As I have written in an earlier post I strongly belive that a Fool with a Tool still remains a Fool and this is also valid when you are working with Microsoft Project 2007. You really need to know the, at least, basis of project management before you will be able to use MS Project in an efficiant way. Microsoft Project 2007 is extensive as many other Microsoft products but do not fear, there is a way through the jungle…
I strongly recommend to;
Use MS Project as a supporting tool. Use MS Project as a source of information when making decisions in the project. The information in the tool should support you when making your day to day decisions.
Only use MS Project in a way that it is benefitial for You and you project. You need to find the correct level of how to use MS Project. You need to adjust the level of administration in MS project so it fits in the project and that you gain from using the tool. Remember that you need to spend far more time talking, follow up and coaching you resources than administrating MS Project.
Never let the Tool (MS Project) Manage the project. You as a Project Manager always make the necessary decisions. The tool or any tool will not or can not make the decisions for you. It can only provide structured information that you need to manage the project. The tool is although not able to take into consideartion soft issues such competence and team spirit. The information in MS Project is only a part of you basis for decision.
Structure the project in MS Project to reflect the reality. You need to adjust the level of complexity in MS Project so it is feasable to maintain and update. In larger projects you might have the possibility to have a supporting function that always keeps the information in MS project correct, but in smaller you need to do it your self. Then you need to keep the level of details in MS project to a level that still reflects the reality but also makes it easy to maintain and update.
Learn the definitions of- and differencies between Fixed Unit, Fixed Duration and Fixed Work. This is one of the cornerstones in MS Project and you need to understand the differencies before you are able to work efficiant with planning and follow up in the tool.
Have an administrator that always keep the information about the project updated. As said above, if possible, you should have an administrator that always keep the information updated and correct. This makes it possible for you to spend time on planning the next step, supporting the resources
Base the structure of you project in MS project on your WBS (Work Breakdown Structure). You will increase you possibility of succeeding with the project if you base the structure of the project in MS Project on your WBS that you of course have done before you start the execution and contionously update.
You need to find the correct level of how to use MS Project. You need to adjust the level of administration in MS project so it fits in the project and that you gain from using the tool. Remember that you need to spend far more time talking, follow up and coaching you resources than administrating MS Project.
Good luck and remember to use your common sense.
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