5 Ways Project Management JUST got Easier

Article by Eric van Essen updated July 4, 2011

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Project Managers are constantly being pushed to the limits to keep their projects on time and within budget while maintaining a high degree of quality.  As time-lines are being shortened and margins are being squeezed, project managers face some real challenges with ensuring their goals are met.   To help all of the project managers out there, we have outlined 5 ways which project managers can lighten the stress and achieve greatness:

1)      Get a Head Start by Leveraging Previous Projects

It goes without saying that copying work is much easier than starting it from scratch, isn’t that the schoolyard lesion we all learned as children? The same principle applies to project management, using Enterprise PDM you can actually copy previous projects, reassign automatic serial numbers, create new folders and data structures, to be given an extra jump start when you begin a new project – all the original data is kept safe, and you are given a fresh copy to start from – so you won’t have to worry about data integrity being an issue.

This “start from a copy” approach will help you to hit your targets easier, as well as help you build your own intellectual property library of which you can start all kinds of new, or copied, projects from in the future – saving you time, and getting you off to the races quicker than your competitors.

2)      Fire on All Cylinders by Coordinating Your Team

Using the built-in power of Enterprise PDM, your team can work seamlessly together on multiple projects. With a high-speed SQL server structure as its backbone, EPDM enables multiple people to collaborate on a project at the once, in real-time. Joe can be working on the tires and rims, at the same time Bob is working on the breaking system. The point is, with Enterprise PDM, your team can work together comfortably – using an easy “Check in” “Check Out” process to automatically keep the files they are working on organized.

Using Enterprise PDM to coordinate your team has the bonus advantage to project managers in that it allows you to see who`s working on what project at any given time, a great way to ensure you meet your deadlines for any project.

3)      Eliminate Quality Control Overhead

With delivering quality projects being in the top of a good project managers mind, it is no wonder why so much care goes into checking the quality of the work being produced.  Many companies are still using paper based methods which include printing, marking up with red pens, reprinting and signing.  This adds up to a large amount of unnecessary overhead which can easily be streamlined with a secure and well implemented electronic approval workflow.

With a secure workflow, documents can easily be passed from an engineer to the project manager for checking without any printing or leaving desks.  It can even be setup with automatic notifications to alarm the project manager that a document requires their approval.  Electronic redlining of SolidWorks drawings and DWG’s is out of the box functionality and maintains an easy to retrieve record without the need for scanning printed drawings.

An extra bonus that has a lot or project managers very excited is the ability to incorporate the automated design checker tool as a mandatory workflow step to make sure that no time is wasted catching quality issues related to arrow heads or other company standards.

4)      Track Progress and Maintain Accountability

One of the dreaded questions that a project manager has to face is “how far along are we?”.  It can be incredibly challenging to gauge how much work is done to date and how much work still needs to be completed.  To make this aspect of the role easier, we have been helping project managers measure the progress of a project based on the status of the individual files.  Incorporating this status/workflow into how people do their jobs has already been eliminating a lot of extra work so producing a quick summary table like the one below of the status of a project is just gravy.

5)      Automate the Final Stretch

When the design aspect of projects are close to being finished, there tends to be a lot of housekeeping that needs to be done.  PDF’s of drawings needs to be produced, STP or parasolid models need to be exported and bill of materials need to be transferred into an ERP system for purchasing.  This can be a very frustrating thing because deadlines are either approaching quickly at this point or in some cases already overdue.  It can also be frustrating for a project manager to oversee this part of their project because it typically involves a large amount of mundane repetitive tasks.  Luckily, this type of repetitive work is a perfect fit for automation and having it triggered and completed as part of an approval workflow can make a big difference for reaching those deadlines with all your t’s crossed and i’s dotted.

 

 

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Eric van Essen

I have been working with Javelin for 10 years and now have the role as director of products where I oversee the ramp up of new solutions for our customers or potential customers.