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Part 4. Reporting and Analyzing Project Information

Part 4. Reporting and Analyzing Project Information

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C hapter 1 3



Reporting Project Information



Establishing Your Communications Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 526



Revising a Built-In Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 564



Using Views to Report Project Information . . . . . . . . . . 528



Building a Custom Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 571



Generating Text and Visual Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 534



Saving Project Data Fields . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 576



Generating the Right Reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 541



Sharing Project Reports Electronically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579



B



this stage of the game, you’ve built your project plan and you’re using it to track

progress and display project information. Because you’re now in the execution and

control processes of the project, you’ll need to share important data with stakeholders. For example, your new test procedure might have worked better than expected,

but your materials testing ran into some unanticipated slowdowns. All this information is

reflected in the project plan. However, for different audiences and different purposes, you

want to highlight certain information and filter out other information to represent a certain

focus with professional panache.

y



You can print views and generate reports built in to Microsoft Project 2010 and use them

as an integral part of your project communication plan. These views and reports leverage

the power of Project 2010 by presenting the specific focus and clarity required by corporate

and program departments. By tailoring the views and reports to the interests of different

groups (finance, human resources, and procurement, among others), you can feed the right

information to the right people, avoid misunderstandings, and mitigate problems. Project

2010 views and reports are often used for:





Weekly project team meetings







Monthly department status conferences







Quarterly or annual executive reviews



In addition to printing views and generating built-in reports, you can design custom reports

to meet your specific project communication needs. Many of these are tabular text-based

reports. Others are visual reports that use project data for graphical display in Microsoft

Excel 2010 or Microsoft Visio 2010.











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Chapter 13  Reporting Project Information



Establishing Your Communications Plan

Chapter 13



Reports are instrumental in effective project management. As part of the initial project

planning, you’ll determine the requirements for reporting, including:













Report recipients  Who needs to see the reports? Stakeholders throughout the

organization and within the project team need to see certain reports tailored to their

areas of responsibility. For example, you might generate one report for your team

members, another one for team leads and resource managers, and yet another for

executives and customers.

Specific content of the reports  What type of information is included? The

reports can focus on any aspect of the project; for example, tasks, resource allocation, assignments, costs, and so on. Reports might focus on past successes or current

progress. They can provide a forecast of upcoming tasks, costs, or workloads. They

might present a high-level summary. They can point out areas of risk or current

problems that need resolution.

Frequency of report publication  How often should you generate reports?

Regularly scheduled project meetings or status reporting often drive the generation

of reports. Certain important issues that are being closely watched might warrant

report generation more frequently than usual. Be sure to strike a balance between

providing up-to-date information often enough and overloading a stakeholder with

too detailed or too frequent reporting.



Establishing your communications strategy for a project helps you effectively share realistic

progress and estimates. You can point to unexpected changes that present risks. You can

avoid larger problems and understand root causes. Specifically, with reports you can:





Review status







Compare data







Check progress on the schedule







Check resource utilization







Check budget status







Watch for any potential problems looming in the future







Help stakeholders make decisions affecting the project



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Establishing Your Communications Plan



527



Using the appropriate Project 2010 views and reports on a regular basis for progress analysis and communication is a key component of effective project management. By implementing a communications plan, including regular presentations of reports to stakeholders,

you can keep interested parties aware of crucial information and trends.



Project Management Practices: Communications

Management

Communication is a vital element of successful project management. Effective project

communication ensures that relevant information is generated, collected, and distributed in a timely manner to the appropriate project stakeholders. Different stakeholders

need different kinds of project information—from the team members carrying out the

project tasks, to customers sponsoring the project, to executives making strategic decisions regarding the project and the organization. Your stakeholders don’t just receive

project information; they also generate it. When all your stakeholders share project

information, people are linked and ideas are generated—all of which contributes to the

ultimate success of the project.

The first stage of effective project communications management is communications

planning. This stage should take place in the initiating and planning processes for the

project, in conjunction with scope and activity development. As you develop and build

your project plan, you also need to determine what types of communication will be

necessary throughout the life of the project.

Determine what tools you have at your disposal and how your project team communicates most effectively. You might have weekly meetings and weekly status reports.

Perhaps you’ll also have monthly resource management and cost management reviews.

Other possible communication vehicles include presentations, e-mail, letters, a SharePoint site, or an intranet site. You’ll likely use a combination of these vehicles for different aspects of project management and different audiences.

If you’re using Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Web App, you

have a very effective means of communicating electronically with your team members

and other stakeholders. You can automate the flow of progress information about the

project, including progress updates, timesheets, and narrative status reporting. Stakeholders can also review major project views. Because Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

is integrated with Project Server 2010, you can store reports, manage risks, and track

issues.

Another excellent means for electronic project communication is the use of SharePoint

Server 2010 for nonenterprise workgroup collaboration, which is new in Project 2010.

