• Project Network Diagrams: Important Tool for Project Time Management

    Management of a project brings about many challenges for the project manager. One of the frequently encountered challenges is in the arena of Time Management. As any practicing project manager can attest, time is one of the most important project constraints frequently encountered in practice. The other two project constraints are project budget and project scope. Time constraint can be particularly challenging when customer imposes a predetermined target completion date even before the project planning begins or is still in-progress. And to compound this further, the customer imposed target date is usually ahead of the planned completion date. So, what is a project manager supposed to do under such circumstances?

    Project Time Crunch: Handling Options

    Project managers must carefully consider all possible options that can assist in matching the planned project completion date to customer specified completion date when the latter date is earlier than the former date. As a starting point, project manager can determine if schedule compression techniques can help in meeting the target date, and if that doesn’t work then negotiate two possible alternatives with project sponsor(s) and key stakeholders:

    Reduce number of objectives/deliverables for the project. This reduces scope which in turn assists in reducing work and thus can help to make the target date achievable, or

    Negotiate to change the target completion date for the project to at least match the planned completion date.

    Prior to escalating the matter to sponsor and/or key stakeholders, it is advisable to explore if schedule compression can help. Schedule compression involves two techniques-Crashing and Fast-tracking. Crashing involves assignment of additional resources to tasks in order to assist in completing them faster. Fast-tracking involves performing several tasks concurrently especially if they have no direct dependency on one another and can be done in parallel. Now, crashing does increase project cost due to the employment of additional resources and for this project manager must take into consideration the project budget along with contingency reserve to ensure project costs does not exceed available funds. Note that a project manager can employ both the techniques in the same project if necessary.

    Project Network Diagrams

    In order to decide on the schedule compression approach and which tasks should be brought under the purview of which schedule compression approach, project manager must use the project’s network diagram also known as Network Logic Diagram. Let’s now understand the role that Project Network Diagram (PND) or Network Logic Diagram (NLD) can play in assisting project managers undertake schedule compression. PND can be of two types: Activity-on-Arrow (AOA) and Activity-on-Node (AON). Activity-On-Node (AON) PNDs are also known as Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM). In this article, I will focus on AONs or PDMs as they are more popular and frequently used in practice and in software such as Microsoft Project.

    PDM/AON & CPM: Understanding Benefits

    AONs are created based on activities or tasks obtained from the project’s Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). While WBS provides several details such as which tasks when completed can provide which project deliverable, it does not incorporate relationships or dependencies between tasks. Dependencies between tasks are either graphically depicted or described in tabular format for a PND. This helps in understanding the type of relationship between tasks and in what sequence they should be performed. In addition, PNDs can have multiple task sequences and each such sequence from start of project to finish defines a specific path in the PND. The delineation and understanding of all paths in a PND are important as it lays the groundwork for determining planned duration of the project as well as those tasks which directly impact the project’s completion date and thus cannot be delayed. A very specific method called Critical Path Method (CPM) is used for PNDs like AONs in order to determine the following:

    • Planned project completion date
    • Early start and finish times for each task in the PND
    • Late start and finish times for each task in the PND
    • Available Slack or Delay time for each task and the project itself
    • One or more critical tasks and paths in the PND

    Arming oneself with all the details above can greatly assist in determining the following:

    • Which tasks can be delayed and which tasks cannot be delayed
    • Analyze dependencies to determine which tasks can be done concurrently in order to undertake fast-tracking if necessary
    • What is the planned total duration of the project?

    Closing Thoughts

    It must not be difficult to understand now that PNDs such as AONs is an important tool in a project manager’s toolbox to use in order to handle time constraint challenges or simply undertake schedule planning for a project. Knowledge of this very important tool along with application of network analysis technique called Critical Path Method (CPM) is a required skill even when it is done using robust scheduling software like Microsoft …

  • Sump Pump Pros and Cons

    “We like the house a lot. It’s got all the features we’re looking for. The only thing that worries me is the sump pump in the basement. Obviously the house has some sort of water problem.”

