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Part 2. Developing the Project Plan

Part 2. Developing the Project Plan

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C hapter 3



Starting a New Project



Getting from Idea to Proposal to Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69



Sequencing and Organizing Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109



Focusing the Project Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70



Organizing Tasks into an Outline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115



Creating a New Project Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74



Setting Up Your Work Breakdown Structure . . . . . . . . . . 119



Entering Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99



Adding Supplementary Information to Tasks . . . . . . . . . 123



B



ecause the heart of project management is planning, it’s no wonder that the planning processes for a new project require you to do a significant amount of work just

to set the stage. You define the big picture and obtain stakeholder approval for the

specifications of the product or service you’re creating and for the boundaries defining

the overall scope of the project itself.



After this vision is in place, you’re ready to create your project blueprint—the project

plan—using Microsoft Project 2010. You create a new project file and enter foundation

information.

Then you break down your project goals and objectives into the actual phases, milestones,

and tasks that form the backbone of your project information system. You sequence the

phases and tasks and organize them into a hierarchy that maps to your project.

If your project or organization has more specialized or advanced requirements, you can use

work breakdown structure codes that organize your task list by each deliverable.

You can add your supporting documentation, such as the vision or strategy document, to

the project plan. Likewise, you can add supplementary information such as notes or hyperlinks to individual tasks, milestones, and phases. All this information makes your project

plan the central repository of project information.



Getting from Idea to Proposal to Project

Many projects begin life as a bright idea. Maybe it’s a new product idea, a new service,

or a new community fundraising event. The new project can be the solution to a specific

problem that has arisen—for example, a factory retooling, a marketing initiative, or a training program. The new project might be generated from a client company that puts out a

request for proposal.











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69



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Chapter 3  Starting a New Project



Often the normal cycle of business dictates the creation of a new project. If you’re in the

software development business, for example, you live with a product cycle that begins

with a project plan and ends with the software launch. If you’re in the construction business, you work within a building process that starts with a project plan and ends with

the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Whatever the project—another office move, another trade

show, or another system deployment—you know you need to start with the project plan.

Before you get to the project plan, however, the idea needs to be given the green light

by the powers that be, especially if it’s an entirely new idea. This is true whether a new

project idea is conceived from the normal course of business, is the solution to a problem,

or is a brilliant flash of inspiration. The skeleton of the idea is fleshed out in the form of a

project proposal or business case. In the proposal or business case, the project is described

along with the rationale for carrying out the project.



Chapter 3



The largest part of this rationale is often the cost-benefit analysis. The proposal outlines

the expected cost of implementing the project, the resources and time needed, the risks

involved, and any assumptions and limitations. The proposal then explains the resulting

benefits of the project, such as increased customer satisfaction, more efficient processing,

or increased profitability.

The proposal is assessed by upper management. This group examines whether the proposal is compelling and workable, whether the organization has the necessary capacity,

and most importantly, whether the expected benefits are greater than the expected costs.

If these conditions are met, upper management gives the project the go-ahead, and the

project can be implemented.

With all the preliminary thinking that goes into the proposal, you’re likely to be well

aware of everything from scope to risks for the new project.



Focusing the Project Vision

You might already have a clear picture in your mind of what your project is about and

what it will be when it is complete. On the other hand, the project might still seem a little

fuzzy, at least around the edges. It’s not uncommon for other stakeholders to have a clear

vision when you’re not sure if you get it just yet.

And don’t be surprised if one stakeholder’s expectations seem clear enough, but another

stakeholder’s expectations sound entirely contradictory.



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Focusing the Project Vision



71



The challenge at this important starting point is to define the project without ambiguity,

so that everyone involved is talking about the same project, has the same expectations, and

wants the same results. Defining the vision clearly at the beginning prevents redirection

(and the attendant wasted effort) in the middle of the project. More importantly, a lucid

articulation of the project vision prevents disappointment (which can often cost big bucks)

at the end.

So how do you create a vision? You work with key stakeholders, such as the customers,

potential users, sponsors, executives, and project team members, to collect their expectations of the project. You might have to reconcile conflicting views and opposing agendas.

