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Archive for the tag “Microsoft Project”

Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part IV (Final)

This post continues to discuss the final six Microsoft Project templates continued from previous posts, Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part I, Part II, and Part III.  These posts are about using your scheduling software as a database to create custom tools needed to plan, execute, monitor, and control your projects. The advantage is that it keeps your project data in one place while associating the data with the appropriate tasks and resources.
 
Next views on the list are resource management templates PMO_Resource-To Do Tasks, Fig. 1 and PMO_Resource-Incomplete Tasks, Fig. 2.    These are output views.  PMO_Resource-To Do Tasks View does as it is titled, lists all tasks for a specific resource for a window of time and groups them by week that the task should begin. When PMO_Resource-To Do Tasks View is selected you are first prompted for three pieces of info: 1) To choose a resource name from the dropdown list, 2) Choose a starting date, 3) Choose an end date (must be greater than the start date.  The view will then filter the view for only that resource and group by week all tasks that Start within the time period selected.  Time period could be weeks, months or years but are always grouped by week beginning Monday.  For the screen shot I choose several months but as a practical matter a few weeks at a time should be sufficient. When there are many resources on a project this view and related printout are invaluable for communicating responsibilities and schedules.  I had four Project Coordinators who printed out dozens of these reports on a regular basis then gave these printouts to the resources.  Resources reviewed current work and upcoming work with their team leader to make sure they understood the timeline and the amount of work required to keep the project on track.
Fig. 1 Microsoft Project template Resource-To Do Tasks screen shot

Fig. 1 Microsoft Project template Resource-To Do Tasks screen shot

 PMO_Resource-Incomplete Tasks View does as it is titled, lists all incomplete tasks for a specific resource for a window of time and groups them by week tasks should be completed.  When PMO_Incomplete Tasks View is selected you are first prompted for three pieces of info: 1) To choose a resource name from the dropdown list, 2) Choose a starting date, 3) Choose an end date (must be greater than the start date.  The view will then filter the view for only that resource and group by week all tasks that are incomplete and should be finished within the time period selected.  Time period could be weeks, months or years but are always grouped by week beginning Monday.
Fig. 2 Microsoft Project template Resource-Incomplete Tasks screen shot

Fig. 2 Microsoft Project template Resource-Incomplete Tasks screen shot

 The fields for each template are the same. Descriptions are below. I’ve noted Custom Fields with a (CF) notation. 
  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name.   PMO_Resource-TO Do Tasks is grouped by week the task should begin.  PMO_Resource-Incomplete Tasks is grouped by the week the task should be completed.
  • Start – Date the task is to begin.
  • Finish – Date the task is to be completed.
  • Accountable (CF) – I added this column because there were several resources for the majority of tasks and it was unclear who had final authority for task decisions and completeness.
  • Resource Names – Individuals assigned and “responsible” to achieve the task.  
 PMO_Resource-To Do Tasks and PMO_Resource-Incomplete Tasks are formatted to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review. 
Fig. 3 Microsoft Project template PMO_Slipping Task screen shot

Fig. 3 Microsoft Project template PMO_Slipping Task screen shot

PMO_Slipping Tasks, Fig. 3, is also an output view.  Inputs to this view come from other views.  This view describes the who, what, when, and why of task slippage. Purpose of this template is to communicate project status by identification of all late incomplete tasks regardless of  the resource or who is Accountable.  Below are descriptions of each field.  Custom Fields are noted as (CF). 
  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name grouped by when the task should be completed.
  • Task Issues (CF) – This field is to capture issues affecting task completion.  This field is typically filled induring updates to the schedule using the PMO_Tracking Gantt view.  Use this field to describe the cause of the issue.  These should be escalation issues meaning you have to go outside the project team for resolution.  This field is NOT for describing general task status. 
  • Accountable (CF) – I added this column because there were several resources for the majority of tasks and it was unclear who had final authority for task decisions and completeness. 
  • Status – This is an MS Project generated indicator which can be sometimes misleading. The Status field indicates the current status of a task, specifying whether the task is Complete, On Schedule, Late, or a Future Task based on the MS Project algorithm.  The trouble with this is that you can begin a task ahead of schedule (good) then fall behind on this task (bad) meanwhile the task Status will read Future Task (due to the baseline) which is no longer true. This is why I’ve added the next custom field…
  • Slipping Tasks (CF) – This field calculates whether a task is slipping based on the baseline or actual start if started early then gives you an indicator based on the number of days the task is behind schedule;  Yellow 1-10 days late, Red 11-20 days late, Black >20 days late.  If completed the status changes to Green (100% complete). 
  • Actual Duration – Number of days actually spent on task.
  • Rem(aining) Dur(ation) – Number of days left to complete task.
  • Actual Start – Date the task was started.
  • Finish – Scheduled finish date of task.
  • Baseline Finish – Scheduled baseline finish of task.
 PMO_Slipping Tasks is formatted to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review.
Fig. 4 Microsoft Project template PMO_Critical Path screen shot

