The Functions of the Computer

The advantages of using computers are extensive. Computers make it
possible to:
•Handle very rapidly the time and cost schedule calculations for a
project that would normally require many more labor-hours if
calculations were done manually
•Handle accurately calculations that, if done manually, would be subject
to errors and would require time to find and correct
•Make project updating for control purposes effective as well as reduce
the time-consuming and excessive costs of manual report preparation
•Print project status reports in many varied readable formats
Computer programs use the data developed from the project planning
efforts (from project planning diagram)
CH.7: COMPUTERIZED PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
Properties of a Project
Management Software Package
• Generally, the main properties of a project management software
package include:
1. Project Plan Generation: processes input data, builds the
needed files, performs all necessary calculations, writes the project
plan onto a master file, and prints any selected output reports
2. Update: updates an existing project plan by changing the input
logic and timing data, prints the reported progress as requested, and
records the updated data onto a master file
3. Maintenance: re-computes dates of project activities based
on current or revised data, but does not alter the project logic plan.
4. Detailed reports: varied reports are generated and customized
for the user. Reports can be printed in sequence based on the WBS
for the specific user
Computer Software Packages
• A successful computer software supplier is one whose product
package will suit the needs of the user and is user friendly. It will be
simple to use and learn.
• It should be designed to become productive as quickly as possible
• A user friendly software package should also display help functions
on the screen, include understandable documentation, and be
compatible with other business software
• A software supplier may need to give personal and direct instruction
on the use of the product
• A project evolves initially when the user creates a project plan
consisting of (1)objectives, (2)a WBS, and (3)the project planning
diagram
• Next, the user (i) develops time and (ii) cost estimates and other
resources
Format of Computer Reports
• Schedule reports: list the project activities
with schedule calendar dates, float values and durations
• Milestone reports: list milestones in the project
plan and their scheduled dates
• Bar charts: show graphically the duration
and relative time frame of all specified project activities
• Cost reports: show either graphically or in tabular
form the daily costs and accumulated costs over a
designated period
• Resources reports: show either graphically or in
tabular form the labor/ personnel and other designated
resources over a designated time
Using Project Management
Software
• Selecting project management software involves certain
tradeoffs
• Many available packages possess numerous bells and
whistles
• Software should fulfill the above requirements for basis
and fundamental use
• It should also facilitate data inputting and report
generation
• It should be directly applicable/ compatible with the
specific instructional manual that is to be used
Computer Applications
• Using the Computer screen to observe timing schedules
and resource demands – this avoids printing out lengthy
reports, thus saving time when analyzing information. It allows quick
response time when analyzing what-if situations
• Merging two or more projects - More than one project may be
going on at the same time. It would be worthwhile to know for
purposes: (1)critical activities of all of the concurrent projects and (2)
how, when distributed over a number of projects, the available
resources compared to the total demand at any specific time
• Organizing a project using the WBS approach – the
method is demonstrated with the sample project.
• Use of precedence diagramming – this is a popular
alternative method for constructing a planning diagram
Computer Applications – Screen
Reports & Merging Plans
• On-screen versions of standard reports, project bar charts, and
project histograms can be generated from two locations: the data
input screen and the report menu
• The screen report indicates critical activities by the highlighted bar,
non-critical activities by duller bar and float by hyphen
• The activities with negative floats (those with delayed finishing
schedules) are shown as flashing highlighted bars
• The computer’s ability to merge several projects into one overall
project is an important feature for several reasons:
 Knowing all the critical items of the major projects that are going
on at the same time is crucial to maintaining project control
 In the early stages of the projects, it is desirable to know whether
the available personnel will meet the requirements at peak periods.
Several projects may have concurrent peak demands
Computer Applications – Reports Using
the WBS & Precedence Diagramming
• Use of the WBS method permits an organizational approach
to planning a project
• It highlights the responsibilities of each group involved in the
project
• The reports are arranged to combine the tasks of each group
together, which clearly defines their roles
• Bar chart reports using WBS can also be produced by
selecting the bar chart option in the report menu
• Since both the arrow diagramming and precedence
diagramming methods are the most popular diagramming
styles used in the planning process, most project
management software packages accept data for both