Selected Topics in
Management Information Systems
Fall 2004
Nahed Amin
MS Project
 What’s Project Management?
Project management is a matter of keeping scope,
schedule and resources in balance
 Scope:
the range of tasks required to accomplish
project goals
 Schedule: the time and sequence of each
task, as well as the total project duration
 Resources: the people and/or equipment that
perform or facilitate project tasks
Steps for Managing a Project
1. Project Definition:
 Decide on the goals to be accomplished
 Identify the major tasks
 Agree on the available resources
 Determine the schedule’s limit
2. Project Plan:
 Identify all project tasks and who will do them
 Get work and time estimates for tasks
 Determine task dependencies
 Enter task and project constraints
Steps for Managing a Project
3. Tracking:
 Track project progress comparing actual to original
 Review resources, scope, and schedule factors
 Identify problems that could knock off schedule
 Analyze resource requirements over project
 Make midstream changes to reach goals sooner
4. Project Close:
 Compare original plan to actual one
 Analyze problems for future improvements
 Archive the project file
Getting Started
 Set clear project goals, scope and
 Start a new project file
 Enter a project start or finish date
 Enter project goals, scope and
 Save project
MS Project Building Blocks
1. Tasks:
 Actual work needed to be accomplished to meet project goals
can be broken into tasks
 The scope of a project consists of all its tasks
2. Resources:
 The amount of resources can affect the project scope and
3. Assignments:
 Assigning resources to work on a task directly affects the time
required to complete a task, and indirectly the total project
1. Tasks
 Break project into tasks, phases, and
 Tasks:
A concrete step required to meet project goal. It represents
actual work to be done in the project
 Phases:
Consists of a group of related tasks. A phase represents a
major step in the project
 Milestones:
Tasks that require no actual work. But just to indicate the
beginning or end of a phase. Milestones are interim goals used
to track the progress of the project
1. Tasks
 Create a task list:
 Include only tasks critical to project’s completion
 Add detailed enough tasks so that the time to
complete each one is short compared to overall
project’s length
 Remember tasks that occur repetitively, such as
weekly meetings, status reporting, and anticipated
revision work
1. Tasks
 Enter tasks
 Estimate task length:
 Base estimates on:
Others’ experience
Your experience
Past records
 Enter every task duration only, not its
start or finish date
1. Tasks
Ensure to perform a logical, well-ordered task list
Add milestones
Order & group related tasks in tasks’ list. A straight list
of tasks doesn’t indicate when one phase ends and
another begins. The most common two grouping
 Tasks belonging to the same process
 Tasks to be completed in the same time period
Summing up summary tasks
Outline task list
1. Tasks
 Link tasks:
 Power of linking:
Let MS Project calculate all dates: every task start and
finish dates, project finish date
See instantly how changes in start, finish, and duration of
a task affect related tasks and whole schedule
 Determine the best task sequence:
Identify dependencies of start or finish dates of a task on
another one
A task that must start or finish before another task is
called a predecessor task
A task that depends on start or finish of another task is
called a successor task
1. Tasks
 Link tasks:
 Types of links:
Finish-to-start (FS)
Start-to-start (SS)
Finish-to-finish (FF)
Start-to-finish (SF)
1. Tasks
 Link tasks:
 Create links between tasks – avoid entering start or
finish dates
 Overlap or delay tasks:
Lag time
Lead time
1. Tasks
 Add task’s constraints:
 Constrain a task if:
The constraint reflects an actual time constraint in real
The project will be penalized for not starting or finishing by
a specific date
 Types of constraints:
As Soon As Possible (ASAP)
Finish no Later Than (FNLT)
As Late As Possible (ALAP)Start No Later Than (SNLT)
Finish no earlier than (FNET)
Must Finish On (MFO)
Start No Earlier Than (SNET)
Must Start On (MSO)
 Enter constraints
2. Resources
 Determine resource needs
 Create a resource list:
 A resource list includes:
The name of the resource
The maximum amount of time per day a resource is
available to work
 Enter the resource list
2. Resources
 Determine the working times calendars:
 There are two types of working times calendars:
A base calendar to store the planned working and
non-working days and hours for a group of
A resource calendar containing the work schedule
for only one individual resource
 Modify the project calendar or create a
working times calendar
3. Assignments
 Assign resources to tasks:
 Assigning resources to tasks provide several benefits:
The schedule mirrors actual circumstances more accurately
Responsibilities can be assigned for tasks
Workload is monitored to make adjustments in case any
resource is overloaded
 Pillars of task scheduling: work, duration, resources:
Work: amount of effort, measured in time units put into a
task by a resource. The total work for a task is the sum of all
these time units
Duration: amount of time between start & finish dates for a
Resources: people, equipment, office space, etc
 Assign one or more resources to each task
Schedule’s Evaluation & Adjustment
Ensure the plan is accurate and complete
Review project goals, scope, assumptions
Add or delete tasks
Refine task-duration estimates
Check project finish date
Determine if constraints are necessary
Identify & correct obvious errors
Plan’s Streamlining
 Fine-tune schedule by making trade-offs
among scope, resources, time; the three
main factors that shape a project
 Focus on:
 shortening the schedule
 Using resources as efficiently as possible
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