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systems
planning corp.
5361 Malaspina Place
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Microsoft Project training
Microsoft Project Standards and infrastructure Project planning Manage project execution Communicate Progress Resource Management Tips and tricks

Setup Project Standards and infrastructure

Project infrastructure simplifies training for new project managers and saves time when planning and reporting projects. 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.

You can deploy Microsoft Project more smoothly if you setup standards and train your project managers on these standards rather than give general training and let everyone decide how they are going to apply Microsoft on their own which results in a great lack of inconsistency.

Setting up project infrastructure involves workshop style training and deployment of standards in your organization with ISP guidance. Involve existing project managers in establishing standards.

You need to think about who will manage the Microsoft Project environment. This could be a senior user of Microsoft Project in your organization. The project administrator may be supported by a project assistant.

Key guidelines to focus on include:

Project templates
Project templates save time in setting up new projects and allow you to create plans for project managers based on estimates for each activity.
Resource pools
Resource pools contain all the resources required to complete projects including people, organizations, equipment and materials. Standardizing resource names using resource pools enable workload analysis across multiple projects.
Calendars
Calendars tell Microsoft Project when work can be scheduled. Project and resource shift calendars to define working time. You need a calendar for each shift pattern.
Custom views and tables
Speed planning operations and foundation for custom reports.
Setup Project Standards and infrastructure
  Topic Brainstorm Plan with Team details
8:30 amDefine Microsoft Project standards and guidelines
  • Define communication standards.
9:30 amAppoint system Administrator.
  • Identify early adopters of Microsoft Project
  • Identify project managers and assess experience.
10:00 amSetup project calendars.
  • Create country and province/state calendars
  • Create resource base calendars
10:15 amSetup resource definitions.
  • Establish resource naming standards
  • Identify generic resources in organization
  • Setup base calendars for each shift pattern.
  • Identify specific resources
  • Identify material and equipment resources
11:00 amCreate project templates for the organization.

Project templates speed creation of plans and reduce learning curve for new project managers.

  • Review sample templates from Microsoft.
  • Identify different templates.
  • Brainstorm key phases and activities.
  • Create first template.
  • Continuously improve templates.
1 pmDefine project reporting standards

Consistent reporting promotes communication and reduces project manager workload.

  • Identify benefits of reporting from project plans
  • Review/revise communications plan.
1:30 pmCustomize views, reports, tables, filters and fields
  • Define custom views and reports
  • Identify custom fields not in Microsoft Project
  • Create custom filters to select data to present
  • Create custom tables to present desired data
  • Create custom views to assemble reports quickly.
2:30 pmShare objects with global files.

Custom objects such as views, tables, filters and fields speed view setup and project data maintenance. If you are not using Project Server then the project administrator must enjoy custom objects

3 pmSetup cost codes.
3:30 pmCatalog project portfolio.
  • Create a master project that captures lists of projects. 
4 pmTrain Microsoft Project users.

Training key to successful acceptance of Microsoft Project by project managers

  • Assess current skills
  • Select training method
  • Deliver training
  • Coach project managers with first plans.
  • Setup Microsoft Project users group
  • Assess training
4:30 pmSetup workstation for new users.
  • Load Microsoft Project
  • Load custom objects into global (already available in Project Server).

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Evolution of Microsoft Project in an organization

Use of Microsoft Project in an organization moves through several stages. Each poses its own challenges.

Step 1. Early adoption by a few project managers.

Some project managers take initiative to use Microsoft Project to plan their projects. These are the early adopters want a tool to aid planning and are committed to overcome the challenges they face. These project managers may have taken external Microsoft Project training. Other managers remain skeptical about the effectiveness of Microsoft Project.

Step 2. Formal introduction

Organization decides to adopt Microsoft Project as a project management tool. In-house training is provided. Microsoft Project is installed on everyone’s workstation. Not everyone successfully converts to Microsoft Project. Fortunate organizations have some standardization such as calendars and the resource pool.

Step 3. Standardization across projects

An experienced Microsoft Project user may introduce some standardization including calendars, reports, views, tables, filters and fields. Most organizations appoint a project administrator to promote consistency across projects. A project managers user group that meets on a regular basis supports this continuous improvement.

Step 4. Standardized planning templates speed planning.

As the organization gets more sophisticated they recognize the similarity between projects. Creation of standard templates speeds planning and allows comparison across projects. Using templates offers the greatest opportunity to improve productivity.

Step 5. Workload analysis across multiple projects.

Resources managers use Microsoft Project  to analyze resource workloads and to assign resources to projects. All project managers must have their projects in Microsoft Project to allow consolidation of multiple projects using the resource pool. Estimating methods need consistency.

Step 6. Robust project management system installed.

Organization recognizes project information as a key organizational resource and moves to create an enterprise project management system. Microsoft Project Server with Web Access supports this.

email Brian Mullen with your questions

Warning: This web site under continuous improvement.

Click here List of Recommended books on Project Management, Team Building, Estimating, Software Development methodologies, requirements definition, and Microsoft Project.

  I.S.P.  

information
systems
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: March 22, 2007