I decided to write a blog about Microsoft Project 2010. What is the purpose of this blog?
Simply, to explain how the MS Project 2010 really works in conjunction with Project Management.
What is Microsoft Project? Dumb question, isn’t it? In many books and articles you can read that MS Project is: “Project Management Software!”
Well, it is NOT.
There is no such a thing like “Project Management Software!”
Project Management is: “The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.”
Well, MS Project is a strong and powerful tool and if you use it properly you can save a lot of time with less effort in your project.
If you want to get the most out of MS Project you have to be excellent at two things.
You have to know what the possibilities of MS Project are and how to use them, and you also have to know how to manage projects (Project Management).
OK. What is a Project? “Project is temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result” (PMBOK. 4th edition).
It is temporary (so it must end or it must be terminated) and it is unique. That means that there are no two same projects.
Well, there are a lot of similar projects but not the same. Some of the pieces that can be different are a project team, customer, budget, scope, or something else.
What can you do with MS project? You can put your tasks in it, your schedule, resources, costs (also known as triple constraint), and you can track the progress of your project.
How far will you go with MS Project? Well, it depends. For example, if you do not have access to cost information (about pay rates for your project team) then you will not be able to track costs of your project.
If you don’t have enough information about your resources then you will not be able to track your tasks by assigned resources etc., etc.
Some project managers are “software averse” which means that they hate any kind of software and they prefer using “paper and pencil” during the project.
This method is slow, it makes project communication hard, and you have to use great effort of “writing things down”.
This is a waste of time even if your Project is “on track”. On the other hand, there are “software freaks”.
They are using MS project every day, every hour, every minute and they put everything in it, no matter if it is a part of project or not.
(A friend of mine is a “software freak”, and he even writes a daily weather report in MS project, and MS word. I asked him: “Why are you doing this? Is the weather report important for your project?” The answer was: “Not at all, but, you know, just in case!” “How much time do you spend every day on collecting weather report, and putting that information in MS project?” He says: “Not much. About an hour!!”
What is he doing? He is wasting at least 20 hours per month on collecting and tracking useless information.
So, how far do you go with MS project in your particular project? As far as you get the right results with less effort.
For example, if you don’t know the cost per person (it might be 100$ per hour or 200$, or 500$) don’t put that information in MS project. You will be misguided. Track any information that is important and accurate (reliable).
Next time I’m going to start with MS project from the scratch.