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
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
The fields for each template are the same. Descriptions are below. I’ve noted Custom Fields with a (CF) notation.
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
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 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.
– 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward a copy to you. Any feedback you care to provide is greatly appreciated.
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