Project planning using ms project
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Project Planning Using MS Project. URBS 609 Project, Unit 1. Introduction and Background. About This Training Module.

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Project Planning Using MS Project

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Project Planning Using MS Project

URBS 609 Project, Unit 1

Introduction and Background


About This Training Module

This training module was crafted using PowerPoint by Microsoft Corporation. It has been packaged with PowerPoint Viewer, a standalone Microsoft product that allows a user to view this module without use of PowerPoint.

  • Left mouse-click or enter to go to next slide

  • Right mouse-click or backspace to go to previous slide

  • ESC to exit this module

This Unit of Instruction was crafted by Robert Hugg For Minnesota State University, Mankato Urban and Regional Studies Institute - 2004

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Training Module Preview

  • This module will provide:

    • Introduction to the background of MS Project

    • Introduction to the Advantages of using MS Project

    • Introduction to the Hazards of using MS Project

    • Tips for using MS Project

    • Background material for project planning

  • This module is constructed as the first of three blocks in a building block approach

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MS Project Assumptions

  • The first assumption of any project planning is that the project goal and tasks are defined

  • MS Project uses the same assumptions as planning a project manually:

    • All tasks have distinct begin and end points

    • All estimates can be mathematically derived

    • Tasks must be able to be arranged in a defined sequence that produces a pre-defined result

  • Like any tool, MS Project cannot define the goal of a project, the user must do that

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The Basis of MS Project

  • MS Project is a strong tool that is built around the PERT and CPM basics

    • (See PERT/CPM blocks of instruction to review the basics if these terms are unfamiliar)

  • Based on same basic PERT calculations invented in 1958

  • Based on same basic CPM calculations invented in 1958

  • Incorporates use of a WBS (Task list) format invented in the 1960s

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The Basis of MS Project

  • A highly visual, yet checklist-intensive program

    • Balances visual approach (charts, graphs, etc) with logical structured approach (task and resources lists)

  • The most widely used PM program because:

    • It is fairly generic in its approach

    • Highly automated once configured; requires relatively low amount of user manipulation

    • Scalable – can be used for small to enormous projects

    • A cost-effective choice for casual users

  • Easy to use core techniques

    • Advanced techniques are complex, however

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MS Project Strengths

  • Good step-by-step tutorial for beginners

  • Good searchable keyword help function

  • Based on data entry – once configured, user enters data and Project automatically:

    • Computes all times and costs

      • Optimistic, Pessimistic, Likely and PERT- expected

    • Identifies Critical Path, computes late & early start dates, slack

    • Computes % complete on a task and project level

    • Identifies areas of over-tasking of resources

    • Draws a wide ranges of charts and graphs specific to the project

    • Creates a wide range of reports specific to the project

  • VERY customizable to meet individual user needs

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Charts and Diagrams

  • Based on configuration and data entered by the user, MS Project plots Gantt Charts

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Charts and Diagrams

  • Based on configuration and data entered by the user, MS Project plots Task Calendars

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Charts and Diagrams

  • Based on configuration and data entered by

  • the user, MS Project plots Network Diagrams

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Charts and Diagrams

  • Based on configuration and data entered by

  • the user, MS Project plots Resource Graphs

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • Based on configuration and data entered by

  • the user, MS Project plots Tabular Data

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • Based on configuration and data entered by

  • the user, MS Project plots Tabular Tracking Data

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • Based on configuration and data entered by

  • the user, MS Project plots High Level Reports…

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • …to-do lists on a person by person basis…

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • …lists of tasks that should have started but have not…

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • …lists of tasks that are scheduled to begin soon…

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • …lists of critical tasks (makes it easy to identify tasks that become critical once a project is crashed)…

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MS Project Strengths

Sample MS Project Tables and Reports

  • and much, much more

  • All charts, diagrams, and reports are designed to help a manager organize and track a project

  • All come in a standard configuration

    • Most typically used information

    • Easiest to read format

  • All are also customizable to show the most meaningful data

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MS Project Strengths

  • Flexible and customizable

  • Designed to enhance communication

    • Between manager and workers

    • Between managers and stakeholder

    • A good tool to manage expectations

  • Charts, diagrams, tables etc can be saved in various formats for use:

    • On the web, in print, electronically

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MS Project Weaknesses

  • Makes it easy to lose touch with the project – very automated

    • Automates all calculations

      • Scheduled dates, costs projected dates, etc

      • Tracks when a resource is over-allocated but does not provide a warning when it happens

      • Conflicts are not intuitively displayed

    • Will “let” a project get over budget/over-time

  • A tool that must be monitored when used

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MS Project Weaknesses

  • No Risk Assessment Function

    • Does not calculate probability of completion

      • A Key weakness – this info is always requested

        • A Manager must compute this manually/with Excel

    • Crashing costs/times are not calculated

      • Must be computed on a task basis and then compared to the baseline (or done manually)

      • Assumes manual intervention by Project Manager

        • Crash the project manually and save as a new baseline

  • Project is heavily influenced by the Earned Value method (EVM)– typical Risk Assessment is not a factor in EVM

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MS Project Benefits

Review

  • Much less work for a user compared to manual/MS Excel project planning

  • Does most of the required calculations

  • Wide range of graphs, charts, reports

  • Very customizable, very flexible

  • Makes communicating project status easier – expectation management

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MS Project Hazards

Review

  • Very Automated – easy to lose touch

  • No Risk Assessment function

    • Must be done in MS Excel/manually

  • Based on PERT/CPM but also influenced by EVM

    • Weighs by project/task costs, not just completion

    • Does not consider intangible progress that is common in Social Sciences projects

      • Knowledge as part of the process, not just the result

      • Progress as part of the process not just task completion

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Tips for Using MS Project

  • Know the project goal before beginning

  • Know the required tasks before beginning

  • Identify resources before beginning

  • Identify task relationships before beginning

  • Refer to the tutorial as often as needed

  • Refer to help section as often as needed

  • Keep the configuration as simple as possible

  • Avoid losing touch with the project

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MS Project

Final Thoughts

  • MS Project is only a tool –it does not create or “own” the project – it reflects the data provided

  • The simpler the configuration, the easier the data will be to understand, for all involved

  • If the plan doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t

    • Check resource and task assignments/relationships

    • Check constraints and dependencies

    • Look for what has changed in a plan and follow the clues - a small unintentional change can wreak havoc

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Dr. Anthony Filipovitch

MS Project, by Microsoft Corporation

MS Excel, by Microsoft Corporation

PM Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Philadelphia: PMI, 2000

Project Management Institute (PMI) Resource Center

Project Management Institute Website

Resources Used in This Unit

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You have completed

URBS 609 Project Unit 1

Please proceed to

URBS 609 Project Unit 2

This Unit of Instruction was crafted by Robert Hugg For Minnesota State University, Mankato Urban and Regional Studies Institute - 2004

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