For more information, see Chapter 21, “Collaborating as a Team by Using SharePoint.”



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Chapter 13







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Chapter 13  Reporting Project Information



Chapter 13



Whichever tools you use, you’ll be executing your communications plan while the project is being carried out. You’ll report on current project status, especially as it relates to

the schedule, budget, scope, and resource utilization. You’ll also report on overall progress, describing the accomplishments of the project team to date and what is yet to be

done. Finally, you’ll make forecasts by using project plan information to predict future

progress on tasks and anticipate potential problems.

Tasks will be completed, milestones met, deliverables handed off, and phases concluded.

Your communications management strategy provides the means for documenting project results and the receipt of deliverables as each stage of the project is completed.



Using Views to Report Project Information

Suppose you’ve been tracking and managing your project for some time now by using the

Gantt Chart, the Resource Sheet, and other Project 2010 views. You can set up one of these

views to contain exactly the fields of information you need and then print it to create a

kind of interactive report. By printing views, you can share pertinent information with team

members and stakeholders. You can include printed views in project status reports and in

progress meetings.



Setting Up and Printing Views

To set up, preview, and print a view, follow these steps:







1. Open the view and arrange the data as you want it to appear when it’s printed.

For more information about available views and arranging information in those views,

see Chapter 4, “Viewing Project Information.”







2. On the File tab, click Print.

The Print Backstage view appears, as shown in Figure 13-1. The Print Backstage view

provides print options and a preview of the view as it will be printed.



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Using Views to Report Project Information



INSIDE OUT 



You can’t print just anything



There are some restrictions about which views you can and cannot print, and some

guidelines about how to print certain types of views, as follows:

● Form views, such as the Task Form or Resource Form, cannot be printed.

● Combination (split-screen) views, such as the Resource Allocation view made up

of the Resource Usage view and the Leveling Gantt, cannot be printed as a combination. However, you can print one part of a split screen at a time. Click in the

pane of the view you want to print. The exception, of course, is if the selected

pane is a form view.

● If you keep the Timeline above your views, you effectively have a combination

view. Click in the main view pane to print that view; click in the Timeline to print

the Timeline.

● Divided views, such as Gantt views or the Team Planner (available in Microsoft

Project Professional 2010), have a table on the left and a timesheet on the right.

Such divided views are not considered combination split-screen views, and therefore the entire view prints.

● A special combination view is the Compare Projects view. The upper pane of the

Compare Projects view contains the comparison report showing the differences

and similarities between the two projects being compared. The lower pane shows

the project files being compared in two pane segments. While you cannot print

the entire combination view, you can print any of the three segments individually

by clicking in its pane. For more information, see “Comparing Project Plans Side

by Side” on page 1223.







3. In the lower-right area of the middle pane of the view, click Page Setup.

The Page Setup dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 13-2.



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Chapter 13







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Chapter 13  Reporting Project Information



Chapter 13

Figure 13-1  The Print Backstage view replaces the old Print dialog box and Print Preview

window in a single view.



Figure 13-2  Use the Page Setup dialog box to specify page scaling, margins, headers,

footers, and more.







4. Specify the options you want for the printed view by using controls on the various tabs.







5. When you are finished, click OK to return to the Print Backstage view.

The changes you made are reflected in the preview pane on the right.



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Using Views to Report Project Information



6. To zoom in the preview, click the area you want to zoom. To zoom it out again, click

the preview again.

You can also zoom using the Actual Size, Full Page, and Multiple Pages buttons in the

lower-right corner of the preview pane.







Actual Size

Page Down







7. Use the arrow buttons in the lower-right corner of the preview pane to page through

the view.



8. To make further adjustments to the page layout, click Page Setup in the middle pane

again.

If you need to adjust the view itself, click one of the other tabs on the ribbon, such as

Task or Format, to return to the editable view.







9. In the middle pane, specify any printing options, such as the number of copies, which

printer is being used, which pages are being printed, and so on.







10. When you’re ready, in the upper-left corner of the middle pane, click Print.



Print



INSIDE OUT 



The Print Backstage view provides scant preview flexibility



While the new Print Backstage view conveniently puts printer options and the print

preview together in one view, this convenience limits flexibility when you are scrutinizing the view being printed. Some limitations are as follows:

● You can only zoom between actual size ( just a fragment), full size (small), and

multiple pages (smaller still).

● You can’t make the preview area larger by dragging the divider between the

middle pane; the pane sizes are fixed.

● You can’t see the preview in a full screen as in previous versions of Microsoft

Project.

Because of this, your best options for closer examination are to just print out the view

or save it as a PDF/XPS document.



Create

PDF/XPS



To save it as a PDF/XPS document, on the File tab, click Save & Send. Under File Types,

click Create PDF/XPS Document. In the right pane, click Create PDF/XPS. Browse to

the location where you want to save the file, and then click OK. Make any necessary

changes in the Document Export Options dialog box, and then click OK.

