Well this took a little longer to get up here than I had anticipated, but at long last, here’s the first video in our interview series, “Ask a Project PM.” In this interview, Bonny Lau, Program Manager for Microsoft Project, fields your questions on resource leveling. Many thanks to those who submitted questions!
Deadline dates are handy way to alert you to problems in your schedule, but they are often overlooked. Project managers will often try to create a deadline for a task by setting a task's start date or finish date. But entering the start and finish date sets a date constraint (or restriction) on the task, which limits the flexibility of your schedule and prevents Project from automatically handling the scheduling of your project.
If you want a task to start or finish on a certain date but want to retain the flexibility of the schedule, you can enter a deadline date. Double-click on a task, and on the Advanced tab, enter a date in the Deadline box. A green arrow will appear on your Gantt chart that marks the deadline date. And if the task doesn't finish by the deadline date, a nasty icon will appear in the Indicators column to warn you.
The Microsoft Project Team is pleased to announce exciting updates for the 5th Project Conference in
Phoenix, Arizona from September 14-17, 2009.
Offering 75+ sessions for Project Conference 2009 - view all session details including speakers, titles and abstracts here. Stay tuned for more details on instructor led and hands on labs, "ask the experts" and additional networking opportunities.
No other conference will come close to delivering the quantity and quality of content and experiences found at Project Conference 2009, nor the number of value added benefits and offers that will resonate throughout the year. We're delighted to announce:
· Receive a free licensed copy of Project Professional 2010! The offer is extended to all registered attendees by PMPI, a Microsoft Certified Partner in the EPM Specialization. Stay tuned for more details.
· Receive free Project Professional 2007 e-learning! The offer is extended to all registered attendees by PMPI, a Microsoft Certified Partner in the EPM Specialization. Stay tuned for more details.
· Free certification testing! Take the Project 2007 Technical Specialist exam 70-632 and/or 70-633 for free at Project Conference 2009.
· PMI Credential Holders: earn up to 32.25 PDUs with Project Conference 2009 registration!
· Save over 15%. We've extended our lowest registration offer to make it more affordable to attend!
Project Conference 2009 is the one conference your company should attend this year! Demonstrate the value of Project Conference 2009 to your company by utilizing the attached letter and be empowered to attend.
LEARN what can be achieved today and what's coming tomorrow with the next release.
CONNECT with your peers, industry practitioners, certified partners and the Microsoft Project team to share experiences.
GROW your skills and investments to realize remarkable cost reductions, enhance efficiencies and move your business forward.
For more information, please visit the Project Conference Website at http://www.msprojectconference.com.
Don't miss your chance to attend Project Conference 2009! See you in September!
Questions: Contact the Microsoft Project Conference 2009 Team | firstname.lastname@example.org
You may not be able to speed up time in your project, but you can speed up the timescale-that is, how you use the timescale in views like the Gantt chart. If you've spent any time in Project, you may have wasted a lot of effort either scrolling the timescale or changing its time units. Fiddling with dialog boxes and scroll bars to get the timescale perfect gets old in a hurry.
Fortunately, there are a few keyboard shortcuts that will dramatically speed up your timescale tweaking.
Here is a list of my favorites:
Scroll the timescale left or right
ALT + LEFT ARROW (or RIGHT ARROW)
Show smaller time units on the timescale
CTRL + / (slash on the numeric keypad)
Show larger time units on the timescale
CTRL + * (asterisk on the numeric keypad)
Scroll to a task's Gantt bar
CTRL + SHIFT + F5
. . . And if you like these tips, let us know in the Comments section. We'll start posting more of them.
Today, we’re announcing that Microsoft Project 2010 has reached the Technical Preview engineering milestone. The Project team is running a limited, invitation only Technical Preview program. While we’re not sharing Project 2010 details at this point, we did want to give our customers and partners a sneak peek of Project 2010!
What is Project 2010?
Project 2010 builds on the Project 2007 foundation to provide an end-to-end work management platform. The key investment areas are targeted at letting you choose the right tools that can evolve with you:
How can I learn more about Project 2010?