Fig. 4 Microsoft Project template PMO_Critical Path screen shot

Fig. 4 Microsoft Project template PMO_Critical Path screen shot is a an output view used to communicate project status.  This view filters only tasks that are on the critical path.
 Custom Fields marked with a (CF) notation. 
  • Status Indicator – The Indicators field displays indicators that give different types of information about a task.  Go to the link for more details.
  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name.
  • Duration – Duration used by MS Project for calculating schedule.
  • Start – Planned start date of task.
  • Finish- Planned finish date of task.
  • Accountable (CF) – I added this column because there were several resources for the majority of tasks and it was unclear who had final authority for task decisions and completeness. 
PMO_Critical Path is formatted to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review.
Fig. 5 Microsoft Project template PMO_Network Diagram screen shot

Fig. 5 Microsoft Project template PMO_Network Diagram screen shot

PMO_Network Diagram, Fig. 5, describes predecessor and successor relationships. Usage of this view is better described in the post SCRAPP™ Method or How To Integrate Your Schedule.  
Fig. 6 Microsoft Project template PMO_Gantt Chart screen shot

Fig. 6 Microsoft Project template PMO_Gantt Chart screen shot

The last view is the typical (Yawn!!!) PMO_Gantt Chart.  I add it here for historical purposes only and because if I didn’t people would continually ask “Where’s the Gantt Chart?”  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve asked someone for their project plan (not schedule) and they pull out a 20 page stack of this nonsense. Who looks at this stuff? Not management!  The first thing this tells me, if this is all they give me, is that the person running this project doesn’t really understand project management only how to operate MS Project (or whatever software used to create it). This is the reason why I’ve developed and used the previously described views and templates in order to initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control my projects.

This post captured the last six views discussed in this series. As shown with the various views we’ve created a pretty wide-ranging project database, used various views for inputting information and using the same data in different output views for communication and status.  This should give you the idea that you have very specific requirements and data needs for your projects.  Extend your database a little farther in your project. Take Project and add one or more custom fields and views to capture that information as it relates to tasks or resources or some other aspect of your project and keep your project info  current and concise.    

If you would like the MS Project file with all views already included send me an email with your request to wayne@all3pm.com and I will forward a copy to you.  Any feedback you care to provide is greatly appreciated. 

Thanks for following…

Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part III

This post continues to discuss six more Microsoft Project templates described in previous posts, Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part I and Part II.  These posts are about using your scheduling software as a database to create custom tools needed to plan, execute,  monitor, and control your projects. The advantage is that it keeps your project data in one place while associating the data with the appropriate tasks and resources. 

Next on the list is an expense and capital cost estimating template PMO_Costs, Fig. 1.  This template is for estimating project costs by inputting optimistic, expected, and pessimistic expense costs then calculating an amount based on the equation described below.  