    It’s easy to imagine a prospective home buyer voicing concerns about a sump pump located in a basement or crawl space. But is having one always a bad sign? Is a house automatically better off without one? How reliable are they at keeping water out of a basement or crawl space? One way to answer these questions is to examine the “pros and cons.”

    PROS

    • Effective water removal. When a sump pump has been properly installed, it’s the most effective way to move water away from the foundation and help keep the basement or crawl space dry in wet conditions.
    • More reliable than other waterproofing treatments. Despite what many people think, coating the outside of a foundation with a moisture barrier is no guarantee against water infiltration into a basement or crawl space. Both the coating and the foundation can (and often do) develop cracks that admit water. Water can also come in through cracks in the concrete floor, or along the joint between the floor and the wall. A properly functioning pump is more reliable than a “passive” system like a moisture barrier.
    • Able to handle major leaks. Unlike a curtain drain system that relies on gravity alone to remove water, it can move a great volume of water in a relatively short time. This capability is important whenever a severe storm or an unanticipated leak occurs.

    CONS

    • Electricity required. Power outages often occur during heavy rainstorms that can cause water to enter a basement. But when the power goes out, a standard one won’t work, so the basement can fill up with water. To prevent this catastrophe, you need to install a sump pump that includes a battery backup system.
    • Possible radon hazard. Putting a hole in the concrete floor of a basement or crawl space creates an opening where radon gas from the soil can enter the foundation. Since exposure to radon can cause cancer, it’s important for any house with a sump pump to be tested for radon. If hazardous radon levels are detected, they can be reduced to acceptable levels by an experienced radon mitigation contractor.
    • Unattractive appearance. In the past and even today, installation leaves an exposed hole in the foundation that is rough and unsightly. Seeing an open hole that’s dirty and partly full of water will not make homeowners feel good about their basement or secure about avoiding water damage. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As shown in the photo, sump pumps like those available from Basement Systems, Inc. have a neat, clean appearance that inspires confidence rather than fear.

    BOTTOM LINE

    To a homeowner or home buyer, a sump pump can be a liability or an asset, depending on how it functions and how it looks. If properly functioning, it provides excellent protection against water intrusion and water damage in a basement or crawl space protection that is in many ways more fail safe than waterproof coatings. To provide the best protection and the best finished appearance, it’s important to install a top-quality pump that incorporates a battery backup system and an airtight cover. This type of sump pump is typical of the models available from Basement Systems.



    Source by Samantha Walton

  • IC Federal Credit Union Residence Improvement Loans

    home improvement loans wells fargoFHA House Enchancment Funds: Banks give out FHA Title I house improvement loans as a result of they’re backed by the federal government and they have relatively few eligibility requirements. Should you take out a super excessive interest mortgage it may put you right into a place that’s much worse and your credit score could get even worse.

    Lenders will work with people with poor credit scores if they’ll discover somebody to cosign on the settlement that has a very good credit score rating.

    Secured loans such as a refinance, line of credit or residence equity loan are guaranteed by your property itself; rates of interest tend to be decrease than on a bank card, however the borrower risks losing the house if payments aren’t made.

    And in contrast to another lenders, in many cases we can provide you a personalised value quote up front – with no influence in your credit score.

    A lot of the loans go to apartment complexes that cater to renters who cannot fairly afford dearer housing.home improvement loans for bad credit

    Moreover, CalVet gives a Residence Improvement Mortgage program as properly that can be utilized to finance most enhancements on your own home.

    To receive residence improvement loans the mortgage must be used to make improvements on a bit of property owned by the borrower.

    Relying on your mortgage amount, you would have entry to hundreds of dollars over the course of several years to speculate or reduce high interest debt, together with bank card debt.

    Other ideas are often included when considering equity loans; however, the only goal is usually to discover a resource to meet a requirement or need.

    For these wanting an low cost way wherein to hold out renovation work to their house, acquiring one of the many low cost home enchancment loans out there might be an advisable plan of action.home improvement loans

    Last month, the financial institution announced that the festival affords a 25 percent discount on new home loans and auto loans.

    Gemachs in Israel supply loans with out interest which can be used for down payments when buying or for dwelling improvements.