Attend the Project Conference on September 14-17 in Phoenix, AZ! Project Conference 2009 is the biggest public worldwide disclosure event and the best conference to attend to get in-depth, hands-on technical knowledge and training with Project 2010. Learn how the investment in Project 2010 will continue to move your business forward tomorrow and get the most out of your current investment with Project 2007 today.
The critical path…sounds pretty intimidating doesn't it? Like some secret passageway to getting your project done on time that only highly experienced project managers could ever possibly identify. And certainly those experienced project managers are the only ones who could actually stick to the path and get things done as planned.
It's not really as arcane as all that. The critical path is simply the series of tasks that controls the start and finish date of the project. When the last task in the critical path is complete, the project is also complete. Not too terribly complicated.
Here's an example. Let's say I have three tasks:
· Build forms (2 days)
· Pour foundation (1 day)
· Remove forms (2 days)
Each of these tasks depends on the one before it. I can't pour the foundation until the forms are built, and I can't remove the forms until I've poured the foundation. I can set these relationships up in Project using dependencies. (Want to read more about this? Check out Create task dependencies within your project.)
So now, with the dependencies set up and my project start date set to next Monday, my schedule looks like this:
[Insert drumroll here.] And there you have it, that's your critical path for this project. Nothing fancy or overly complicated, just a series of tasks that determine the start and finish date for the project.
What's that? You say you want to see something a little more complicated? Alright, let's say you have another task, Build walls, that can't start until your Build forms task is completed. (Maybe you're using the same resources on both tasks or something, I don't know, just run with me here.) The Build walls task will take two days. Let's see what this looks like in Project:
Now let's look closely at this. Has the critical path changed? There are four tasks now, but the added fourth task currently has no bearing on when the project starts or finishes. That means that those first three tasks are still the only tasks that make up the critical path. You still only need to focus on getting those three tasks done on time in order to finish your project on time.
That gives you the very basic understanding of what a critical path is, but there are a ton of resources out there to help you gain a more thorough understanding. Here are just a few:
· Manage your project's critical path
· Show the critical path
· See what's driving the project finish date (critical path)
· Change when a task becomes critical
If so, now is your chance to see what we've been working for the next release. We are taking nominations to participate in the Office 2010 Technical Beta program. We expect availability of our first beta release, known as Technical Preview, in the month of July. The team is excited to get feedback from our community that will help us make this a great release. Here is your opportunity to nominate yourself to participate in the program (space is limited). If you are interested in beta testing Project, please complete the following nomination form (you will need to log into Microsoft Connect with a Live ID).
Update - Thanks for all the interest in the Project 2010 Technical Preview! We only have a certain number of slots avialable and are starting to run out so sorry if you don't make it in. If you are having issues or have questions you can follow up with email@example.com
Alright, so several people have agreed that resource leveling is a hot topic. I’ve lined up an interview with Bonny Lau, a Project PM who has graciously agreed to answer your questions.
That said, I need your questions! Add them as comments to this blog entry, and I’ll compile them for my interview with Bonnie. Questions can range from very basic (“what’s resource leveling?”) to more complex (“how many resources does it take to screw in a light bulb?” …err, wait, no…). I’m excited to hear what you’ve got!
I’ll be gathering questions together at the end of next week, so keep those suggestions coming!
I’m getting ready to delve into the world of video interviews. Here’s the idea…we’ve got an amazing group of PMs for Project here that have a wealth of information floating around in their heads. I know there’s a great reader base on this blog, and I’m sure you all have a ton of questions you’d like to pose to those PMs. Enter the video interview. Process will go as follows:
Thumbs up? Thumbs down? What do you think? Also, any top-of-mind suggestions for topics? I’ve got a great list of my own right now, but would love your input as well…
I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that occasionally, I'm involved with projects that seem to draaag on. For whatever reason, the things we were so excited to accomplish at the beginning of the project become less exciting as the project progresses. Sometimes it's because red tape gets in the way of you really jumping to do the work required of the project. Sometimes it's because the people you're working with lose interest, making it difficult for you to maintain your own interest in the project. And sometimes it's because the project was better in theory than in practice. There are a plethora of reasons why a project can start to drag. The question is, what do you do about it?