Fig. 1 Microsoft Project template PMO Costs screen shot

Fig. 1 Microsoft Project template PMO Costs screen shot

I’ve noted Custom Fields with a (CF) notation.  Reviewing the definitions for each column going across are:

  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name
  • Cost Assumptions (CF) – Captures assumptions and inputs used to generate the costs.
  • Cost Optimistic, Expected, Pessimistic (CF) – Range of potential costs.  Good practice is to ask others who have completed similar tasks and determine typical costs required to complete the task.  This will provide a best, worst, and average to use for input. This should be done for each task that will generate an expense toward the project.  Highly recommended for tasks with a wide degree of variability.
  • Cost Most Likely (CF) – Calculated using  (Optimistic+(4x Expected)+Pessimistic)/6
  • Cost Capital- Fill in with best estimates of cost to obtain capital goods.  Can usually be done via quotations. 
 PMO_Costs is formated to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review. 
Fig. 2 Microsoft Project template PMO Progress Rollup-Inputs screen shot

Fig. 2 Microsoft Project template PMO Progress Rollup-Inputs screen shot

Fig. 3 Microsoft Project template PMO Progress Rollup-Report screen shot

Fig. 3 Microsoft Project template PMO Progress Rollup-Report screen shot

Next on the list are the PMO_Progress Rollup-Inputs, Fig. 2 and PMO_Progress Rollup-Report, Fig. 3 templates.  Purpose of these templates is to communicate project status. With PMO_Progress Rollup-Inputs you choose which tasks either individual, summary, or milestone you want to report on by placing a value, typically 0% as a starting value, in the Last % Complete column.  Once you’ve chosen the individual tasks, summary tasks or milestones to report on you then chose PMO_Progress Rollup-Report view to condense the chart to only those tasks. This allows you to pick and choose ANY item in your WBS to report on. This is much more flexible for reporting than trying to use MS Projects built in filters where you only get milestones, or critical path, or incomplete tasks, etc.   You can then take a screen shot and copy the results into report or presentation.  Refer to screen shot above.   Custom Fields are noted as (CF). 

  • Status Indicator – The Indicators field displays indicators that give different types of information about a task.  Go to the link for more details.
  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name
  • Last % Complete  (CF) – Any task that has a value placed in it will condense down to only those tasks when the PMO_Progress Rollup-Report View is chosen.  This allows you to choose individual or summary tasks or milestones to report on for management or status updates.
  • % Complete  – Current % Complete value based on the amount of work completed.  Once you’ve generated the report the first time all values on the Last % Complete field will typically be 0%.  For second and subsequent reports copy and paste the % Complete values into the Last % Complete field.  That way when you run the next report the older values will already be there.

PMO_Progress Rollup-Inputs and PMO_Progress Rollup-Report are formated to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review.

Fig. 4 Microsoft Project template PMO Task Risks screen shot

Fig. 4 Microsoft Project template PMO Task Risks screen shot

 
Fig. 5 Microsoft Project template PMO Task Risks Report screen shot

Fig. 5 Microsoft Project template PMO Task Risks Report screen shot

The next two views are Risk Management views.  Use PMO_Task Risks Inputs, Fig. 4 to capture risk related information for specific tasks and PMO_Task Risks Report, Fig. 5 to condense only those tasks having information in a risk field.  The purpose is to scan the WBS and determine what tasks have risks worth capturing.  It is not the intent to describe a risk for every task.  Your experience should help in identifying tasks with higher severities or probabilities of occurence.  This view can be copied into a report, presentation, or all-encompassing Risk Management file for further analysis.
The following is an explanation of each field.  Custom Fields marked with a (CF) notation. 
  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name
  • Risk Cause (CF) – Identification and description of the cause of the Risk.
  • Risk (CF) – Description of the risk, e.g. cost risk, testing risk, resource risk. Be descriptive so management and outsiders can understand. 
  • Risk Effect (CF) – If this risk event occurs what happens to what?
  • Risk Ranking (CF) – Estimated risk based on your ranking criteria.  You could use Low, Medium, High, a Likert scale of 1-5, or something else. The goal is to be consistent.
  • Risk Trigger (CF) – What is the event that will cause the risk to transpire?
  • Risk Mitigation (CF) – Describe what actions, if any, can/will be done to lessen the severity or probability of this risk occurring.
  • Risk Owner – The person who will monitor and determine if the risk trigger has occurred.

PMO_Issues Tracking is formated to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review.

