How to set up custom Gantt chart views in MS-Project ®

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 ®”

How to create PDF Gantt chart extracts with dynamic labels in MS-Project ®

Part of a series on customising Microsoft® Project® to make working with project schedules more useful.

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.

How to create PDF Gantt chart extracts with dynamic labels in MS-Project®

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 ®”

How to diagnose schedule management problems in MS-Project ®

Part of a series on customising Microsoft® Project® to make working with project schedules more useful.
So you’ve created a useful programme schedule, and you are now working on keeping it on the right track. You’ve set up fields to calculate RAG status, but what if you want diagnose schedule management problems without having to study the baseline vs. forecast dates and % complete, working it out in your head line by line?

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 ®”

How to calculate RAG status in MS-Project ®

Part of a series on customising Microsoft® Project® to make working with project schedules more useful.
So you’ve created a useful programme schedule, and you are now working on keeping it on the right track, reviewing the plan regularly with the Programme Manager and Project Managers. You will probably review the programme schedule regularly – focussing on on items with Red or Amber RAG status –  but how do you use MS-Project® to ensure that you don’t skip items that probably should have been marked amber or red?

How to customise MS-Project® text fields to calculate RAG Status

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 ®”

How to diagnose schedule setup problems in MS-Project ®

Part of a series on customising Microsoft® Project® to make working with project schedules more useful.
So, you’ve inherited a set of project schedules that you need to combine into a useful programme schedule. How do you set up a framework to enable you to quickly find and diagnose schedule setup problems, without having to deduce and apply complex combinations of filters?

How to customise MS-Project to diagnose schedule setup problems

Here is an approach I have used successfully on several programmes. Continue reading “How to diagnose schedule setup problems in MS-Project ®”

Project reporting shouldn’t be “green side up”

Following on from my post on watermelon reporting, I wanted to share another, related, phenomenon with you – “green side up” reporting. This describes the phenomenon where the health of programmes and portfolios is reported more favourably the higher up the organisation the reports are circulated; that is to say that in the project world everything looks green when viewed from above.
Project reporting shouldn't be green side up
Turf is supposed to be green side up. Your project reporting shouldn’t be.

Continue reading “Project reporting shouldn’t be “green side up””

Watch out for watermelons in project reports

How do watermelons get into project reports? and why should you watch out for them?

“Watermelon reporting” describes the phenomenon where according to a project status report things appear to be green on the outside (i.e. the project’s RAG status is reported as green, with no issues), but if you delve a little deeper and look inside, it’s actually red right through (i.e. there are serious issues). Continue reading “Watch out for watermelons in project reports”

Project data in, portfolio insight out

How do you give senior management a “helicopter view” of all the change that is going on in an organisation, so that they can make informed decisions on how to spend their change budget? Here’s how I tackled it…

Data in insight out

Continue reading “Project data in, portfolio insight out”