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Microsoft Project 2007: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Chapter 12. Refining a Project Schedule

Balancing project scope, schedule, budget, and quality is a bit like juggling eggs. If you don't keep an eye on every element, you'll end up with egg on your face. In the chapters so far, you've built a Project schedule based on scope and quality objectives. Now it's time to see whether the actual timeline and price are right.

Most of the time, a schedule's first draft doesn't satisfy all project objectives. You must make changes until the equation works; for instance, you might shorten task duration, decrease cost, or reduce scope. As you go, you must review the schedule to see if your changes are getting the results you want. Shortening the schedule may increase the cost, but so can lengthening the schedule.

This chapter starts by describing how to use Project to see whether the schedule and costs are what stakeholders want. You'll learn how to find the best tasks to shorten if the schedule is too long. New Project 2007 features like change highlighting and task drivers make schedule changes easier than before. You'll learn how to use these new tools before you start modifying the schedule.

Techniques for shortening a schedule and reining in spending start with the same resource assignment approaches you learned in Chapter 9: finding resources with more availability, assigning more resources, and so on. You'll also find out about a few brawnier (though riskier) techniques like fast-tracking (vigorously overlapping tasks) and crashing (aggressively ...

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