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Project Assistants

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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

Setting Task Dependencies through the Task Menu

  1. Click the Task Name column header to select all tasks in the project and then from Task:Schedule click the Link Tasks icon [Link Tasks Icon]. Your screen will resemble the following:

All tasks linked

Figure 1 All tasks linked

Notice that by linking all the tasks in this way, the project’s duration may have immediately increased. Ideally, the new project finish date would be acceptable to the client, but it’s far more common for project managers to have to look for ways to speed up the schedule. The way the tasks are linked above, all tasks in Phase One must be completed before any task in Phase Two can begin. You might decide this is unrealistic and that you could speed up the project by doing Phase One and Phase Two at the same time.

  1. To do so, double-click the black line linking the bars for Phase One and Phase Two. The Task Dependency dialog box will appear.

Phase link

Figure 2 Phase link

  1. Click Delete to remove the link. This changes the example Gantt to the following:

Unlinked phases (summary task)

Figure 3 Unlinked phases (summary tasks)

Another way to remove the link is to click Phase One and ctrl-click Phase Two to select the non-contiguous tasks. And then, from Task:Schedule click the Unlink Tasks icon [Unlink tasks icon].

  1. Let’s say that even though you have saved some time (the project duration is now 36 days instead of 54 days), you realize this work schedule is impossible. According to this logic, we can review the proposal (Task ID 7) before we’re done writing it (Task ID 2). Click Write proposal and ctrl-click Review proposal to select only those tasks and then click the Link Tasks button to link them.

This would change your screen to the following:

Figure 4 Corrected link logic

The process of shortening a project by doing tasks at the same time (in parallel) is called fast-tracking. Fast tracking is the most common method used for shortening a project because it appears to be less expensive than the only alternative, crashing. Crashing requires applying additional resources to critical path tasks to shorten individual tasks. Unfortunately, risk increases when tasks are done at the same time.

  1. Click the Undo button in the upper left corner of your screen.

Note: Microsoft Project 2013’s default when linking tasks is to create a finish-to-start task dependency since it is the most common type of task dependency. You can begin by selecting the type of dependency, or start with the default link and change the dependency type later. In the long run, it may be less work to link groups of tasks finish-to-start and modify the exceptions rather than establish all task dependencies individually.

For those unfamiliar with these different task dependencies, our last blog post covered this very subject.

Dragging the Link Line from One Task to Another

  1. Place your mouse pointer over task so that the cursor turns into a four-way arrow.
  2. Left click your mouse and drag the link line to the Gantt bar for a different task. In our example project, linking TaskID2 to TaskID7 would change the Gantt chart to the following:

Link path (linking by mouse)

Figure 5 Link path (linking by mouse)

  1. Release your left mouse button. You have successfully linked the tasks in a finish-to-start manner.
Task dependencies rely on the order you selected. For example, if you had selected Review proposal (Task ID 7) first in the previous exercise and dragged its link line to Write proposal (Task ID 2), Review proposal would be shown as the predecessor of Write proposal.


Linking Tasks in a Split Screen

  1. From Task:Properties select Details to see the Split Gantt Chart view.
  2. Right-click in the Task Details Form (bottom pane). You will see several options, one of which is Predecessors & Successors. Click Predecessors & Successors from the menu. Your screen will resemble the following:

Split screen view for linking tasks

Figure 6 Split screen view for linking tasks

  1. Click in the Predecessor Name field and then click the dropdown arrow to see the list of tasks in the project.
  2. Select a task in the Gantt Chart (top pane). Notice that its predecessor and successor are listed in the Task Details Form (lower pane). From this pane, you can delete predecessor or successor tasks or add new ones.
When working in this split view, changes made in the Task Details Form (lower pane) are not implemented until you click OK or hit Enter twice in succession (with no changes between hits).


  1. Double-click the window divider to remove the split, or click the Details icon again.

Linking Tasks in the Entry Table

  1. Move the vertical divider bar to the right until you can see the entire Entry table. You can assign predecessors (only) by typing the task ID number in the Predecessors field for a task.

