Part of a series on customising Microsoft® Project® to make working with project schedules more useful.
This post describes how to set up custom Gantt chart views to present schedule extracts based on the Live project schedule data, filtered and formatted to suit particular stakeholder audiences.
So why would you want to use this approach, how do you do it, and what’s in it for you as a result? Continue reading “How to set up custom Gantt chart views in MS-Project ®”
This post describes how to generate universally-readable “soft” PDF Gantt charts to circulate to stakeholders, with dynamically generated labels that provide them with useful information about the view, and provide you with useful information about how you might re-create the view.
So why would you want to use this approach, how do you do it, and what’s in it for you as a result? Continue reading “How to create PDF Gantt chart extracts with dynamic labels in MS-Project ®”
This post describes how to customise a Text field to display a very compact schedule management commentary to diagnose schedule management problems by explaining why a project schedule item should be Red or Amber.
So why would you want to use this approach, how do you do it, and what’s in it for you as a result? Continue reading “How to diagnose schedule management problems in MS-Project ®”
This post describes how to calculate RAG status in MS-Project ® by customising a text field to performing some simple tests and calculations with dates.
So why would you want to use this approach, how do you do it, and what’s in it for you as a result? Continue reading “How to calculate RAG status in MS-Project ®”
Here is an approach I have used successfully on several programmes. Continue reading “How to diagnose schedule setup problems in MS-Project ®”
Until recently, my morning commute into work comprised a bus journey to the station, a train into London, and another bus to the office. One morning a few weeks ago I was ready about ten minutes earlier than usual so instead of waiting about 15 minutes to catch my usual bus, I took the earlier bus from near my house. I had already bought my train ticket so I didn’t have to queue at the station, instead waiting just a few minutes to get on a train about 25 minutes earlier than my usual one. Once in London I went to the bus stop, and joy of joys, the bus arrived straight away.
All in all, by leaving my house about 25 minutes earlier than usual, I managed to arrive at my desk at least 45 minutes earlier. I had made a significant time “profit”!
There were some unexpected but very welcome fringe benefits too – the earlier trains and buses are less crowded and so I have more chance of getting a seat (making the journey more pleasant) and often enough elbow room to do some work on the way (making the journey also more productive).
It occurred to me that what had happened here was akin to what I do at work with schedule tuning – I had experienced a journey with less slack time (waiting) between the fixed duration events (journey stages) to enable an earlier final delivery (my arrival at my desk).
I now regularly use this approach to get to my desk earlier. Having less slack in the plan introduces risk of course; if any of my journey stages runs even a few minutes late then it all falls apart and the rest of the journey reverts to the (considerably slower) Plan B. But it works enough of the time to make it worth persisting.
Are you able to use schedule optimisation like this to cut the overall duration of your projects? Are you more concerned with earlier delivery, regardless of overall project duration? Or do you go for a less risky plan with more slack?
© Copyright Pragmatic PMO Ltd, first published in 2012
A while back I attended an APM presentation on the role of the dedicated Project Planner, part of a series given by Andrew Jones, at the time of Athena Project Services.
His presentation contained several key points that resonated with me so I thought were worth restating in the light of my own experience. Continue reading “Project Planning Pointers”