Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Microsoft Project Terminology


Project management has several terms that are related to the subject that are key in understanding the results from Microsoft Project.
It would be very difficult realizing the full benefits of the Microsoft Project without understanding them.

What is the Critical Path?

Microsoft Project allows you to plan when the tasks (steps) are going to happen and display a sequence of them in a Gantt Chart. As default all the tasks are shown in the same colour (blue).
By showing the project plan in this way it does not display which tasks if they are delayed are going to impact on the finish date.

The Critical Path is the sequence of tasks that if they are delayed or take longer than planned are going to impact on the finish date of the project plan. These tasks are not necessarily the most important tasks in the project plan – just the ones that are going to setback the finish date.
Microsoft Project allows the Gantt Chart to display them formatted in a different way, and so display the critical path in a different way.

It is important to know which tasks are on the critical path so that if tasks need to be postponed for any reason, it is not the tasks that are going to impede the end of the project that are chosen.

What is the Baseline?

The baseline is the original plan of when the tasks are going to take place as agreed by the stakeholders.
It holds data on when the tasks are going to take place, how long they are going to take, how much work is involved and at what cost.

The baseline can be displayed against the current plan, either by showing all the tasks in the same way or also by showing which tasks are currently critical.

The advantages of using a Baseline

By having this information, when the project actually starts (or changes are considered), comparisons can be made between what is happening now and what was originally agreed.
Once the project is finished, the project plan can be analysed. This will then help improve future plans, as it will be possible to see which areas of the plan worked as scheduled and which areas didn’t. Hopefully reasons can be given as to which areas didn’t work as they should.

Once the guide is displayed, there are two parts.
1.     The toolbar – where you can choose what stage you are in the process.
2.     The guide – which lists what needs to be done.
Notice the first two steps given in the guide

The guide is not displayed as standard in Project 2007, and should you wish to use it, it needs to be turned on.
To turn on the guide

1.     Menu, Tools, Options

2.     Click on the interface tab

3.     Select Display Project Guide in the Project Guide Settings

4.     Accept changes by clicking on OK.

This turns on the project guide for all project plans until you go through and turn the guide off.

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