A Toast. “To our new guests: The Business”
Those of us who have worked with business project management software have sampled from its vineyard of features. Over time, we acquired a taste for what we like, learned to avoid those we don’t, and ultimately settled in on our favorites.
As PPM Software has matured, The Business has come to appreciate how they too can enjoy these project management tools. As project management professionals, wouldn’t it be decadent if we had time to play the role of connoisseur, sharing the subtleties of our experience as we tour The Business around?
Well, sober up. There’s never that much time.
That said, may I offer to at least fill your cup with one popular project management concept I’ve uncorked?
From Sippage to Slippage
Let’s switch from Wine Country to Oil Country. On Oil and Gas projects, somewhere in the middle of the project plan, there’s a Task where the well itself gets drilled; what’s called the Spud Date. It’s a key event in the entire project, and since lots can go wrong either side of it, The Business often watches the spud date to quickly gauge how the project is going, typically in a Gantt chart.
1. If all Tasks are ASAP, a project’s start date determines where the Spud Well (S) will occur. This is typically what it looks like in the future, while we’re planning ahead, with no Tasks started yet (0%).
2. As time moves on, real work occurs and some tasks get completed (100%). However, until a task is marked as totally complete, Workfront pushes everything that’s ASAP past it further into the future, assuming that the earliest you would mark it as complete is “Today”. The dotted yellow bar shows what’s CAUSING the delay, and the other shading shows the EFFECT of the delay.
3. If you realize you forgot to enter an end date, you can backdate a task with the real actual end date (A). When you do, Workfront “snaps” the schedule back to that date, but then assumes (again) that any late tasks can’t finish any sooner than “today”.
4. Since it’s the actual tasks, the fact that is “today”, and the ASAP relationships that drive where the Spud Well occurs (S), there is NO POINT in adjusting the start date of the project — it would simply make the overall project start earlier, without moving (S).
I hope you can use this analogy to understand or explain why ASAP Gantt charts move the way they do once a project gets underway.
You are also welcome to download the original Excel version. It includes a similar example for a project with a Start No Earlier Than restriction. For Oil and Gas, that is often the case when waiting for ground to freeze before the drilling rig can get into position.