You can customize the zoom level and page through the PDF file to see the detail you

want. If you need to make changes to the view or the print layout, click the appropriate

tab and try again.

For more information, see “Saving a View as a PDF File” on page 579.



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Chapter 13  Reporting Project Information



Specifying Options for Printed Views

Chapter 13



The following list highlights key options available on the six tabs of the Page Setup dialog

box, which controls how your view looks when printed. To display this dialog box, click File,

Print, and then near the bottom of the middle pane of the Print Backstage view, click Page

Setup.













Insert File Name







Insert Current

Date











Page tab  Specifies whether the view should be printed in portrait or landscape

orientation and whether the view should be scaled up or down to fit on a page.

Margins tab  Specifies the size of each of the four margins and whether a border

should be printed around the page.

Header tab  Specifies the content and location of header information. You can add

the page number, current date and time, or the file name. You can also add a picture

(such as a company or project logo) as part of your left, center, or right header. For

example, click the Center tab, and then click Insert File Name to display the project

file name at the center top of every page. You can also specify that a selected project

field should be part of the header. You can enter your own text as well. Simply click

the Left, Center, or Right tab, click in the text box, and then type the text you want.

Footer tab  Specifies the content and location of footer information. The same

information available for headers is available for footers. For example, click the Left

tab, and then click Insert Current Date to display the date in the lower-left corner of

every page. The Preview box shows what your footer will look like.

Legend tab  Specifies the content and location of a view’s legend, which specifies

what symbols or bars on the view represent. For example, in a print out of the Gantt

Chart, the legend includes a key for the task bars, summary bars, deadlines, and

milestone symbols. By default, the legend appears on the bottom two inches of every

page and includes the project’s title and the current date. The options available for

headers and footers are also available for legends, and you can also type your own

information.

View tab  Specifies which elements you want printed on each page—for example,

notes, blank pages, or sheet columns. The options available on this tab vary based on

the view currently selected for printing.



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Using Views to Report Project Information



INSIDE OUT 







Insert

Current

Time











533



Be careful when inserting the current date and time in a

printed view



The Insert Current Date and Insert Current Time buttons take their information from

your computer’s system clock. This date and time will change to reflect the date and

time when you print the view. However, you might prefer to print a fixed date or time,

perhaps one that specifies when the project was last updated, rather than last printed.

In this case, in the Alignment area of the Page Setup dialog box, simply type the date

or time in the Left, Center, or Right tab text box itself.



Drawing in a Gantt View

You might want to highlight certain items in a Gantt view before printing it out. New in

Project 2010 is a set of drawing tools similar to those available in other Microsoft Office

programs. The only place you can draw in is the chart area of a Gantt view. To mark up a

schedule in a Gantt area, do the following:







1. On the Format tab, in the Drawings group, click Drawing, and then click the drawing

tool you want.

Drawing







You can choose from Arrow, Arc, Oval, Polygon, Rectangle, Line, and Text Box.



2. In the chart area of the Gantt view, drag from one point to another to draw the

shape, or for polygons, to draw the first segment.







3. If you want to change the order in which elements appear—for example, to display

a line in front of a filled rectangle—select the element you want to reorder. Click

Format, Drawings, Drawing, and then click Bring To Front, Bring Forward, Send To

Back, or Send Backward.



Use a View in Another Application

When reporting on your project, sometimes you might prefer to include a Project 2010

view as part of a Microsoft Word 2010 document or a Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 presentation slide. You can copy a view in Project 2010 and paste it as an image file into

another application.

For more information about copying a view and using the graphic in another application, see “Copying a Picture of a View” on page 651.



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Chapter 13  Reporting Project Information



Generating Text and Visual Reports

Chapter 13



In addition to the ability to print views, Project 2010 comes with more than 40 built-in

reports that you can simply select, preview, and print. These reports compile the most commonly used sets of information needed to manage a project, coordinate resources, control

costs, analyze potential problems, and communicate progress.

When you select and generate a report, information is drawn from selected fields throughout your project. That information is laid out in the predetermined report design or

template, in either discrete or summarized form, depending on the specific report. You

can generate an up-to-date report minutes before the start of a meeting, and the report

instantly reflects the very latest changes you made or that team members have submitted.

You can generate two categories of reports: text-based reports and visual reports. The textbased reports compile information into a tabular format within Project 2010. Visual reports

automatically compile and export project information to either Excel or Visio, where it is

presented in a graphic such as a column chart or flow diagram.



Working with Text-Based Reports

To see the list of available text-based reports, click Project, Reports, Reports. The Reports

dialog box appears, showing six report categories. (See Figure 13-3.)

Reports



Figure 13-3  There are five categories for 22 built-in text-based reports, plus a Custom category

for designing your own report.



The text report categories are:





Overview







Current







Costs



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