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Successful Project Management: Applying Best Practices and Real-World Techniques with Microsoft® Project

Book Description

Learn best practices and proven methods from project management professionals—and apply these skills as you work with Microsoft Project. In this practical guide, project management expert Bonnie Biafore shows you how to manage projects efficiently and effectively, sharing the real-world experiences of project managers in several industries. You'll learn how to put the best practices and hard-won lessons of experts to work on your critical projects.

Sharpen the skills you need to manage projects expertly—from start to finish

  • Communicate effectively with project stakeholders, management, and team members

  • Apply methods to break down the project into small, manageable pieces

  • Define work assignments, choose resources, and build project schedules

  • Accurately estimate project costs and work with a budget

  • Identify project changes and manage risks

  • Track progress and balance priorities without sacrificing quality

  • Document project history and lessons learned to help improve future projects

  • Project files available on the companion website.

    Table of Contents

    1. Successful Project Management: Applying Best Practices and Real-World Techniques with Microsoft® Project
    2. A Note Regarding Supplemental Files
    3. Acknowledgments
    4. About the Author
    5. Introduction
      1. Companion Content
      2. Support for This Book
      3. Questions and Comments
    6. I. Getting a Project Started
      1. 1. Meet Project Management
        1. What Is a Project?
          1. A Unique Endeavor
          2. A Specific Goal
          3. Clear-Cut Start and Finish Dates
          4. Within Budget
          5. Something’s Gotta Give
        2. What Is Project Management?
          1. Project Management Processes
        3. The Benefits of Project Management
          1. Bottom-Line Benefits
          2. Benefits for the Project Team
        4. Summary
      2. 2. Obtaining Approval for a Project
        1. Summarizing a Project
        2. Defining the Problem
          1. Identifying the Problem
          2. Documenting the Problem
        3. Project Goal and Objectives
          1. Types of Objectives
          2. Characteristics of Good Objectives
        4. Project Strategy
          1. Identifying Alternatives
          2. Factors for Selecting a Project Strategy
          3. Choosing the Project Strategy
        5. Gathering Requirements
        6. Deliverables
        7. Success Criteria
        8. The Scope Statement
          1. Preventing Scope Creep
        9. Assumptions and Risks
        10. Working with Project Stakeholders
          1. Identifying Stakeholders
          2. How Planning Tasks Help Identify Stakeholders
          3. Project Customer
          4. Project Sponsor
          5. Functional Manager
          6. Team Member
          7. Project Manager
          8. Documenting Project Stakeholders
          9. Obtaining and Maintaining Commitment
        11. The Project Charter: Publicizing a Project
        12. Summary
    7. II. Planning a Project
      1. 3. Planning to Achieve Success
        1. What Is Project Planning?
          1. Pointing the Team in the Right Direction
          2. Tracking Progress
        2. Plans Change
          1. Project Planning Step by Step
          2. The Components of a Project Implementation Plan
            1. Work Breakdown Structure
            2. Project Organization and Resources
            3. Project Schedule
            4. Budget
            5. Risk Management Plan
            6. Communication Plan
            7. Quality Plan
            8. Change Control Plan
        3. Summary
      2. 4. Building a Work Breakdown Structure
        1. What’s a Work Breakdown Structure?
        2. The Benefits of a WBS
        3. Building a WBS
          1. How to Build a WBS from the Top Down
            1. Step One: Identify High-Level Tasks Using Project Deliverables and the Scope Statement
            2. Step Two: Fill In the Remaining Levels of Tasks That Make Up the Work in the Top-Level Tasks
            3. Step Three: Revise the Structure of the WBS
            4. Step Four: Verify the Structure of the WBS
        4. When to Stop Building a WBS
        5. Building a WBS from the Bottom Up
        6. Recording a WBS
          1. Creating the WBS in Project
          2. Pasting Tasks into Project
        7. Detailing Work Packages
        8. Summary
      3. 5. Project Resources
        1. The Responsibility Matrix
          1. Responsibility Levels
          2. Creating a Responsibility Matrix
        2. The Project Organization Chart
        3. Putting a Project Team Together
        4. Creating Resources in Project
          1. Types of Resources
          2. Adding Resources to Project
            1. Importing Resources
