Project Management

The Importance of Tasks: Using an Additional Filter of Task Importance for Better PM

Debasis is a project management consultant in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Most project managers know that all project tasks are not equal. Variance in tasks could be due to several reasons--person hours, duration or complexity. While many of these factors can be measured or considered when planning or plotting progress, applications used to prepare schedule plans consider tasks to be of equal importance and plot them considering a start date/time and an end date/time.

Dependencies are considered and the critical path can be derived. But the underlying reason is reporting progress in a linear fashion, with project completion being considered when all tasks are completed.

Using such an approach provides a clear definition and understanding of the start and end of projects. But when project tasks are run in parallel and closure of tasks become a problem, prioritizing them to achieve success for the project is difficult. The tasks that could be affecting success may--or may not--be on the critical path.

The problem with projects stalling
As part of the routine analysis of projects, a colleague and I were wondering why many projects that seemed to be running along smoothly (clean reports, progress looking good, status in the green) started turning amber and then were going red as the planned completion dates for the projects drew closer.

There was no clear discernible pattern--while there was a trend of the projects reporting statuses of …

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