Technical Project Management

Technical project management comes with a lot of built-in challenges because it involves working with people with different backgrounds on the subject matter of which not everyone has the same level of understanding. A successful project manager needs to juggle the needs and demands of different stakeholders and keep the project on schedule and people communicate effectively. The challenges in technical project management often include the following:

  • Deep learning curves and competent resources are scarce
  • Complex interdependencies
  • Changing requirements and priorities
  • People talking past each other

8Manage PPM was designed by people who have a great deal of experience in managing complex technical projects. 8Manage PPM provides you with the following features to adequately tame and control the underlying complexity of your technical project so that you can reinforce accountability and effective communications.

Project plan & execution are linked

When there is only 1 mishap, it can be tracked down easily. When there are wrong dependencies built on top of wrong dependencies, unnecessary confusion and complication are created and accountability will also become an issue.

In 8Manage, plan and execution always go hand in hand. The current plan always reflects the latest status of the project team's deliverables and accomplishments. One can always go back to the baseline of the plan or a previous snapshot version. But there is always one and only one current plan that everyone can share.

Requirements communications & changes are managed together

It is difficult to communicate complex requirements in a single exchange. 8Manage provides a framework for the delivery of complex requirements as necessary. It also automatically tracks the reviews and acceptances of the requirements and provides a Reality Check feature to detect communication problems.

In order to effectively manage complex requirements, 8Manage automatically detects any shift or change, however slight, in the requirements, associating them with various project phases to alert people so that all involved understand the impact of any modifications. In addition, 8Manage automatically tracks requirements dependencies and indirect changes, so any potential impact can be anticipated and assessed at the earliest possible time.

Resource skills & times are planned and tracked

8Manage provides features for searching, requesting, allocating and tracking of resources in multiple sites, groups, PMOs, projects and activities. It automates cost estimating and budgeting and tracks actual against plan.

For human resource management, it automatically detects skill set gaps and overloading. It can aggregate data (e.g., skill set gaps, time spent , deliverable results) from lowest activities to the highest portfolios or groups.

8Manage also supports advanced resource management features such as resource provisioning, prediction of future needs and skill set search.

Schedule and progress are automatically tracked

All activities have planned start dates and end dates. The time is ticking once the activity passes its planned start date. The responsible persons must update the progress or the system will automatically calculate. People can easily see the un-proportional time consumption and % of completion and the system will automatically send out alerts and mark the activity is overdue when the activity passed its finished date and its % of completion is less than 100%.

Cost management is comprehensive, accurate and integrated

The project manager can decide to track or not to track costs in her project. If the project manager chooses to track costs, she can define budget in activity and/or project level. Efforts will be automatically converted to actual labor costs and procurement and travel expenses will be automatically calculated in the actual material, service & travel costs of the corresponding activity.

8Manage cost management features include:

  • Budget planning and tracking
  • Expense management
  • Purchase order and account payment management
  • Invoicing and account receivable management
  • Fixed asset and inventory management
  • Project accounting and P&L management
  • Contract accounting and P&L management
  • Portfolio accounting and P&L management
  • Group accounting and P&L management
Change impact is clearly tracked

A project will have a baseline once it is approved. 8Manage has the change control policies and parameters to automatically trigger the need for project re-approval when cumulative schedule or budget changes of the project are beyond the preset threshold. Every time a project is approved, a new baseline is recorded. The system can show the current plan & execution against any previous baseline so that the user can gauge the current duration, resource, cost and deliverable deviations from any of the previous approval points.

Accountability & result are clear

8Manage helps to structure work in a natural manner where proper accountability and commitment will be enforced. When someone changes his commitment, 8Manage will notify the affected parties. 8Manage also provides the following ways to facilitate result management:

  • Setting policies for review and acceptance
  • Real-time alerts for review and acceptance results
  • Real-time dashboards and periodical email of reports
  • Accountability and results can be made clear to all stakeholders by using the above features
All issues are categorized and automatically tracked to closure

Since a project issue can range from a non-issue to an issue that can become a disaster, the biggest challenge in project issue management is to systematically surface and categorize issues and issues and actions to closure.

