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About Tim Calhoon
Tim Calhoon is the Director of the California Community Colleges Technology Center at Butte College, which helps facilitate and coordinate the work of California Community Colleges (CCC) systemwide technology projects in coordination with the CCC Chancellor's Office Telecommunications & Technology Unit. Prior to this, Tim accrued more than 10 years experience in managing educational technology organizations for PLATO Learning (Nasdaq:TUTR) and CyberEd, Inc. This work, in conjunction with a talented development team, lead to more than 17 educational technology awards and a Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) CODIE nomination. Tim lives in Northern California near Chico with his wife, son and daughter. His children are both currently attending college.
TechEDge eNews Update
Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 Written by Tim Calhoon Thursday, 21 January 2010
I don’t know about you, but for years I’ve struggled with the complexity and frustration of project scheduling. I’ve found Microsoft Project to be all powerful, yet all consuming in time and effort, and unrealistic in predicting outcome.
After setting up your project plan tasks, have you ever walked up to a member of your team and asked, “How long will it take you get this done?” After the initial blank stare you’re likely to be rejoined with an all-knowing response of, “It’s not possible to tell you that right now.” Because you have to plug one number into the task duration you may go around a few times until you’ll say something like, “How about 2 days?” They’ll say, “Right!” with a facial expression that says, “I don’t buy that, go away.” Voila! You have a project delivery built on fantasy.
Instead, I’ve always wanted to negotiate ranges. “It won’t take longer than seven days, right?” “No way.” “How fast could you get it done?” “Three days.” Now we’ve got a range that’s reasonable, the problem is, project management software does not handle ranges.
Enter LiquidPlanner which we discovered last year and have used successfully with some of our projects at the California Community Colleges Technology Center. LiquidPlanner uses probabilistic scheduling to build best-case, most probable and worst-case scenarios from the combined individual task ranges.
Now you can talk about project completion in realistic terms with promise dates that won’t get you in hot water with your stakeholders.
There are too many features in this Web-based application to go over, but it is very team oriented with collaboration built in. My team uses the workspace chatter and document storage features extensively.
LiquidPlanner's pricing is subscription-based and quite reasonable with special pricing for education and nonprofits.
I encourage you to setup a free account and try it out. http://www.liquidplanner.com/
It’s the first time I’ve seen a project manager with probabilistic scheduling. I’d sure be interested to hear if you’ve seen anything else like it. <>