Knowledge Base

At Castellan Systems we have collected a lot of information about Project Management and Business Management. This includes tips, hints, techniques and tools. In this page we present some it for other Management professionals to browse and use if appropriate.

As having performed various management roles (including Project Manager) ourselves, we know that you never stop learning and someone out there may actually have a better way of doing things than our way. The trick is to be open to these ideas. As we have also come from an IT development background, we can have the tendancy to develop our own tools and templates every time we need to do something new; we guess we're still frustrated code-cutters at heart. But we're not always the first to think of these things, so we have taught ourselves to embrace the knowledge out there.

This "openness to ideas" in our Managing Director led to the formation of this business. Michael took over a project from another project manager which came with a different Ms Excel spreadsheet to track costs than the one he had developed; it was better that his, so he adopted it for all of his projects. Then he saw opportunities to make it better until he reached the limit of what he could do easily with Excel. That lead to ProMan, our very first product which has since been superseded.

You will also find various articles on these subjects published by our own staff that address various topics, some which are controversial.


Barbarians at the Gate - In defense of Project Managers

The proponents of Agile talk about it being an alternative to traditional “Waterfall Project Management”; this a fallacy. Waterfall is not Project Management; it’s a Product Development approach, technique or methodology but it’s not Project Management. So, if Agile is an alternative to Waterfall, then Agile is not Project Management either and its use should not lead to the exclusion of proper Project Management processes.


Navigating through the Fog

At my last engagement working for someone else, before I decided to concentrate all my professional energies on Castellan Systems, I was confronted by how little people knew about the difference between programmes and portfolios in relation to managing projects. What made this even more astonishing was that highly qualified people within the project management field were part of this misinformed group.


The Eternal Question

Let me start by saying that may be this is not the eternal question, but it is a question we get asked very often. Why are all of our Project Management solutions “on-premises” solution rather than cloud based? Many of our competitors’ solutions are cloud based, so why have we gone for the opposite direction? Are we just trying to create a point of difference between us and our competitors?


The Elephant in the Room

I’ve read a lot about “Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) in Project Management”, Castellan Systems even provides a tool, as an addon to our core Project Management solutions to prepare a CBA. So let’s start by putting the elephant in the room... I don’t believe that generating a CBA is a project management function and that a project manager should not touch a CBA not even with a “ten-foot pole!”


Getting the Thumbs Up

Now, this article has come a little out of left field and I need to state that I've never worked in the industry discussed within this article; my experience has been on the order side as a customer. So much so, that we've building (at the time of publishing) an application to assist people working in that industry.


Hospital Management Guide

Good hospital management can be the difference between a well-maintained and operated hospital and a chaotic environment where the quality of patient care suffers.

In every health care setting, including hospitals, coordination is the soul of hospital management. Hospital management relates to all aspects of a hospital; a coordination of all elements of a hospital. This may range from patient care to record keeping to inventory of medicines and cleanliness. To be able to become a hospital management professional, this requires taking care of each and every element of the hospital.


Restaurant Management Guide

Effective restaurant management balances many different targets and processes to create a seamless operation. Food and labour costs, inventory tracking, staff training, food production, customer service, and marketing are part of daily restaurant management. Here’s a look at how to manage a restaurant in six steps, along with tips and advice from experienced restaurateurs.


Hotel Management Guide

Running a hotel successfully isn’t easy. Hospitality management and operations is complex, with many interlocking pieces and dependencies. Hotel managers have to be great at time management, context switching, and problem solving. In a single hour, you may go from placating an unhappy guest to cleaning guest rooms, analysing guest service requests, handling a plumbing emergency to interviewing a front office manager candidate to reviewing the latest revenue management report. During COVID-19 the role of a hotel operations manager and hotel staff in general has become even more complex with new health and safety guidelines.


Trades Business Management Guide

As a tradesman, your customer service skills will have a huge impact on your reputation and business. You can be highly skilled at your job, but it’s the little things and extra effort you make with your customers which go a long way in strengthening the relationship. This doesn’t come naturally to all tradies. So here’s some key tips to take your customer service to new levels.


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Guide


Growing companies eventually reach a point where spreadsheets no longer cut it. That’s where enterprise resource planning software comes in: ERP systems collect and organise key business information and help organisations run lean, efficient operations, even as they expand



Waterfall Model Guide

The term "Waterfall" refers to a traditional software development methodology where the project is defined sequentially and through clear project phases. This is a common approach to large-scale projects where little change is expected to the overall project plan. This is a distinct approach from Agile project planning, which is designed to accommodate rapid changes to the schedule.


Agile Model Guide

Agile is sweeping the world. Well, it is if you’re involved in product development. It’s not new, Agile has been around for over 20 years, but it’s seems to have gained traction with each passing year and is trending, as they say in social media circles. But is Agile really the miracle cure for all project woes as it’s often prescribed?


