips (these show when you hover the mouse over a button).

When you create a new project, the list of resources in this tab is initially empty. You can add resources by pressing the Insert Resource Before or Insert Resource After button. The following dialog is displayed for you to choose resources.

Those resources already assigned to the project are dimmed. Any additional resource can be selected by clicking in the first column. This is a toggle cell: a tick mark appears when you click in the cell, and disappears when you click it again. After you press the OK button. All enabled rows with a tick mark are added to the resource list. For a newly added resource, the Project Role field is set to the resource job if the latter matches one of the available project roles. The available project roles is managed as a pick list and is therefore customizable.


Plan

The Plan tab displays the project plan as a hierarchy of tasks and a matching Gantt chart.

Each row in the table specifies a project task. Atomic tasks are displayed in normal face, whereas nested tasks are displayed in bold face. The latter can be expanded by clicking on the + symbol to view the sub-tasks. Tasks can be nested to any depth.

When you select a task row in the table, its details are displayed in a multi-tab panel below the table, so that you can edit them. If you don't have project edit permission, then the details will be displayed as read-only.

Task Details

The Task Name field should contain a meaningful name for the task. If the task is actually a milestone, tick the Milestone check box. Any fields not applicable to milestones will be automatically hidden.

The Required Effort field should contain your estimate of the overall effort required for the task in person-days. The next two fields denote, respectively, the type of start date and the Required Start date for the task. The type of start date is a drop-down list of the following values:

The next two fields denote, respectively, the type of finish date and the Required Finish date for the task. Similar rules as for the required start date apply.

The Required Effort, Required Start, and Required Finish dates are used by the system to determine how the task should be scheduled. The next row shows the Scheduled Effort, Scheduled Start, and Scheduled Finish as worked out by the system. Note that these fields are read-only because they are automatically managed by the system. During scheduling, the system considers the constraints imposed by other tasks and any dependencies amongst them to come up with a reasonable outcome.

The %Complete field indicates the extent to which the task has been completed. This field can be manually updated by the user. When users submit timesheets, the system also uses the timesheet information to automatically update this field.

The Status field is managed by the system, and will show one of the following values:

The Priority field can be used by the user to indicate the business priority of the task. The Notes text area can be used to enter arbitrary textual information about the task.

For a nested task, all the scheduling fields are read-only, because the system works these out by aggregating the sub-tasks. Also, the Required Start and Required Finish fields are irrelevant and therefore hidden.

A handy way of viewing a task's details is to double-click its row. This causes the task details panel to be shown (if hidden) and, at the same time, selects the contents of the Title field so that you can type over it.

Task Dependencies

The Dependencies tab displays the task's dependencies, as a table.

To create a dependency, press the New button; a new row is inserted. To delete a selected row, press the Delete button.

The ID cell is editable and contains the ID of another task on which this task depends. When you enter a value in this field, the corresponding task's name is automatically displayed in the Task Name cell as visual confirmation. The Delay cell default to zero. You can enter a positive value here to create a delayed dependency (measured in days).

Dependencies are shown as directed lines (links) in the Gantt Chart. When you select a row in the dependency table, the corresponding link is highlighted in the Gantt chart. You can also create dependencies directly in the Gantt chart by pressing the mouse button in one task, dragging to another, and releasing the mouse button.

The system will not allow meaningless (e.g., circular) dependencies to be created.

Task Resource Allocation

The Resource tab displays the resources allocated to the task, as a table.

This tab is disabled when the selected task is a milestone or a nested task.

To allocate a resource, press the New button; a new row is inserted. To delete a selected row, press the Delete button.

The Resource cell is editable: when you click on it a drop-down list of project resources is displayed from which you can choose. Upon choosing a resource from this list, the Job and Project Role cells are automatically updated. The Allocation % cell is also editable (defaults to 100%). This field denotes the percentage of the resource's time allocated to the task.

Proposed Tasks

The Proposed Tasks tab displays the tasks proposed by users, as a result of timesheet submission.

To accept a proposed task, select it and press the Add To Plan button. To reject a proposed task, select it and press the Delete button.

Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart view of the project plan provides a visual outline of the tasks, their dependencies, start and finish dates relative to a calendar, and task resource allocation.

The calendar appearing at the top of the Gantt chart is divided into major (e.g., years) and minor (e.g., months) subdivisions. You can customize these by right-clicking on the calendar. A menu is displayed, allowing you to choose from one of these view options:

Three dashed vertical lines appear below the calendar and within the Gantt chart. The two gray lines indicate the start and finish date for the project. The green line indicates the current date.

Tasks appear within the Gantt chart according to these rules:

You can visually edit the Gantt chart through mouse click and drag operations: Upon modifying a task (via the details tab or directly in the Gantt chart), the system automatically reschedules all directly or indirectly dependent tasks, so that the overall impact of the change on the plan is evident.

Plan Toolbar

The toolbar above the task table provides a set of tools for managing the tasks. You can apply an operation to multiple tasks by selecting them (for multiple selection, use the shift or control key when you click). The button names used below are the same as the button tooltips (these show when you hover the mouse over a button). Generally when you apply an operation to a task (e.g., delete), all its children (if any) are also similarly affected.

Printing a Plan

To print a complete view of a project plan, press the Print button in the toolbar. A dialog of print options is displayed.

The Task Table and Gantt Chart options allow you to control the level of detail to be shown in the output. Tick the Include Cover Page option if you want a cover page (containing project summary information) to be also printed.

To change the page settings, press the Page Setup button and make your choices.

To preview the page(s) before printing them, press the Preview button. A dialog box is displayed allowing you to view each page to be printed.

To print the page(s), press the Print button and choose your printer.


Accounting

The Accounting tab displays financial information for the project.

The budget spreadsheet at the top of the window is used for capturing budget information. To add a row, click the Add New Row link. For each budget item, you can enter a Description, an Original Estimate of its cost, and (at any later point) as Revised Estimate of its cost. The Variance column is automatically calculated by the system and shows the variance between original and revised. To delete a row, click the Delete link to the extreme right of the row.

The Total Budget row shows totals for each of the columns. The Total Actual row shows the actual expenses minus income (as captured by the Income/Expense tab), and its variance against the Revised Budget.

Income/Expense

The Income/Expense tab displays the project financial transactions as a table. To insert a new row in the table press the Insert button. To delete an existing row, select it and press the Delete button.

All the table cells are editable, except for Created By, which is system managed.

When you become aware of a project income or expense transaction, you should enter it here. The system also posts transactions here as a result of timesheet submissions. These are listed as Created By SYSTEM and are not editable.

Reviews

The Reviews tab displays the projects reviews conducted to-date, as a table. Reviews allow you to capture the state of a project on a regular basis and to analyze the trends.

You can do a review by either pressing the New button in this tab, or by pressing the Review button in the General Details tab. The following dialog is displayed.

Choose the most appropriate color from the Traffic Light drop-down list that represents the state of the project, and enter any relevant comments in the Review Comments text box. If you also tick the Generate Report option, a review report will be generated and displayed as soon as you press the OK button.

The columns in the review table are as follows:

When you select a review row, the review comments are displayed in the Review Comments text area below the table. You can edit the text and confirm it by pressing the Apply button.

You can generate a review report at any time by pressing the Report button. Note that the review report will present the latest information on the project, and not an earlier review.

Performance

The Performance tab displays two graphical views of the state of the project.

The left graph shows the planned versus actual versus total planned effort for the project. The right graph shows the planned versus actual versus total planned cost for the project. The sample points on the horizontal time line are at the dates when project reviews have been conducted. Therefore, the graphs become more accurate as more reviews take place.


Attachments

The Attachments tab displays a list of documents attached to the project, as a table.

Project-related information (e.g., business case, detailed requirements, test plans) is often captured in a variety of documents. By attaching these to the project you can keep a permanent copy of them in the database, so that users can readily access them and keep them up-to-date.

For each attachment, its File Name and file Size (in bytes) are listed in the table. When an attachment is opened for editing by a user, the username appears in the Locked By column. When an attachment is opened for editing or viewing, the file is retrieved from the database and written to the local disk. The local file's path is displayed in the Local Path column.

You can do the following operations:


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