Monday, December 31, 2007

Are you sure that people read your blog????



Opps, have you ever asked your self this question, are you writing something that no body reads??

Don't get upset for a while, you have to spend more efforts in catching the eyes to your blog, here are some advises for you,  feel free to re-distribute it


  1. Include your blog link in your signatures  everywhere, emails, posts, answers, even Marriage invitation cards :)
  2. Link to others, ask the others to link to you
  3. Include taglines instead of submitting your blog URL to search engines, let them do it in their own way,use this tool that might help you selecting the right key words
    you can visit this site
  4. Don't write long articles, short and attractive post are more than enough
  5. Use Attractive titles, "Man bite a dog"  is more attractive than "Dog bite a man". ask a journalist about this :)
  6. Focus on one technology field, but you can post some "Breaking News" to have some little change, also you can put some personal materials (basically the idea of the blogs is personal activity to share knowledge and experience)
  7. Rank of your blog is proportional to the content you write, not to the time, the more you write the more growth you will get, so be patient
  8. What is ever you know in the related blog field is a good material for blogging
  9. Use a name for your blog which is related to the main topic your blog is talking about (This advice I got it from an expert in this field and it is really working, don't miss it)
  10. Use snapshots when illustrating post of the type How To, this will make the post preferred to read by your visitors
  11. Use Simple English, remember that your visitors are not always native English speakers
  12. Try to use simple layout, messy layout will encourage your visitors to run away ASAP
  13. Use standard fonts for titles, post bodies, links. Standards always make it fast and easy to read the content
  14. Don't submit your blog to search engines, yes, this is true, but don't ask me why, ok, you already asked!!, the answer is "This is the search engines policy to reduce the spam traffic"
  15. Refer to my blog :) ; you can ignore it if you did not like my blog


Best Regards

Bilal Okour


Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Sunday, December 30, 2007

MS Project 2007: Resource Booking Type? Committed or Proposed

When selecting a resource to your project then you need to specify the booking type of this resource and only you have 2 options


  • Committed: means that this resource will be actually booked for current project(s)
  • Proposed: it is usually used when preparing a proposals to get the estimate cost of the proposed project, Proposal resource means that it can be used if the company did not get the project


Best Regards

Bilal Okour

MS Project 2007: Resource Booking Type? Committed or Proposed

When selecting a resource to your project then you need to specify the booking type of this resource and only you have 2 options

  • Committed: means that this resource will be actually booked for current project(s)
  • Proposed: it is usually used when preparing a proposals to get the estimate cost of the proposed project, Proposal resource means that it can be used if the company did not get the project

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

MS Project 2007, Task Types

MS Project is using 3 type of tasks

  1. Fixed Unit
  2. Fixed  Duration
  3. Fixed Work (I call it efforts)

Now, for me I like to use equation to illustrate these three type simple

D=W/U  (D: Duration, W: Work, U stands for Units)

Now if we played with this equation it can be show in different ways

  1. For Fixed Unit: U = W/D. In this case increasing the Work will result in increasing the Duration and visa verse
  2. For Fixed Duration: D = W/U. In this case increasing the Work will result in increasing the Unit and visa verse
  3. For Fixed Work: W = D * U. In this case increasing the Duration will result in decreasing the Unit and visa verse

This is very important when planning for your project tasks

Note: For Units,I mentioned in case 2 & 3 that you can increase or decrease the Units,  what I meant by increasing or decreasing it is either increase and decrease the Units for the resource or adding more resource, in both ways you are changing the Units

and remember that using PMIS incorrectly will lead to fatal failures

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

MS Project 2007, does it manage projects??

The question is :  Does MS Project 2007 or any other project management application really manage your project??

for my opinion, the answer is NO. MS Project does not manage the projects, but it SUPPORT you in doing this. Managing project is a job that you as PM need to do but you need badly a PMIS solution to support you when in come to take decisions. This what MS EPM solution is all about.

Now we come to the point. Use MS Project correctly so it will help you taking the right decision at the right time, otherwise you will get nothing out of it, so be carefully

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Sunday, December 23, 2007

MS Project 2007: Calendars for project, resource and tasks


Project 2007 binds calendar through different approaches

  1. Project scale: by default MS Project schedules tasks according to Project default calendar
  2. Resource scale: if a specific resource working time is different than the project one then a special calendar can be created for him
  3. Task scale: sometimes calendars are applied to Tasks, Ex. night backup, which means it runs in its own calendar

Now which one dominate the others??

let say simply it is like the following

Rule 1: Task Calendar will overwrite the Resource Calendar

Rule 2: Resource Calendar will overwrite Project Calendar

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I love movies editing

Dear all
Now let me do something i always love to do, Editing Videos
Please watch the following movie I had composited it from the best snapshot taken by Kuwait MVPs during the MVP Global Summit 2007, thanx Bashar lulu,Mustafa Arafa and loay olabi for providing these  great snapshots
Please select your connection speed below.





