- Ketura is a powerful tool for managing projects from initial planning through to completion.
- A project is simply a planned undertaking directed towards achieving a particular goal, typically involving coordinated work by several people. For example, an organization might create projects for each product or service that it wished to deliver.
- In Ketura, a project consists of a sequence of milestones, arranged in order of desired completion.
- Each milestone represents a significant point in a project’s life. A milestone lists all the issues that need to be resolved to complete it.
- No work is scheduled for an issue until it is added to a milestone.
- Issues in a milestone are arranged in order of their priority, as determined by the project manager.
- A single Ketura system is designed to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
- A project manager can tell Ketura who is available to work on each project and when (see Users and Contacts).
- Ketura is able to predict when work on each project, milestone and issue will be started and completed.
- You can specify a desired end date for a milestone and see how that compares to the schedule estimates calculated by the system.
Up-to-date and accurate schedules
Ketura uses carefully crafted and optimized algorithms to calculate schedules and predict the end dates of issues, milestones and projects on-the-fly, whenever such information is needed. This means that anyone viewing a project, milestone or issue in Ketura can be sure that the schedule seen is up to date. Project managers can see immediately the schedule effects of any changes that they make to a project.
Up-to-date schedule predictions are only useful if Ketura is kept up-to-date with work on issue tasks as it is undertaken. It is also essential that the person working on a task is able to revise the ‘work remaining’ estimate for that task if he or she feels it is inaccurate. For these reasons, Ketura makes it very easy for users both to log the work that they do on tasks as they do it, and to correct ‘work remaining’ estimates as required. This helps ensure that a project manager is always working with the most up-to-date and accurate information available.
Total control of the project schedule
Ketura keeps track of two separate estimates of the amount of work for every task. The first is the planned work estimate, for use by the manager of a project. The second is the expected work remaining estimate, intended to be set and updated by the person to whom a task is assigned. Together, these give project managers the benefit of insight into the expectations of team members, while enabling them to retain complete control of the official project plan.
Ketura uses these two values, together with the work done thus far on each task, to make two separate schedule predictions for all projects, milestones and issues. The first is the planned prediction, based on the work done thus far and the planned work estimates for each outstanding task. The second is an actual or expected prediction, based on what has already happened and on the expected work remaining.
Ketura is able to highlight discrepancies between the actual or expected and planned schedules. Such discrepancies indicate differences between the project plan and the expectations of the people undertaking the work. Consequently, project managers are able to spot potential schedule slips very early – often as soon as a team member’s changed expectation of the amount of work remaining for a single task is recorded. Corrective action can then be taken to bring the project back on schedule.
Ketura also makes it easy to compare current schedule predictions with those of a baseline at any chosen date in the past.
Involve team members in the planning process
Another benefit of maintaining two separate work estimates is that this makes it straightforward (but not compulsory) to involve team members in the planning process. This can be advantageous because the people who will be undertaking work are often in a better position than the project manager to make accurate estimates of how long that work will take. For large projects, having team members make the initial estimates can also reduce the workload on the project manager and significantly speed up the planning process.
To involve team members in the planning process, a project manager can ask team members to make estimates of the amount of work needed to complete each task assigned to them whenever new issues are created. The team members then record their expectations as the expected work remaining estimates for their tasks. The project manager can then review the estimates and, if they are satisfactory, set the official planned work estimate to be the same as the users’ expected work remaining estimates. Ketura makes this a simple and quick operation for the project manager, even for the tasks of hundreds of issues at a time.
Information for billing administrators and financial managers
As Ketura records both work done and the cost of that work, it can be used as a source of billing information for companies that charge clients for work on a ‘time spent’ basis. Indeed, Ketura provides breakdowns of work done and costs for milestones and projects by both user and issue. However, it is recommended that organizations using Ketura as a source of billing information enforce mechanisms to verify the accuracy of that information.