Using the Task Information Dialog Box

  1. Double-click any task name to see the associated Task Information dialog box, or select a task and click the Information icon found in Task:Properties.
  2. Select the Predecessors tab to assign a predecessor or modify the type of dependency. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Task Information dialog

Figure 117 Task Information dialog

Concluding Remark

By default, Microsoft Project sets a Finish-to-Start task dependency regardless of which method you use. Our next post will cover how to customize these links.  Included will be establishing a different type of dependency, setting Lag or Lead time, and determining the proper order for the tasks.

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What Are the Different Types of Task Dependencies

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Once the WBS is built, you are ready to decide the order tasks will be performed. Some tasks depend on one or more tasks before they can start. For example, you can’t put up the walls until you pour the foundation. Some tasks need to start or finish at the same time, while other tasks can’t start until another one is already underway.

The predecessor and successor relationship you define provides the foundation for the critical path of your project. There are four different kinds of task dependencies:

Finish-to-Start Dependencies

The most common type of dependency is the finish-to-start relationship (FS). This relationship means that the first task, the predecessor, must be finished before the next task, the successor, can start. On the Gantt chart it is usually represented as follows:

 Finish to Start Dependency

Start-to-Start Dependencies

The next type of dependency is the start-to-start relationship (SS). This relationship means that the successor task cannot start until the predecessor task starts. On the Gantt chart, it is usually represented as follows:

 Start to Start Dependency

Finish-to-Finish Dependencies

The third type of dependency is the finish-to-finish relationship (FF). This relationship means that the successor task cannot finish until the predecessor task finishes. On the Gantt chart, it is usually represented as follows:

 Finish to Finish Dependency

Start-to-Finish Dependencies

The start-to-finish relationship (SF) is the least common task relationship and means that the successor cannot finish until the predecessor starts. On the Gantt chart, it is usually represented as follows:

Finish to Finish Dependency

Variations of Task Dependency Types

Of course tasks sometimes overlap – this is termed lead (or lead time). Tasks can also be delayed (for example, to wait while concrete dries) which is called lag (or lag time).

Task with Lead and Task with Lag Dependencies

Now that you know the different types of task dependencies, our next post will cover how to link tasks in Microsoft Project.

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Defining the Critical Path in Microsoft Project

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The critical path is the longest path through the network, based on task duration, which defines the shortest amount of time in which the project can be completed. Tasks not on the critical path have slack, while tasks on the critical path have zero slack. Slack is the amount of time that a task can be delayed without impacting the project end date. A project activity network looks like this:

Critical Path Diagram

There are a couple of other terms you may have seen used to refer to the critical path. This includes CPM, which is simply an acronym for the Critical Path Method. Also PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique), which is a process in which a probable outcome is evaluated based on three scenarios: a best-case, expected-case, and worst-case scenario. The outcome in question may be the duration of a task, its start date, or its finish date.

Calculating the critical path is nothing more than an estimate. Analysis of the critical path requires several assumptions, including the following:

◆ All tasks are known: If you forget to add some tasks and add them later, the original critical path may change. Most project plans are missing tasks when they are initially built.

◆ All links are accurate: A complicated plan with hundreds of tasks is likely to have some incorrect task dependencies defined.

◆ All estimates are accurate: Inaccurate estimates can cause the original critical path to change.

◆ Other non-critical paths may have small amounts of slack: A complicated activity path can have multiple noncritical paths. A change in any one of these paths can cause the original critical path to change.

Given the amount of assumptions we rely on in our analysis, the only time you know the actual critical path is after the project is finished.

Despite these potential problems, the critical path method gives the project manager a good indication of where to focus attention. The most important application of CPM is to realize a late task on the critical path will cause the project end date to change.

The following shows an example of calculating the critical path.


Length of Path



9 days



12 days



11 days


Note that tasks 3, 4, or 6 can be up to 3 days late without changing the critical path. These tasks each have three days of slack.

Also note that the tasks on the 1-2-5-7-10 path are on the critical path and have zero days of slack. If any task on the critical path is late, the project end date will be later.

◆ What would happen if Task 2 consumed five days instead of three days?

◆ What would the length of the 1-2-5-7-10 path become?

In this case would the 1-2-5-7-10 path still be critical?

Identifying the Critical Path Using Microsoft Project

The critical path is constantly calculated by Microsoft Project and can change as tasks are modified or updated. The Tracking Gantt Chart, described later in this chapter, includes the critical path by default.