As a team member, the things that immediately pop into my mind are offsite morale events, mid-project check-in discussions where you go over what's going well and what isn't, and maybe even a swap-out of team members to inject some new energy. I'd love to hear what kinds of things you do, have done, or have heard of doing to help re-energize project teams. I know there are great ideas out there…let's hear 'em!
Maybe it’s because I’ve been swamped this week while the sun’s been shining here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but I’ve been doing some thinking about buffer, downtime, and productivity. I don’t think it’s a secret that projects have a tendency to come in late sometimes. Things come up, bad stuff happens, tasks are delayed…not uncommon. So how do you deal with it? You schedule in some buffer time to help offset the impact of changes to your project schedule. This isn’t rocket science, but is it the right approach?
First let’s talk about productivity. I was reading through Twitter the other day, and David Allen, who you may know as the “Getting Things Done” guy (@gtdguy), had replied to someone else about letting go/relaxing as a prerequisite for productive intensity. This got my attention. A lot of times we don’t think about buffer in terms of enhancing productivity and encouraging teams to get things done on time. Instead, we focus on buffer as one part of a realistic approach to scheduling. Well of course we do, because that’s what it is. But I think it’s important to also remember that A) there are actual *people* working on your projects, B) people tend to be more productive when they feel relaxed, and C) if a project has buffer scheduled in, the people working on that project are bound to feel less stressed than if the project had no buffer. That’s all I’m saying…you do the math.
So there’s the productivity aspect, but what else? Well after I replied to @gtdguy’s tweet, another fellow Twitter-er replied to me, suggesting that maybe some PMs aren’t doing proper risk response planning. Instead, they’re including buffers, with risk as the justification. Interesting idea. On the one hand, hey, at least they’re including buffer, but on the other hand, it’s important to remember that risk management isn’t just some kind of lightweight throwaway work. I mean, PMI’s got an entire certification for Risk Management Professionals. This is serious business. It also could be the reverse…that some organizations have full-on risk management happening, but it’s happening outside of the project schedule, so buffer in the plan itself is being overlooked. And then we’re back to that productivity discussion again. It seems to me that the right answer is a combination of both. Risk management *includes* scheduling buffer. With both in place, you’ve really got a handle on those what-if scenarios, and your team feels supported because you’ve recognized the reality of schedules slipping for one reason or another.
I’m wondering what the reality is out there. Do you include buffer in your project plans? Where, as separate line items, or as padded work estimates? If you don’t include buffer, why not? How do you implement risk management in your project schedules?
Looking for some resources on this subject? Try these: Use schedule buffers to manage change Manage project change with Microsoft Office Project 2007 Security Risk Management Guide View and edit project issues and risks Goals: Identify and plan for risks, Identify new risks, and Control project risks Risk management templates on Office Online Know Your Enemy: Introduction to Risk Management
We've recently published a new application that integrates with Project to support exporting your project plan in a format compliant with UN (United Nations)/CEFACT standard, a worldwide standard for cost and schedule project information.
What's Earned Value?
A project management/reporting standard that integrates measurements of project scope, schedule and cost. See more here.
What is the DCMA and UN/CEFACT?
DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) is the agency responsible for tracking earned value figures for U.S. Department of Defense and its contractors. DCMA requires the use of the United Nations (UN) Centre for the Facilitation of the Administration, Commerce and Transport (CEFACT) standard, a worldwide standard for cost and schedule project information.
How does it affect me?
Earned value can be a powerful tool for managing any project, and the UN/CEFACT standard is an important emerging global standard for earned value reporting. For many projects in the in the Defense industry, this standard is mandated as described above.
How does this tool fit in?
It guides users through exporting data from Microsoft Project 2007, captures additional user-specified details, and then translates this data into an output format consistent with the UN/CEFACT standards. By automating this process, this application will generate cost savings for DoD agencies and contractors by reducing the time and resources required to gather, analyze and format the data. Co-developed with our partner QuantumPM, the application is built on Microsoft Project's XML format.
How do I get it?
