Wednesday, 4 February 2015

When it comes to managing projects, a project manager must juggle dozens of functions and hundreds of tasks. He must also stay on budget, meet deadlines, and keep everyone from team members to stakeholders informed along the way. In addition, charts and schedules must be made, milestones reached, and progress monitored. Fortunately, software products such as Microsoft Project are available to make his job easier. This software is complex due to its sheer scope, making Microsoft Project training an absolute must. The time spent learning about the software pays off. Not only does Project help in developing and managing schedules, it also allows project managers to work more productively right away, leverage existing data through integration with Microsoft Office, communicate more effectively, build professional diagrams and charts, gain more control over finances, access required information faster, and track projects more efficiently.

Managing projects without software is possible though doing so is less than desirable. Just as the typewriter has given way to word processing software, project management has been modernized with applications such as MS Project. Flexible tools that allow centralized management make it much easier to plan, analyze, manage, and control projects of all sizes. Play ‘what if’ scenarios within Project to see how changes will affect the project without risk. Multiple ‘undo’ levels make it easy to go back to the original scenario. Robust reporting and communication tools keep everyone informed and on track. Visual highlights, cell highlighting, symbols, and color coding enhance the software allowing project managers to convey additional meaning. To get the most out of this powerful project management software, training is required for all members of the project Management team and other important project stakeholders. Would you like to keep your projects on track and keep track of how time and resources are used? Let’s take a look at Microsoft Project 2010 and how it can help you stay on top of your projects. Microsoft Project 2010 is the latest version of Project, a companion project management application for Microsoft Office. This version includes a wide range of changes, including the new ribbon interface. Microsoft Project integrates with all the other Office application you regularly use.

Setting up MS Project

First, you’ll need to install Project 2010 on your computer. If you haven’t purchased Project, you can try out a free 60 day trial from the link below. The installer works just like the Office 2010 installer, so if you’ve already installed Office 2010 you’ll know what to expect. Enter your product key to get started, then install as normal. Microsoft Project will show up in your Start menu along with other Office applications you may have installed.

User controlled scheduling
 
User-controlled scheduling offers flexible choices for developing and managing projects. Select either Auto or Manually scheduled; manual scheduled tasks let you set values in Start, Finish, and Duration fields, leave them blank, or insert notes for future reference

The Ribbon

The ribbon (aka the Fluent User Interface) finally found its way into Project 2010. An interactive ribbon guide is available at http://www.microsoft.com/project/en-us/ribbon_guide.aspx 

Timeline 

The timeline view allows the user to build a basic Visio-style graphical overview of the project schedule. The view can be copied and pasted into PowerPoint, Word, or any other application.

SharePoint 2010 list synchronization (pro only)
 
You can synchronize SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Project Professional 2010 project task status updates for you and team members. 

Inactive tasks (pro only)

Inactive tasks helps you can easily experiment with your project plan and perform what-if analysis.
 
The Team Planner view (pro only)

The new Team Planner shows resources and work over time, and helps spot problems and resolve issues the ability to connect to Project Server 2010 (pro only)

Enhancements

In later versions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Project's capabilities were extended with the introduction of Microsoft Office Project Server and Microsoft Project Web Access. Project Server stores Project data in a central SQL-based database, allowing users to display and update this data over the Internet. Web Access allows authorized users to access a Project Server database across the Internet, and includes timesheets, graphical analysis of resource workloads, and administrative tools. The later version of Microsoft Office also provide for cross-functionality with products such as PowerPoint and Visio.

Quiz Time - Questions

Whether you have worked on MS Project 2010 or not, try to answer these sample questions –
  • You are using Microsoft Project Professional 2010 to manage a project to development a new Customer Relationship Management for a customer. The Scope, Requirements and Design phases of the project are now complete. The project is now in the Development phase. One of the tasks in the Development phase is named Software Coding and has just been completed. The Software Coding task has a work variance of -8 days. Which of the following statements describe the Software Coding task?
  1. The duration of the Software Coding task has taken 8 days more than forecast.
  2. The duration of the Software Coding task has taken 8 days less than forecast.
  3. The Software Coding task was completed 8 days later than forecast.
  4. The Software Coding task was completed 8 days earlier than forecast.
  • You are using Microsoft Office Project Professional 2010 to manage a project to development a new Customer Relationship Management for a customer. The Scope, Requirements and Design phases of the project are now complete. The project is now in the Development phase. One of the tasks in Development phase is named Software Coding and has just been completed. The Software Coding task has a finish variance of 2 days. Which of the following statements describe the Software Coding task?
  1. The duration of the Software Coding task has taken 2 days more than forecast.
  2. The duration of the Software Coding task has taken 2 days less than forecast.
  3. The Software Coding task is 2 days late.
  4. The Software Coding task is 2 days early.
  • You are using Microsoft Project Professional 2010 to create a project plan. The project plan must be suitable for project resources who work different hours and different days. Some resources work Monday to Friday 8 hours a day. Some resources work 4 hours in the evenings from Monday to Friday. Some resources work 12 hour shifts at the weekends. What should you include in your project plan?
  1. You should include a summary task for each shift.
  2. You should include a timeline for each shift.
  3. You should include a base calendar for each shift.
  4. You should create a resource pool for each shift.
Answers: Question 1 – Option B, Question 2 – Option C, Question 3 – Option C

Note and FYI -
P2MSP® is a unique tool kit for Microsoft Project designed specifically to make PRINCE2™ 
Project Management easier and quicker (www.p2msp.co.uk)
Author - Vijayakumar Reddy, CTO & Lead Trainer, A2A IMTCS Pvt. LTD.

© Copyright 2014 A2A - IMTCS. All rights reserved. www.iimtcs.in
The Swirl logo is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited. 
PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited. www.axelos.com