Fig. 6 Microsoft Project template PMO WBS Dictionary screen shot

Fig. 6 Microsoft Project template PMO WBS Dictionary screen shot

 
The last View described in this post is the PMO_WBS Dictionary, Fig. 6.  This should be filled in as or as soon as the WBS is created to capture the intent and scope of the task.  This is helpful in describing, scoping, and level setting what work will be performed and a description of the deliverable, possibly even a description of the acceptance criteria used to measure if the work is properly completed.  During one project we had to describe what WAS and WAS NOT included in any particular task because we were condensing several tasks into one task so it was necessary everyone understood what the task entailed.  It should not be necessary to provide a definition for every task but those tasks that may be confusing or involve many steps.  This should be used as an addendum to your project plan.

 PMO_WBS Dictionaryis formated to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet.

This post captured six more views discussed in this series. We’ll wrap up the last views in the next post which will be final part of this series. 

If you would like the MS Project file with all views already included send me an email with your request to wayne@all3pm.com and I will forward a copy to you.  Any feedback you care to provide is greatly appreciated. 

Thanks for following…

Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part II

 This post will discuss several tools listed in the previous post, Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part I.  These posts are about using your scheduling software as a database to create different tools needed to plan, execute,  monitor, and control your projects. The advantage is that it keeps your project data in one place while associating the data with the appropriate tasks and resources.  Two key tools on the list are PMO_Entry and PMO_Tracking Gantt.  Screen shots for each View and explanations are below.  To see the screen on your computer open the file (refer to file request at end of this post) then choose View>PMO_Entry.

Fig. 1 Screen shot of PMO_Entry View

Fig. 1 Screen shot of PMO_Entry View

The purpose of the PMO_Entry View was to simplify and normalize data  input into creating the WBS. I had nine PMs at once inputting data into their schedules so I required a standardized template in which I could review inputs for consistency. No matter how careful one is, there will be errors when inputting vast amounts of data. This template allows for quick checks and reviews.  Most of the fields are self-explanatory.  Fields like task Type and Constraint Type are shown to ensure consistency and intent during entry.  MS Project defaults to Effort Driven tasks (Type) which in my case is seldom used. This is because my projects are typically in highly matrixed organizations with resources working on several projects at once.  Because of this it is easier to create a window of when the work will be completed using Duration and Work.  There are several custom fields created for this template.  I’ve noted them below with a CF (Custom Field) notation.  Reviewing the definitions for each column going across are:

  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name
  • Duration – Duration used by MS Project for calculating schedule
  • Duration Optimistic, Expected, Pessimistic (CF) – Range of potential Durations.  Good practice is to ask others who have completed similar tasks how long it typically takes to complete the task.  This will provide a minimum, maximum and average to use for input. You don’t necessarily need to do this for every task.  Highly recommended for key tasks and tasks with wide degree of variability.
  • Duration Most Likely (CF) – Calculated using  (Optimistic+(4x Expected)+Pessimistic)/6
    Note:  Copy Duration Most Likely column and paste into the Duration Column. 
  • Work – Fill in with best estimates of how much time it should take to complete required task deliverable.  Personally I’ve always estimated with the help of others then doubled the value.  This is not to pad the schedule.  I’ve found over time that this method gets closer to how much time it actually takes to accomplish the task in a highly matrixed organization.  Time is wasted when having to change often between multiple projects. 
  •  Accountable (CF) – I added this column because there were several resources for the majority of tasks and it was unclear who had final authority for task decisions and completeness. 
  • Resource Names – Individuals assigned and “responsible” to achieve the task.  
    Note: Accountable and Resource Names are two of the four elements required for a RACI Matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) or RAM (Responsibility Assignment Matrix).  You could add two more columns (custom fields) titles Consulted and Informed then create a view showing the Task Name and RACI columns. You would then use Autofilter to filter for names to conduct a review.  While this method is not a standard RACI matrix (usually there are tasks running vertically and  names running horizontally across the top) it allows you create one without having to do it all over again in a spreadsheet.  This is the database part of the thinking – to keep your data in one tool, MS Project, instead of multiple files, programs, or software.
  • Predecessors – Tasks required prior to starting or finishing the current task.
  • Type – Project uses one of three task types to calculate the duration of tasks and subsequently their finish dates or their start dates (if you schedule your project from the project finish date rather than the project start date).  It’s imperative you know how each task is set to understand how Units, Work, or Duration will change once updates are made to your schedule.  My experience is that this setting is the most frustrating for new (and many older) users as they don’t know task Type and when they make a change to duration or work other fields don’t behave the way they expect it to.  Go to the link for a detailed explanation of what and how changes are reflected once updates to the schedule are made.
  • Effort Driven – The Effort Driven field indicates whether the scheduling for the task is effort driven scheduling. When a task is effort driven, MS Project keeps the total task work at its current value, regardless of how many resources are assigned to the task. When new resources are assigned, remaining work is distributed to them. Typically for my projects these are all set to No.
  •  Constraint Type – There are eight choices. For most tasks this is set to “As Soon As Possible.”  This column is inserted to check consistency and errors. In a table format it is easy to conduct a scan or use the filter to ensure tasks are set as intended.