You can also modify the standard Gantt Chart view to see which tasks are on the critical path in a project. The following exercise demonstrates how to do this.

  1. Go to File:Options to view the Project Options dialog, and then click Advanced in the sidebar. Scroll to the bottom and note the Tasks are critical if slack is less than or equal to option. Ensure that this is set to 0 days and click OK.

Project Option Dialog Box

Figure 3 The Project Options dialog box

  1. Apply the Schedule table to see the total slack for the tasks in this project. To do so, from View:Data click the Tables dropdown list and select Schedule. Note that the last column shows the total slack for each task.

 Filtering for Tasks with 0 Slack

  1. From View:Data select Critical from the Filter dropdown list. Only critical tasks in your project will now appear. Note: Look at the ID numbers of these tasks to see that not all tasks are displayed.

Only Tasks with 0 Slack Will Appear


Figure 5 Only critical tasks (0 slack) appear

  1. The Network Diagram view displays a node for tasks, along with schedule information and connecting arrows to show the relationship and sequence of activities. To see this view, from View:Task Views click the Network Diagram icon [Network Diagram Icon]. Your screen will resemble the following:

Network Diagram View

Figure 6 Network Diagram view

  1. Critical tasks can also be identified in the Gantt Chart. Reapply the Gantt Chart view, remove the Critical filter (so you again see all tasks in the project), and from Format: Bar Styles select the Critical Tasks checkbox.

Your screen will resemble the following:

Critical Tasks Identified in Red

Figure 7 Critical tasks identified in red in the Gantt Chart

Using an example project, you can link different tasks to each other to see how it affects the total slack of each task.

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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.

Unfortunately, with 27 different views to choose from, simply deciding which one to use can be a challenge.  For example, the default Gantt Chart view includes a calendar bar chart on the right side of the screen and a table of data on the left side. A table is a set of formatting instructions that specifies which fields from the data storage area should appear on the screen. The default Entry table, for example, contains ID (the task numbers), Name (titled Task Name), Duration, Start, Finish, Predecessors, and Resource Names (who is assigned to the task).

The decision tree below is intended to help guide you to the six most useful views in Microsoft Project. Microsoft Project 2013 does help by automatically opening certain views for you (for example, custom tracking views when you set up the tracking method to be used for the project), but remembering these six views will save you valuable time.

For Task information, the Gantt Chart (with and without a split window) is generally most useful; for Resource information, the Resource Sheet (with and without a split window) is best; and for Assignment information, the Task Usage and Resource Usage views are the best starting points.

Viewing the Right Information in Microsoft Project


When selecting the best Microsoft Project view, you must first decide if you are looking for task-based or resource-based information.

  • If you require task-based information, next decide if you are interested in information with or without resource assignments.
    • If the information you require is task-based, without resource assignments, the Gantt Chart should meet your needs (see Note 1 for additional detail).
    • If the information you require is task-based, with resource assignments spread over time, the Task Usage View should meet your needs (see Note 2 for additional detail).
    • If the information you require is task-based, with resource assignments not spread over time, the Gantt Chart with details in the lower pane (split window) should meet your needs (see Note 3 for additional detail).
  •  If you require resource-based information, next decide if you are interested in information with or without task assignments.
    • If the information you require is resource-based, without task assignments, the Resource Sheet should meet your needs (see Note 1 for additional detail).
    •  If the information you require is resource-based, with task assignments spread over time, the Resource Usage View should meet your needs (see Note 2 for additional detail).
    •  If the information you require is resource-based, with task assignments not spread over time, the Resource Sheet with details in the lower pane (split window) should meet your needs (see Note 3 for additional detail).

Note 1: Are you seeing the information you want to see in the (Task or Resource) Usage view?