It's free, just go to http://uncefactexporttool.codeplex.com/. CodePlex is Microsoft's open-source hosting site. Making this tool available through CodePlex makes it easy for others to enhance the tool and adapt to any future updates to the standard.
How does it work?
See below for some screen shots, showing the tool's simple wizard interface.
See here for more details. Check it out at http://uncefactexporttool.codeplex.com/and let us know what you think!
There is an issue with Office Server SP2 where a product expiration date is improperly activated. This means SharePoint will expire as though it was a trial 180 days after SP2 was deployed. This will not affect the normal function of SharePoint up until the expiration date passes. See Brian Smith's blog for more details and a workaround.
Addtionally, see the SharePoint Team blog for more information.
On Office Online, we’ve got this one article, currently called, “Hide or show a column (remove or add a column).” It’s a fine article, but, to be frank, the feature can be a bit confusing, so the feedback we typically get on it is pretty bad. Lots of frustrated comments, low ratings, the whole bit. We’ve tried changing the title, adding video content, being as upfront as we think makes sense. But people are still confused and/or frustrated, so I’m going to try to take a different approach here.
First, let’s look at the mechanics of the issue. Project is not Excel. What I mean by that is when you enter information into cells in Excel, that’s basically as far as it goes. The information is there, in the spreadsheet, and that’s that. (Excuse the not-so-great cellphone pics, it’s all I had on me.)
Project is different. When you enter information into columns in a Project view, you’re really entering it into a database. So the columns that appear in your view are really more like a window into the database.
If you remove a column from a view, the information is still sitting back there in the database.
If you want the information removed, you have to actually delete the information from the fields themselves. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything funky with the database, just put the column back in the view, click the column header to select the cells in that column, and then hit CTRL+Delete. Boom, your data is gone.)
Okay, so now with that said, I’m pretty sure I can actually hear some of you out there groaning. “That’s stupid, if I delete a column, I want it gone. Why can’t you just make the thing do what I told it to?” To that, I’d like to respond with the following example.
[Insert drumroll here.]
Let’s say you have a column called Donuts. The company you work for is awesome, and HR does a donut run every Friday, so you use the Donuts column to indicate each resource’s donut preference. (Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I need a break from writing about columns for resources or budgets or other completely logical project-related things.)
Anyway so this Donuts column…it’s a custom text field, and you currently have it displayed in the Resource Sheet view. (On the Insert menu, click Column, then choose a text field, such as Text1, from the Field Name list.)
You’ve gone through and asked every resource in the company what their favorite donut is, and entered it into Project. Amazing work. It took a while to get through all 350 resources, but you did it, and now you’re pretty darn pleased with yourself.
So now let’s say on some Monday, you’re messing around in the view, taking columns out, putting in new ones, and rearranging things, to try to get better organized and make the view a little prettier. You accidentally remove the Donuts column and forget to add it back in. The end of the week comes along, and you’re getting ready to place your donut order. You go into the Resource Sheet view, and OH NO the Donuts column is gone!
I’m going to say it again, because that’s pretty close to the end of the world: OH NO THE DONUTS COLUMN IS GONE!!
Turns out it’s not actually the end of the world. You just have to add the column back into the view, and all of your data is still there. Whew. Crisis averted.
Does that make my case? I mean really, if saving a weekly donut run doesn’t make my case, I’m not sure what would. But seriously…does that help you understand what the reasoning is behind the way that feature works? Or if it doesn’t, what would you suggest?
So here’s how my day typically goes. Wake up, get the kid breakfast, check email, check Facebook, eat some cereal, check Twitter, do some work, check Twitter again, do some more work, check Facebook, back to work…you get the point. Some people might look at this pattern and say, “Hey lady, get to work, check Facebook on your own time.” Fair enough. Except if you look at my list of friends, the majority of them are coworkers, and while learning what my coworkers have going on outside of work isn’t entirely work-related, it’s great for morale and really makes me feel a lot closer to the people I work with. And we all know that understanding the personalities of team members leads to a more functional team, right? (Thanks Myers-Briggs!)
Anyway my point here is that, for better or worse, social networking is clearly pervasive in my life, blurring the lines between work and home. I’m sure the same can be said for many of you.