PMO_Entry is formated to print on 11″x17″ (tabloid) sheet for comments and review. 

Next on the list is the PMO_Tracking Gantt.  The purpose of the PMO_Tracking Gantt is just what is says, tracking and monitoring of your project. Refer to screen shot below. To see the screen on your computer open the file (refer to file request at end of this post) then choose View>PMO_Tracking Gantt.

Fig. 2 PMO_Tracking Gantt screen shot

Fig. 2 PMO_Tracking Gantt screen shot

 

Before using this template it is preferred you’ve already input all data, set predecessors and successors, verified your schedule using the SCRAPP Method, and have a robust project model.  I’ve seen many PMs use MS Project out of the box using the standard views and never set any baselines.  To use this the PMO_Tracking Gantt template it will be necessary to set the baseline.  

The following is an explanation of each field. Again I’ve noted Custom Fields below with a CF (Custom Field) notation. 
  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name
  • Accountable (CF) – I added this column because there were several resources for the majority of tasks and it was unclear who had final authority for task decisions and completeness. During task updates this is the person who should provide an update or their assignee.
  • Task Issues (CF) – This field is to capture issues affecting task completion.  Use this field to describe the cause of the issue.  These should be escalation issues meaning you have to go outside the project team for resolution.  This field is NOT for describing general task status.  Once the template is updated choose PMO_Issues Report (View>PMO_Issues Report) to generate a report on all tasks having an issue written in the Task Issues field.  The report can now be copied and pasted into a slide for reporting and communication.
  • Status – This is an MS Project generated indicator which can be sometimes misleading. The Status field indicates the current status of a task, specifying whether the task is Complete, On Schedule, Late, or a Future Task based on the MS Project algorithm.  The trouble with this is that you can begin a task ahead of schedule (good) then fall behind on this task (bad) meanwhile the task Status will read Future Task (due to the baseline) which is no longer true. This is why I’ve added the next custom field…
  • Slipping Tasks (CF) – This field calculates whether a task is slipping based on the baseline or actual start if started early then gives you an indicator based on the number of days the task is behind schedule;  Yellow 1-10 days late, Red 11-20 days late, Black >20 days late.  If completed the status changes to Green (100% complete). 
  • Actual Start – Date the task was started.
  • Actual Finish – Date the task was completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
  • Actual Duration – Number of days actually spent on task.
  • Rem(aining) Dur(ation) – Number of days left to complete task.
  • Finish – Scheduled finish date of task.
  • Baseline Finish – Scheduled baseline finish of task.

The PMO_Tracking Gantt view gives you realtime feedback and predictive power as you update the Actual Start, Actual Duration, and Rem(aining) Dur(ation).  The indicators predict what will happen if you allow the task to take as long as stated per your Remaining Duration input.  This should force you to respond to reduce the Remaining Duration until the Yellow, Red, or Black indicators disappear.  Once you’ve taken steps and reduced task time to remove indicators you now know your project is back on track!  There are no indicators for tasks that are up to date.  Think of the indicators as Management By Exception (MBE). 

