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Assigning a Resource to a Task: Introduction

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Microsoft Project 2016 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…)

Posted in Microsoft Project, Resource Management, Technical How-To | Tagged , , , , , ,

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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…)

Posted in Microsoft Project, Technical How-To | Tagged , , ,

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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 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.

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Posted in General Project Management, Microsoft Project | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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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…)

Posted in General Project Management, Project Leadership, Project Staffing | Tagged , , , , , ,

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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

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Posted in General Project Management, Microsoft Project | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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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.

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Posted in General Project Management, Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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.

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

Posted in General Project Management, Project Leadership, Project Staffing | Tagged , , , , ,

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How PMOs Save Troubled CIOs

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In a world where 68% of all Information Technology (IT) projects fail, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are accountable for one of the most challenging aspects of growing a business. Accordingly, CIOs have some of the shortest tenures among any executive position.

The reason many organizations are not able to deliver on these mission-critical initiatives is because of an ineffective Project Management Office (PMO). (more…)

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