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Microsoft Project 2007: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Is the Project on Time?

Project dates are usually the first step to evaluating performance, because project duration has a way of affecting the price tag, too. This section reviews ways to review the schedule, whether at the project level, for day-to-day task management, or to calculate schedule performance metrics. The box on Reviewing the Critical Path describes another way to evaluate performance that doesn't involve Project.

Because actual progress affects the rest of the project, evaluating performance adds a few techniques to the ones you use to fine-tune a schedule during planning (Evaluating the Project Schedule). You keep tabs on the project schedule at several levels:

  • The project finish date. The bottom line, of course, is whether the project is going to finish when it should, which is what a quick peek at the overall project finish date shows.

  • Tactical task management. Keeping the overall schedule on track means keeping individual tasks on time. Most project managers check tasks each week to see if any are in trouble or heading that way. Because delays on the critical path translate immediately into a late project finish date, critical path tasks are the first ones you examine. However, you must still keep an eye on noncritical tasks, because they can become critical if they go on too long.

  • Overall schedule performance. There's more to schedule performance than the finish date. Schedule performance measures like schedule variance (SV) and schedule performance index (SPI), ...

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