There are two other key views to use after updating the PMO_Tracking Gantt;  PMO_Issues Report (View>PMO_Issues Report) and PMO_Complete Tasks (View>PMO_Complete Tasks). 

Use PMO_Issues Report (View>PMO_Issues Report) to generate a report on all tasks having an issue written in the Task Issues field in the PMO_Tracking Gantt .  You’ll find all issues identified are now in a single view with additional fields to input to track progress, status, owner, etc.  Keeping to the database theme we take information that is already being generated and captured in previous views and adding information to them in another view to maintain continuity, consistency, and conciseness.  You can generate a screen capture which can be copied and pasted into a slide for reporting and communication. This view may also be printed as a handout.

Fig. 3 PMO_Issues Tracking screen shot

Fig. 3 PMO_Issues Tracking screen shot

The following is an explanation of each field.  Custom Fields marked with a (CF) notation. 

  • Task Name – Regular WBS Task Name
  • Task Issues (CF) – As captured from PMO_Tracking Gantt.
  • Possible Solution (CF) – Description of potential solutions.
  • Issue Owner (CF) – Person accountable for issue resolution.
  • Issue Date To Complete (CF) – Estimated date issue is to be resolved.
  • Issue Status (CF) – Current status on issue resolution.
  • Issue Escalation (CF) – A lookup list describing where in the escalation hierarchy the issue is currently at.  The lookup list is used to maintain consistency in issue tracking and limit choices to certain levels/people. In a perfect world the project management plan will describe the who and how of  the escalation process.

PMO_Issues Tracking is formated to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet for comments and review.

The other view that’s good to review during team meetings or right after updating the schedule is PMO_Complete Tasks.  Refer to screen shot below.  This is a report only, no inputs required, which captures all completed tasks and groups them by the week in which completed.  This is a quick way of celebrating completed tasks but also ensures those tasks that are shown as complete are indeed complete and are not there by error. All fields except the last are described above. The field Finished vs. Plan calculates the difference in days between the Actual Finish and Baseline Finish dates.

PMO_Complete Tasks is formated to print on 8.5″x11″ (letter) sheet.

Fig. 4 PMO_Complete Tasks screen shot.

Fig. 4 PMO_Complete Tasks screen shot.

This post captures four of the views discussed in Part I of this series. We’ll continue on with several more descriptions and use of the views in the next part of this series. 

If you would like the MS Project file with all views already included send me an email with your request to wayne@all3pm.com and I will forward a copy to you.  Any feedback you care to provide is greatly appreciated.  Thanks for following…

 

Custom scheduling tools and databases – Part I

In making your own custom scheduling tools it’s best to think of your scheduling software NOT as scheduling software but as a DATABASE!  When you get down to it that is all scheduling software really is: information inputs, information outputs.  Inputs are information like, e.g. Task Name, Resource Name, Duration, etc.  Output info  may be very different, e.g. finish dates or calculations, and are usually in the form of text, numbers, and or graphics, e.g. Gantt Chart or Network Diagram.  Make your database or tool work for you.  I try as much as possible to use my scheduling software as a database and input as much information into it as possible prior to going outside of it to use another type of software or creating another file.   Before I make any custom tools I figure out what information I need for OUTPUT which drives the required information INPUT.  Knowing this you can make your own tools for planning, tracking, and communication.

Regarding tools, I’ve been using Microsoft Project for years.  There are plenty of arguments on which tools are better or worse. That’s not the point here.  The point is that it is a tool and as a planning and scheduling tool it works well for the types of projects I’ve managed.  Typical projects for me have been 200-500 tasks.  I’ve used it successfully for a program with over 10,000+ tasks .  MS Project 2003 has about 300 fields while MS Project 2007 has 421 fields! Many of these fields are customizable for creating your own information inputs or outputs.  With this post and the next three posts I will show, share, and explain previous tools I’ve created for project planning, executing, monitoring and controlling by customizing MS Project using Views, Fields, Tables, and Filters.