          3. Resource Information
            1. Basic Information
            2. Cost Information
            3. Resource Availability
            4. Categorizing Resources
        5. Summary
      4. 6. Building a Project Schedule
        1. Estimating
          1. Duration or Effort?
          2. Sensible Estimating Practices
            1. Get the Right People to Estimate
            2. Estimating Methods
            3. Estimating with Microsoft Excel
            4. Improve Estimates as You Go
            5. The Problem with Padded Estimates
            6. Bottom-up Estimating
            7. Top-Down Estimating
        2. Top-Down Planning
        3. Defining the Sequence of Work
          1. Types of Task Dependencies
          2. Identifying the Correct Dependency Type
          3. Creating Task Dependencies
          4. Keeping Dependencies Flexible
            1. The Right and Wrong Way to Use Date Constraints
          5. Setting Specific Start and Finish Dates
          6. Setting Deadlines
        4. Adding Schedule Milestones
          1. Types of Milestones
            1. Decisions
            2. Progress
            3. Events
            4. Deliveries
          2. Creating Milestones
        5. Assigning Resources to Tasks
          1. Assigning Resources in the Task Sheet
          2. Assigning Resources in the Task Form
          3. Using the Assign Resources Dialog Box
        6. Building Reality into a Schedule
          1. Accounting for Nonproject Time
          2. Adjusting Tasks for Resource Productivity
          3. Managing Part-Time Workers and Multitaskers
          4. Scheduling Around Nonworking Time
            1. Identifying Nonworking Time with Workweeks and Exceptions
        7. Shortening a Project Schedule
          1. The Fast-Track to an Early Finish
          2. Choosing Tasks to Fast-Track
          3. Partial Overlaps
          4. Running Tasks in Parallel
          5. A Crash Course on Project Crashing
            1. The Danger in Crashing Projects
            2. Time Versus Money
          6. Reducing Scope
        8. Summary
      5. 7. Working with a Budget
        1. Understanding Financial Measures
          1. Payback Period
          2. Net Present Value or Discounted Cash Flow
          3. Internal Rate of Return
        2. Understanding Capital Budgets
          1. Putting Capital Budgeting into Practice
          2. Using a Capital Budgeting Tool
        3. Calculating Costs in a Project Schedule
          1. Specifying Rates for Work Resources in Project
          2. Entering Rates and Quantities for Material Resources
          3. Assigning a Cost Resource to a Task
        4. Comparing Project Costs with the Budget
          1. Creating Budget Resources
          2. Assigning Budget Resources to the Project Summary Task
          3. Filling in Budgeted Values
          4. Flagging Resources by Budget Type
          5. Comparing Budget Resource Values
        5. Exporting Costs from a Project Schedule
          1. Exporting Costs to an Excel File
        6. Summary
    8. III. Carrying Out a Project
      1. 8. Executing the Project Plan
        1. Procuring Resources
          1. Soliciting Vendors
          2. Selecting Vendors
          3. Contracting
        2. Kicking Off a Project
        3. A Final Checklist
          1. Approvals and Commitments
          2. The Project Notebook
          3. Project Baselines
        4. Summary
      2. 9. Evaluating Project Performance
        1. Gathering Data
          1. The Data You Need
            1. Progress on Work Packages
            2. Quality
            3. Problems That Could Lie Ahead
          2. Obtaining Time and Status
        2. Updating Tasks in Your Schedule
          1. Setting the Status Date
          2. Setting Up Project to Reschedule Incomplete Tasks
          3. Quickly Updating Tasks
          4. Recording Progress
            1. Using the Update Tasks Dialog Box
            2. Using the Tracking Table
            3. Using the Task Details Form
          5. Recording Actual Costs
        3. Tracking Schedule Progress
          1. Reviewing Schedule Progress
          2. Tables with Schedule-Related Fields
          3. Filters for Checking Schedule Progress
        4. Reviewing Cost and Cost Variance
          1. Viewing Cost and Cost Variance
          2. Finding Costs That Are Over Budget
        5. Reporting on Project Performance
          1. Looking at High-Level Status
          2. Evaluating Cost and Work
          3. Earned Value Analysis: Schedule and Cost Performance
          4. Earned Value Status Measures
          5. Analyzing an Earned Value Graph
          6. Earned Value Performance
          7. Earned Value in Microsoft Project
            1. Setting Options for Earned Value
            2. Viewing Earned Value in a Table
            3. Creating an Earned Value Graph in Project
        6. Working with Visual Reports
          1. Generating Visual Reports
