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Types of Variances: The Different Variance Fields in Microsoft Project

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In our last post, we covered the differences between Favorable and Unfavorable Variances. This post will cover the differences between the various Variance Types in Microsoft Project. The below summarizes the variances, how they’re calculated and where they can be viewed: (more…)

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Types of Variances: Favorable versus Unfavorable

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In project management terms, a variance is the difference between the anticipated state of the project and the actual state at a particular point in time. At the beginning of the project, when the planned schedule, budget, scope, etc. have just been calculated, the actual state and the predicted state are exactly the same. There are no variances. This is the point at which the project should be baselined.

As time progresses, the execution of the project may not follow the plan exactly. For example, if a task starts later than it was scheduled to start, there is a difference between the baseline Start date and the actual Start date for the task. The actual Start date is later (greater) than the baseline Start and the difference between these two dates is a positive number – there is a positive variance. As you can imagine given this example, a positive variance is unfavorable. In this case, where a task is late to start, subsequent tasks may also be delayed, and the recalculated schedule may show a Finish delay. (more…)

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Replacing Resources on Task Assignments in Microsoft Project

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In our last post, we covered several different ways of assigning tasks to resources. This post will cover the decisions around changing task assignments and technique on how to do it in Microsoft Project.

(more…)

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How to Assign Resources to a Task in Microsoft Project

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The following guide demonstrates how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations by using tools available through the Assign Resources dialog box. These techniques apply whether you are working with local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.

We will cover Assigning Resources in the Split Screen View, Using the Assign Resources Dialog, Assigning Multiple Tasks to One Resource, and Assigning Multiple Resources to Tasks.

(more…)

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Assigning a Resource to a Task: Introduction

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Microsoft Project 2013 enables you to assign resources to tasks in a variety of ways. Resource assignments clarify responsibility for doing tasks and also help you to determine how long a task will take and how much it will cost.

This series will demonstrate how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations, working with both local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.  Read below for an introduction on how this works, or click on the appropriate post to follow the How-To guides:

Part 2: Assigning a Resource to a Task

Part 3: Replacing Resources on Task Assignments

(more…)

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Reporting Made Easy: Using the Copy Picture Command

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One way to use the communication power of the Gantt Chart view is to photograph it and send the picture as part of another document (e-mail, webpage, PowerPoint, etc.).

Below are the steps for doing this. (more…)

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Finding the Right Information in Microsoft Project

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The “trick” to using Microsoft Project effectively is first to know what type of information you are looking for and then to know which view you can use to display this information. A view is a set of formatting instructions that tells Microsoft Project what data to present and how to organize it into useful information so that each view displays a unique combination of project information. Once you are in the correct view, you can modify the display to view the exact information you require, as described later.

Views in Microsoft Project 2013 can be categorized into sheet views, chart and graph views, and form views. Each of the available views will provide different presentations of project information.

(more…)

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How to Do Project Management Staffing Right

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As the economy recovers, capital spend is returning to perform more projects, increasing the demand for qualified project resources.  Unfortunately, leadership for these new projects and programs cannot always come from within.  The organization may be unable to secure long-term funding for full-time employees and so have to seek out contract work, or the internal staff might simply not have the necessary skills or experience available for critical roles.

When seeking outside talent, a myriad of common challenges arise, including unrealistic timelines, unclear requirements, and process gaps between the organization and its staffing partner.  But far and away the biggest challenge when staffing project managers is an overemphasis on technical skills for a leadership position. (more…)

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How to Customize Task Dependencies in Microsoft Project

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In our last post, we demonstrated several different ways of adding a task dependency in Microsoft Project. The default when setting these links is to set up a finish-to-start dependency, so this post will cover how to establish other types of dependencies, as well as how to add lag or lead time, and finally how to determine the correct order for the tasks.

Establishing Other Types of Dependencies

If a finish-to-start task dependency does not accurately reflect the relationship between two tasks, you can use the Task Dependency dialog box to change the dependencies among your tasks. To access the Task Dependency dialog box, simply double-click the dependency link line between the tasks in the Gantt chart. (more…)

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How Do You Link Tasks in Microsoft Project?

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There are several different ways to set task dependencies in Microsoft Project.  This post will cover how to link tasks using the following techniques:

  • Through the Task menu in the ribbon
  • Dragging the link from one task to another
  • Linking tasks in a split screen
  • Through an entry table
  • Through the Task Information dialog box

(more…)

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