One interesting conversation that I saw going on recently on Twitter was around the idea of using these social networking tools for project communication. Frankly, I’ve got some mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, many of us are already tapped into Twitter/Facebook/whatever, so there’s the efficiency factor: if my teammate is tweeting about a dependency slipping, and my kid is tweeting about how much she hates her math homework, I can quickly get caught up on both fronts using a single tool. Sweet. There’s also the camaraderie factor: my teammate updates her Facebook status to indicate her general displeasure with how a vendor relationship is going, and I can comment on that, saying that I totally agree and it totally blows…now we’re communicating at a watercooler level, and we both feel a little better knowing that we’re both in the same boat.
However, the flip side is consideration of privacy. If you’re tweeting about a dependency slipping, A) you’d better be careful not to inject too much emotion, in case the owner of that dependency sees your tweet, and B) you’d better watch what you disclose about your project, in case the rest of the world isn’t supposed to know about Feature X, let alone that it’s slipping.
So while I do see the merit in social networking for work purposes, I’m not sold on social networking for project purposes. Seems like it’s a little too easy to get yourself in hot water unintentionally. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you use any social networking tools for your projects? What kinds of guidelines do you follow, if any? If you’re not using social networking tools for your projects right now, why not? What’s on that “flip side” for you?
Yes, there is a place in the clouds for Project information.. If you have a number of documents, spreadsheets, notes, proposals, and project files you want to share quickly, Microsoft Office Live Workspace gives you some interesting options.
Microsoft Office Live Workspace enables you to store and share Microsoft Office Project 2007 .mpp files as well as other Microsoft Office program files quickly and easily. All you need is a Windows Live ID and a computer with a connection to the Web.
With Office Live Workspace, you no longer have to worry about exceeding your team members' e-mail storage space or transporting documents using your flash drive. You also don't have to worry about complicated infrastructures to install or maintain. And all your documents are password-protected. When you're on the go toward you vacation destination, you'll always have your project documents close by.
Note You can sign up for Office Live Workspace from the Office Live Workspace sign-up page. To sign in to Office Live Workspace, you must use a Windows Live ID. This e-mail and password combination allows you to sign in to many different Web sites using just one identity.
Step 1: Upload a Project file to Office Live Workspace
1. In Office Live Workspace, on the left navigation bar under My Workspaces, click Documents.
2. On the actions bar, click Add Document.
3. In the drop-down menu, click Single Document or Multiple Documents.
Note The first time that you upload multiple documents to Office Live Workspace, a yellow notification bar appears at the top of your browser asking you to install ActiveX. Click the yellow bar, and in the drop-down menu, click Install ActiveX. In the security warning dialog box, click Install.
4. In the Choose file dialog box, select the file you want to upload, and then click Open.
Note Office Live Workspace does not provide a viewer for Project files. In order to view a Project .mpp file, you need to save the file on your computer and then open it within Project.
Step two: Create a workspace on Office Live Workspace for a Project file
Workspaces behave like folders; they allow you to organize files, lists, and notes. You can either start with a blank workspace that you customize to meet your needs, or you can choose a workspace that already contains helpful documents, notes, lists, and spreadsheets that are all geared for a specific purpose.
1. In Office Live Workspace, on the left navigation bar under My Workspaces, click New Workspace.
2. In the Create a new workspace dialog box, choose Project Workspace.
You can also select other workspaces in which to organize your files, including a blank workspace.
To learn how to make changes to your workspace and arrange documents to meet your needs, see Organize your documents and workspaces.
When you are satisfied with your workspace, you can share it with the people who will find it most valuable. To learn more about sharing workspaces, see Share workspaces and documents using Office Live Workspace.
For those of you on the on SP2 webcast this morning, a question that we hear often around updates come up - how can I check which version of the project client everyone has? Christophe has posted a solution on his blog - http://blogs.msdn.com/chrisfie/archive/2009/04/30/how-to-check-project-2007-version-using-vba.aspx
Before you install this service pack there are some very important things to understand. In this mail I'll try to provide you with the resources you need to be successful in your updates. It is essential that you understand the appropriate links, and thoroughly read the guidance and test out the patch in a separate environment prior to a production rollout.
