Helping you setup, plan and execute Microsoft Project.

Over the coming days a blog series will be released that outlines the steps you need to follow to plan, execute & control your schedule using Microsoft Project. 

These steps are summarised below and will be covered in more detail shortly. 

microsoft project
Quick Reference Guide for Project Managers

Microsoft Project is a powerful project scheduling tool, however, this functionality can be overwhelming for new project managers. 

Our 8-step quick reference guide covers setup, planning and execution basics to help you successfully deliver projects. 

Before beginning a new project, an organisation must determine whether the project fits its strategic goals. Executives classify proposed projects that focus on mission-critical goals as high-priority and projects that are peripheral to organisation goals as lower priority.

Before work begins, an executive sponsor should be identified. The organisation should complete a high-level evaluation of the project’s business case, its limitations, and its technical and financial requirements. Finally, a project manager should be identified, who can then set up a project plan in Microsoft Project 2016.

In the planning stage, you devise a workable scheme to accomplish the project’s goals. To do this, you identify the project’s deliverables, milestones, and tasks. This plan is  your work breakdown structure (WBS). You develop and refine the schedule, and identify the resources required to implement the project.

Assignments are the associations between specific tasks and the resources needed to complete them. You can assign more than one resource to a task. In addition to work resources (people), you can assign material resources (such as servers) and cost resources (such as travel) to tasks.

After entering schedule data, you now have a dynamic model for your project that tells whether the project is feasible for what was envisioned. In most situations, your draft schedule will show the project duration is too long, the cost is too high, the workloads unreasonable or a combination.

With a dynamic model, different scenarios can be explored to find the best solution by optimising for time, for time and cost, or for time, cost and resource.

Create a baseline or an interim plan so that later you can compare your up-to-date schedule to your baseline. Saving a baseline plan enables you to identify and solve discrepancies and plan more accurately for similar future projects.

Updating the progress of your project is the only way to make sure it stays on track as work is performed. The focus at this point is on managing changes, updating the schedule, tracking progress, and communicating project information.

Note: Project 2016 tracks three sets of dates: current, baseline, and actual.  When you set the baseline, current = baseline. When a task is 100% complete, current = actual. Baseline, current, and actual values exist for start & finish dates, duration, cost, and work.

Keep stakeholders and team members up-to-date on project progress by providing them with access to online or printed views and reports.

Project 2016 provides many ways to print and distribute both detailed and overview information project information quickly and efficiently.

Just because your project is almost finished doesn’t mean that your work is done. You still need to resolve any final project details and obtain customer acceptance of final deliverables. Conduct a “lessons learned” session, recording information about areas for improvement and best practices. Make any final updates to the project plan. Finally, archive the project plan according to your organization’s guidelines.

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