Tag Archives: Planning Planet

Planning Planet Guild Update

After two years of development, the basic framework of the Planning Planet ‘International Guild of Project Controls’ (GPC) is in place to develop a career framework and accreditation system for project controls professionals. The mission of the GPC is to develop a centre of excellence for developing the skills, expertise and capability of professionals in the field of project controls.

The Planning Planet, GPC announcement on the 11/11/11 confirms the Guild’s aims, objectives, governance processes, controls and initial management team are all in place.

The professional development teams are working to establish a framework of ‘standards of practice’ to support project controls professionals in their careers. The current status of this vital work is:

These standards have been mapped to a proposed career framework, and levels of membership, that recognises the different streams of expertise within the overall project controls framework.

With Phase 1 now officially launched, project controls professionals world-wide are invited to become part of the process to define our profession. The first four steps of the process are available now, for you to sign up and support this important development.

Additionally, the schedule leading to the launch of Phase 2 in March 2012 is set out below – if you want to influence this process, now is the time to be involved!!

The launch of Phase 2 will mark the start of formal accreditation to the GPC the intended framework for accreditation has to be finalised but is expected to include the following:

Personally I would like to congratulate James, Theo and the GPC committees on a massive effort and wish them every success as they move forward. If you want to be part of this process or simply find out more, download the GPC Launch presentation and sign up to help at: http://www.planningplanet.com/guild

Project Manager Articles

We have started a monthly series of articles on the Project Manager website.

The focus of these posts will be the current state of scheduling, the emergence of planning and scheduling as a profession and ideas for enhancing the practice of scheduling.

The first article looks at the project scheduling conundrum and some of the initiatives underway to create/improve the profession. The project scheduling conundrum is simple: We know effective scheduling makes a significant difference to project success and we know what effective scheduling looks like but in most projects, the schedule is ignored, bad scheduling practice is the norm and most projects finish late.

To read the first article (and follow the series) see: http://projectmanager.com.au/author/pat-weaver

Scheduling Tools

Has Microsoft overcooked the price and performance of Microsoft Project (MSP)? With the impending release of Project 2010 most organisations should be re-evaluating their scheduling tools. Blindly following the Microsoft upgrade path should not be an option.

The trigger for this post is a number of emails I have received plus comments in a number of published articles and on Planning Planet.  Some users criticise MSP for flawed analytical performance, poor data handling and lack of real power in analysis. Other users criticise MSP for being too complex and too hard to use (you could almost feel sympathy for the MSP development teams dilemma). These criticisms have not changed much since the release of Project 2003 and Project Server. What has changed dramatically is the scheduling software market.

Through to the early 2000s Microsoft virtually gave MSP away, almost anyone could access a ‘competitive upgrade’ for under US$100. The very low cost of MSP effectively destroyed 90%+ of the mid to low end competition, TimeLine, CA SuperProject and a host of other businesses closed merged or changed focus.

Today most people outside of major corporations pay around US$1000 for a set of MSP. This tenfold increase in the ‘real price’ of the tool, primarily caused by the elimination of heavy discounts has opened the window for a host of new players in the mid to low end scheduling market place. Many with free options.

Asta PowerProject seems to be a complete replacement for MSP with equivalent levels of capability and sophistication and better presentation and analytical capabilities.

Other graphical tools include CASCAD-e and NetPoint

Some of the tools that are completely free, or have free entry level options include: jxProject, Gantter.com, PlanningForce and OpenProj

This is not a comprehensive list by any means more tools are documented on our ‘scheduling home page’. And I have not ventured into discussion of the high end products such as ACOS, Micro Planner, Primavera, Spider and the Deltek range.

The purpose of this blog is to challenge every organisation to really evaluate their scheduling requirements and test the market before letting their IT department blindly follow the Microsoft upgrade path.

Project 2010 may still be the best answer, but this needs to be an informed decision based on a proper review of the available alternatives. Simply paying the cost of upgrading to project 2010 (including licence fees, retraining and data conversion costs) without re-testing the market should be seen as being totally unacceptable because in 2010 there is a real choice of tools available!