We have developed an Enterprise Project Management Office white paper, and we wanted to provide it for free for our loyal blog followers. At 5,000 words and over a dozen graphics, this is the most in-depth content we have ever released free to the public, so be sure to take advantage.
This comprehensive and multi-layered paper demonstrates how the project portfolio delivers your organization’s Mission and Vision, the strategy challenges and solutions, and the execution challenges and solutions.
Traditional staffing firms are tried-and-true at placing professionals into technical roles, but a different approach is needed to place project managers. PMP certified skills are enough to make a candidate qualified on paper, but the soft skills and nuances that allows project managers to fit in an organization and excel as leaders require expertise beyond most staffing firms.
A multi-tiered approach is necessary to find, acquire, and adopt talent into an organization to ensure success. (more…)
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…)
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 2016 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.
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…)
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…)
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
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 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.