Hybrid Model Guide

The term hybrid methodology isn’t as opaque as some new ideas that have sprouted up recently in the field of product development. The simple definition is that it’s a combination of two different methodologies or systems to create a new and better model.


When to Choose Waterfall over Agile Guide

Prior to the extremely popular Agile methodology, there was Waterfall. Waterfall is defined as a sequential or linear product development methodology in which each development phase is completed before the next one begins. Waterfall is a straightforward, logical approach to product development. In this method, you determine what to build, plan the build, work out a schedule, obtain your resources, assign resources, develop the product, hand it off to a test team, work out the bugs, and then release it. Along the way the marketing team creates some “buzz” in anticipation of the product, and sales people convince customers that the new product will solve all of their problems. Since the introduction of Agile, Waterfall isn’t used as often, but there are still there are plenty of times when it makes sense to use Waterfall.


Scrum Framework Guide

Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. This Guide contains the definition of Scrum. This definition consists of Scrum’s roles, events, artifacts, and the rules that bind them together.


Scrum Master Guide

There are not two other words that when put together sound as unseemly as… Scrum Master. If you’re new to Agile, you might wonder who in their right mind would want that title? Agile devotees, however, have a reverence for the role; only those worthy to walk in the footsteps of Jedi Knights ahead of them… or something.


Kanban Method Guide

Kanban is getting a lot of buzz these days as a project management method because, according to its fans, it can overcome problems that stymie methodologies like Scrum and Waterfall. But with its Japanese origins and Zen-like aura, Kanban is mysterious to many people. One of the most quoted sayings in Kanban is: “Stop starting and start finishing.” Sounds profound, but how do you implement that?


Lean Method Guide

Lean is an often-used adjective in business these days, but there’s some confusion over its exact definition. In essence, the goal of Lean is to maximize value while minimizing waste. In other words, creating more value for the customer with fewer resources. Lean was born on the factory floor, so many people think of it as a manufacturing technique. However, that’s a misconception because every process, whether in production or services, can benefit from a Lean approach. Today, Lean is finding a home in every industry from finance to healthcare.


Product Based Planning Guide

There are many different ways of creating a plan. One of them is a product-based planning technique. With Product Based Planning, your focus is first and foremost on the products that need to be delivered as opposed to the activities the project needs to undertake. It means that you plan the project from the client’s and user’s perspective, because you put the focus on tangible deliverables and outcomes.


Earned Value Management Guide

Earned Value Management (EVM) is a project management technique that objectively tracks physical accomplishment of work. cost overruns. EVM has emerged as a financial analysis specialty in United States Government programs in the 1960s, but it has since become a significant branch of project management.


Project Portfolio Management Guide

A project portfolio is a collection of projects, programs and processes that are managed together and optimized for the financial and strategic goals of an organisation. A portfolio can be managed at either the functional or the organisational level.


Programme Management Guide

The ultimate goal of a Programme is to realise outcomes and benefits of strategic relevance. To achieve this a programme is designed as a temporary flexible organisation structure created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver outcomes and benefits related to the organisation's strategic objectives.


Delivering Successful Programmes Guide

The rapid pace of innovation and the increasing level of management, stakeholder and customer expectations demand that organisations re-assess how they do business. Programme management, which PMI® defines as “a group of related projects managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually,” is key to executing major strategic initiatives. Unfortunately, many organisations are ill-equipped to manage larger-scale programmes. This paper describes 10 vital steps of programme management that must be done right in order for organisations to successfully deliver the benefits of change initiatives. The steps, which may be performed by a programme manager or by others within the organisation, together address the three overarching responsibilities of the programme manager: effective governance, stakeholder management and benefits management.


Project Planning in Project Management Guide

Project planning is a major first step towards a successful project. A project plan is a strategic organization of ideas, materials and processes for the purpose of achieving a goal. Project managers rely on a good plan to avoid pitfalls and provide parameters to maintain crucial aspects of the project, like the schedule and the budget.


Using DACI Framework for Better Group Decisions Guide

DACI is a project management framework used to clearly define the roles of the various stakeholders on a project. DACI stands for Driver, Approver, Contributor and Informed. These roles, defined by DACI, make it clear who has authority in certain areas and situations. This allows a project to progress smoothly whenever group decisions have to be made.


How to Fund a Software Development Project Guide

A critical success factor for a software development project is how it is funded. This will drive many aspects of the team’s behaviour throughout the project.


Project Stakeholder Management Guide

Leverage your stakeholder relationships and get more out of your projects.


Project Management Office Guide

A project management office (PMO) is a group or department that defines, maintains and ensures project management standards across an organization. A PMO can either be internal or external. They can also be referred to as a program or project portfolio management office, but they’re different types of PMO.


Project Management for Startups & Entrepreneurs: A Quick Start Guide

Project management can appear very formal to an outsider. That’s because project management maps out a specific, seemingly inflexible, process for initiating, monitoring and closing a project, all according to an established methodology.