planning corp.
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Microsoft Project training and coaching
Microsoft Project Standards and infrastructure Project planning Manage project execution Communicate Progress Resource Management Tips and tricks

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Microsoft project training and coaching

Enhance planning, management and tracking of projects with Microsoft Project

Plan to succeed with project management. Plans communicate a vision of how to meet objectives. Planning tools like Microsoft Project help capture, manage and communicate decisions associated with project planning management. 

Microsoft Project enhances your ability to plan, manage and track projects. A project plan improves your communication with clients, management and your project team.

Microsoft project is powerful but also has a learning curve that deters many from harnessing its power. Shorten the learning curve with ISP training. Too many people try Microsoft Project, give up in frustration and swear they won't use the package again. Most of them don't even scratch the surface of Microsoft Project's power.

ISP offers in-house training courses designed to suit your needs. Select topics and customize training to suit your needs. We use your case studies when working with your teams. This increases the relevance of our training and allows your team to absorb concepts more quickly.

ISP Microsoft Project training sessions
Courses Benefits Course contents
1. Setup Project standards and infrastructure for Project Managers using Microsoft Project
  • Reduce learning curve for new project managers
  • Standardize views and reports
  • Standardize Microsoft Project components to reduce learning curve for new users.
  • Turn off dangerous options that can destroy schedules.
  1. Role of system administrator
  2. Standardize project calendars
  3. Centralize resource definitions
  4. Define Microsoft Project standards and guidelines
  5. Create project templates to speed plan preparation.
  6. Define project reporting standards
  7. Customize views, reports, tables, filters and fields
  8. Share objects with global files.
  9. Setup cost codes.
  10. Catalog project portfolio.
  11. Train Microsoft Project users.
2. Plan projects with Microsoft Project

2 days

  1. Define phases
  2. Define resources
  3. Define milestones
  4. Define tasks
  5. Define dependencies between tasks
  6. Estimate task durations
  7. Assign generic resources to tasks
  8. Estimate work effort for each assignment
  9. Decide team size
  10. Replace generic resources with specific resources
  11. Create assignments lists for each resource
3. Manage project execution

1/2 day

  • Use Microsoft Project to manage execution of project phases.
  • Communicate assignments 
  • Manage scope creep with change control.
  • Manage resource assignments.
  1. Communicate assignments to team members.
  2. Manage scope creep with change control.
  3. Log and resolve issues
  4. Capture and report project progress.
  5. Publish project plans.
  6. Focus efforts on high priority items.
  7. Run effective meetings with Turbo brainstorming.
  8. Perform project work.
  9. Avoid missing key deadlines with Time-Box scheduling.
  10. Monitor project progress.
  11. Manage client expectations.
  12. Bring project in on budget and on time.
  13. Rescue projects in trouble.
4. Communicate progress to clients and management

1 day

Build communication channels.
  1. Identify stakeholders.
  2. Create communications plan.
  3. Create reporting standards.
  4. Build custom reports and views
  5. Report progress to clients and management
  6. Report change request status
  7. Conduct post project reviews
5. Resource Management

1 day

  • Mange workload over multiple projects. 
  • Forecast resource needs so new projects can start on time.
  1. Create project portfolio of new and existing projects.
  2. Create shared resource pool
  3. Forecast resource needs for new projects
  4. Analyze workload across multiple projects
  5. Identify new skill needs driven by changing technology
  6. Identify new resource requirements
Microsoft Project Tips and Tricks workshop Learn shortcuts to work more effectively with Microsoft Project

Reduce learning curve for new project managers using Microsoft Project

  1. Create quick setup with combination views.
  2. Build a plan with a template
  3. Use shared resource pools.
  4. Use outline numbers to communicate structure of summary tasks and sub tasks.
  5. Open multiple windows on a project to speed view switching.
  6. Create a calendar for each shift pattern
  7. Assigning resources to tasks.

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Setup Project Standards and infrastructure

Project infrastructure simplifies training for new project managers. For example if custom calendars are setup for your organization then new project managers need only to select from a list otherwise each new project manager must learn how to create calendars. The inconsistency between projects creates confusion.

Introduction to Microsoft Project for Project Managers

Planning software supports planning by scheduling tasks and calculating start and end dates for each task, so your plan is up-to-date after every change. We use Microsoft Project to demonstrate key planning concepts. You will define working calendars, task and dependencies to create a critical path schedule. You will also capture actual progress to track project. After this session you will be able to save a project baseline, capture actual start and end dates to track a project progress and report progress to management against a project baseline. The following process steps will be presented in this session. With any sizable project of 100 tasks or more, you need planning software to plan a project, assign tasks effectively and keep plan up to date.

You should order a 60-day-demo copy of Microsoft Project from the Microsoft Project web site "www.microsoft.com/project" at a cost of under U$10.

Planning a project without planning software would be like doing financial analysis without a spreadsheet. Planning software enhances our ability to plan and track projects. Planning software can record working days in a calendar and translate working days (1, 2, 3, ...) into dates which spreadsheet software cannot. As well planning software such as Microsoft Project allows us to assign multiple resources to a task. Microsoft Project calculates costs based on assignment work and rolls costs up to the summary tasks and to the project level.

Participants will learn to brainstorm a project plan with their team using a case study and then enter this plan into Microsoft Project to create a project schedule. In this session, participants will learn to: 

  1. Brainstorm milestones and tasks with Project team.
  2. Define dependencies between tasks.
  3. Identify resources to complete project work.
  4. Assign tasks to resources.
  5. Create custom calendars to define working time.
  6. Share custom views and tables between projects and between users.
  7. Enter tasks into Microsoft Project. 
  8. Create a critical tasks schedule.
  9. Update tasks information with tables.
  10. Manage complexity with outlining.
  11. Create a project baseline.
  12. Report progress to management.