I also encourage everyone to attend the Project 2007 Service Pack 2 Overview webcast scheduled for April 29 at 8 am Pacific Time, and April 30 at 5 pm Pacific Time (webcast details are posted on EPMConnect). Adrian Jenkins and Christophe will cover the following topics during the webcast: SP2 Overview, April Cumulative Update Overview, Deployment Best Practices, Next Steps, Questions and Answers.
Service Pack 2 (SP2) Description
Service Pack 2 (SP2) Download Center Page
Service Pack 2 (SP2) Deployment Resources
Service Pack 2 (SP2) Related Technical Resources
Project Service Pack 2 High Level Benefits Project Standard and Project Professional
Once your farm has been properly updated the new SP2 product version will be: 12.0.6422.1000.
Getting Ready for Project Server 2010
As part of the SP2 release we announced the following requirements for the next release of SharePoint and Project Server: Windows Server 2008 and 64 bit. We will be publishing guidance on how to upgrade your existing Project Server 2007 farm to Windows Server 2008 64 bit in the coming weeks on TechNet. Expect full system requirements for Project Server 2010 at a latter date.
Please note we will release a Service Pack 2 for Project Portfolio Server 2007 within the next two months, I will send an email once it has been released.
Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office System is due to ship April 28th. Join Adrian Jenkins and Christophe Fiessinger to get an overview of Project 2007 and Project Server 2007 updates in SP2, recommended best practices to deploy SP2 in your environment, and answer your questions about SP2.
For more information see Christophe's blog post.
Video demo: Using SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services with the Project Server 2007 Cube Building Service
This two-part video demonstration walks through the steps necessary to configure the Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 cube building services for use with SQL Server Analysis Services 2005.
Walkthrough: Deploy Project Server 2007 to a server farm environment
This article contains a white paper and a four-part video series which provide a walkthrough of a typical Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 deployment. The white paper contains step-by-step instructions for each step necessary to successfully deploy Office Project Server 2007. The video series mirrors the steps described in the white paper.
The Challenges of Selecting Enterprise Software
This is the latest article by Chris Vandersluis in the "From the Trenches" column on the Project Server 2007 TechCenter.
Virtualizing Project Server 2007
This chapter includes six topics that explain hyper-v architecture and best practices for planning, installing, and configuring a Project Server 2007 deployment on Hyper-V.
Deploy Project Server 2007 Updates
This article provides a general overview of the types of updates that are available to for Project Server 2007. It describes important things to know about each update types, as well as links to separate articles on each update type.
Deploy cumulative updates (Project Server 2007) (updated)
This article has been updated to provide more information about cumulative update server packages for Project Server 2007 farms deployed with Office SharePoint Server 2007. It has also been updated to describe client cumulative update dependencies required for cumulative updates including the Project Server infrastructure update.
Checklist for deploying Project Server 2007 updates
This checklist provides a list of general steps required to update a Project Server 2007 farm deployment.
Manage Active Directory synchronization in Project Server 2007 (Updated)
This article has been updated with information about how synchronization deadlocks occur and how to go about removing a deadlock if it occurs.
Office Project Server 2007 Performance Counters
This technical reference article provides a list of performance indications you can monitor in Project Server 2007.
Inventory of SQL Server databases for a typical Project Server 2007 deployment
This technical reference article provides a list of databases that are created in a Project Server 2007 and Portfolio Server 2007 deployment.
Requirements for using SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services with the Project Server 2007 Cube Building Service (Updated)
This article has been updated to refer to the Feature Pack for SQL Server 2005 - December 2008. The Analysis Management Objects installed with the SQL Server 2005 Management Objects that were in earlier versions of the SQL Server 2005 Feature pack required a workaround in order for the Cube Building Service to function correctly.
Project Server 2007 Webcasts
This set of articles describes and links to archived Project Server TechNet Webcasts. Topics include server administration, network communication, workload scenarios and reference architecture, and data flow.
Prepare for migration to Project Server 2007 (updated)
This article has been updated to describe the best practice of applying the latest update to the Project Professional 2007 client from which you run the migration tool to ensure that it has the latest updates.
