Tagged: Resource

Project Management Tools

toolsProject management is the core functionality of any business or enterprise. In modern organizations, it is considered to be the highest responsibility task. Project management is used in any and all forms of projects, ranging from software development to developing hybrid robotic technologies.

All project managers and teams use certain highly efficient tools to manage projects. These tools can be specifically designed tools or customized productivity tools that can be adopted for project management work. These tools help managers plan, manage and track their projects more effectively.

Here is a list of the 4 most widely used project management tools:

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

WBS is generally used at the start of the project to break the project down into individual tasks and group these tasks logically. At a root level this is more of a deliverable-oriented decomposition of a project into smaller components. It represents tasks and resources more like a tree structure, with clear subdivisions of effort required to complete a project. This structure also provides the essential framework for detailed cost estimating and control along with providing direction for schedule development, management and control. One should treat creating WBS as a critical step in the process of project management.

Gantt Chart

One of the most popular and widely used projects scheduling tool, Gantt charts are used when the project is up and running to monitor project progress. A Gantt chart shows you what has to be done (the activities) and when (the schedule). Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. They also show dependencies of tasks and relationship between activities. It is used on a day-to-day or weekly basis to show current schedule status using percent-complete shadings.

Network Diagram

These kinds of network diagrams are more like flow charts and are used to show the start of the project to chart how the work should flow and estimate how long each task will take to complete. Also known as the project network diagram, these diagrams are drawn from left to right to show the project chronology. The diagrams are more popularly used to graphically show a high-level project snapshot. In comparison to the Work Breakdown Structure that shows the “part-whole” relationship, network diagrams show a more “before-after” relationship for a project.

Earned Value Analysis (EVA)

This is more of an analysis of the “planned” to the “actual”. It is used when the project is up and running to compare budget forecasts with actual costs, and compare estimated progress with actual progress. With the help of this analysis, project teams can forecast future effort and cost estimations. With the help of this analysis, managers can create risk mitigation plans that are based on actual cost, schedule and progress of the work. It is an “early warning” project management tool that enables managers to identify and control problems before they become big risks.

Apart from the above, there are many more tools available on the web that can help in better project planning and management, but they all have their core function and methodology built around the above mentioned tools. The unique features about these tools are that they can be created on a simple Microsoft platform i.e. word, excel, projects etc. and can be customized based on any project requirements.

Learning from Jugaad Innovation

“Jugaad” is a term popularly used in India. It originated from Sanskrit word yugat later converted as jugat, jugad, and jugaad in modern use. It means having a creative idea or an alternative to solve a problem. The theory originated when people found the need to work around creative solutions due to lack of resources, equipment and money. In the past few years, a jugaad movement has gathered a community of enthusiasts, believing it to be the proof of Indian bubbling creativity, or a cost-effective way to solve the issues of everyday life.

The jugaad movement is also popularly known globally as Frugal innovation or frugal engineering. It is described as a process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, famously coined the term “frugal engineering” in 2006. He was impressed by Indian engineers’ ability to innovate cost-effectively and quickly under severe resource constraints. And under Ghosn’s leadership , Renault-Nissan has proactively embraced frugal engineering and become one of the world’s leading producers of both electric cars as well as low-cost vehicles — two of the fastest growing and most promising market segments in the global automotive sector.

In now-a-days resource constraint environment, business and entrepreneurs need to come up with innovative solutions that fix problems and bring long lasting results. A quick fix is not the answer, but a way to think and come up with innovative solutions is important. Jugaad as a concept has inspired many business owners and innovators to think “out of the box” and experiment with unconventional solutions for better results.

World’s Most Intriguing Startups

Scribd uses iPaper which is a rich document format similar to PDF built for the web, which allows users to embed documents into a web page. iPaper was built with Adobe Flash, allowing it to be viewed the same across different operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) without conversion, as long as the reader has Flash installed (although Scribd has announced non-Flash support for the iPhone). All major document types can be formatted into iPaper including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, OpenDocumentdocuments, OpenOffice.org XML documents, and PostScript files.

The idea for Scribd was originally inspired when Trip Adler was at Harvard and had a conversation with his father, John R. Adler about the difficulties of publishing academic papers. He teamed up with cofounders Jared Friedman and Tikhon Bernstam and they attended Y Combinator in Cambridge in the summer of 2006. Scribd was launched from a San Francisco apartment in March 2007 and quickly grew in traffic.

In September 2009, BusinessWeek named Scribd one the “World’s Most Intriguing Startups”. In December 2009, Forbes named Scribd one of its “10 Hot Startups”. Fast CompanyNamed Scribd “One of its Top 10 Most Innovative Media Companies” in February 2010. In May 2010, Scribd was recognized as one of the “2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies” by Lead411. On September 1, 2010, the World Economic Forum announced the company as a Technology Pioneer for 2011. After the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award, Time Magazine named Scribd one of the “10 Start-Ups that Will Change Your Life”.

ERP for small businesses

ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is principally an integration of business management practices and modern technology. Information Technology integrates with the core business processes of a corporate house to streamline and accomplish specific business objectives. Consequently, ERP is an amalgamation of three most important components; Business Management Practices, Information Technology and Specific Business Objectives.

Small Business ERP is a software architecture that supports the streaming and distribution of physically scattered enterprise wide information across all the functional units of a business house. It provides the business management executives with a comprehensive overview of the complete business execution which in turn influences their decisions in a productive way.

At the core of ERP for small business is a well managed centralized data repository which acquires information from and supply information into the fragmented applications operating on a universal computing platform.

Information in small business organizations is accumulated on various servers across different functional units and sometimes separated by physical or geographical boundaries.