    Whereas home improvements that involve restore increase the comfort within the dwelling and its longevity and are subsequently important, all other types of dwelling enchancment need to be carefully evaluated earlier than embarking on them.

    I’m Mrs Magret Uzor, we’re a non-public mortgage lender’s who’re fashioned to lend loans to those who are in want of economic assistance of so ever, so if you are out there on the lookout for an pressing loan to clear up your money owed or payments or for any financial causes at all, then you will have to fill in the beneath software form and get again to us with our electronic mail beneath.

    You probably have excellent to wonderful credit score, you may in all probability get accredited for a brand new bank card that may charge you no curiosity on new purchases for nine to 18 months.…

  • Why Litigation Is Nothing More Than A Business Tool – 26 Unbreakable Rules of Litigation!

    From Bill Gates at the end of the last century to John D. Rockefeller at the end of the previous century; from Rick Scott, founder of Columbia Health Care, to AT&T: from Richard Branson and British Airlines to Dan Peña and The Financial Times; from government, banking, insurance and every other facet of world commerce – to grow geometrically and stay around, litigation must be (prudently) used and mastered.

    I will, as briefly as I can, memorialize the salient points of using litigation as a business tool.

    Now before I start, I want it on the record, some 50% of my 30-year track record of litigation has had nothing to do with winning money, i.e., many lawsuits have been over principle, some were to right a heinous wrong such as slanderous remarks made about me; and some were because an entity just needed a good comeuppance and nobody else would carry the flag into battle.

    I, like Don Quixote, have fought many a windmill.

    As you’ve heard me speak and write about, when building your ‘Dream Team,’ you want Big Five accountants and a large national or international firm of lawyers – the best representation you can’t afford!

    Unlike the success-oriented fees I coach you to use when facilitating transactions, no law firm will litigate initially on this basis.

    Perhaps if your case is especially strong, they will do it on a contingency basis. Unfortunately, you will be using, from time-to-time, litigation as a positioning tool and your case may not be something you can seriously leverage.

    A year or two ago, being left with a pig-in-a-poke, I had to litigate a case having specious facts at best to support my desired outcome. Fortunately, our (my) apparent lust for litigation was stronger than their desire to fight a hard fight, so a reasonably good settlement was finally arrived at.

    Of course, during this process my good lawyers counseled us, advising our case needed to be much stronger, etc. Even with great lawyers, it is their job to tell you the downside risks. Again, what happens is you are often scared from pursuing your case.

    Good lawyers win so-so lawsuits. Great lawyers can win lawsuits in which you have little or no chance to win.

    Three of my favorite litigators over the years are Steve Susman and Cyrus Marter IV of Susman Godfrey in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle and Tim Harris of Charleston Revich & Williams in Los Angeles. All three have dug me out of some pretty big black holes.

    I’ve dealt with them 10 and 20 years respectively. They are worth every penny they charge!

    Our judicial system works, but we grow up being afraid of it. It’s way out of our comfort zone so we preclude ourselves from benefitting from it. Normally the cost associated with it keeps us from using it.

    In fact, I’m currently embroiled in litigation where the ancillary players to the litigation have rights which are being severely violated. A large group of people could bring great pressure to bear, but they’re afraid because of previous bad experiences. They could get what they deserve but aren’t pursuing their best interests.

    There are lawyers who take on cases for humanitarian reasons, if the case warrants, in business as well, i.e., big major corporations taking advantage of the system because of their size alone.

    Why do you want to initiate the lawsuit so you are the plaintiff? As the plaintiff, you pick where and when the lawsuit is fought and probably ultimately adjudicated.

    This can be a huge advantage. And secondly, the plaintiff is allowed two closing arguments, meaning you (your lawyer) gets to address the judge and/or jury once and then again after the defendants’ closing argument. This can also be very important.

    26 Unbreakable Rules of Litigation

    #1 CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES

    #2 CHOOSE THE VENUE

    #3 BE THE PLAINTIFF

    #4 HAVE THE BEST REPRESENTATION

    #5 LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

    #6 DON’T LISTEN TO YOUR SICK STOMACH WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

    #7 DON’T LISTEN TO RELATIVES, FRIENDS, ET AL

    #8 LISTEN TO EXPERIENCED LITIGANTS – LIKE ME!

