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chris.vandersluis

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We’ve just published a new free webinar based on seminars that have been given many times in different venues around North America.  Panning for Gold by Data Mining your Project Tracking data is approximately 60 minutes long and covers how to data mine enteprise project and enterprise timesheet data to improve efficiency.  The webinar includes real life examples from some of our HMS Software clients in how they were able to data mine their project timesheet…

No, I’m not talking about the new vine on your deck trellis.  I’m talking about scope creep. It’s every project manager’s nightmare.  The project starts off at a manageable modest size and in the blink of an eye, it’s a beheamouth of unmanageable porportions. In one of HMS Software’s first ever mandates back when we were just getting started, we had a client who asked us to configure their project management system with multiple baselines.  This…

Great news.  You will be managing a large project that transcends international boundaries, multiple time zones and multiple sub-contractors.  As a result you’re having to think about how to deal with multiple currencies.  This can be a project accounting nightmare if it is not thought out in advance. Mulitple currencies can be a blind spot for project managers who have only worked in one country with one type of money and never had to deal with…

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…