Applying project planning and scheduling methods

Speaker Bio

Michael M. Bissonette (MS, MBA, PfMP) is a highly successful engineer-turned-businessman and is considered both a thought-leader and subject matter expert in Portfolio, Program, and Project Management within several diverse industries (Aerospace and Defense, Consumer Electronics, Clean Tech, Industrial Equipment, and SaaS [Software as a Services]).

His work experience spans over 40 years of product development and organizational management, including executive positions in large Fortune 500 companies. He is the author of two books.  His first book, “Project Risk Management: A Practical Implementation Approach” was published by PMI in 2016.  His second book, “Strategic Project Management, ” was published in 2021.  He is an adjunct instructor at Clarkson University where he teaches “Strategic Project Management” in a MS in Engineering Management curriculum.

Michael M. Bissonette MS, MBA, PfMP

Mike is an entrepreneur (Founder of RTConfidence, Inc. – developer of Chrono™, the most advanced and affordable integrated IMS (Integrated Master Schedule)/SRA (Schedule Risk Analysis)/ESM (Earned Schedule Management) SaaS Tool on the market.  He is also a PMI chapter board member for the Orange County, CA chapter.  Mike has spoken at many events (domestic and international), is a volunteer in probation at juvenile detention facilities, is an avid sports enthusiast, and enjoys oil painting.

The Rationale and General Concepts Behind Planning and Scheduling

Know your “Why” upon approaching the task of creating an Integrated Master Schedule (IMS). Although this may mimic an all to familiar cliché, it will render valuable advice. With any well made schedule you must gather and refine your requirements but more importantly you must fully understand them. Invest the time to develop your purpose for the project and plan of approach to making the plan work. The next step of your pre-work is to know your tools of execution. In this case, Michael chose to use Microsoft Project. There are many others but for todays lesson he favored this tool and share is close partner named Chrono.

Chrono™ is a software tool that augments Microsoft Project® to help users build and maintain more credible schedules. The tool helps manage schedule risk in three ways:

  1. Uses three-point estimates also know as Multipoint Estimating help identify tasks with significant variance [Upgrade in progress: Cost tool Add-On within Chrono]
  2. Emulate a Monte Carlo simulation of a project
  3. Tracking schedule trends over time

Looking at these items in more detail. We have Multipoint Estimating assessing cost or duration by applying an average or weighted average of optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely estimates when there is uncertainty with the individual activity estimates. Then there is the Monte Carlo simulation which entails a method of identifying the potential impacts of risk and uncertainty using multiple iterations of a computer model to develop a probability distribution of a range of outcomes that could result from a decision or course of action. Finally we have tracking trends over time which are self explained. – Reference of concepts – PMBok Guide 7th Ed.

Projects Are Like “Systems” – RTConfidence

Creating a Valid IMS (Integrated Master Schedule) Using MS Project® & Chrono™

Why is Chrono a good choice?

There are 6 constraints and Governance rules around that instead of the traditional triple threat of Scope, Time, and Cost. Ponder this, by including Quality, Resources, and Risks that have to be considered.  It is suggested that you begin with a strong estimate and solid information to obtain the balance to favor a successful project.  In Michael’s experience, he has seen that the area that is least governed is the area that needs it most and that is the RISK area.

The Good Way of Creating a Valid IMS (Integrated Master Schedule)

 Organizational support is key and based on their contribution of information.  Their infrastructure could afford you a database filled with relational data to mine from. Within this diverse data could be valuable material enabling analogous estimating to be done more efficiently. Do not underestimate the Risk Tolerance of your organization.  Recall that tolerance is driven by perceptions and discrepancy biases. Having a good tool to help identify risks is priceless.  There are many out there now but if you are using MS Project be sure to check out an advanced tool named Chrono. Some suggested way of avoiding a deceptive schedule is making sure your tasks have their proper dependencies and not attached to a fixed milestone inappropriately. Finally review the foundational guideline of an IMS, 14-point matrix to ensure an IMS contributed by the DMCA.

DMCA Highlights

Developing a “Balanced” Project Plan

You must have true governance and balance to bring this to fruition. Balance defined for this usage is not having too much micromanagement, beau acratic opposition, or too relaxed that would compromise efficiency. Do not underestimate the Risk Tolerance of your organization.  Recall that tolerance is driven by perceptions and discrepancy biases. Having a good tool to help identify risks is priceless.

“You can balance any project as long as you don’t have to worry about RISK.”

Michael M. Bissonette

All of this would be nothing without a well-organized Charter and its linkage to the Business Case. Don’t underestimate its importance nor its streamlined structure of a one-page description as it holds all the key elements of a full project. Remember a close ally is the Project Management Plan. Project Life Cycle at a glance:

Initiation

Planning

Execute

Monitoring & Controlling

Close

Project Management Plan by definition is your document that describes how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled, and closed.

Practical Application of Creating an IMS Through Actual Hands-On Experience!!

The hands-on experience requires having Microsoft Project( bring your laptops). Those without Microsoft Project can team up with those that do have it, or download a FREE One-Month Trial Version of Microsoft Project®.

Obtain free limited license of Chrono via downloads from link at RTConfidence.com

Summary and Golden Nuggets

I really can’t say enough about our time with Michael. We were so lucky to witness the plethora of knowledge in the workshop. We shared diverse experiences from various industries but nothing is more valuable than the in person experience and opportunity of networking. Take a peek at our Golden Nuggets below for additional reading materials by our established author. We look forward to welcoming you again for the continuation series titled: Applying Advanced Project Schedule Risk Analysis on Saturday, September 24th, 2022, at the same venue. You can follow the link below for registration details on our website:  https://pmi-oc.org/news-a-events/event-listing/special-events/2022-september-24th-educational-workshop-3-pdus

If you would like to purchase the follow reading gems you make click: Project RISK Management “A Practical Implementation Approach” ISBN: 978-1-62825-115-9  OR Achieving Epic Business Results With Strategic Project Management ISBN: 978-1-7353999-0-4

Contributed by: Kassandra Cobb-Nwadigo PMP, CSM
FreezePoints – Director of Publications/Web Developer