Happy Easter!

I wish all readers happy Easter!

With many (as well as with me) Easter is connected with a “Dinner-With-The-Family-Project”.
For this purpose I wish great success and peacefulness!


Yours Sincerely
Erhard Schrebb


Thoughts to a word

Today I have investigated some time where the word “project” derives from and found out some interesting things That I like to introduce to you. “project” comes from Latin and is composed from 2 parts.

PER: forward

IACERE: throw

“iacere” also meets us in a known expression which, by the way, was not invented by Caesar, but it is said, that he has cited this sentence himself: alea iacta est. This means strictly translated: The die is cast. This has the meaning: Something is decided.

Following both considerations “project” means that something is thrown forward, and it follows that something will strike somewhere. The more exactly one throws, the more exactly the aim is met. It depends – derived from that – on the good preparation which ends with a decision to the approach. Maybe another Approach – Plan B – is also prepared. Practicing of the agreed approach follows. The better the throw is then executed (as planned), the better the goal is achieved.

And this does not indicate at all to throw most fare, but to throw (forwards) in a way that one meets the aim best of all. So it seems to be better comparable with the rules of the Boccia than with the classical shot-putting, also under the aspect that you have influence on your competitors with Boccia. You know that projects are also competitions.


You will find it not so often that a word completely explains itself from itself so “excellently”.
I wish you an optimum throw in your next project!

Yours Erhard Schrebb

6 + 1 Advice for your next Project

Dear reader,

today I will take my experience to give you 6 major advices, that appear always helpful for every project.
They are mapping to the six standard phases of a project. In the end I have a final advice for you.


I try it in a  short form. if you are interested in more details, then please let me know by a comment.

1. Define and differentiate the goals

Think very carefully about the goals of your project. Split them into Target, Purpose and Benefit, by answering the 3 questions:

  1. What is to be done until when by whom?
  2. What is the purpose of the project? What are the obvious effects to the users?
  3. What are the benefits in money and capacities reached after the project?

2. Check more than one solution, contract the best one

Always look for different solutions from different parties or contractors and get responses in forms of RFI, RFP and especially RFQ for the final quote. Ask experts or experienced friends to check each concept of each proposal in each part of the contracting phase. Derive a contract from the final and best proposal, even if the contract is an internal one. The best proposal need not to be the cheapest, but the best balance between efforts, quality and costs.

3. Make Plan A (+B!) by using Activity Blocks

Try to avoid making your plans just with x FTEs attending your project for y months. It is much more better to produce plans with Activity Blocks for each phase. An Activity Block consists of 3 dimensions and a portion of fix costs where they appear:

  1. Number of Units
  2. Time needed for each unit
  3. Hourly Rate for the expert needed for that unit
  4. Fix Costs for each unit

Always make a Plan B for the major activities.

Example1: 50 Printers to be installed, each in an average access time of 30 minutes, installed by a person that costs 20 Euro per hour. The printer itself costs 1000 Euro in average.

Plan B: The users support the process, what appears as decreasing project costs

Example 2: During the whole project time of 35 weeks, the project manager (hourly rate: 80 Euro) has to lead a meeting each week. This task takes 5 hours including preparations and reworking only for him and some additional time for the participants. The meeting room for 2 hours costs 100 Euro. Average travel costs has to be calculated for each meeting and participant.

Plan B: 2 from 3 meetings are online, what saves costs for travel and room, but may rise some equipment costs

Note: The standard plan (Plan A)  should not always be the cheapest. So you keep chances beside the risks.

4. Perform early & accurate & complete rehearsals

Start with first rehearsals as soon as possible and as easy as possible. Include the persons that are the effected users within the project and inform them already in the final rehearsal phase. Make as much rehearsal loops as possible until you are very sure that you considered all major scenarios, and until you practically checked each Plan-A as well as Plan-B (that you hopefully have inserted). If you miss to find a major gap during rehearsals, it will cost you 10 times more during execution to overcome this.

5. Execute exactly what you planned and control it extremely well

Only execute that, what is planned and well checked. Follow exactly the planned processes. All unplanned activities has to be handled as change.

Make a so called “Mit-Kalkulation”. This has no valid english translation because this is a German concept, sometimes translated as “concurrent calculation”. But this is not the same. It is meant that you carefully control each and every cost-item during execution by comparing planned costs against real costs and planned efforts against real efforts. If you have setup your plans with Activity Blocks, that will make it easy to control them now.

I have seen some  project executions “interrupted” by an unforeseen budget runoff. Not always at the end of this phase 😉

6. Complete your project and learn

Just execute this final phase!

And finalize ALL ! documents. Prepare 1 ! final document with unresolved issues and open activities. Hand over the results to your entrepreneurs or program managers and also to the normal operation that is effected by your project results. Produce specific and comprehensive views for each of them.

Produce a readable and understandable lessons learned document and read this (and those ones available from similar recent projects) very carefully in the beginning of your next project.

Last but not least here is the +1 Advice


7. Do not make the same mistake twice!

Please remember: The first mistake is human and is often paid by your company, but it may happen that your second mistake in the same area has to be paid by you. Directly or even indirectly.

Erhard Schrebb

Why do you do, what you do?

Very seldom I look to linked videos from persons, I do not know, especially not, if the clip takes more than 18 minutes. But from my opinion, it is worth looking to it from beginning to end.

Thanks to Hendrik Epe who provided this link in his blog and thanks to Simon Sinek who presented the ideas.


