ZilicusPM: Get Started Guide for Project Managers
Howdy PMs! As I said it earlier and keep saying this "project managers are great people who are backbone and driving force to plan, execute, control project to meet project goals & objectives”
To succeed in meeting project goals and objectives, you need a consistent and repeatable processes. A tool like ZilicusPM can provide you a great platform to manage projects predictably and consistently.
Yes, you have made the right decision to use ZilicusPM to plan, track and control projects. ZilicusPM: Get started guide will help project managers get started smoothly.
6 simple steps for PMs new to ZilicusPM
- Get familiar with ZilicusPM
- Set to go? Create your first project
- Decide your team composition
- Create project plan & monitor progress
- Track project issues, risks & decide course of action
- Getting a holistic picture
1. Get familiar with ZilicusPM
You certainly have already skimmed through the features required for your organization, yet I will suggest you to have a look at 2 minutes introductory video of project management software ZilicusPM. It will give you quick overview or glimpse of feature-rich tool, without getting overwhelmed. You will get familiar with the features and realize the value-proposition ZilicusPM tool offers.
When you will login for the first time – ZilicusPM will do hand-holding for you and walk-you through the important features available in ZilicusPM. You will be able to create project, add tasks, assign tasks to your team members, create issue (optional), create document (optional) and create risk (optional) without any fuss. As plain and as simple that you can’t go wrong using it.
Next thing you will realize and should notice in ZilicusPM is the context specific videos. Context specific videos means – once you are on certain page using certain feature, ZilicusPM provides you video-guides to demonstrate how to use that feature. These videos will tell you what to expect on a given page, how to view project information, how to use various control – buttons, links on a given page.
These video guides makes you pretty familiar with application navigation (moving from one page to another, using various project control buttons) – essentially knowing the application interface.
Additionally you can use User Guides accessible from any page within ZilicusPM. Users can use online user guide to know features, how-to of functionality from within application. You need not have to open different application or browser page to access online guide or create support ticket.
You can also request for personalized demo/training.
You can also read second part of ZilicusPM: Get Started Guide for Project Managers.
2. Set to go? Create your first real project
You may have created sample or test projects during your ZilicusPM-hand-holding session. And now you will be creating a really real project. Navigate to Projects tab in ZilicusPM and you will see list of projects already created. You can set up a project plan in ZilicusPM by creating a new project for your upcoming projects. You would certainly know the kick-off date, and tentative completion date for this project. Once you provide this information, you can create a new projects.
Of course there are additional and advance options like
- Associate project to a given portfolio (if it is created)
- Import from existing project (just schedule, schedule + team + assignment)
- Set billing option for project
- Set a project budget
- Add custom field to this project
Once a project is created, you will be taken to ‘Project Workspace’. It is one central place where all your project information is centralized. You can view project basic details on Overview page and more information like project activities log.
Depending on team member’s role and access/privileges assigned to them, they will have restricted access in project. However as a project owner you will have ultimate control over project details – schedule, team, cost, issues and risks. Of course, things like schedule, issues, task comments, documents will be shared with project team for collaboration purpose, making it transparent affair.
3. Decide your team composition
In order to execute any project you require people with certain skillset to carry out project activities. ZilicusPM allows you to figure this out. Now that you have created a project, you can set up your project team. You can decide your project team composition – what kind of roles, skills do you need in your project team to execute project. You can add project team members from resource pool by name, skillset or role.
Add multiple team members to your project team, but all of them may not be able to work full time on your projects; so ZilicusPM lets you decide team members’ allocation to a given project. And this allocation becomes a de facto guideline for task assignment (again it can be overwritten at task level).
If you plan to track cost, budgeting and billing for your projects using ZilicusPM, you can add per hour cost rate and billing rate for each of your project team member. Optionally you can also give them privilege to modify project schedule (discretion of a project owner).
4. Create project plan & monitor progress
Interactive Gantt chart
Creating a project schedule in ZilicusPM is pretty simple, quick and straightforward. If you haven’t already explored Interactive Gantt chart, take a look at it. You will be able to set up list of tasks like spreadsheet (hit tab, enter on your keyboard), set up dependencies among tasks (drag-drop mouse from task pointers), create work-breakdown-structure (WBS) and hierarchy of tasks (either by click of mouse or using Control + Right/Left keys on keyboard). You can change task dates, duration by dragging dropping mouse pointers as well as by entering values in the left-side table. I’d recommend you to take a look at Video Guide available on Project Schedule page.