Throughout this process, you identify the goals of the project as well as their measurable

objectives. You identify project assumptions, spell out potential risks, and make contingency

plans for those risks. You also identify known limitations, such as budget, time, or resources.



Defining Scope

A defined scope articulates the vision of the product you’re creating and the project that

will create it. As your project is executed and issues arise, your defined scope can help you

make decisions. The scope definition is your guideline for whether the direction you’re considering is really the job of this project. If you don’t stay focused on the agreed-upon scope

of the project, you’re likely to experience “scope creep,” in which you end up spending time,

money, and resources on tasks and deliverables that are not part of the original vision.

This is not to say that scope can’t change during the course of a project. Business conditions, design realities, budgets, time, resource availability, and many other factors can

necessitate changing project scope midway through. In addition, as members of your project team work on their tasks, they are likely to generate great new ideas. Nonetheless, your

scope document helps you make decisions and manage any changes so that you turn in

the proper direction—in line with your organization’s overall strategy, the project’s reason

for being, and the project’s goals.



Understanding Product Scope and Project Scope

There are two types of scope: product scope and project scope. First, you define the product scope, unless it has been defined for you. The product scope specifies the features and

functions of the product that will be the outcome of the project. The product scope might

well be part of the product description in your charter. The product can be tangible, such

as the construction of a new office building or the design of a new aircraft. The product can

also be the development of a service or event—for example, deploying a new computer

system or implementing a new training initiative.



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Chapter 3



By the time you finish this high-level project planning and get the necessary approval,

everyone involved knows exactly what they’re signing up for.



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Chapter 3  Starting a New Project



Regardless of the type of product, the product scope indicates the specifications and

parameters that paint a detailed picture of the end result. For example, the product scope

of the construction of a new office building might include square footage, number of stories, location, and architectural design elements.

The project scope specifies the work that must be done to complete the project successfully,

according to the specifications of the associated product scope. The project scope defines

and controls what will and will not be included in the project. If product development will

have multiple phases, the project scope might specify which phase this project is handling.

For example, a computer system deployment project might specify that its scope encompass the infrastructure development and installation of the new computer system, but not

the documentation and training for new system users. Or it might specify that the project

handle all aspects of the product, from concept through completion of the final stage.



Developing the Scope Statement

Chapter 3



To define the project scope and communicate it to other key stakeholders, you develop and

record the scope statement. Depending on your organization’s planning methods, certain

elements of the scope statement might be defined very early, sometimes even before you

are assigned as project manager. Other elements might be defined just before you begin

identifying and sequencing the project’s tasks. Your scope statement should include the

following:













Project justification  The scope statement should define the business need or other

stimulus for this project. This justification provides a sound basis for evaluating future

decisions, including the inevitable tradeoffs. This information can come straight from

the project proposal or business case that initiated the original formation of the

project.

Product description  The scope statement should characterize the details of the

product or service being created. The project justification and product description

together should formulate the goals of the project.

Project constraints or limitations  The scope statement should include any factors limiting the project. Factors that can limit a project’s options include a specific

budget, contractual provisions, the availability of certain key personnel, a precise end

date, and so on.



Note

Because we use the term constraints throughout this book to mean task scheduling constraints, in this chapter we’re using the term limitations to refer to overall

project constraints.



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Focusing the Project Vision







73



Project assumptions  The scope statement should list any elements considered to

be true, real, or certain—even when they might not be—for the purposes of continuing to develop the project plan and move forward. By their nature, assumptions

usually carry a degree of risk. For example, if you don’t know whether the building

for a commercial construction project will be 10,000 or 15,000 square feet, you have

to assume one or the other for the sake of planning. The risk is that the other choice

might end up being correct. You can adjust the plan after the facts are known, but

other project dependencies might already be in place by then.



Although certain aspects of your scope statement might remain unchanged

through the iterative planning process, that’s not necessarily the case with project limitations and assumptions. As the scope becomes more tightly defined,

the limitations and assumptions come to light and are better exposed. Likewise,

as you continue down the road in the planning process, the entire project scope

tends to become more and more focused.