And you? Why do you do, what you do? I hope to find some comments on that question.


The secrets of successful projects

This article is a follow-up from another one:


Let’s first look at the principles of a project definition.

All project definitions run out to the fact that a project is a purposeful working process which is unique and does not reflect a daily or standard process that has its own targets. It is limited by start and end appointment between which a dedicated project organization is explicitly commissioned for the project. The project and the activities can be measured in reaching the targets within the given time frame, the budget limitations and expected quality.


This definitions also applies to our example of a theatrical project as I can approve this by looking back at nearly 30 years of participation in an amateur theatre group. And am glad just about my 30th session.

I will pull up the example of a theatrical project in my next contributions again . On the one hand because I have many experiences in it and on the other hand because many problem situations of more abstract projects can be well illustrated with this example.

You – as visitor – mostly see the target reaching of such a theatrical project. But why do they mostly succeed so well? And why is this optimum target reaching with the criteria time, budget and quality rather unusual in other kinds of projects? Please remember your last IT project which you were attending or were you was involved indirectly as a user, e. g. within the last operating system update or PC exchange.

How can you apply a methodology comparable to the shown theatrical project for such projects? At the end of this article here is the short first answer attempt on the this question.


Most theatres are in a way professional (no matter whether they are amateur stages or professional stages), because they are measured in the satisfaction of their visitors. The budgets are usually low and require a lot of skill to keep to them. a shift of the presentation date is a KO criteria, except there is a really convincing reason. With persistently missing quality a theatre will have to close soon.

So shortly said, the success depends on each participant personally. A lot of heart blood and unusual engagement is in every production. Each of the theatre team (before, on, beside or behind the stage) contributes to the success or to the failure very obviously. This makes one difference between theatrical projects and many other projects.

Soon you may read a further article on the uniqueness of theatrical projects and the secrets of their success. But you also may have your own experiences on such projects. I appreciate your comments and reading about your know-how on that

Yours sincerely

Erhard Schrebb

Why do theatre performances succeed?

There are some examples of projects in the quite usual life which succeed almost always.  Think of your last visit to the theatre.
The following criteria have been fulfilled with a high probability:

  • The performance has taken place in the announced schedule
  • The entry price remained stable
  • You have seen a performance in good quality

FRIDAY July, 31st 2007

Begin: 6 pm at THEATRE

Entry Price: 7,00 Pounds

But the quality is less measurable in numbers. The quality often expresses itself in satisfaction, especially in this case. And it has to be distinguished whether it concerns the felt impression or the theatrical quality in itself. The theatrical ensemble has certainly given many thoughts to the preparation and for the performance itself.


  • Which piece is suitable for our purpose?
  • Can we do the piece within our possibilities?
  • Which requirements are given concerning performing rights, rooms, advertisement, rehearsals, ticket sale, stage construction, equipment, costumes, technical parts and so on
  • Who is suitable best of all for which role? Who is responsible for the technical parts? And who for the props?
  • At which times could we plan the rehearsals? When can we be ready?
    When can the performance take place? What is if somebody falls ill till then?
  • Do all demands fit to the budget?


In this article I suppose that we are speaking about an amateur stage, because at the professional theatre the questions may appear differently. And this is only a small extract from all questions. However, you can already recognize by these facts that theatrical performances are really projects.

Very complex projects. But why are they successful more often as other projects? Please read the second part of this article soon.

Yours sincerely

Erhard Schrebb

About Helpful Projects

Dear readers,

after I have started a German Blog to share experiences and methods of project activities, I want to publish this idea also for English reading participants.

First I thought it could be useful to translate each German article into English and putting it into this blog, but I now think that I will do it only, if this could be useful regarding certain themes. Generally I think, that the English blog will develop and used in another way than the German one since one of my goals is, to come into a real sharing of experiences within this blog.

So it’s time to present the goals of this blog. One of may basic experiences, that I want to share as a first example, is to distinguish between target, purpose and benefit within helpful projects.



The target of this blog is simply to establish a platform to share experiences. To define it project-like I have the target that enough people find this platform useful in about 6 months. This will be measured in form of clicks, likes and responses. After that starting phase that looks like a project, it should change to a regular sharing point and the targets will change more to the purposes and benefits.


The purpose could always be reflected from both sites of a blog. My main purpose is, to get in contact with people and to share experiences. My part is to present my long term experiences in small to biggest IT projects in a form, that they are more commonly usable. Often they has been already approved in other frameworks than only technical ones.

For this purpose my experiences as amateur actor, musician and photograph will give examples of more commonly usable project methods.

The other site of the purpose is the purpose you receive. I hope that especially my common examples will help you, using regular project methods within technical projects but – and that is another important purpose of this blog – could also be used in non-technical tasks and projects.

A third purpose is to give all readers a link to projects that are really helpful. I like projects that are useful and helpful and gives benefits to all sites.


My personnel benefit is to provide, share and offer experiences, learning by getting your experience and also bringing equal.minded people together here in the blog or eveb in reality. One of my financial benefits could be that someone will choose me as project coordinator for the benefit of her or his project, for example by optimizing the project costs of a certain project. My benefit in this is gaining some portions of the resulting benefit as my salary.

Thats a so-called win-win-situation and would be always the best kind of benefit. Both sites will win and often the sites in those projects are no longer really important because conflicts about targets and purpose in a win-win-project are often minimized.



You will soon read about some of my experiences related to my participation in theater projects.

Yours sincerely


anna antonia



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