ZilicusPM: Get Started Guide for Project Managers (Part-II)

Get Started Guide for Project Managers using ZilicusPM to Plan, Track Project in Holistic and Realistic Manner.

Welcome to the concluding post ZilicusPM: Get Started Guide for Project Managers. The first post introduced ZilicusPM and creating first project, setting up project team. In this post we will move to next level and start tracking project in more holistic way.

The idea behind ZilicusPM: Get Started Guide for Project Managers is to give a head-start for project managers in embracing the ZilicusPM - project management tool, guide project managers about best practices of adopting tool in quicker and most effective way. Of course this guide to project managers will get updated with some quick-tools, shortcuts to plan and track project with minimum efforts.

4. Create project plan & monitor progress

Interactive Gantt chart

Creating a project schedule in ZilicusPM is pretty simple, quick and straightforward. If you haven’t already explored Interactive Gantt chart, take a look at it. You will be able to set up list of tasks like spreadsheet (hit tab, enter on your keyboard), set up dependencies among tasks (drag-drop mouse from task pointers), create work-breakdown-structure (WBS) and hierarchy of tasks (either by click of mouse or using Control + Right/Left keys on keyboard). You can change task dates, duration by dragging dropping mouse pointers as well as by entering values in the left-side table. I’d recommend you to take a look at Video Guide available on Project Schedule page.

ZilicusPM Guide for Project Manager - Understanding Gantt chart

Task Assignment to Team Members

This is another place where it gets unique, interesting and life-saver for many project managers. Task assignment to team members is plain straightforward if you simply want to delegate daily tasks without much fuss.

However if there are multiple projects running and project managers and project team members who are working on these projects simultaneously and you need to know whether you can assign a given project task to a particular team member; even better if you can block him/her for your project tasks.

In these cases project managers prefers to use resource capacity planning coupled with resource load chart information. This information helps project managers to make well informed decision whether a given activity should be assigned to project team member and to what extent (efforts) should it be assigned.

You will notice the refined control project manager has in assigning day wise efforts to project team members at task level, unlike other PM tools perform standard/plain distribution of work.

Dashboard, Reports

The data presented can not be presented better than dashboards and reports. Project dashboard and reports help project managers and portfolio managers to get sense of project progress whether project is on track or lagging behind schedule, is project cost overshooting budget, are we over-committing or under-utilizing resources.

ZilicusPM provides multiple level of reports to track project status as well as portfolio level status. There are ample number of useful reports. The flexibility you have is to create custom report as you wish meaning you can design custom reports and track project progress in the way you would like to track.

Guide for Project Managers - Understanding Project dashboard in ZilicusPM

While monitoring project progress you can very easily track

  1. Have team members updated project tasks? (You have control to update progress overriding team’s update)
  2. Are we on track in terms of milestones?
  3. What are actual and remaining efforts for each task and at roll-up level?
  4. Are we overshooting budget at task-level and higher up?
  5. Do I need to seek approval/schedule meeting to update customer/sponsor about certain delay or cost-overrun?
  6. Depending on meeting’s outcome, you can change project schedule (Deliverable), cut down cost or add more resources (and assignment, etc).

5. Track project issues, risks & decide course of action

Project Risks

If you are an experience project manager, you would have been using risk register and risk management processes in your projects. ZilicusPM makes risk management as an integral part of your projects management process. You can encourage team members to submit project risks (also let them know significance of risk management, when to submit new risk, etc). As a project owner you can review project risks assess its impact, possible response strategy, contingency plan and mitigation plan, delegation, resolution date, etc.

Though it is unlikely but if your projects would not need risk management, you can turn off risk-management module in consultation with your account administrator.

You can also look at the first part of ZilicusPM: Get Started Guide for Project Managers.

Project Issues

As a project manager you know, no project plan is perfect and every project encounters certain issues, roadblocks. The key to success is managing such roadblocks and issues. ZilicusPM offers you an integrated way to manage project issues.

You can encourage team members and customers to submit issues based on your rulebook/guidelines and once these issues are submitted (again as per your project management processes/guidelines) you can review these issues immediately or periodically.

Though it is unlikely but if your projects would not need issues management, you can turn off issue-management module in consultation with your account administrator.

6. Getting a holistic picture

The crux of this ZilicusPM guide for project managers is getting complete picture of projects. So far you have been playing within project workspace. Of course it gives you good idea about how it is progressing in terms of project schedule, resource utilization, cost, issues, risks, meetings, documents etc.

ZilicusPM portfolio level dashboards and reports provide you a holistic view of project - at one place. If you look at reports like Project Portfolio Status Report or Project Variance Report, Portfolio Gantt chart, Project Financial report etc. give you status of all such project entities not just for a given project but for portfolio of projects. You can quickly get status information in graphical format (bar chart, pie chart, gauges, etc) using project dashboard and portfolio dashboard.

ZilicusPM is great platform for project collaboration, updating and monitoring project progress. It can save lot of time for you and your team if you can use ZilicusPM regularly. You need not start using all features right on the day one. You can get started with simple scheduling & tracking and add more modules to your accounts as your team gets acquainted.

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Project Management Software by Zilicus

Looking for project management system that is incredibly simple to use and offers greater control and visibility into project status? Looking for a tool that gives your project managers a quicker way to create project schedule, track progress on Gantt chart, manage resources for optimal utilization and monitor issues and risks? ZilicusPM is a right tool for your entire team. Sign up for 30-days risk free trial.