Task Assignment to Team Members
This is another place where it gets unique, interesting and life-saver for many project managers. Task assignment to team members is plain straightforward if you simply want to delegate daily tasks without much fuss.
However if there are multiple projects running and project managers, project team members are working on these projects simultaneously, possibly getting strerched and you need to know whether you can assign a given project task to a particular team member; even better if you can block him/her for your project tasks.
In these cases project managers prefers to use resource capacity planning coupled with resource load chart information. This information helps project managers to make well informed decision whether a given activity should be assigned to project team member and to what extent (efforts) should it be assigned.
You will notice the refined control project manager has in assigning day wise efforts to project team members at task level, unlike other PM tools perform standard/plain distribution of work.
The project status related data can not be presented better than project dashboards and reports. Project dashboard and reports help project managers and portfolio managers to get sense of project progress – whether project is on track or lagging behind schedule, is project cost overshooting budget, are we over-committing or under-utilizing resources.
ZilicusPM provides multiple level of reports to track project status as well as portfolio level status. There are ample number of useful reports. The flexibility you have is to create custom report as you wish – meaning you can design custom reports and track project progress in the way you would like to track.
While monitoring project progress you can very easily track
- Have team members updated project tasks? (You have control to update progress overriding team’s update)
- Are we on track in terms of milestones?
- What are actual and remaining efforts for each task and at roll-up level?
- Are we overshooting budget at task-level and higher up?
- Do I need to seek approval/schedule meeting to update customer/sponsor about certain delay or cost-overrun?
- Depending on meeting’s outcome, you can change project schedule (Deliverable), cut down cost or add more resources (and assignment, etc).
5. Track project issues, risks & decide course of action
If you are an experienced project manager, you would have been using risk register and risk management processes in your projects. ZilicusPM Risk Management Software makes risk management as an integral part of your projects management process. You can encourage team members to submit project risks (also let them know significance of risk management, when to submit new risk, etc). As a project owner you can review project risks – assess its impact, possible response strategy, contingency plan and mitigation plan, delegation, resolution date, etc.
Though it is unlikely but if your projects would not need risk management, you can turn off risk-management module in consultation with your account administrator.
As a project manager you know, no project plan is perfect and every project encounters certain issues, roadblocks. The key to success is managing such roadblocks and issues. Issue Management Software module in ZilicusPM offers you an integrated way to manage project issues.
You can encourage team members and customers to submit issues based on your rulebook/guidelines and once these issues are submitted (again as per your project management processes/guidelines) you can review these issues immediately or periodically.
Though it is unlikely but if your projects would not need issues management, you can turn off issue-management module in consultation with your account administrator.
6. Getting a holistic picture
The crux of this ZilicusPM guide for project managers is getting complete picture of projects. So far you have been playing within project workspace. Of course it gives you good idea about how it is progressing in terms of project schedule, resource utilization, cost, issues, risks, meetings, documents etc.
Project portfolio management software ZilicusPM offers portfolio level dashboards and reports that provides a complete picture of portfolio of projects – all at one place. If you look at reports like Project Portfolio Status Report or Project Variance Report, Portfolio Gantt chart, Project Financial report etc. give you status of all such project entities not just for a given project but for portfolio of projects. You can quickly get status information in graphical format (bar chart, pie chart, gauges, etc) using project dashboard and portfolio dashboard.
ZilicusPM is great platform for project collaboration, updating and monitoring project progress. It can save lot of time for you and your team if you can use ZilicusPM regularly. You need not start using all features right on the day one. You can get started with simple scheduling & tracking and add more modules to your accounts as your team gets acquainted.
- Gantt Chart
- Time Tracking
- Budgeting and Cost Management
- Resource Planning and Management
- Issue Tracking
- Risk Management
- Change Management
- Meeting Management
- Stakeholder Management
- Project Portfolio Management
- Project Reporting
- Document Management
And you can configure ZilicusPM to best suit your project management requirements, project management process.
About Zilicus: ____________________________________________________________________
ZilicusPM is project management system that offers an incredibly simple and collaborative way to manage projects. Try ZilicusPM a powerful tool to stay on top of things with aesthetic dashboard. ZilicusPM enables project management planning – WBS, online scheduling, resource assignment, Gantt chart, project tracking, issue management, online calendar, risk register and much more. Sign up for 30-days risk free trial.