Initially you may not know who will be on your project team so you identify generic resource roles and skill levels required on your project. Assigning resources to the tasks in your plan allows you to analyze workload by resource type and to plan your team size. When you identify specific resources to fill the roles you replace the generic resources in your plan with the specific resources increasing the workload and decreasing the generic resource workload. You can define shifts and vacations for each resource with their own calendars. Microsoft Project uses the resource calendars to schedule work assignments.

Assigning resources helps prepare budgets which rollup from assignments based on resource rates times effort hours in each assignment. You can analyze and balance workload amongst multiple resources. As well you can produce individual to do lists which help your team members stay organized and on schedule.

Avoid the frustrations of updating resource assignments. Participants will discover how to tell Microsoft Project how you want your assignments recalculated when you change either Duration, Work or Units Assigned.

In day two you will learn to:

  1. Identify resource skills and generic types needed on the project.
  2. Standardizing resource definitions with a central resource pool.
  3. Define resources and their work calendars.
  4. Assign tasks to resources.
  5. Generate resource-based schedules.
  6. Print individual to-do lists to help your resources stay organized and on schedule. for each resource,
  7. Calculate task costs and develop project budgets, 
  8. Analyze team workloads.
  9. Distribute workload evenly between team members.
  10. Improve performance with clear roles and responsibilities.
  11. Keep team members focused on completing tasks on time.
  12. Track completion of tasks by team members.

To successfully complete projects you must mobilize the project team, communicate assignments and follow up their timely completion.


Establishing consistent project reporting

Clear communication builds credibility with your sponsor and stakeholders. 

Project manager should create a communication plan early in the project life cycle to establish expectations with the client and management. Schedule project review meetings. Split time between focusing on the project and communicating with clients and management.

Project reporting occurs at two levels. First the project managers report progress on their individual projects. Second the project management office should provide management and clients with an unbiased view of the status of each project. Organizations need an early warning system to identify projects that need attention. Many projects slip behind schedule long before anyone being aware of what is happening.

Project managers communicate progress to clients and management to maintain support for the project so your resources will not be stolen for other projects. Communicate project schedule and budget progress against the project baseline. Progress is measured by finishing key deliverables on reported milestones. Progress reports should include issues and risks that threaten project success.

Project managers can spent lots of time preparing project status reports. Project reporting takes considerable amount of time. Microsoft Project offers the advantage of reporting from a single data source. Reporting from project plans improves integrity of project progress reports. Unlock valuable project information by standardize reports with Microsoft Project Server and Web Access. Project reporting requires project managers to keep their plans up to date.

Organizations can lighten a project manager's communication workload by standardizing reports across projects. Standardization improves communication because users don't have to learn the unique reporting style of each project manager.

The last session discusses methods and tools for reporting project progress to clients and management. Participants will learn to:

  1. Create a communications plan for your project.
  2. Create consistent reporting standards
  3. Understand reporting requirements
  4. Design efficient reporting systems.
  5. Build custom reports with tables and views.
  6. Automate standard project reports across projects.
  7. Understand the power of macro's and Visual basic for applications
  8. Report progress to management
  9. Conduct a post-project audit

Resource Management

Resource managers are responsible for assigning resources to projects. To manage resources in an organization, resource managers need to know where resources are currently working and when they will be finished and available to work on new projects. As well, resource managers need to know what new projects are in the pipeline waiting to be approved and started.

Microsoft Project server offers advanced capabilities for resource management and electronic collaboration. However Microsoft Project provides capabilities to view resource assignments across multiple projects. You can view resource assignments across multiple projects linked to your shared resource pool. This allows you to analyze resource workload across multiple projects. Microsoft Project can consolidate multiple projects to provide a grand view of all projects at one time. 

See detailed hour by hour agenda for this session.

The goals of resource management that you will learn in this session include:

  1. Forecast resources demand for new and existing projects.
  2. Different strategies for managing resources across multiple projects.
  3. Standardize resource definitions with resource pools.
  4. Finding resources to staff projects.
  5. Allocate scarce resources to projects and tasks.
  6. Analyze resource workloads across multiple projects to identify critical resource shortages that create delays and bottlenecks in projects.
  7. Identifying new technology and skill requirements for future projects.
  8. Upgrading resource skills for future projects.
  9. Hiring new resources to meet project demands.
  10. Transitioning resources between projects.

Managing resources across multiple Projects requires resource-demands for new projects coming down the pipeline and for existing projects currently underway. Having the resources to staff projects for clients involves advance preparation and training to have the right skill mix to meet the demands for new technology. Staffing projects for upcoming client projects requires knowing when existing resources will come free from existing projects.

Capabilities of both Microsoft Project standalone and Microsoft Project with Project Server will be discussed. Use Microsoft Projects Server to centralize project data and simplify the management of resources across many projects. Participants will have hands-on access to Project Server through Microsoft Project. This session will help managers who are managing project leaders and allocating project team members to projects. 

email Brian Mullen with your questions

Warning: This web site under continuous improvement.

Click here for List of Microsoft Project Annoyances


planning corp.
5361 Malaspina Place
North Vancouver
B.C.V7R 4L9
Easy to remember
ISPangle.com or iSPANGLE.com.

Copyright March  11, 2007 Brian Mullen, I.S.P. information systems planning corp.
Last updated: April 5, 2007