If you are not seeing the columns you want on the left side of the divider on the (Task or Resource) Usage View, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Apply a table that contains the columns (or fields) you wish to view
  • Add columns to the existing table
  • Add columns to the existing table and then apply the table
  • Create a new table that contains the columns (or fields) you wish to view

The grid on the right side of the (Task or Resource) Usage view contains time-phased information – work details broken down on a day-by-day basis (this time phasing can be modified). If you are not seeing the columns you want to see on the right side of the divider on the Usage View:

  •  To change the timescale, in the View:Zoom section of the ribbon, use the Zoom dropdown arrow to Zoom in/Zoom out.
  • To see a short list of display options for this grid, right-click anywhere in the grid area. When you do so, you will see the following list:

Time Phased Details List

If the data in the timescale (for the task, resource or assignment you wish to view) is not appearing on the screen:

  • From Task:Editing click the Scroll to Task icon
  • Zoom in/Zoom Out
  • In the Format:Zoom section of the ribbon, adjust the timescale

In the lower pane, if you are not seeing the fields you want to see:

  •  Right mouse click in the lower pane and select Predecessors & Successors, Resources & Predecessors, Resources & Successors, Schedule, Work, Cost, Notes, and/or Objects as appropriate
  • From View: (Task or Resource) Views, use the Other Views dropdown list to select More Views and then choose the appropriate “form” view.
  •  From View:Split View use the Details dropdown list to select the appropriate view.

Note 2: Are you seeing the information you want to see in the Gantt Chart with Details or Resource Sheet with Details views?

  • If you are not seeing the columns you want on the upper pane of the Gantt Chart View:
    • Apply a table that contains the columns (or fields) you wish to view
    • Add columns to the existing table
    • Add columns to the existing table and then apply the table
    •  Create a new table that contains the columns (or fields) you wish to view
  • If you are not seeing the fields you want to see on the lower pane:
    •  Right mouse click in the lower pane and select Schedule, Work, Cost, Notes, and/or Objects as appropriate
    • From View: (Task or Resource) Views, use the Other Views dropdown list to select More Views and then choose the appropriate “form” view.
    •  From View:Split View use the Details dropdown list to select the appropriate view.

Note 3: Are you seeing the information you want to see in the Gantt Chart or Resource Sheet views?

  •  If you are not seeing the information you want on the left side of the divider of the Gantt Chart View:
    •  Apply a table that contains the columns (or fields) you wish to view
    •  Add columns to the existing table
    •  Add columns to the existing table and then apply the table
    •  Create a new table that contains the columns (or fields) you wish to view
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A Project Leader Isn’t a Gallon of Milk: How a Commodity Approach to Staffing Costs Organizations Time, Money and Morale

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Far too many organizations treat staffing project leaders like they treat grocery shopping. So long as a staffing company is providing them with a bevy of resumes with competitive prices and a good return policy, many organizations are content to shop there.

The problem is that, unlike with a gallon of milk, quality varies when shopping for project managers, and choosing the wrong product costs an organization’s time, dollars, morale, and efficiency. The impact of a poor hire is multiplied when it occurs at such a crucial position as a project manager.

Yet, when organizations are looking for temporary project staffing, they often provide themselves unrealistic timelines and budgets that force them to abandon the fundamental best practices that they employ with traditional hiring processes. Traditional staffing companies use a wholesale approach of providing “good-enough” resumes at bargain prices that come with additional costs that are much larger than the savings they provide.

A “boutique approach” offers advantages that are invaluable when compared to the marginal savings provided by traditional staffing companies:

An organization that staffs only project managers, with decades of experience in the project management field is able to spot bullseye candidates.  The technical skills that make a solid developer are different from the soft skills that make a great project manager, and an organization that has the expertise to discern the great leaders from the minimally qualified is invaluable.  This keeps you from wasting cycles wading through unspectacular candidates, and it ensures that you get a project manager with the soft skills necessary to lead projects, which will dramatically improve your project success rate.

An excellent experience doesn’t stop once an excellent project manager is selected.  Whereas traditional firms use a Drop-and-Run approach with their candidates, a boutique firm understands that cultural fit is crucial to a great candidate’s success.  Not only is finding the right candidate much more complicated than finding a good gallon of milk, but resolving issues post-purchase is also not nearly as simple as bringing a receipt to the store for an exchange. Project Assistants has an internal status reporting system to ensure our project managers are identifying and addressing key client and project challenges, and we have the consultants who can jump in to preempt any issues.

You may periodically find an acceptable candidate from the bargain rack, but you’ll eventually get a sour batch that will pour those “savings” down the drain.

