Taking the Blinders off MS Project by Ed Mahler [email_address] President, Project Administration Institute Taking the Blinders off MS Project and The case for 3rd Party Scheduling Services Taking the Blinders off MS Project
What has to happen before this task can be done (predecessors)?
A picture of the schedule (Gantt diagram) – Nice to have
What can’t happen until this task is done (successors)?
External date constraints (constraint type and date)? – Must have at least one!
What are the project’s external deliverables (no successors)? – Must have at least one!
MSP out of the box Contents For each task in the schedule what do you need to see?
Adding the Successors column Right click the column heading and Insert Column Contents
Select Successors from the pull down Adding the Successors column Contents
Added Successors column What can’t happen until this task is done? Contents To find missing successors click the filter pull down and Use a No Successors Filter to identify missing successors
What can’t happen until this task is done? Only lines with blank Successor cells appear but without the rest of the schedule can’t see where to connect them Contents
Changing the filter to highlight tasks By editing the view Contents and turning on the Highlight filter
Highlighted missing successors No Successors Filter Contents One can see the missing Successors in the context of the whole schedule
Add the missing Successors Adding missing successors Contents This missing successor is a project deliverable
Use the No Predecessors Filter to identify missing predecessors What about missing predecessors Contents Missing Predecessors
Inserting constraint type and date columns Contents
And running the “Tasks w constraints” filter Use the Tasks w Constraints Filter to identify date constraints Contents with date constraints confirms they are external dependencies Missing Predecessors
The PM supplies the new duration or completion date
Arrows appear in the Reschedule column indicating the direction finish dates moved
The Finish Variance column shows how much the finish dates moved from Last Finish
We accept the new schedule by telling MS Project the task is on schedule for the new finish date
MS Project calculates the % complete for it to be on schedule for the new date and the to do flag disappears
PM’s are better at estimating when a task will finish than what % complete it is
Arrows indicate which tasks moved from baseline Contents Stretching task 5 to 9 weeks and the ripple effect Finish Variance indicates how much each task moved Task 17 moved into the future and is no longer a to do 21 tasks have changed their finish dates Vertical arrows are on the critical path Gantt bars illustrate changes from baseline
Contents MSP is told task 5 is on schedule for new date The to do ball disappears MSP calculates task 5 is 51% complete The Gantt bar shows progress to the status date Project finish date slipped from 3/6 to 3/27, 3 weeks to do’s goes to 0
Switch to the Planning table Contents Recovering from slippage – step 1 Changes to critical path (blue) tasks will affect the project end date Turn on the Critical Path filter Objective: Deliverable finish variance back to 0 Reduce task 23 from 2 wks to 1 wk
Reduce task 23 from 2 wks to 1 wk Contents Recovering from slippage – step 2 Deliverable finish variance goes from 3 wks to 2 wks
Contents Rerun the Critical Path filter after each change Recovering from slippage – step 3 TC production, task 6, can be reduced to 1 week duration
Reducing task 6 to 1 week took it off the critical path Contents Recovering from slippage – step 4 but didn’t change the deliverable finish variance
Another candidate for reduction is Procurement, task 21 Contents Recovering from slippage – step 5 PM reduces it from 5 weeks to 3
Procurement is now off the critical path Contents Recovering from slippage – step 6 Reduce Samples from 4 weeks to 3 but Samples, task 7, is back on the critical path and deliverable finish variance is down to 1 week
Samples is now off the critical path Contents Recovering from slippage – step 7 but project finish variance is still 1 week The PM reduces Issue beverage docs, task 15, from 5 weeks to 4
Note that almost everything is now back on the critical path. Contents Recovering from slippage – step 8 Original schedule is restored Reducing, task 15 from 5 weeks to 4 Deliverable finish variance is back to 0
Switch to the Status table Status summary – what changed? Contents Duration change filter Changes from baseline 6 duration changes (blue highlights) Project duration change
Status summary – what changed? Remaining project to do’s Contents 16 finish variences (blue arrows) Project 15% complete Status summary notes Project finish variance
Wikipedia Contents In many industries, such as engineering and construction; the development and maintenance of the project schedule is the responsibility of a full time scheduler or team of schedulers, depending on the size of the project.
Benefits of a scheduling service over PM’s doing their own
Daily backups prevent project data loss
Contents 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Money saved on Microsoft Project tool training and product licenses New PM’s are productive sooner Planning, tracking, and reporting are consistent in format, terminology, and quality across the organization’s projects. PM standards training and policing is eliminated Administers formal tracking process to ensure plan currency, helps the PM manage change Maintains a common resource DB ensuring consistent resource naming across projects and enables cross project resource loading analysis Provides portfolio rollup reporting for management Provides one stop reporting source for interested parties Maintains the organization’s project history Reduces the ability of the PM to hide slippage until its too late 10)
Taking the Blinders off MS Project by Ed Mahler [email_address] President, Project Administration Institute Taking the Blinders off MS Project and The case for 3rd Party Scheduling Services