    #9 GENERALLY SPEAKING, DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE COST (THIS IS VERY HARD!)

    #10 BIG LAWSUITS ARE BETTER THAN SMALL ONES

    #11 ELECT JURY TRIALS, AS OPPOSED TO A JUDGE ONLY

    #12 PREPARATION (YOURS) IS EVERYTHING – KNOW THE FACTS

    #13 PRACTICE DEPOSITIONS AND TRIALS

    #14 IF YOU ARE THINKING OF A BETTER STRATEGY, GET A NEW LAWYER (NOT TRUE IN MY CASE)

    #15 NEVER GIVE UP

    #16 DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE PROCESS

    #17 USE MOCK TRIALS (PRETEND TRIALS YOU DO IN FRONT OF A HIRED JURY)

    #18 DRESS SIMPLE AND CONSERVATIVELY IN COURT – NO JEWELRY EXCEPT A WEDDING BAND; WHITE SHIRT, PLAIN TIE AND DARK SUIT FOR MEN AND THE EQUIVALENT …

  • Box Store Replacement Windows – Are You Getting the Best Replacement Window Available?

    Lowe’s or Home Depot make replacement windows very easy. They provide a turn key service to provide you the windows, offer you the support in getting them ordered and even provide an installation option to install them. By creating a “one stop shop” the large stores can cover it all. However, how do you know if you are getting the best window replacement project that you can from the large box stores? The information below details three areas you should consider when choosing a box store to supply your replacement windows.

    Window Quality

    Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have several options to choose from when selecting replacement windows. To begin, each store carries their unique brand of window that is only found in their store. Lowe’s carries the Reliabilt vinyl line and Home Depot carries American Craftsman vinyl windows. Both window lines are unique to each company meaning you will not be able to find the window brands outside of their respective stores. If you are worried about the quality of the “house” brand of windows, you should know that in a 2007 Consumer Reports test, the Reliabilt scored highest of the vinyl windows tested and the American Craftsman scored third.

    In addition to their store brand windows, Lowe’s replacement windows offering also includes the Pella brand. Pella has been in the window and door business for over 75 years and has a reputation for delivering quality products. Pella’s service support after the sale insures that if you have problems with your window, it will be resolved. Home Depot carries the Andersen and Jeld Wen brands. These are large window manufacturers that have years of research behind their product. Like Pella, purchasing Andersen or Jeld Wen windows insures you are getting the support from the manufacturer after the purchase from the box store.

    Window quality should not be considered a major concern when purchasing from the box stores. With house brands ranking at the top of Consumer Reports, and other brand name window companies available, you will be able to find a product that meets your level of quality.

    Experienced Personnel

    Purchasing and ordering windows is by no means brain surgery. However, there are many different factors involved with ordering replacement windows and it requires someone familiar with the process to insure the order is correct. The challenge homeowners face with stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot is getting consistency in the experience of employees. While each store has personnel that are dedicated and trained to specific departments of the store, it is not always easy to determine how much experience that person has with the product they are selling. An employee in millwork (windows) today could have been in electrical three weeks ago.

    This is not to say that whomever you purchase replacement windows from at either store does not know what they are talking about. Both stores hire strong personnel, train well, and are very willing to help customers. Even so, you should always make sure the person helping you with your replacement windows is the most qualified person at the store. This will insure the details are covered and your order is correct.

    Quality of Installation

    One of the attractive aspects of the large home improvement stores is that they provide installation services along with the replacement windows. The “one stop shop” aspect makes it easy for homeowners to not have to search for a contractor to install their windows. In addition, the large stores offer installation pricing that is relatively inexpensive to fit most project budgets.

    Before you commit to having the store’s installers perform the work you should always research other installers to perform the work. Find out what the average installation costs are for your area. Chances are when you compare the installation prices to the Lowe’s or Home Depot prices, you will find that the box store price is significantly cheaper than a professional installation company or an installer.