Project deliverables  The scope statement should list the summary-level subproducts created throughout the duration of the project. The delivery of the final subproject deliverable marks the completion of the entire project. This list might bring into

focus major project phases and milestones, which will be valuable when you start

entering tasks into your project plan.

Project objectives  The scope statement should enumerate the measurable objectives to be satisfied for the project to be considered successful. The objectives map to

the deliverables and are driven by the project goals, as described by the project justification and product description. To be meaningful, the project objectives must be

quantifiable in some way; for example, a specific dollar amount, a specific timeframe,

or a specific level of quality. In fact, think “SMART” when setting project objectives to

ensure that they are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.



Note

Your scope statement might also address other project planning issues, such as

communications, quality assurance, and risk management. It can define the reporting requirements and the collaboration tools that the team will use. The scope

statement can also specify the minimum level of quality acceptable, define the

potential risks associated with the itemized limitations and assumptions, and

stipulate methods of countering the risks.



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Chapter 3



Note



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Chapter 3  Starting a New Project



Product scope and project scope are intricately linked. The project scope relies on a clear

definition of the product scope. The project scope is fulfilled through the completion of

work represented in the project plan. In the same way, product scope is fulfilled by meeting

the specifications in the product requirements.

With the draft of the scope statement in hand, you have a document you can use to clearly

communicate with other project stakeholders. This draft helps you ferret out any crosspurposes, mistaken assumptions, and misplaced requirements. As you continue to refine the

scope statement, the project vision is honed to the point where all the stakeholders should

have a common understanding of the project. And because all the stakeholders participated in the creation of the vision, you can feel confident that everyone understands

exactly what they’re working toward when you begin to execute the project plan.



Creating a New Project Plan

Chapter 3



You’re now at the point where you can start Project 2010 and actually create your project

plan. When you create a new project file, you first decide whether to schedule from a start

date or finish date. You then set your overall project calendar that the tasks will be scheduled

against. If you want to, you can attach project documentation such as your all-important

scope statement and possibly other project-related documents.



Creating a Project File

To begin creating your new project plan, start Project 2010 and choose whether you’re

creating a new project from scratch, from a template, or from an existing project plan.

If you haven’t installed Project 2010 yet, refer to Appendix A, “Installing Microsoft Project

2010,” for installation guidelines and details.



To start Project 2010, click the Windows Start button. Point to All Programs, click the

Microsoft Office folder, and then click Microsoft Project 2010. You’ll see a blank project file,

as shown in Figure 3-1.



Note

If you’re working with enterprise projects using Microsoft Project Professional 2010,

you might first be prompted to enter your account name and password to connect to

Microsoft Project Server 2010.



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Creating a New Project Plan



Quick Access Toolbar

Active tab of the ribbon



Timeline



Ribbon



Chart area of the Gantt chart



Chapter 3



Table area of the Gantt chart



75



Status bar

Scheduling task mode indicator



View shortcuts

and Zoom slider



Figure 3-1  A blank project file appears in Project 2010.



Note

Depending on how you customize your setup, you might also be able to open Project

2010 by double-clicking its icon on the Windows desktop.



The Project 2010 workspace is called the view, and the view that appears by default when

you first open Project 2010 is the Gantt Chart. The Gantt Chart is made up of a task table

on the left and the chart showing Gantt bars on the right.

For more information about working with the Gantt Chart and the other views available in

Project 2010, see “Using Views” on page 131.



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Chapter 3  Starting a New Project



Creating a New Project from a Blank Project File

If you want to create your new project plan from scratch, you can use the blank project file

that appears when you first open Project 2010.

If you already have another project file open, and you want to create a new project from

scratch, follow these steps:







1. On the File tab, click New.

The Project 2010 Backstage view appears.







2. Under Available Templates, double-click Blank Project.

Blank Project



A blank project appears.



Chapter 3



By default, new blank projects are set for manually scheduled tasks. For more information

about manual versus automatic scheduling, see Chapter 5, “Scheduling Tasks Manually or

Automatically.”