2007 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Global Summit

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MS Project 2007: Resource availability


This is a very important note where every PM should be aware of, please read it carefully

Resource availability does not prevent you from assigning a resource to work beyond a period of availability or assigning more work than resource time available. Instead, Microsoft Office Project 2007 uses these availability values to calculate when resources are overallocated and flags the resource accordingly. A resource is considered overallocated when the sum of all assignment units for a given period exceeds the resource's maximum units.

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

MS Project 2007: More talks about resources

When adding a resource to your project or to the enterprise you should understand the following so that you can deal easily with Add Resource dialog box


Resource name  Shows the name of the selected resource.

Initials  Shows the resource's initials or other abbreviation that identifies the resource.

Email  Specifies the resource's e-mail address.

Group  (Important for later on) Specifies the group to which the resource belongs. If you enter a group name, you can sort resources by group or apply a filter to show information about specific groups.

Code  Specifies a code for the resource, such as a cost center code.

Booking type

Proposed  Specifies that the addition of this resource is considered tentative.

Committed  Specifies that the addition of this resource is considered definite. This is the default booking type.


Work  Select this resource type for people, equipment, or facilities that are assigned to a task and are not consumed during the task. This is the default.

Material  Select this resource type to track consumable resources, such as steel, that are to be used in the fulfillment of the project.

Cost  Select this resource type to track budgetary items, such as travel costs, that are not dependent on the amount of work or the duration of a task.

Material label  If this is a material resource, this box becomes available. Enter the unit label for the material resource. For example, for lumber, you can enter Linear Feet, to track linear feet of lumber for the project.

checkbox (you can say they are attributes)

Generic  Specifies that the resource is an account of skills required for a task, rather than an actual resource.

Budget  Specifies that the resource is a budget item.

Inactive  Indicates whether the resource has been deleted or otherwise removed from the resource pool (resource pool:  


Available From  Enter the resource's start date for the current level of maximum unit availability. If NA is entered in the Available From field, this means that the resource's starting availability is the same as the project start date.

Available To  Enter the resource's finish date for the current level of maximum unit availability. If NA is entered in the Available To field, this means that the resource's ending availability is the same as the project finish date.

Units  Type the number of maximum units available for this resource during the period of time specified in the Available From and Available To fields.  

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Monday, December 17, 2007

MS Project 2007 References

Out-of-memory errors may occur before you reach the listed limits.

Attribute Maximum
Resources per project 700,000
Resource units per assignment 60,000,000 units or 6,000,000,000%
Resource availability dates 100
Tasks per project 400,000
Task dependencies per project No limit
Predecessors per task 50,000
Successors per task 50,000
Outline levels per project 65,535
Consolidated projects 998
Open project files per consolidated project 998
Sharer files connected to a single resource pool 997

(That is, the maximum number of open project files, minus 1 for the resource pool itself.)

Open windows 50
Base calendars Tested to 30,000+
Calendar exceptions per calendar Testing was able to add more than 15,000 exceptions to a base calendar.
Rate tables to support varying pay scales and rates 5 per resource
Variable rates per rate table to support rate increases and decreases 25
Cost value in a currency field 999,999,999,999.99
Work value 1,666,666,666 hours
Assignment work values for work assignments 999,999,999 hours
Assignment work values for variable material assignments 999,999,999 units
Assignment work values for fixed material assignments 60,000,000 units
Custom cell formats 64,000
Print scaling adjustment range percentage 10%-500%
Page header text 5 lines
Page footer text 3 lines
Page legend text 3 lines
Page legend text box width 5 inches (12.7 centimeters)
Filter tests per filter 40
Filter tests per AutoFilter 2 per column
Earliest date allowed for calculation January 1, 1984
Latest date allowed for calculation December 31, 2049
Discontinuous selections in a sheet view 10
Baselines 11
Characters in a text field 255
Characters in an outline code field 255
Values and characters in an Enterprise Resource Multi-Value (ERMV) field 255 values, each of 255 characters
Value in a number field 9,999,999,999,999.99

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bill Gates to visit UAE

Dear All
I just want to re-broadcast this news item as I read it from AME site (
and here is the content:
"Bill Gates will be the keynote speaker at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum Arabia 2008, to be held 27-28 January 2008, at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, marking the first visit of the Microsoft chairman to the UAE. The theme for this year's forum is 'Accelerating Arab Competitiveness.' During the course of his visit to the UAE, Gates will travel to Dubai for a series of high-level discussions."


Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Microsoft Live Translator


It is still in beta time, but it really worth a try


Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Monday, December 10, 2007

Manage your projects with Project 2007

"The best project management tool in the world can never replace your good judgment.

However, the right tool can and should help you accomplish the following:

  • Track all of the information you gather about the work, duration, and resource requirements for your project.
  • Visualize your project plan in standard, well-defined formats.
  • Schedule tasks and resources consistently and effectively.
  • Exchange project information with stakeholders over networks and the Internet using standard file formats.
  • Communicate with resources and other stakeholders while leaving ultimate control in the hands of the project manager.

Armed with the information about project management contained in this article and the rich functionality of Project 2007 discussed in our book, you are off to a great start with Project 2007."


I read this from one article and i have quoted it for you

if you want to refer to the original article please refer to

best regards

MS Project Earned Value Calculation


I have read this article, it is really cool

but be aware that the name of the ER terms have been changed in the last PMBOK 3 edition as the following

Old Term

Old abbr.

New Term

New Abbr.

Budgeted cost of work scheduled


Planned value


budgeted cost of work performed


Earned Value


actual cost of work performed


Actual Cost



Best regards

MS Project Resource Types Again

Traditional resource types are

  • people
  • equipment
  • materials (used to complete tasks that make a project)

In Enterprise environment we have two domains

  • Global: Means related to the whole organization
  • Locale: related to the current project

So accordingly the resources can be classified as the following

  • Enterprise resources   Each of these resources can be shared across multiple projects. Typically, the list of enterprise resources is managed by an administrator , and each project manager adds these resources to their projects as needed.
  • Non-enterprise resources   A non-enterprise resource, or local resource, is not a part of the list of resources for the whole organization. No other project manager can use your non-enterprise resources in their projects.

Now the resource also can be classify according to the certainty

  • Specific Resource:  By name, for example Ali, Omar, khalil. this means that you already have this employee among your team
  • Generic resources   Generic resources are used to specify the staffing requirements for a project, such as carpenters and developers, or a team of resources.

Best Regards

Bilal Okour

Sunday, December 9, 2007

MS Project, WBS, Resources and some comments

For whom who are using MS Project to develop the the project's tasks schedule they used to do the following

  • First they start with the high level deliverables
  • Then decompressing till the WP level
  • Then create tasks under each WP
  • Then estimate the duration
  • Then assign the resources
  • then ..
  • ...

ok, let us go back to the bold step "Then assign the resources", well, but according to PMI methodology there is a missed step which is

  • Then determined the skills required for each task

For example: the task "Installing MS Sql 2005" required the following skills

  1. Systems administration
  2. DB Administration

So, i can imagine that when assigning resource for "Installing MS Sql 2005"  then system should not show me the name of our chairman for example as one of the available resources !

It should list only

  • Resources who are available
  • Resource who is not occupied or busy with other tasks at that time
  • Resource who owned the required skills


otherwise you will find yourself building non realistic plans for your project


best regards

bilal okour

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Halo Effect

Have you heard about it but I am sure that you face it and may be get affected by it some how

Ok, let me put it in different way
imagine you are the owner of some business and have some talented people working with you
Now you are getting a lot of projects and you are looking for qualified people to run them
Well, i guess you will not go for other than the options listed below

  1. You know that "Kamal" is a perfect network engineer and showed excellent technical skills
    He did a lot for the company and he deserve to get promoted. Kamal is promoted to be PM
  2. Or, you will put an ad and ask for qualified project manager with 10+ years of experience as PM and you will find "Tareq" is the best of them so you hired Tareq as PM
  3. Or you will look for person among your team "Ali" who showed excellent communication & organizing skills, he is not the best technically but he can control and communicate to all of the stakeholders in your projects.
  4. Or you will go back to "Kamal" option but first you will give him a training on PM. In other words, you invested on him

So, which choice you find your self welling to pick up, but please don't go to option 1, it is the halo effect, promoting the most experienced guy technically to PM will lead to

  • loose valuable resource in the technical domain
  • might get poor project manger will result in unexpected bad results!!

you are thinking of hiring person from outside, ok, well, assume that you have a qualified person in your team who feel that you should have selected him, you will lose him too

So, for me I would like to go for option 3 or 4 and i liked 4 (my name is not Kamal and i am not any business owner :) )

So what do you think