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Seeing Other Scheduling Software

Project, this is hard to say because, you know, we've been together for so long. I mean, I was there when you graduated from High School back in '98 and started getting "fully featured" with some of the stuff that other tools had. With your interoperability and automation you won me away from them. And baby, your looks haven't changed at all since then. You should have no problem attracting other customers, especially with that surgery on your menus that is planned for next year.

But this summer, I know you are going to be up in Redmond and I'm down here so it is difficult to keep in touch. I thought maybe we could, you know, explore a little. I'd just try out a few of those free schedule tools - nothing serious, just summer fun. And when September comes and we are together at the Project Conference I'll be refreshed and ready with all of those behind me.

But this isn't just about me. I know you have other Partners participating in the TAP program. So it is not exclusive on your part either. And I know you are working something up with Portfolio Server and Sharepoint too. You know I like your friends (Sharepoint is a cutie, Portfolio Server seems a bit stuck up, and her menus -GAH!) and I want you all to get closer, so take some time to do it right and I'll see you in September.

Well, with that introduction, I thought I'd begin an occasional series on the state of the Project, Program and Portfolio software world. If you have a favorite tool you would like to read about or some other thoughts on the world of scheduling technology, drop me a comment.

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  • Comments (3)

    Rob Schneider:

    Simple: Microsoft Project, @Risk for Project, Project Publisher, and SharePoint. Sweet spot. Magic. Heaven. Perfect.


    I have been reading your posts for a couple of hours. I have grown found of your thoughts, although some I must ask for forgiveness as I have got a couple of PMI Certifications (I am a PMP, a PMI-SP and my company is a PMI R.E.P.)... Is there a church for my PMI sins? Somewhere I can apologize for agreeing with you while that may be against what I can do as a PMI Certification holder? I guess I am still innocent while I keep it all in my head, right?

    About software: I have started using a couple of good practices found in PMBOK that became very useful to my projects. But I have found out that I should go much beyond CPM and CCPM has its own logic problems when it states how to build buffers and how to keep projects under 300 lines... Thanks to PMI, I have grown some interesting connections and I sent a letter to one of PMI Founders: Mr. Russell Archibald. From that, I got in touch with Edward Fern (with whom I have developed some business in Brazil with a Portuguese Version of his Prep Questions) and as I have shared very personal moments with these two great guys, I now call them friends (although I see myself more as their pupil)… Making the story shorter, I told them I found that probabilistic scheduling made much more sense than any scheduling done using simply CPM or even with proper resource leveling. I found it very important to develop true detailed WBS that could take me to work packages that I could apply some quality tools, such as Ishikawa or 5W2H and in fact being sure that I would know exactly what I would need in my project, in most of the cases, under some probabilistic scenario, in terms of people, machines, money and materials. I had one problem with all that, though. How to actually control such level of detail? How to truly integrate risk into my schedule, cost and scope planning?
    Then it came the light! These two guys had met a very interesting Russian project manager that would have not just a software, but a whole methodology on conducting better projects through detailed planning and sophisticated trends management.

    I downloaded Spider Project still believing that all I thought it would be important could not be in fact managed in any project. I thought my two friends would be exaggerating what to expect from that software… The main argument? If that is really this good as they said and would resolve all my afflictions, how come I had never heard of that before?

    The more I read about Spider and the more I started to bring from my own wishes and projects into the tool, the more I felt SMALL. I realized that I was never the complete manager I thought I was when working for my customers! I could not sleep for a whole day… I kept on playing with the software and my whole world as a Project Manager collapsed when I understood a complete new way of doing things: Success Driven Project Management.
    Bad graphics, little marketing explanation and non-existent examples. That was part of the reality of using that tool, but it simply made it possible to set in motion a group of very reasonable means of improving project planning and control. I was bitten by the Spider!

    Trying to make the story shorter again, I fell in love with the method (which is free as PMBOK used to be) and I was mad with American companies that would not make an effort to make this method applied in their tools. Unfortunately (at that time), the fact that SDPM would only work properly in the tool it was designed to support the method was a problem.

    I kept on playing with the tool and realized its power. By checking there was no distributor in South America, and thanks to Ed’s and Russ’ support, I managed to get in touch with the creator of the method and tool, Mr. Liberzon, and about a month later, I was his representative for South America. Today, I have full access to this wonderful software and I can even make some money from it, as at some point other people will realize how powerful the whole method is and how efficient is the software in scheduling!

    I think you should play with this software. The means of managing projects by not only trends, but success probability trends is just terrific. The way the SDPM Methods just incorporates the best you can think of PERT, CCPM and MONTE CARLO and – amazingly – it doesn’t uses any of those but actually has its own ways of achieving the same goals, faster and integrated, is what makes Spider special.

    It works “as PERT” in the sense of creating probabilistic scenarios. It works “as CCPM” in the sense of creating incredible buffers based in the probabilistic scenarios and with outstanding leveling of resources (including materials and money). It works “as Monte Carlo” in the sense of permitting someone to set a goal date and budget based in simulated scenarios with risk events brought into it… At same time, it doesn’t do any of the above! It does SDPM.

    You may read more of SDPM at Russ’s website. http://russarchibald.com/authorRecentPapers.html (please check my article with Mr. Russell Archibald and Mr. Vladimir Liberzon, presented at PMI COS 2008 Chicago).

    It makes Monte Carlo senseless, by trading accuracy by precision and making it possible the management by trends of probability of success. It then makes EVM a kid game and CCPM obsolete. All of the dearest concepts I would have from PMBOK Guide I have found an alternative and improved way of doing projects with SDPM. One thing you soon realize is that when a Russian says “I can do more things with less money and less time”, he is not creating some “marketing buzz”, but he is in fact explaining what he has done by means of incredible math and algorithms that were based in the surviving needs of old Soviet Union.

    Check this software out at www.spiderproject.ru!!



    I understood a complete new way of doing things that Success Driven Project Management.

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