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Aibase for Project Management

This article is for the special group of users who are in the area of project management.

Project management has the goal to achieve a target while optimizing the use of resources (time, money, people, space, etc). Projects drive the development of our civilization, which says all about the importance of project management.

Aibase is used for project-content management.
Knowledge mastering and communication are the main activities of the manager. The time constraint calls for an efficient information space. The complexity calls for information structuring and chunking; to see all relations and all opportunities. Especially complex software projects profit from Aibase's ability to break models down at all detail levels; even the last detail can be done with Aibase because the finishing data transfer (copy) to a compiler tool is only a very small portion of overall time; the gains for thought processes have much more weight.

The manager's ability to adapt to time constraint and complexity will decide about the success of the project. He needs a central information space that does not cut off complexity (reality). Only a free-form information space can contain and give access to all content. Additionally, depending on our budget and need, we can use a template-based Project Management Software for automated functions and reporting; or a powerful Office Package with spread sheets.

The safe strategy is: Start with Aibase as knowledge centre and add functionality from other programs when you need them. Documenting own actions in Aibase (e.g. how you created an Excel Sheet) is efficient for later changes, partners and similar projects. Do everything that strengthens the control over the project, even if there is no gain in the short term.

Aibase cannot do calculations (yet), but fortunately the difference for doing calculations separately (e.g. Excel spreadsheet) is very small compared to overall activity. Creating links to a common spreadsheet or special program is the preferred solution. We need to input precise numbers (cost, workhours) only there, not in Aibase.

1. Content we need for all project types

1.1. Project-Tree

The Project-Tree, commonly known as Work-Breakdown-Structure (WBS), is complete in scope, but limited in detail. This tree is central to all activities, especially communication.
The layout of a tree or sub-tree can be left-to-right or top-to-bottom; the meaning stays the same; the usage of the canvas width is different. The terminal items of the tree are activities, they consume resources and produce value.They are linked to more detail. Additionally the deliverable-items are linked to their schedules.

1.2. Terminal items (tasks) of the Project-Tree

Each task occupies an own document, so that we can simply link to it (from the Project-Tree and from a schedule).

1.3. Schedules for (concurrent) tasks

- Allow to place and size tasks in relation to time.
- Show dependencies between tasks.
- The task chain with the longest overall-duration is the critical path of the project because the project cannot be shorter.

The next picture shows an outer panel (reference panel) with task-panels.
Each panel has a timeline (calendar interval). Everything is free-form. Connectors are used to show dependencies between tasks. Panels can be filled with objects, e.g. items for sub-tasks and resources. Items can be linked to other documents.

The next picture shows a situation for task-panels of different time zones.
All panels can be moved and resized, their times remain in sync.
Los Angeles will always be 9 hours behind Vienna.

1.4. Categorized resource information:

For human resources, material, technology and locations.
Hold each project participant in an own document, so that we can simply link to this person wherever we want.

1.5. Project iteration task list:

Periodically repeated to observe, measure and control the project.

1.6. Todo lists

2. Control specific to project type

Target control is only possible by reliable input-to-output estimation (control theory). Estimation fails for nonlinear projects, because the relation between work-effort and work-result is unpredictable. Only short project-phases may have a linear relation. Examples for nonlinear activities are complex thought processes, problem-solving and innovation. Nonlinear projects can only be managed by steering with risk control.

2.1. Target control for linear projects

Target scope:

Sum of products and required work

Target constraints:

Agreed budget and finish date


Estimated budget and finish date


Current cost and date

Project parameter:

Process-quality, resources

Changes bubble up from project parameter to scope.
The project parameters influence the measurements.
The measurements help to estimate future values.
The estimates need to be checked against the target constraints.

Control actions are needed if the estimates are outside:

-The first option is to change the project parameters.

Example: A delayed finish date is estimated:
Solution A: improve process quality (organization)
Solution B: more efficient resources by training or replacement
Solution C: more resources by hiring (parallel if possible)
Solution D: more resources by overtime (if buffer time is available)

-If the estimates are always outside, then new target-agreements are needed.

2.2. Steering of nonlinear projects

Agile Project Management (APM):

The target scope is extended step by step during the project.
Each step is completed for delivery before the next step begins.
The project manager is the main expert for the scope.
Be prepared for the risk that the work on an extension has to be cancelled due to unexpected problems.
Increased result-documentation to easify extensions, changes and error-detection.

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