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The Risk of Risk Management: Why it feels so wrong to do what’s right

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When unplanned events arise, there are severe repercussions for the projects you are accountable for. Yet, project risk management typically has an unpleasant connotation.Trying to sell executives on risk management is like taking the role of an insurance salesperson, dwelling on the negative potentialities that might not even happen. There are enough “real” uncertainties and issues that exist right now in any project; how are you going to convince executives to spend their money on risks that have a limited chance of happening?

The insurance salesman in Groundhog’s Day grates on Bill Murray’s character until he finally punches him.

The reality is that nobody is enthralled by any of the four potential outcomes of “insuring” themselves against risk, which are:

  1. No insurance; hope nothing happens
  2. No insurance; something goes wrong
  3. Insurance; nothing goes wrong (cost is sunk)
  4. Insurance; something goes wrong (no one is excited over filing a claim)

Outcome #1 is the most tempting because, when you are lucky enough to “achieve” it, it is the least costly. However, this option leaves you personally and professionally exposed to disaster.

But proper risk management also doesn’t involve you do not have to spend premiums to chase away gremlins under the bed. The investment involved to preempt every risk in every project in the portfolio is impractical. You must determine your tolerance for risk, then prioritize the risks with a mitigation plan based on impact and probability.

To continue with the insurance analogy, losing your home would be a disaster (high impact), but if you live in the Northeastern US, you still may waive an added premium to protect against tornadoes and earthquakes. The probability is too low to be worth much investment. Conversely, you’re less inclined to insure a $50 electronics purchase because the worst-case-scenario is low impact.This approach exposes you to a 5th outcome: that disaster still strikes even though you have paid a premium to prevent it. When a high-impact, low-probability risk is realized, there will be tough questions to answer.This reinforces the axiom that effective project management requires making tough decisions and making stands against the status quo. If you could simply manage based on your gut, then far more managers in far more organizations would get it right much quicker; it’s the shrewd few who have the courage to stand by the right decisions–even when they don’t feel right–that separate themselves as the truly effective managers.
This is why most organizations give into temptation and opt to roll the dice. But regularly relying on achieving Outcome #1 isn’t just risky; when you take on enough risk, the odds eventually compound to the point that they will catch up to you. You are simply biding your time until something inevitably goes wrong at some point.So if your organization truly can’t afford the worst-case-scenario (and most organizations can’t), a well-thought-out approach to risk management is critical to organizational success–even if it doesn’t always feel quite right.
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View from the Top: 2015 Perspective – Stakes Rising for Project Management

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Project Assistants CEO Gus Cicala will write quarterly contributions for the blog that provide his view of what is going on in the world of project management and what it might mean for your organization.

As we reach the midpoint of the decade it’s helpful to take a big-picture look at the state of Project and Portfolio Management. From my chair, all of the economic, corporate and technological fronts have the arrow pointed up for Project and Portfolio Management. This, of course, is a reason for optimism, but it also places a heavier onus on doing Project and Portfolio Management right.

From the macroeconomic perspective, there are favorable expectations. The world economy will remain stable while the US economy will strengthen. This means more money to invest in all aspects of the business, which will make organizations growth-oriented once again.

On the corporate front, more organizations are embracing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) at the C-level as these processes continue to show ROI. As a result, much of the increased revenue from economic improvements will be invested in PPM infrastructures, which will raise the stakes on project managers providing a return for the business.


In the technology sector, Microsoft is also upping the ante with their Project Management platform. They continue to invest in Microsoft Project and complement the solution with productivity technologies.



It is also clear that the cloud is here to stay, which lowers the barriers of entry to the technology market. For those portions of the organization that don’t have readably available IT infrastructure support, this solution provides an effective, rapidly available platform.

Also, when considered hand-in-hand with current economic improvements, we expect that the landscape and solution capabilities will continue to change at a rapid pace. Organizational rigor continues to be a challenge especially as it becomes more competitive. It is increasingly important to have a rigorous approach to implementation improvement and to develop more organization “advocates” to take advantage of the changing capabilities and opportunities. 