All templates described below were created using MS Project 2003 single standalone version.  All have a screen view and a formatted printout.   Here’s the entire List:

MS PROJECT VIEW

VIEW DESCRIPTION

PMO_Complete Tasks (Outputs) Prints list of all completed tasks grouped by week. Good for:
1) Verifying task completion,
2) Celebration of task completion,
3) Ensuring completion date is in the past. Note: If the PM checks 100% complete box instead of inputting the actual completion date the date may show complete in the future. E.g. If the schedule shows a baseline finish of May 1 and the task was actually finished on April 20 checking the 100% complete box will establish the finish date as May 1steven though the real date is April 20. You end up with a schedule that is not reflective of what’s really happening and you miss opportunities for improving execution.
PMO_Costs (Inputs) Shows task costs.  Calculates most likely expense costs from inputted pessimistic, expected, and optimistic costs and rolls up total costs.  Also includes Capital Costs.
PMO_Critical Path (Outputs) For schedule control.  Creates filtered view of the current critical path and shows progress on the critical path. If the critical path slips the project will be late.  Good for management reviews and updates. Placing Deadlines for key tasks will place an alert in the Indicators column if the task slips.  
PMO_Entry (Inputs) Data input and review.  
PMO_Gantt Chart (Outputs) All tasks with Gantt bar schedule.  
PMO_Issues Report (Outputs) Prints only incomplete tasks in which there is something printed in the Task Issues column in the PMO_Tracking Gantt.  Good for Issues tracking, management reviews and updates.  
PMO_Network Diagram (Outputs) To printout and review the network diagram and corresponding project logic, predecessors and successors.  It only takes one wrong dependency to screw up an entire project complete date. Can be used by the project team to track where the project is at.  Used in conjunction with the SCRAPP METHOD.  
PMO_Progress Rollup-Inputs (Inputs) Fill in Last % Complete column for only those tasks you want to highlight for management reviews and updates.  These are usually summary tasks and or milestones.  Start out by inputting “0%”.  Print out using the PMO_Progress Rollup-Report. Good for management reviews and updates.  
PMO_Progress Rollup-Report (Outputs) From PMO_Progress Rollup-Input generates a view that shows only those tasks that have a value in the Last % Complete column.  Adds progress line and shows current percent complete.  Placing Deadlines for key tasks will place an alert in the Indicators column if the task slips. Good for management reviews and updates.  
PMO_Resource-Incomplete Tasks (Outputs) Input a resource name and a time frame with a start date and end date. The print out filters and shows all INCOMPLETE tasks for that resource within the time frame chosen. This includes tasks not started.  
PMO_Resource-To Do Tasks (Outputs) Input a resource name and a time frame with a start date and end date. The print out filters and shows all tasks for that resource that START in the time frame chosen. 
PMO_Slipping Tasks (Outputs) The print out filters and shows all tasks that are Late in the Status column OR have a value >1 in the Slipping Tasks column.  Excellent for problem solving and getting the project back on track.  
PMO_Task Risks (Inputs) Allows inputs to Risk Cause, Risk, and Risk Effect with their associated tasks.  
PMO_Task Risks Report (Outputs) Filters and condenses project to only tasks with any inputs into any one of Risk Cause, Risk, and Risk Effect.  Requires completion of Risk Ranking, Trigger, Mitigation, and Owner.  Combine and add with the Risk Management Plan.  
PMO_Tracking Gantt (Inputs) This is the workhorse for schedule tracking. Filtered and shows all incomplete tasks.  Input the Actual Start, Actual Duration, Remaining Duration, Actual Finish, and Task Issues to get an up to date view of project status.  After updating the schedule the following reports are useful for managing and communication.
Print PMO_Issues Report to get a printout of all task issues.  Print PMO_Slipping Tasks for a report showing all slipping tasks. Print PMO_Critical Path to see if the critical path has changed.  
PMO_WBS Dictionary (Inputs) Use to define the task activities during project initiation, project charter, and preliminary scope definition.  

In the next post (Part II) I’ll discuss two of the primary tools, PMO_Entry and PMO_Tracking Gantt.

Do you make your own tools, customize, or use straight out of the box?  I’m interested in hearing how others have approached this issue.

Thanks for visiting…

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