          2. Modifying Excel-Based Visual Reports
            1. Choosing Fields to Display
            2. Filtering the Information That Appears in the Chart
            3. Categorizing Information
            4. Summarizing and Showing Detail
            5. Formatting the Appearance of the Chart
          3. Modifying Visio-Based Visual Reports
        7. Summary
      3. 10. Managing Project Resources
        1. Motivating Project Resources
        2. Developing a Team
        3. Evaluating People’s Performance
          1. Watching for People’s Performance
          2. What to Do with Problem People
          3. Reviewing People’s Performance Compared to the Plan
        4. Summary
      4. 11. Communicating Information
        1. Knowledge Is Power
        2. The Communication Plan
          1. Who Needs to Know?
          2. What Do You Communicate to Audiences?
            1. Types of Project Information
            2. Management Stakeholders
            3. Functional Managers
            4. Team Members
          3. What Communication Method Should You Use?
          4. Building a Communication Plan
          5. Creating Communication Reminders
        3. Guidelines for Good Communication
          1. What Is Communication?
        4. How to Get Messages Through
          1. Learning to Listen
        5. Meetings That Work
          1. Guidelines for Good Meetings
            1. Setting Up Meetings
            2. Running Meetings Well
            3. Meeting Follow-Up
          2. Kickoff Meetings
          3. Project Status Meetings
          4. Management Meetings
        6. Project Status Reports
        7. Taming Email
        8. Summary
    9. IV. Controlling Projects
      1. 12. Managing Project Changes
        1. An Overview of the Change Management Process
          1. What Do You Control with the Change Management Process?
          2. The Change Request Form
          3. The Change Request Impact Statement
          4. The Change Request Log
          5. Managing Change Requests
          6. Who Belongs on the Change Review Board?
        2. Summary
      2. 13. Modifying the Project Schedule
        1. Simplifying Solution Hunting
        2. Shortening a Project Schedule
        3. Splitting Long Tasks into Short Ones
        4. Adjusting Resource Allocation
          1. Changing Units
          2. Adjusting Work Contours
        5. Assigning Overtime
        6. Substituting Resources
        7. Modifying Baselines
          1. Saving Additional Baselines
          2. Clearing a Baseline
          3. Viewing Multiple Baselines
        8. Summary
      3. 14. Balancing the Budget and Other Project Variables
        1. Cost, Scope, Quality, and Schedule
        2. Balancing Acts
          1. Reassigning Resources
          2. Optimizing the Schedule
          3. Business Decisions
        3. Summary
      4. 15. Managing Risk
        1. The Benefits of Managing Risk
        2. The Risk-Management Plan
        3. Identifying and Describing Risks
          1. Assessing Risks
        4. Choosing the Risks You’ll Manage
        5. Responding to Risks
          1. Setting Up Contingency Funds
        6. Tracking Risks
        7. Summary
    10. V. Closing Projects
      1. 16. Learning Lessons
        1. The Importance of Lessons Learned
        2. Collecting Lessons Learned
          1. Meeting Participants and What They Do
            1. Project Manager
            2. Lessons Learned Facilitator
            3. Scribe
            4. Team Members
          2. Ground Rules
            1. Accentuating the Positive
            2. Analyzing Problems
            3. The Importance of an Agenda
        3. Documenting Lessons Learned
        4. Summary
      2. 17. Closing a Project
        1. Obtaining Customer Acceptance
        2. Documenting the Project
          1. Project Closeout Reports
            1. Project Summary
            2. Quantitative Results
        3. Closing Out Contracts
        4. Project Transitions
          1. Transitioning Resources
          2. Handing Off Information
        5. Summary
      3. 18. Archiving Historical Information
        1. Information to Store about Projects
        2. Ways to Build a Project Archive
        3. Microsoft Enterprise Project Management Software
        4. Summary
    11. VI. Beyond Projects
      1. 19. Selecting and Prioritizing Projects
        1. Project Selection and the Project Manager
        2. Criteria for Selecting Projects
          1. Criteria You Can’t Ignore
          2. Linking Projects to Objectives
          3. Risks and Opportunities
        3. How a Project Review Board Works
        4. Summary
      2. 20. Other Project Management Approaches
        1. Managing the Critical Chain
          1. Defining the Critical Chain
          2. Using Time Buffers Effectively
          3. How to Use Buffers
        2. Agile Project Management
        3. Summary
    12. Glossary
    13. Index
    14. About the Author
    15. Copyright