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Kevin Johnson

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Kevin Johnson last won the day on August 31 2018

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  1. This is quite a tricky issue - as you say, ‘moving one project makes another impossible’. So, we have to be careful with our expectations from the software. As you may know, MS Project has a ‘resource levelling’ feature that does something like this, in that It reschedules the project tasks, based on resource availability, with a choice of settings to run the algorithm behind it. However, this often seems to result in the project finish date being pushed back beyond a reasonable date. I think many users would agree that, while it’s a great concept, it’s actually quite difficult to get acceptable results. Meisterplan has a feature called ‘Auto-schedule’, details for which you’ll find in the Help Centre (https://help.meisterplan.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004399153-Auto-Schedule). This, in theory, is the ‘magic bullet’ that you’re looking for, but it works to a set of rules, all of which are logical but need to be understood: • It won’t auto-schedule ‘in-flight’ projects (you need to insert a split to schedule the second part of the project) • Dependencies are crucial! Remember to set them before trying Autoschedule. • It will only consider existing resources. It may be that the best option to complete all of your projects in an acceptable timeframe is to bring in some temporary staff, Autoschedule will not show that. We find Autoschedule to be useful. We recommend that you generate a new scenario to try it. It will give you interesting results to consider for possible alternatives, but it’s not a substitute for management thought. Try experimenting – I think everyone would like to know your experiences with it.
  2. Scenarios, and the way that you use them, are probably at the heart of Meisterplan. There isn’t one definitive way to use scenarios, we find them very flexible and easy to use. The most common applications for scenarios that we have seen are: Evaluating Options - use a scenario to model/simulate the effects of potential changes in the portfolio e.g. adding new projects, delaying work, changing resource availability levels or adjusting priorities, without changing the current, approved plan. You can also choose an existing scenario as your base, rather than taking a copy of the Plan of Record (PoR). This method allows you to prepare multiple possible scenarios, for your programme board (or whatever your decision-making body is), so they can decide on the best fit for the next planning period. Taking a backup – we always recommend creating a new scenario from the PoR, before either committing a planning scenario as the new PoR or loading new data to the system from an external data source. If anything goes wrong, this means that you can restore your data to a known baseline by setting the backup as the PoR. Would other users agree with these approaches? On the Windows365 roll-out, what sort of tools are you thinking about?
  3. Based on my experience as an implementation consultant with PPM systems, here are my suggested rules: 1) Senior management commitment is essential to ensure that everyone is committed to a successful implementation. 2) Be realistic as to how much can be included in the first stage of an implementation. Having everything in the system is not always best! 3) Deciding what you want to get out of the tool will help you to define what needs to be put into it. 4) Define your processes and be clear which parts are being supported by the tool and which parts are not. 5) Make sure that the tool works in a straightforward way for the majority of regular use. Don’t get bogged down in the minutiae of dealing with rare exceptions. 6) Avoid replicating detail that is already being managed in a system that is not being replaced. 7) The quality of the information that you see is totally dependent on the accuracy of the input data. 8) Implementing a tool is a real job. It’s not something that people can be expected to do alongside their normal work. 9) Ensure that stakeholders from affected areas have an input into the design process. These people can then help to popularise the tool among their colleagues. 10) Once the tool has been implemented ensure that there are sufficient people trained to maintain and update it.
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