The Gantt Chart view is the most commonly used view in Project. It lists the tasks in your project, and illustrates their relationship to one another and the schedule using Gantt bars. Let's look a little more closely at each portion of the view.
First, let's take a look at the left portion of the view. This portion uses a table format, and is where each of the tasks, summary tasks, and subtasks in your project are listed. You can use this table to enter new tasks, indent or outdent your existing tasks, set task durations, and identify predecessor tasks.
The right portion of the view illustrates the tasks, dates, and durations across a timeline. You can adjust the timeline units and change the formatting of the bars on the Gantt chart.
For more information about the Gantt Chart view, see Work with the Gantt Chart view. For more information about other views in Project 2007, see Overview of Project views.
You may know you can update the formatting of the current gridlines you see in Project, but did you also know that you can add additional gridlines? While in the Gantt chart, go to Format - Gridlines and you can see in the list of "Lines to Change" everything that you can format. To get the line to show up, just set Type to something besides blank. I wanted to callout a few useful lines that aren't on by default:
- Project Start, Project Finish, and Status Date: This is especially helpful in large projects to help keep track of where you are in it.
This gives you:
- Gantt Rows: This draws a line between each gantt bar and helps with readability. If you draw a line between each gantt bar, this gets a bit overwhelming so I recommend setting the interval to 3 like this:
This is especially helpful for large print-outs.
New this year! The Project Conference team has received a tremendous amount of interest from others to present content at Project Conference 2009. In response, we are formally offering you an opportunity to contribute to and present content at Project Conference 2009. We encourage everyone to utilize the content submission form at https://pc2009cfc.dynamiceventsreg.com to propose content ideas and speakers. Time is limited so act now!
Additionally, for all you Facebook users, we now have a conference event - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=69039984055 Make sure to check it out to see who all is planning on attending.
Join us to celebrate the successes of Microsoft Project and to see what's coming, as we exclusively unveil the powerful capabilities included in the next release. At this year's conference, you will learn how Project is helping customers today to save money, enhance efficiency and drive growth, as well as obtain unique insights into how the next release will continue to support your business tomorrow.
Project Conference 2009 is the global event to attend. It's sure to be one of the most exciting and valuable Project Conferences yet with high-impact keynotes, 75+ in-depth breakout sessions, hands on labs, demonstrations and many opportunities to connect and collaborate with your peers, industry practitioners, certified partners and the Microsoft Project team. In the current economic climate, it's vital to keep both your individual skills and organizational capabilities moving forward - don't miss the opportunity!
Don't miss your chance to attend Project Conference 2009! See you in September!The Microsoft Project Conference 2009 Team | firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved
Ok, that was the official announcement but I want to call out www.msprojectconference.com again. If you plan on attending, make sure to visit this site. There are two links on the right side where you can suggest content for the sessions and fill out a survey where you can indicate which parts of the conference are the most important to you.
It’s time again for another posting from me, David Ducolon, on some best practice use of Project Server. This time I will go in depth about the Administrative Time feature in Project Server 2007.
Before I tell you about what 2007 has to offer and how best to implement and use it, I feel I must first tell you about the history of this feature area.
So with the experiences of 2002 and 2003, we took a long hard look at this feature for 2007. I am happy and proud to announce that in 2007, the process was further streamlined, the architecture was extremely scalable, performance out does previous versions and the category type and behavior is fully customizable to meet your needs for planning, tracking and reporting on work other than project assignments.
The functionality is so dramatically different that we changed the name to “Administrative Time”. The setup work requires:
i) Non Working Time – Time scheduled as project calendar exceptions directly from the user without the need to involve Project Professional. While it still blocks the Project scheduling engine from assigning work to the individual during that time. ii) Working Time – Time scheduled as virtual task assignments. These are virtual, since they do not reside in any true project file, instead they are simple records in the SQL database. This has the effect of allowing resources to be scheduled in excess of 100%.
i) Non Working Time – Time scheduled as project calendar exceptions directly from the user without the need to involve Project Professional. While it still blocks the Project scheduling engine from assigning work to the individual during that time.
ii) Working Time – Time scheduled as virtual task assignments. These are virtual, since they do not reside in any true project file, instead they are simple records in the SQL database. This has the effect of allowing resources to be scheduled in excess of 100%.