8Manage automatically collects issues from different activities and enforces their categorization. It allows centralized tracking of issues, severities and priorities and provides automated alerts and escalations. It also supports the traceability of issues, sub-issues, actions and sub-actions.

Risk Management:

8Manage automatically detects systemic risks and also provides an integrated risk register for recording user-identified risks and tracking them to closure.

Issue Management:

8Manage provides the following functions to track issues and actions to closure:

  • Multi-level issue aggregation and tracking
  • Critical issue management
  • Emergency management
Structured Communication & Collaboration

8Manage provides the foundation for individuals and groups to coordinate. It facilitates:

  • Functional and project-oriented organization management
  • Common language for request, commit, deliver and accept
  • Group, committee and site coordination and management
  • Client, partner and supplier coordination and management
  • Inter-organization interaction and escalation management

8Manage also provides powerful communication tools such as automated capture email communications into project and activity plans, forums for trailed discussions and on-line chats for small group communications and negotiations. All communication records are stored permanently in 8Manage.

Agile product development

Agile methods are best used for the development of products that need to win the market competition. Since the market and competition are often changing, the product requirements can be changing as well.

Agile methods arenĺt suitable for the projects that have well-defined and stable requirements under strict budget and schedule control.

8Manage Agile was designed for agile product development. It supports incremental requirements measured in story points and defined in story books, multiple short iterations for incremental development and testing and burn-down charts to show progress and remaining work for each individual and for the entire project.

8Manage Agile provides easy-to- use idea-sharing, communication and issue-tracking tools to the project team. If the daily short meeting approach is taken, 8Manage also provides an easy-to-record and easy-to-read comment facility for each activity.

For the agile projects that have high level schedule and budget constraints, 8Manage Agile can function in the hybrid mode to support the high level schedule and budget control but allows incremental development via short iterations at the same time.

Best practices are both encouraged and enforced

Due to the fact that a static view and a dynamic view are often different, during project execution, people often find certain needed controls lacking and certain procedures unnecessarily clumsy; consequently adjustment to the policies is needed. 8Manage solves this problem by allowing people to see both static and dynamic views to make adjustments incrementally. 8Manage also provides a Project Template facility, and the Policy facility to encourage and enforce practices during project execution.
Structural complexities are organized and controlled

8Manage provides a dynamic framework to deal with the structural complexities that can grow overtime to the point that they can cause things to become extremely convoluted or even out-of-control. Typically when organizations are small, they can manage these complexities because they are small. But when organizations without the knowledge and ability to handle these structural complexities grow, they pay the price, operating in an extremely hard-to-coordinate and inefficient manner.

8Manage is one of the few tools in the world that will equip you to deal with these structural complexities effectively.

Integrity Protection

A project is late one day at a time but its percentage of completion can be changed from 90% to 70% or even to 50% in just one day (see The Myth of 90% Complete).

According to Project Management Statistics 2022, only 23% of organizations are using project management software today. 77% of organizations are managing projects manually today because the management data provided by the project management tools arenĺt useful.

The problem is that replacing office whiteboards with spreadsheet-based PM tools is a wrong approach.

The office whiteboard model is fundamentally a wrong model and automating that model with spreadsheet-based PM tools will result in a Liarĺs Dice game project environment in which project team members deceive each other that their deliverables or milestones arenĺt late until someone successfully challenges them and all bluffs are subsequently revealed.

The right approach is to replace the war roomĺs huge whiteboard with a real-time transactional system. Why using a war roomĺs huge whiteboard can be traced back to the beginning of project management history. The effective transformation of huge whiteboards into real-time transactional systems can be traced back to the history of floor-to-electronic trading for many exchanges.

8Manage PPM was designed with the 4-eyes principle and OLTP. It is architecturally closer to an exchange electronic trading system than a typical project management tool like MS Project. 8Manage PPM can protect project data integrity and provide project stakeholders with reliable information to run their projects.

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