So as investments and expectations placed on Project Management get larger and larger, the opportunity to obtain personal and organizational success has never been greater. It’s up to us practitioners and evangelists to seize the day. Despite some foundational improvements that are happening, there’s still a long way to go to realize the real promise of effective Project and Portfolio Management

As we work our way through the midpoint of this decade, we have a real opportunity to leverage all the promise that Project and Portfolio Management offers.


Posted in Current Events, General Project Management, View from the Top

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Microsoft Partners with Project Assistants to Deliver Microsoft Project Workshop in Three Cities

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Microsoft is partnering with Project Assistants to sponsor an event in the NY, Philadelphia, and DC Microsoft offices to share how great companies derive value from Microsoft Project. The event, Leveraging the Value of Microsoft Project 2013 includes an overview of the Microsoft Project 2013 and Project Online (Cloud) solutions, and two breakout sessions:

  • Revealing the Secrets of MS Project’s Scheduling Engine
  • Driving Organizational Change through Portfolios and Dashboards

They will be hosting three events in three cities next month:

These events qualifies attendees for 3 PDUs.


Leveraging the Value of Microsoft Project 2013

Microsoft Project 2013 provides an improved solution that organizes work, facilitates productivity, and helps companies prioritize ideas and initiatives to drive ROI and innovation.

Project Server 2013 and the Cloud

The Microsoft Project solution (built on SharePoint) has helped organizations drive value from their Projects and Portfolios of Projects. With the release of Microsoft Project Server 2013, Microsoft has provided the option to host the Microsoft Project Server environment off-premises in the Microsoft cloud.

Project Assistants CEO, Gus Cicala, and Practice Director, Jim Colton, will deliver a high-level overview of the tool, and two breakout sessions with more detailed content. The overview will demonstrate capabilities relevant to deriving value from the solution, including:

  • An overview of the Cloud offering
  • A brief overview of Portfolio Management
  • An overview of the Cloud offering
  • An overview of Enterprise Resource Management capabilities
  • A demonstration of the dramatically improved Project Reporting capabilities
  • How SharePoint and the user home page facilitate improved productivity


There will be two concurrent breakout sessions that will provide more in-depth content:

Breakout Session #1:
Revealing the Secrets of MS Project’s Scheduling Engine

In this breakout session, we will demonstrate how to effectively scheduling with Microsoft Project 2013 and Project Online.

The foundation of deriving value from an enterprise solution is having accurate information. Accurate project schedule information including resource commitments, are critical to making enterprise decisions. Schedules change often, so it’s a challenge to keep them timely and accurate.

There are two options for keeping up with how MS Project produces schedules:

  1. Become a PhD in the scheduling engine
  2. Learn how to derive the information from Microsoft Project itself

In this session, Microsoft Project expert and leading author and acclaimed speaker Gus Cicala will provide tips and tricks to achieving Option #2 in order to demystify the process, gain confidence and overcome fear. We will demonstrate the Scheduling engine in action, highlighting the lessons above.

Enterprise Impact

The way to get good at scheduling (and progress towards Enterprise Resource Management) is to understand what inputs affect which schedule outputs. Luckily, there’s a demonstrable logic to determining which processes you need to collect accurate data. This approach will cover how budget and labor are tracked to provide a comprehensive view of the portfolio of projects.

Breakout Session #2:
Driving Organizational Change through Portfolios and Dashboards

Quickly managing and responding to external and internal conditions is crucial to effectively plan and execute against the KPIs of the portfolio. Organizations achieve this ability to adapt to the conditions by determining what projects to undertake and constantly considering whether it makes sense to continue investment. Microsoft Project has powerful capabilities that help facilitate Project Portfolio Management so that your organization can align and support the execution of the organizational mission.

How do you choose the best slate of projects? There is always an initial impetus for projects (e.g.: a problem, opportunity, or lead), but how do we weigh which opportunities are the best to pursue?Jim Colton will demonstrate how Microsoft Project casts these opportunities into a common language. This language facilitates an apples-to-apples comparison to select the best possible investment mix of projects. Once the projects are chosen and underway, the work at the portfolio level isn’t over. Dashboard and reporting capabilities facilitate the governance process in order to sense and respond to the ever-changing realities of project delivery.

Jim will also demonstrate how these dashboards can enhance communication, reduce process overhead and support the facilitation of effective governance.

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