Customers may create as many “categories” as they want without any impact on performance or scalability.
Simple Example for Managing Administrative Time Categories
Simple Example for Managing Administrative Time Categories
Categories may be renamed, but they cannot be deleted once they have been saved to the database. This preserves the integrity of timesheets. If the category is no longer applicable you must close the category’s status and it will no longer be available to users without disrupting the integrity of the historical timesheets.
HOW TO USE
Let’s now talk about how best to implement and use these options. To begin with I would like you to consider the term “Non Working” and “Working” as terms that mean “Block Scheduling” and “Allow Over Allocation” respectively. With that understood, the first rule to consider is:
Non Working work type should only be used on administrative categories that will be used to plan time off. This is important since Project does not like to move actual work once established and calendar exceptions cannot allow work to exist during time periods which they are set to occupy. An example of what you should NOT do is as follows: i) You create a category called “Sick time” and make that non working. ii) A member of your team comes to work on Monday and works on a task that begins on Monday and goes for two days. iii) The team member reports that the task is 50% complete. But then the employee goes home sick. iv) At the end of the week the team member fills in his timesheet and reports 4 hours of sick time on Monday. Result: Project took the 16 hour task and assigned 50% of the work as actual work reported by the team member on Monday. But the timesheet also wants to place a calendar exception for that day. The team member should only have been able to logically complete 25% of the work on the task. Below are screen shots of what happens:
Non Working work type should only be used on administrative categories that will be used to plan time off.
This is important since Project does not like to move actual work once established and calendar exceptions cannot allow work to exist during time periods which they are set to occupy. An example of what you should NOT do is as follows:
i) You create a category called “Sick time” and make that non working.
ii) A member of your team comes to work on Monday and works on a task that begins on Monday and goes for two days.
iii) The team member reports that the task is 50% complete. But then the employee goes home sick.
iv) At the end of the week the team member fills in his timesheet and reports 4 hours of sick time on Monday.
Result: Project took the 16 hour task and assigned 50% of the work as actual work reported by the team member on Monday. But the timesheet also wants to place a calendar exception for that day. The team member should only have been able to logically complete 25% of the work on the task. Below are screen shots of what happens:
16 hours of work on Wednesday and Thursday, auto imported from My Tasks, with 8 hours of “Dr. Appointment” (non working time) entered into the timesheet.
After the timesheet is saved, the calendar exception is created. As you can see the assignment to task “Plan 1” seems to have lost the 8 hours of work on Wednesday (2/4). But the total work is still at 2 days with only 8 hours of actual work. This presents a difficult situation for Project to understand.
If all of your calendars and time settings are set to 8 hours for the definition of a day, after a round trip through project all will be fine. However if either the project or resource calendar or PWA setting of a day is not 8 hours, the results will be to reduce the work and to apply 8 hours of non working time.
To avoid this situation I strongly encourage all customers to be very careful when creating an Administrative time category with a Working Type setting of “non working”. Personally I set my server to break “sick” time into two categories.
1. I re-label the standard “Sick” category to “Dr. Appointment” and 2. I create a new category called “Illness” and set the working type option to “working”.
1. I re-label the standard “Sick” category to “Dr. Appointment” and
2. I create a new category called “Illness” and set the working type option to “working”.
I would expect employees to plan for Doctor related absences in the future or before submitting actual work; which is really the problem. And Illnesses would conversely be submitted after returning to work when it would be reasonable and somewhat common to report the hours away from work after entering actual work possibly on the same day.
This will allow the resource to be overscheduled for Illnesses which will not automatically slip the project schedule and allow planned absences to be entered while not allowing the resource to be overscheduled and if initially planned then the task will slip accordingly.
I hope this has been enlightening and useful. If you find any particular aspect of Project Server that you wish to have explained with best practices feel free to drop a comment on this blog and you may see your suggestion in a future best practice update.