Features for Project Planning

Plan What, not When

In The PlanMinder your project plan describes what you will do, and in what order. Not when it will be done.

You divide your project into activities, and draw lines to indicate that an activity is dependent on the result of another. You can add milestones and risks to your plan, and connect everything to one or more milestones designated as a prio point. This information is independent of the schedule, and will change much less frequently.

Add information about how much work you think each activity will take, and how uncertain your estimate is. Assign activities to people on the project team.

A small project plan

Prioritize your projects with prio points

The prio point milestones in your projects appears in a priority list. The PlanMinder will schedule the activities based on the priority you set, and on how activities depend on one-another.

In the priority list you can see when the milestone likely will be reached, based on the uncertainties in your work estimations. Drag and drop to change priorities, and immediately see the effect it will have.

Priority list

Deadline probability

If a milestone must be reached before a certain date, you make it into a deadline. The PlanMinder will calculate the probability that it will be reached on time, based on uncertainties in all the projects it schedules.

Monitoring this number gives you an early warning if you need to do something about it. Since it is so easy to change plans with The PlanMinder, you can test what changes will work, and at what point you will need to deploy them to have effect.

Being prepared for bad news not only increases the likelihood that you will be able to meet your deadline, it also lets you do it more efficiently than a last minute effort.

Deadlines probability

Look at your schedule

The Chronos view shows the scheduled work on a timeline, like a Gantt chart. This displays the schedule for the most likely outcome of each activity.

You can inspect and optimize the schedule by reassigning tasks, and immediately see the effect. You can find bottlenecks and team members with risk of idling, and do something about it.

You can also visualize the uncertainty of the schedule in different ways. This is more important the further into the future you are looking.

Chronos schedule

Report your work to keep the plan up to date

Project team members reports the work they do on activities in The PlanMinder. That way the plans and the schedule is kept up to date.

Team members can also update the estimates as work progresses and knowledge is gained, and change status when completed.

Reporting time

Take holidays and vacations into account

The work schedule informs the automatic scheduler when people are available to work, and how much. Define a standard work week, and add public holidays.

For each individual you can add exceptions, vacations, overtime or days reserved for other work. Or let everyone manage this themselves.

Work Schedule symbol examples

Create project reports and follow up on your progress

The PlanMinder knows what work your team have done, how much work remains, and how big the accumulated uncertainties are. You can use these tools to explore this information, and to create project reports.

The project report tool is designed to both quickly give an overview of the present state for all projects, and overview of the historic progress of individual projects.

Project progress diagram

Model risks in your plan

Discrete risks represents something that will become either true or false, but you are not sure of which in advance. This could be things like passing or failing a test, or having to do an extra round of prototypes.

Modeling this in your project plan lets you see what effect it can have on your timeline and your budget.

Discrete risk in project plan

Handle external deliverables

Some steps in your project may be dependent on external events beyond your control. External Activities is used in The PlanMinder to model things to be delivered by subcontractors, or delivery time for ordered goods.

External Activity symbol

Checkpoints to match your project model

If you have some work that are not considered done until it has been approved, you can use Checkpoints in your plan. They are like milestones, but the assigned person must confirm before dependent work is scheduled.

Checkpoint milestone symbol

Learn from your history

As you work with The PlanMinder you will build up a database of experience. Use the exploratory tools to see what actually has happened in previous projects. Use as reference when estimating new projects. See what has caused problems in the past, and get better at estimating risks.

Human memory is subject to cognitive bias, but with the records in The PlanMinder you can understand what actually happened.

Plot of work types by months.

Track billable hours

Optionally you can have a billable marker for the work reports. It gets it’s default value from the project or group setting.

You can use this to track billable hours for invoices, without having to use an extra tool.

Billable ssymbol on work report.

Visibility to empower your team

They way plans and schedules are displayed in The PlanMinder makes it possible for all team members to understand the priorities, and the effect of delays.

Teams can decide to focus on a problem activity, disregarding the planned schedule. Your plan will not break down, as the schedule is just updated with information about what actually has been done, and what remains.

This promotes cooperation and doing what is best for the organization, rather than slavishly following a plan.

Visibility to empower your team

Report and update while on the move

The PlanMinder Online service provides a touch friendly web based user interface for mobiles, and any devices with a web browser. It lets you report work and update estimates from wherever you are.

The PlanMinder on your phone

Be aware and stay informed

The Alert screen on the home tab, and on the mobile user interface, shows you what needs your immediate attention.

This page displays things that needs your update, deadlines that has a high risk of being missed and activities that should get an updated estimate.

A similar page will show you all the latest updates for activities you are responsible for or managing. Activities completed or with new estimates, and with comments from the reporter.

Alert screen on phone

Embrace uncertainty understanding humans

The way The PlanMinder handles estimates is designed to mitigate several inherently human problems; Unwarranted optimism, and the desire to look good in the eyes of others. And the fact that most people are really bad at grasping probabilities.

You estimate time with two numbers: One for a best case scenario, unlikely but not impossible to reach. And one you a reasonable sure you will be able to beat. Reasonable sure, defined as seven times out of ten, is within reach of human comprehension. All your optimism goes into the first one, and you can dig into your experience and consider all risks for the reasonable sure estimate.

The computed accumulated uncertainty of many smaller guesses is for the same reasons, much more accurate than one persons gut feeling of a project as a whole. And with more accurate information, knowing how much or little you do know, you can make better decisions. Especially when you always have information that is up to date.

A project plan in uncertainty view.

Screenshots

Screenshot from The PlanMinder
The PlanMinder logotype

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