A Project Planning and Management Road Map

A Project Planning and Management Road Map

Building the right plan and managing projects effectively can be very challenging. At Eident Training we can help you understand key project management principles which are crucial for Microsoft Project, building a Project Planning and Management Road Map. Each link below goes to an official Microsoft support page exploring different aspects of project management with articles and short tutorials.

Initiate a project plan

With any project, you need to plan before you start using Microsoft Project. The better the initial plan, the easier it will be to manage.  During the initiation phase of a project, use applications like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint to help you with your thinking.

Ensure you have a project – Make sure that what you’re thinking about is an actual project. A project has three characteristics:

  • It’s temporary and unique – Designing a car manufacturing plant is a project because it is a one-time activity. The manufacture of cars at the plant is a repeated series of activities and is therefore not a project.
  • It has clearly defined deliverables/objectives – Deliverables give a project focus and purpose. Stakeholders won’t feel that their project investments are worthwhile if deliverables aren’t clearly stated.
  • It has a start and a finish – Without a project end-date, stakeholders and investors won’t enjoy the project’s outcome and benefits that their investment made possible.
Initiate a project planProjects often fail without enough early thinking during an initiation phase. At this point, think about who your stakeholders and sponsors are, while you draw up charter statements, early specifications, and ideally a budget.
Communicate plans with your stakeholdersMaintaining communication channels with stakeholders isn’t always easy. But it is critical to the success of a project.  Agree a communication framework and timeline.
Create and share project reportsTo help with the time-consuming part of communicating, Project has numerous reports that are readily accessible. Capture early plans, major project milestones, budgeting requirements, resource requirements, and so on.

Build a project schedule

Building a project schedule can take time. Project creation can happen more smoothly if you break the steps down into four categories:

  1. Add tasks
  2. Organize them
  3. Add people
  4. Communicate with your team
Create a new project scheduleAfter you’ve completed your initial thinking, it’s time to start Project and create a new schedule. You can start with a blank project, or use templates that other project managers have created—some by experts in project management or in a business similar to yours.
Add tasksTasks are the activities that get done in a project. Learn how to add tasks, change their properties and estimate their durations.
Organize themWhen you first add tasks, they might not be in the best order for managing them. Learn how to organize them by using summary tasks and subtasks, and by linking them.
Add people and assign them to tasksAfter you’ve added tasks to your project, think about the people you want to work on them. Keep in mind, that adding people and assigning them to tasks are different activities in Project.
Share resources using resource pools and master projectsTo help manage people across multiple projects, place all the people in your projects into a single project file. This file works as a resource pool. From the resource pool file, you can share resources across multiple projects (without Project Server).
Set up costs for your projectHandling project costs can be intimidating for any project manager. With Project, you may discover that this work isn’t so difficult at all. Learn tips to help you stay on budget.

Manage your project

Your work doesn’t stop after you build a schedule. Managing your project takes more time than building it. For example, tasks change, people get added, the end date needs to move back in, and so forth. With Project, you have all the tools to monitor progress and make changes to ensure a successful outcome.

Choose the right view of your scheduleTo cut through the complexity of your schedule, find the right view. The Gantt chart gives you one view of where your project is going. You can also use a Calendar view, network diagram, or timeline to help you see different levels of detail.
Track the progress of your scheduleAfter you’ve created your initial schedule, it’s time to start seeing how things are going. Creating a baseline and using the right views will help you keep track of your project’s progress.
Track percent complete for tasksTracking progress can seem complicated, but here’s a quick way to show percent complete using progress bar on a Gantt chart.
Resolve resource allocation problemsTo get the best performance and results from resources, you must manage resource workloads to avoid over allocations and under allocations.
Bring in the project end dateA project manager’s worst nightmare is the end date slips after you make changes to the schedule. Learn strategies to take control of the project’s end date.
Report on project statusCommunication is often difficult, especially when you’re reporting bad news. To help you communicate with your stakeholders and executives, Project has attractive, professional reports that you can create and send in a few simple steps.
Manage project costsAre you going over budget? Do you need to adjust costs? Find out how to solve cost problems in your schedule.
View earned value analysis reportsEarned value is an advanced tracking method. But it isn’t just for experts. You can use it, too, to help you monitor your project.
Manage riskRisks are everywhere in your project. Identify the trouble spots early and respond to them before they get you into big trouble.
Work with multiple projectsProject provides tools to help you manage cross-project dependencies, even tasks in one project that are dependent on the completion of another project.

For Microsoft Project Professional 2019, Microsoft Project Professional 2016 and Microsoft Project 2013

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