It is a widely accepted fact that the key to success for projects in general and for large-scale projects in particular is a proper project planning. For small one-man projects it is sufficient to define a few milestones on paper whereas for bigger projects with many work packages in parallel, this task usually is supported by project planning software like MS Project. However, the support from these project planning solutions ends as soon as the project starts…
is the comparison of plan and reality in the running project. To finally meet the agreed deadlines and budget it is crucial to identify upcoming problems as soon as they occur. The goal is to solve problems before they are too big to be solved.
Imagine you want to build ‘the palm’ in Dubai, with thousands of houses. How would you track the progress of this multibillion project? You can handle this by having a crowd of people controlling others … but you might get the result only with a delay you cannot accept
can help to deliver the current status in real time and is much more cost efficient than humans are. People involved in the project just have to update their progress regularly. Unfortunately this does not provide them any added value in their daily work but just some additional work – and as a matter of fact most people do not appreciate this, resulting in demotivation and poor quality of the reported data.
Each team leader working on the palm could be asked to update the progress of his team on a daily basis. However, this as such would only be some work in addition to his regular tasks.
is the key for success of such a software based project tracking solution. This can be achieved by providing functionality that supports people in their daily work. Users should have the feeling to be supported to integrate the tool into their workflow. An example would be the integration of functionality for the official project documentation which affects most people that are part of the project. Customized fields ease the handling for the user and ensure the data quality.
If you tell your team leader to just update a few fields in the tool instead of writing a report from scratch he will have the feeling to be supported by the tool and likes to use it. On the other hand you can check for completeness and even validate the provided data.
Standard software development…
approaches unfortunately do not help. Standard software lacks the project specific customization and a customized software development usually takes much too long to be available and lacks the flexibility to apply fast changes later on during the project.
Could you imagine tracking your ‘palm’ with MS Excel? A powerful flexible solution for sure – but for a project of such dimension? The alternative would be a customized software solution. But how many quarters are considered in your project plan for conception and implementation of such a solution which should be finalized before the project kick-off? In addition, I guess you have not built that many ‘palms’ before. So, even if time would not be an issue, are you sure the perfect concept can be designed in advance? Changes afterwards always take their time and come together with the risk of longer down times and data loss.
takes the best of both worlds. It allows to build up a completely custom tailored solution, not developed from scratch but ‘configured’, similar as we did it as children when designing the most fancy houses, cars and planes out of a small set of different Lego bricks. The advantages are:
- Short configuration times
- Easy and fast adaption to changed requirements
Changes can easily applied by configuration changes, often directly by the administrator and without down times of the server
So how can Hurricane support your daily life as ‘palm-builder’? Each of the thousands of houses is a project on its own. Some of the houses may differ, but the types of houses are limited. So depending on the house type, e.g. a corner house or a house in the middle, different processes with predefined milestones and efforts are assigned to the houses. As soon as a start date is entered a forecast for a house is calculated which can be adapted if required. You can have a look on the project from the top where you can see on the first glance which branches and in detail which houses are close to their deadline or overdue, which enables you to start managing problems before they are too big to be solved. Of course it is also possible to see for which houses no timeline has been planned up to now. The detailed documentation can directly trigger invoicing and thus also significantly supports commercial project management.