Virtually every (rational) project has at its core a need to solve some problem that is perceived by someone. Problems can manifest themselves as barriers to getting something done (“we can’t possibly ship 10,000 units/week with our existing systems”) or as opportunity to doing something better (“we need to reduce the cost of processing purchase orders by 20%”).
Excerpted from The Project Management Advisor - 18 Major Project Screw-Ups And How To Cut Them Off At The Pass (Prentice Hall, 2004)
In any event, there is a desire to do something tomorrow that can’t be done acceptably today. Admittedly, some of the most fun projects that I have worked on have been the “omigosh, we need to get this done or else” projects. I have seen the greatest clarity of purpose on projects where there was a very real and tangible consequence to not completing the project successfully. One outstanding example of this that affected virtually every business on earth was the Y2K computer scare. One of my jobs was in ensuring that our mission-critical vendors were adequately prepared for Y2K and that there would not be any business interruption to our company as a result of a vendor’s failure to perform.
What we learned was more than what we had anticipated; not necessarily about their purchases, but about how they worked and the importance of urgency versus importance in their jobs.
So let's get right into this....
Ever known a manager who held great respect of his or her team but was not respected by his or her management? Or maybe you've had a manager that just couldn't get things done effectively because he or she just didn't know how to "work the system"? Or even still, are you are a manager who is continually frustrated because you can't get your manager to do what you need him or her to do? If any of these sound familiar to you, welcome to the world of ineffective upward management.
Since Microsoft Project's initial release in 1984 it has evolved into an incredibly powerful and sophisticated project management tool. One of those sophisticated features is calendars. As one of my heroes Spiderman says, "with great power comes great responsibility". As a project manager, you can exploit some of the cool capabilities with Microsoft Project calendars, but beware, you could really tie your shorts up in a knot if you start getting too fancy with project calendars. In addressing this topic, I want to start off by telling you what Microsoft Project help says about calendars then give you a few tips to help you avoid Project Manager hell when trying to develop a meaningful and realistic project schedule.
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