MS Project 2016 is a Project Portfolio Management Solution for an enterprise offering wide-ranging capabilities from individual Project and Program Management to selecting and managing a complete portfolio of initiatives, projects, programs and operations with a view to achieving organization’s strategic objectives mission and vision and providing an organization with a sustainable competitive advantage.
MS Project 2016 can be adopted and institutionalized as an enabling tool by Organisation’s Project Management (OPM) strategy framework for managing projects, programs and portfolios within the organization regardless of organization’s current Project Management Maturity (PMM) Level. While this is going to be a transformation program in itself, a good starting point for any organization is to start using it for managing individual projects. It can then gradually start creating and adapting support systems to extend its usage for portfolio management.
Let us see how a project manager can use MS Project-2016 Standard or Professional for a Standalone project management. The most important point to be noted is that it is NOT an alternative to planning, estimation, tracking and decision making. These core project management activities MUST be done by the project manager himself. However, it will make the Project manager’s job easy by
- Building a dynamic schedule model based on the project information provided by project manager using the critical path (CPM) method
- Alert project manager about scheduling conflicts and proving suggestions to resolve them.
- Recording progress based on the information provided by the project manager, alerting him to potential future problems and providing solutions.
- Providing rich performance reporting capabilities – Pre-canned as well as customized reports
- Allowing project manager to experiment with several what-if scenarios to come with an optimized solution in a given situation.
In short ” MS Project 2016 will help project manager stay in control of the project, focus more on value-added activities like environment scanning and maintain project alignment with strategic objectives of the organisation, risk management, exploiting opportunities, stakeholder engagement etc and all this will help build a positive image of the project manager and project among stakeholders.”
At a micro level, MS Project 2016 will allow Project Manager to
- Create a Baselined schedule
- Create and maintain WBS
- Specify task durations
- Specify task dependencies, constraints and deadline
- Specify calendars to be used in scheduling project, specific tasks and specific resources
- Specify the type of a task i.e. Fixed Duration, Fixed Units or Fixed Work to help MSP schedule it appropriately.
- Specify whether a task is an effort driven to help MSP adjust the schedule when adding or removing resources.
- Define resources and their rates and assign resources to the tasks.
- Determine task and project costs and budget
- Examine the critical path and optimize the schedule by exploring options of crashing, fast-tracking, resource leveling, overtime etc.
- Baseline the approved schedule. MS Project allows storing of 11 baselines.
- Tracking progress against appropriate baseline
- Enter actual performance data in terms of actual start/finish dates, actual duration, remaining duration, % complete etc.
- Perform Earned Value Analysis.
- Experiment with various alternatives to bring the project under control.
- Sharing information
- Create reports and views as per stakeholder information needs by making use of pre-canned and custom reports
- MS project 2016 also allows creating visual reports in Excel and MS Visio
- Share the information using email, PowerPoint, Excel etc.
- MS Project provides a Timeline view which is a snapshot of the project – especially useful for senior management.
Thus, as you can see MS project 2016 touches every knowledge area described in PMBOK in one way or the other, some areas more prominently than others!
You can also read our blog which says What are the benefits of MS Project 2016?
It is time now to start using MS Project 2016!
You can email us anytime for any clarifications or guidance with regards to the MS Project Traning at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author,
Mr. Ninad Kulkarni
Project Management and MS-Project trainer and Practitioner