Project Training The purpose of this article is to go through the topics in Microsoft Project and make them easier

to understand Project software and project management is very jargon laden this article will attempt to simply key project jargon for a new user. What is a Project? A project is any discreete set of interconnecting task with a defined start and end date. For example moving an office from A to B would have a defined date to srat planning right the way through to the final launch party. What are Tasks? A task is any piece of work requiring effort. For example moving offices might require 4 hours of work effort. Durations Tasks and duration is not always the same thing. Monday to Friday I may have a five day task in duration writing a report but my intention is too only spend 50% of my time (work effort) on it. Milestones Some tasks have no duration. Mile stone tasks have zero duration. Let’s say that during a project moving an office from A to B a decision needs to be made between two similar sites. This meeting would be described as a stage or milestone. Linking Tasks Everyone understands the idea that one task finishes let’s say distributing boxes and the next one begins packing files. There are others the canary down the coal mine cannot retire until the new air monitoring system is up and running. Format Time-scale If a hospital was creating a template for the perfect heart bypass operation they would be working in hours and minutes but if London Underground were replacing an escalator they would be working in day, weeks and months.

Network Diagram It is possible to view your project plan in many ways one is a network diagram which is a flow diagram to show how the tasks relate to each other Gantt Chart This few shows the task names on the left hand side of the screen and displays the tasks as bars on the right hand side underneath a time scale. Initially named after a planner called Gantt Critical Path The shortest route through a series of interrelated tasks. Should a task on the critical path slip then the end date of the project would be jeopardized. Slack Time Total slack is the amount of time that lies off the critical path. In other words changes to the duration of these tasks may or may not affect the critical path. Project Calendar At its simplest this means remember to put in the bank holidays. Otherwise at a meeting when someone notices a task that may be should have happened on a Monday slips to the Task Constraints There are two main types of constraint in project called soft constraints and hard constraints. An example of a cost constraint would be when moving an office from A to B disconnect the computers as late as possible so people can still send and receive emails. No specific date in mind. An example of a hard constrsaint. When the office has moved the computers need setting up.and ou need to book in a network engineer. This would be an example of a hard constraint the work nust be executed on that booked day. Splitting Large Tasks Some times a task name might be too general to manage. You might have a task called Selecting the site (duration 20 days). However, this could by split down into smaller tasks known as subtasks ie Within the larger task Plan the move there might be smaller task to talk to a solicitor, draw up site layouts for prospective sites, check transport links etc. When linked din this way the major task is reffered to as a summary bar. Project Resources

Thesse are the people, rooms, equipment, Materials that will be used or consumed by the project. These resources can be priorized so that if for example a solicitor was over allocated work and expected to complete to reports eaching taking ( 8 hours) on the It would be possible to use different techniques to level out their workloads Resources also have calendars which cn be used to enter their holidays and also any delays in their schedule caused by sickness for example. Lags leads and Delays When moving an office from A to B half way htrough the task of distributing boxes presumably some one has a box therefore packing could begin. Or you could say 1 hour into the task distributing boxes the task of packing could begin. An alternative could be the new office is being painted so a lap or gap of 2 days might be left for the paint to dry before the new carppets are laid. A delay is different to a lag. Imagine the paointer were due to start painting on the Monday but didn’t arrive on site to to scheduling error until Tuesday this would be a unforeseen delay Resource Driven v Fixed Duration If it takes 1 day for a driver to get from London to Glasgow how long would it take two driver? Of course the answer is the same maybe longer if they chat. However, if two people are packing files instead of one you would expect the task to be complete quickly, the first example is fixed duration and the other is resource driven Project Costings It is also possible add cost information to both tasks and resources. It could be that distributing boxes as a task has a fixed cost of £1000 but the WBS Work breakdown structure is just a notation eg 1.1, 1.2 a number sequence next to the tasks to make it easier to understand

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