    Before you think you are getting the steal of the century keep this in mind: The process to remove and replace a window is basically the same whether you do pay $100 or $200 an opening to get it done. If the work is getting done for $100, in order for the installer to make the same amount of profit as the $200 installer, they either have to cut material costs or reduce labor costs. If material costs are cut, you might not get the best caulk or the highest quality trim around the windows. This can lead to rotting wood and leaking windows.

    Likewise, for contractors charging $100 to install a window, they have to install twice the number of windows to make the money the $200 per window installer does. This means they would have to spend half the time installing …

  • Texas House Improvement Loans

    home improvement loans for bad creditNevertheless, economic conditions have improved significantly over previous few quarters and the capital circulation within the system is nice. For those who find that your credit score score is stopping you being accepted for the very best home enchancment loans, one possibility is to consider a secured, or home-owner, mortgage that uses your property as safety.

    While applying online the borrower should furnish all the right details relating to non-public and credit score records.

    For starters, you may refinance your private home mortgage for the next loan quantity than your present mortgage loan and thus acquire additional funds for enterprise residence improvement initiatives.

    The Israel Prime Index is the prime rate of interest set periodically by the Bank of Israel.home improvement loans michigan

    We only suggest residence improvement loans with practical terms, which you’ll be able to pay again in a means that works best for you.

    Within the occasion of your dying, your credit union mortgage is insured – subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria – at no direct value to you.home improvement loans usaa

    As well as, to give more advantages to prospects, the financial institution will proceed to reduce the rate in the processes of housing loans and automobile loans by 50 percent.

    Home improvement loans are loans which are specifically designed for individuals who want to make modifications to their house however they can not because of their financial standing.

    Simply make sure you’re not making use of to different lenders as soon as a month, and your credit can be okay.

    If you eligible to borrow from the FHA Residence Enchancment Mortgage should lease the property that extends up to six months after the date when the loan was paid.

    Many ironmongery store credit cards supply special promotions to card holders, or e.g. a 2% rebate on purchases made with the cardboard within the retailer.

    If the borrower makes use of collateral in opposition to the mortgage, then it’s known as secured loans.…

  • The Best Key Performance Indicators For General Contractors

    All businesses and businessmen can benefit from the key performance indicators. This is because they can keep track of their profitability and their efficiency at the same time. If you are working as a general contractor, you also need to make use of these KPIs so that you will be able to determine the best practices and drive success toward your business. If your goal is to become the most profitable company in the industry that you belong in, you should only utilize the best key performance indicators.

    It is not a secret that it is difficult to run and manage a company. This is because you will be continuously facing an unprecedented number of pressures that can come from your own business as well as with the external parts. In the latter, this can include the profit margins, the ever changing technology, the expectations and the declining workforce. As a general contractor, you should follow the best practices so that your endeavors will flourish. In doing so, you will be able to achieve higher ROI and even reduce the risks that you might face in the future.

    The difficulty of the industry that you belong in is quite evident. According to many reports, over 10,000 construction businesses fail every year and billions of dollars have been lost since 1998 alone. However, there is no need to panic because if you have the best key performance indicators, you can definitely succeed here.

    Experts have found out that the contractors that usually do well are those that are able to fine tune their company by means of aligning the processes, the people and the technology so that they can produce results that soar above the average of this industry. The construction industry has already accepted the key performance indicators that are able to indicate the overall health of the company. However, the description and comprehension of each of these KPIs will vary greatly because of the fact that a normal general contracting firm contains a compound grouping of legacy software and different software systems that are utilized to continue the business operations.

    Among the best key performance indicators for the general contractors are the liquidity, backlog, scorecard, schedule variance and the work in process reporting indicators. In the WIP, this can include the margin variance, the cash flow of a certain project, the unapproved change order and the committed cost indicators. Although these have been identified as the best ones among the available KPIs today, you are not limited into searching for more indicators for your firm. In addition, you should never forget that the KPIs are only there to help you assess your company’s performance. There is no way that these indicators can give the whole description entire picture of the business productivity and efficiency. This is why there is a need for indicators on every department or area of the organization.

    It is crucial that the indicators are timely and relevant for the company since being aware in the early part of the business can help you and your workforce to avoid problems and get great opportunities instead.



    Source by Sam Miller