Add the New Button to the Quick Access Toolbar



New



If you frequently create new projects from scratch, consider adding the New button to

the Quick Access Toolbar, located in the upper-left corner of the Project 2010 window.

Click the arrow at the right edge of the Quick Access Toolbar, and then click New. The

New button is added. When you click the New button on the Quick Access Toolbar,

you don’t need to go through the Backstage view; a blank project is created in one

quick step.

For more information, see “Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar” on page 1146.



Creating a New Project from a Template

You can also create a new project from a template. A template is a type of project file that

contains project information that helps you start your project more quickly. The template

usually contains a list of tasks, already sequenced and organized. The task list might be

further detailed with phases, milestones, and deliverables. There might be additional task

information in the template as well, such as task durations and task dependencies. You can

use this task list as the basis for your project. You can add, remove, and rearrange tasks,

adapting the task information as needed to correspond to your project requirements.

A template can also include resource information, customized views, calendars, reports,

tables, macros, option settings, and more.



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Creating a New Project Plan



77



A template file has the extension .mpt, indicating that it is the Microsoft Project template

file type. When you open and modify a template file, it is saved as a normal .mpp (Microsoft Project plan) file by default.

For more information about file types and project file management, see Chapter 32, “Managing

Project Files.”



In Project 2007, 41 templates were built in to the product. In Project 2010, through Office.com,

about twice that number are available, and more are being added. These templates reflect

various types of product, service, or activity projects in different industries and organizations, and they are based on widely accepted industry standards. Table 3-1 shows a sampling of the types of templates available.

Table 3-1  Project Templates



Startup business plan



Business Development



New product plan

New product launch

Marketing campaign planning

Customer feedback monitoring



Customer Service



Customer service ramp up

Post-manufacturing customer service planning

Construction and Facilities



Commercial construction project plan

Engineering project plan

Office move plan

Residential construction project plan



Finance and Accounting



Finance and accounting system implementation

Audit preparation process

Financial service offering launch



General Business



Annual report preparation

Training rollout initiative and plan

Proposal development plan

Vendor evaluation and consolidation



Human Resources



Human resources interview plan

Performance reviews

Evaluating offshoring strategy for HR functions



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Chapter 3



As of Project 2010, all Microsoft Project templates are downloadable from Office.com,

rather than built directly into Project 2010. Although you need to be connected to the

Internet to access the available templates, you can download and store the ones you use

more frequently on your local computer. You also have ready access to new templates as

they are added to Office.com from various sources.



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Chapter 3  Starting a New Project



Information Technology



Software development plan

Security infrastructure

Software localization plan



Standards and Process



Project office plan

Project Management Institute process

ISO 9001 management review

Six Sigma DMAIC cycle

Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance and technology options



Search for Templates Online



Chapter 3



New Microsoft Project templates are continually being added to Office.com, and you

can see those additions from the Project 2010 Backstage view or by going to the Office.

com website. These templates are created not only by Microsoft, but also by project

management consultants, solution providers, and everyday users.

Although the list is the same when you browse templates from the Project 2010 Backstage view, when you go to the Office.com website, you have the added convenience of

sorting or searching for templates.

For the easiest way to open Office.com from Project 2010, follow these steps:



1. In Project 2010, click the Help button in the upper-right corner.

Help



2. Near the top of the Help screen, under the search box, click Templates.

The Microsoft Office Templates page appears in your Internet browser.



3. On the Templates page, click See All Categories, and then click Plans.

Click the subcategory you want—for example, Business. The list of Microsoft Office

planning templates appears. Browse through the list, looking for the Microsoft Project

templates. You can sort the listed templates by title or rating.

Also on this web page, you can enter keywords for the type of template you’re looking

for in the search box. It might help to use “Project” as one of the keywords, because

templates for various Microsoft Office programs are included here.

Click the thumbnail for a template, and a preview of the template appears. If you want

to download the template, click the Download button, and then follow the instructions.

When the download is finished, the template is loaded into Project 2010 as a new file

based on that template.



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