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chris.vandersluis

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At one time using a computer system required training.  Not everyone will remember what older mainframe/terminal systems were like but user-hostile doesn’t completely convey the response. Here’s an example of how to add a frequent flyer number to your itinerary, from the old character-based Sabre airline booking system from American Airlines (and others): Using the abbreviated entry, add the FQTV (code for a frequent flyer number) number NW 759964796 to the PNR for the second…

We get calls at our office reasonably often that start like this: “We need a project management system,” the caller asks. “What kind of project management system do you need?” we reply. “You know,” the caller says somewhat frustrated at our questions, “the kind of system that manages projects.” There are, of course many different kinds of project management systems. Given that we spend so much of our life at HMS in the enterprise timesheet…

I’m in the software publishing business.  I should be all about selling you the tools.  It’s not about the result you want, it should be about the result I want… but that’s never been the way I’ve gone about business.  So this article is about the result, not the tool. I came across an interesting expression recently.  A software salesperson was talking about delivering the entire solution to his client.  “We don’t sell drills.…

Over the years I have received a number of questions from project managers expressing the challenge of sharing bad news with their management.  “No matter what the potential benefits might be,” one said, “I’ll be fired if I share news that bad.” No matter what your work environment, it seems that some people are better at sharing bad news than others and for project managers, being able to share both good tidings and bad is part of the…

I’m often asked to help organizations define their charge code structure, either for their project management system or their timesheet system.  While it’s true that every organization is different and different needs result in different types of charges, there are some common practices we’ve found over the years that are universal. Ask less, not more No one likes bureaucracy, so the more complex a charge code structure you make, the less likely it will be…

On a regular basis around HMS we get specifications from clients of what they’d like to have our TimeControl timesheet do for them.  It’s a necessary part of the evaluation process for a client to find the right type of timesheet for their particular business challenge. The problem is that the language that the specifications are put in are rarely those of business.  Most often the specifications are made in terms of features as in “the…

In my office recently one of our most experienced employees came to me with a strange question. “How do you know if something is a project management system?” they asked. I opened my mouth to answer then paused… for a long time.  The answer is not obvious. In the early 1980s the first critical path scheduling packages became available for personal computers.  In fact, I find it interesting that history shows that critical-path scheduling software…

Over the years I’ve had many questions about how to effectively implement resource capacity planning.  I’ve written about this often in these pages and in other articles elsewhere.   Resource Capacity planning is theoretically very simple.  All I need is the resource availability and the resource requirement expectations and a-b=c! Not so fast.  The challenge has many facets. Who do we have? First of all, not all resources are made equal.  The first challenge we’d…

Many years ago in the project management software industry there was a hotly contested debate that could have no definite outcome.  What was better, pundits asked, taking the “best of breed” or “all-in-one”.  The timing coincided with the recent release of all new “enterprise” project management systems that purported to do everything you might want all in one system.  This movement wished to displace the trend of the time which was to choose multiple project…

I mostly write about enterprise timesheet or enterprise project management systems and the most common phase of deployment that I talk about with such systems would be either the selection or configuration phase; talking about the strategic perspective.  This article is much more about operational practices and isn’t specific just to enterprise timesheet or a particulare project management software product or service.   It is, instead about enterprise systems in general though the subject matter…