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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Microsoft’s Release Candidate for Windows 7 is now available.  Is it time for corporate America to upgrade the thousands of PC’s within their companies?  Most of the larger companies I know chose not to upgrade to Vista.  The Vista OS simply was too problematic and did not have enough enhancements to make the upgrade worthwhile.  Besides, it took us 18 months to complete the Windows XP upgrade not long before.  Is Windows 7 different?  From what I have seen and read, the OS does seem to have fixed the obvious issues that Vista had.  Keep in mind that what everyone is testing is not Gold code yet, but it is pretty solid, which is a very good sign.  Any large organization that has an enterprise agreement with Microsoft probably has already paid for the licensing, but the impact of an upgrade is disruptive at the least.  Windows 7 has basically the same interface that Vista had, so there is a learning curve for employees, unless of course you assume that most employees have home computers, most of them running Vista by now.  If you make this assumption, then employee training is not a huge issue.  Companies could choose to run a mixed environment and just put Windows 7 on any new PC.  This model would allow a slow transition, of course we don’t know what compatibility issues may be introduced and your support teams would have to support and test everything on two operating systems.  I have a feeling that most companies will bite the bullet and upgrade, if for no other reason than to take advantage of the security improvements in Windows 7.  Only time will tell, but this could be a spotlight moment for Microsoft.

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Our company implemented Microsoft Project Server 2003 a few years ago and last year, upgraded to 2007.  The tool is well suited for managing projects, which is why the Project Client is the industry standard for PM’s.  The Project Server gives you a centralized view of all projects, essentially a Portfolio View.  It also gives you the ability to view most data through the Sharepoint interface without requiring the expensive client (for non-Project Managers).  In addition to these benefits, we targeted our biggest pain point, the problem of capacity management.   Assuming all your resources are in the system, the data for managing capacity already exists, there is just not a good way to manage from it.  To address this, we built some custom reports that pull data directly from the SQL Server database.  In these reports, we can view all tasks for a specific employee, overdue tasks, and a chart that displays the next six weeks of workload across all projects and resources.  To account for the non-project work that we were competing with, we created a maintenance and support project schedule to block time needed for these activities.  We also created an administration schedule to track folks that are out of the office for vacation and training.  Adding these schedules gave us the total picture of resource capacity.  The system works rather well.  The PM’s now meet weekly with all the Resource Managers weekly and we look at all resources over capacity and negotiate.  We also talk about overdue tasks and how to address them.  This method does require that all PM’s manage their plans daily to keep the data accurate, but the benefit to the organization has been tremendous.

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