At times, especially recent times, you and your organization may need to re-plan and re-work existing projects in order to quickly react to changes happening to your business. You and your PMO may find yourselves asking questions such as:
- What are our options and what should we consider doing if one or more of our projects are deferred?
- How do we temporarily suspend work on this project or set of projects?
- Our project is still on-going, but its target date has been extended. How do we show that?
- How do we make sure critical path project tasks are completed while deferring non-critical-task paths?
Fortunately, you have the tools and capabilities to answer these questions in PPM Pro. The goal of this video/article is to provide you with ideas and actionable "how-to"s so you can leverage PPM Pro’s robust features for these and other questions related to managing project and task disruption.
If your organization needs to focus solely on a certain set of projects, consider removing other projects’ associations from their current portfolios. This will ensure that portfolio reports and dashboards only include key projects when stakeholders are analyzing.
Alternatively, you can create a separate portfolio or even portfolio class to temporarily associate deferred or “on hold” projects for easier consideration in the future and for re-analysis when it is time to reconsider which to reactivate.
If you have a project that will never be done, and provided the project does not have time logged against it or any open Project Logs, you can simply delete it.
Projects with a Status value mapped to Implied Closed will automatically free up role demand/staffed allocations from that project. You can consider placing a project on hold or deferring a project by using a project Status that is mapped to "Implied Closed". (See this explanation of "Implied Closed".) For example, your Admin can create project Status list values of On Hold, Delayed, and Deferred, and map them to an implied Closed status. Any projects to which you apply one of these statuses will automatically return fulfilled demand to the resource pool from the project Staffing section (see the Harvey Balls in the Find Role/Staff Resource dialogs) and the Resource Workbench. However, when doing capacity and demand analysis with the Capacity & Demand reporting facility, you will need to apply a simple filter to exclude closed/deferred projects (and their allocations).
Other filters, such as your Timesheet filters, can be configured (if they are not already) to allow timesheet entries only for projects with an "Implied Open" status, automatically filtering out deferred/canceled projects.
You can change project statuses one by one or use Bulk Edit. If you later revive the project, you can update the Status. Or, you can leave the status and perhaps create a new project using this project as a template, effectively splitting the project according to your needs.
- Bulk Editing
- About Lookup Lists and Status Lists
- Configuring Timesheet Rules and Settings
- Creating Projects from a Template
You might also consider changing a delayed project’s Schedule From Date (Task grid/Actions/”Schedule from…” or Settings “Schedule From Date”), especially if you have an idea for how far out in the future the project could be picked up. All tasks that have “As soon as possible” as the Constraint Type (see Adjust Task Constraints later in this topic) will be rescheduled automatically. Any tasks that were manually scheduled or have a different Constraint Type will need to be adjusted by hand. Changing the Schedule From date is particularly useful it you are using task dependencies or bottom up planning, as it will also adjust allocations in the latter case.
See Schedule From Date.
Adjust Staffing, Re-plan
For delayed in-flight or planned projects that already have roles or resources allocated, permitted users can adjust the allocations individually or several at once. To individually adjust un-staffed roles and staffed resources that will remain on the project, you can simply change their allocations' Start Dates and End Dates. You can also increase or decrease their allocated Headcount or Total Hours. Be aware that once any of these are updated, any contoured hours will be automatically recalculated and therefore might need to be adjusted as well. If an individual role or person no longer needs to be staffed to the project, it can be deleted. If you’d like to shift, extend, or delete one or more staffed people at the same time, you can select the Staffing “Re-plan” function. You can shift allocations by days, weeks, months or quarters, or shift their Start Dates. Similarly, you can extend allocations by days, weeks, months, or quarters, or to a particular End date. And of course, you can Delete allocations if you no longer need them.
Record Your Decisions
If you are placing a project on hold or making any other adjustments, consider if there are comments that would be worth capturing within Status Comments or Notes to document the decision and for historical reference. Likewise, consider if there are any attachments worth adding to help document.
Creating baselines will enable you to capture snapshots of your key project plan values, such as, status, start and target dates, duration, costs, and revenues. You can view baseline data at any time, and can report on baseline-to-baseline data and baseline-to-current plan data in order to monitor the progress of the project or identify changes in project scope. You can also compare current Staffing with a baseline's Staffing.
Adjust Task Constraints
For those tasks that simply must complete, review the Constraint Type field and ensure it is set to “As soon as possible”. With this constraint, the project schedules the task as early as it can, given other scheduling parameters such as task dependencies. Likewise, for those tasks that are non-essential, set the Constraint Type to “As late as possible”.
Evaluate Task Dependencies
Given a task’s constraints, task dependencies allow you to ensure that the critical tasks flow in an appropriate order, and can begin at the correct time based on other tasks. If feasible, you can also specify that non-critical tasks begin after the last critical task completes. For example, you could create task dependencies between all of the critical tasks and set all non-critical tasks (or the first of these, if each of the non-critical tasks also have dependencies) to have a finish-to-start dependency on the last critical task.
For tasks that truly are no longer important for a project, you could make the task inactive or potentially delete it. An inactive task is still visible within the Task Work Breakdown Structure, but it no longer affects the project schedule, dates, or how other tasks are scheduled. If time has been logged against a task, it will still be included in the task actuals costs, but no further time can be logged to it. Note that any budget cost information does not roll up and is not included in summary tasks, project-level summaries, or reports. If in the future the task becomes important, it can be reactivated. If you have any tasks that truly are no longer important to a project and you no longer need them in the Task WBS, you can delete them (provided there is no time logged).
Shift Dates, Adjust Duration
Tasks that will remain as-is within your Task WBS but need to be moved or extended in some way can be adjusted individually by changing properties such as the Duration, Start Date, or Target Dates, or in bulk by using the Task Shift function.
- Bulk Task Shift - Select one or more tasks in your Work Breakdown Structure and then choose Actions > Shift. From there you can choose to simply increase the Duration, that is the number of business days between the task’s Start and Target dates, by entering a number of days. Here a positive value will increase the Duration, while a negative number decreases it. Or, you can keep the Duration of the selected tasks, but shift the Start Date or the Target Date. Or you can both change the Duration and shift the Start or Target dates. In this way you can lengthen, or shorten, the project and tasks overall. And if you have set up Constraints and Task Dependencies, these will be honored and considered upon shifting the tasks, and all leaf level changes will rollup appropriately to parent and summary level tasks as well as the project overall.
- Individually adjust a task - You can edit the Duration, Start Date, and/or Target Date of individual tasks. Keep in mind that these properties affect one another. For example, you can change a task’s Start Date and not its Duration, so that the task’s Target Date will be appropriately moved relative to the Start Date’s change. Or, you can keep the Task’s Start Date and adjust its Duration, in which case the Target Date will again be moved relative to the Duration change. Again, if you have set up Constraints and Task Dependencies, these will be honored and considered, and all changes will appropriately roll up.
We hope the ideas in this article/video have provided useful techniques to help you adapt your project management in challenging times. With as much or as little support as you want from PPM Pro and Planview, your PMO can shift and pivot as your business responds to the unexpected effects of unplanned disruption. If you have any questions that we haven’t answered, please let us know by reaching out to PPM Pro Customer Care, your Account Executive, Success Manager, or Product Management.
Please feel free to take a look at the other videos in this series: