Project Management [14 post(s)]

13 November 2009 - 15:17

Newness in MS Project 2007 and Task driver issue

MS Project 2007 hasn't "ribonized" yet and hasn't really fundamental newness. The concepts of this software have been outlined since many years now.

Amongst the new features I can appreciate though in this version are:

task drivers
  • Highlighting changes: the program highlights any changing values instantaneously as you type
  • Multiple Edit Undo: long time awaited for and finally implemented, this option is a real relief
  • Visual reports: the old 'reports' are still available and have only been lightly adapted, however MS Project now comes with a nice feature to create pivot table reports and charts with the click of the mouse
  • Task drivers : a task pane showing you the driving factors or tasks for any selected tasks, especially handy in larger and complexer projects - there is a kind of bug though which can result in task drivers become unavailable - through this forum thread I discovered the solution is to simply delete the global.mpt (it is automatically recreated when the program restarts)

You'll find a full list of the new features on Microsoft's Tech site.

visual reports
(0) Comments ·
28 September 2009 - 13:46

Limitations in MS Project

There are a couple of limitations in MS Project which probably will never 'limit' you, till the day of course you really need to go beyond.

One such example could be the latest day till which you can schedule. That hasn't changed in MS Project 2007 and still is 31 dec 2049 (and indeed people who need such days for good reasons exist, as I discovered today through a course participant working on dismantling nuclear power stations !).

A limitation which I always found, well .. limiting, is the maximum space of about 10 to 12cm you can code for the legend text box, or the limitation of using 3 lines in this text box.
Just another example... so if ever you want a nice overview of some limitations in MS Project 2003, you'll find them at Microsoft Office Online. Luka Gospodnetic lists simular, but not always matching figures on his blog for MS Project 2007.

(0) Comments ·
15 June 2009 - 14:17

Corrupted files in MS Project (2007)

During a MS Project coaching at a client (with Project 2007), we encountered something I had never had before : a corrupted and completely unusuable project file. It concerned a master project file and so one of the inserted plans became completely corrupt. No way of opening, inserting it again, exporting it to something else...
The best you could get out of it was a cryptic

"The operation could not be completed because the source file contains invalid project data or the total number of rows exceeds the limit of 1,048,000 rows in a project."

What happened ?

After some research (and as usual having tried multiple pathways, one being the fact that the files were converted from Project 2003) it seemed to be linked to a password set on one of the files and the fact of having copied the files... yes indeed: just copied.

Well IT never gets as weird as it gets (?!), but the closest explanation from Microsoft I could find, was in their knowledgebase regarding a bug in version 2002, which then got solved.

Perhaps it re-incarnated?

The solution of course still stands in its simplicity: don't use a pasword, or remove the password, then copy/move the file, and eventually put the password after the copying.
And if ever you bump onto file corruption in MS Project, you could try out the Microsoft Project MVP page's solution.

(5) Comments ·
26 April 2009 - 14:45

MS Project Shortcuts

If you're looking for some MS Project shortcuts, I've found them here: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/it/access/project2007-shortcuts.html#tips

The ones I was after in particular were those to indent and outdent tasks:

Indent Task: Alt + Shift + Arrow Right
Outdent Task: Alt + Shift + Arrow Left
(1) Comments ·
17 February 2009 - 16:46

How to print a Gantt Chart view without table information?

To print a Gantt Chart view without table information, you first need to create a customized table and use that in an adapted Gantt Chart View.

  • 1. On the View menu, click Table, and then click More Tables.
  • 2. For Tables:, click Task.
  • 3. Click the New button
  • 4. In the Name box, enter "No Table Info".
  • 5. In the first row, under Field Name, enter ID, and in the first row under Width, enter a zero (0).
  • 6. Click to select Show In Menu.
  • 7. Click OK, and then click Close.

You can now use this table to print or preview a Gantt Chart view without table information as follows:

  • 1. On the View menu, click More Views.
  • 2. Select Gantt Chart, and click Apply.
  • 3. On the View menu, click Table, and then click No Table Info.
  • 4. On the File menu, click Print or Print Preview.

Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/147424

(0) Comments ·
06 October 2008 - 14:00

Remove Costs easily in MS Project

A question which came up during a course recently went as follows : how can we remove costs inputs from all views when sending a MS Project schedule to our clients?

Well basically by zeroing out all cost related fields as well as the cost fields in the Resource Sheet, was my first approach, and remains the best strategy I would think.

Following macro illustrating this path works well in both Project 2003 and 2007, with one side-effect however; so far I haven't been able to put my finger on it.
Where Fixed Costs have been used, zeroing out the main values seem to trigger off negative values in the Fixed Costs column. Zeroing these ones out then re-enters the equivalent postive amounts in the total costs column ....

Anyone to solve this puzzle?

Sub RemoveCosts()

'first reset/remove default setting for autocalculating cost values in MS Project
OptionsCalculation AutoCalcCosts:=False

'remove Resource related costs
ViewApply Name:="Resource Sheet"
SelectSheet
TableApply Name:="&Cost"
SelectSheet
TableApply Name:="&Entry"
SelectResourceField Row:=0, Column:="Standard Rate", Width:=2
SelectResourceField Row:=0, Column:="Standard Rate", Width:=2, Height:=16, Extend:=True
EditClear Contents:=True

'activate the cost table with all cost related fields
ViewApply Name:="Gantt Chart"
SelectSheet
TableApply Name:="&Cost"

'remove the main cost related fields triggering off all other cost values
SelectTaskColumn Column:="Actual Cost"
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Actual Cost"
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Actual Cost", Height:=40, Extend:=True
EditClear Contents:=True
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Baseline Cost"
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Baseline Cost", Height:=40, Extend:=True
EditClear Contents:=True
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Cost", Width:=4
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Cost", Width:=4, Height:=40, Extend:=True
EditClear Contents:=True

'remove other calculated cost fields
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Cost Variance"
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Cost Variance", Height:=40, Extend:=True
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Remaining Cost"
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Remaining Cost", Height:=40, Extend:=True
EditClear Contents:=True

'comment this out if you don't want other baseline values to be removed
BaselineClear All:=True, From:=0

'reset MS project to auto calculate costs
OptionsCalculation AutoCalcCosts:=True

'remove fixed cost values as well or reset them to zero
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Fixed Cost"
SelectTaskField Row:=0, Column:="Fixed Cost", Height:=40, Extend:=True
EditClear Contents:=True

'reactivate basic view
ViewApply Name:="Gantt Chart"
SelectSheet
TableApply Name:="&Entry"

End Sub

 

 

(0) Comments ·
01 May 2008 - 15:18

Listing predecessors and successors task names in MS Project

There's a couple of ways to get a better view on predecessors and successors in MS Project

1) You can use a split screen view (Window > Split) and show the relationship diagram in the lower pane (Views / More views / relationsship diagram). This will show yougraphically the predecessors and successors of the task selected in the top pane.

2) In the split screen view, display the Task Form, and format the task form to show Predecessor and Successors. That view is not a graphic view, but does allow you to change predecessor/successors as well as modify the link type and add lag or lead.

3) Jack Dahlgren (MVP) also made some sample VBA code to trace predecessors and successors available. You can find Jack's macro page at : http://masamiki.com/project/macros.htm.

(0) Comments ·
30 March 2008 - 16:07

Link unbound tasks in MS Project to start or finish at a given time before an event or milestone

Well I needed a kind of 'complicated' description in the title to address this issue presented during one of my course. But I suppose I could have called it also something like - how to use an 'as late as possible' logic into a 'as soon as possible' driven schedule?-

ALAP and ASAP combined

Take a Communication Summary Task e.g. which has an essential task in it, the sending out of the paper invitations (5.4.2. Snail Mail). This phase of the project is not bound to anything else, but you'd like to plan that in such a way that you're done with the posting of those invitations about 1 month before your event. Or something simular - perhaps you'd like to start the sending out a certain time period before day D.
As you're working in a normal project with starting date, all tasks are having a default 'ASAP, As Soon As Possible' constraint, thus pulling the unbound 'Communication' phase to the very beginning of the project. So how to proceed?

There are a couple of scenario's you could try to achieve this, depending on how the schedule should behave, but here are two road maps.

[Read more on Link unbound tasks in MS Project to start or finish at a given time before an event or milestone...]
(4) Comments ·
27 March 2008 - 07:18

Custom grouping in MS Project

custom group

custom group

One of the powerful abitilies of the MS Project tool is to group data on the fly.

You can do so very simply by using the 'group by box' on the standard toolbar.

However, that's only providing a limited number of options... and there's no 'customize' feature apparently...
Well, apparently, because there is !

You have to go to the menu bar for that, choose 'Project', then 'Group by', then choose 'Customize group by' - you'll get a dialog box allowing you to choose any field to group by, including the custome text, number, currency, etc fields...

There are some extra features too, like 'including summary tasks or not' or the color of the background of the grouping outlines.

 

(0) Comments ·
06 March 2008 - 04:39

Rolling up tasks or milestones in MS Project

image
One of the most satisfying results when giving courses is “of course” when you notice your participants really grasp the virus to learn and experiment more, then come back to you after some time and trigger of all kinds of questions and observations after having experimented themselves.

So today, even before I actually got to actual the course, I got this on the plate: how to roll-up tasks onto the summary bar and moreover make sure the dates of the rolled up tasks are visible?

[Read more on Rolling up tasks or milestones in MS Project...]
(0) Comments ·
08 February 2008 - 16:22

Summary task questions in MS Project

Two questions remained echoing in my mind after a MS Project course this week.

Sometimes, like when you export stuff to MS Excel which doesn’t have an outline system as MS Project, it’s handy if you could hide the summary tasks - how to do that?
Well I couldn’t come to terms with it immediately; there’s a possibility to add the field ‘Summary’ to a table; you can then filter on this field which has a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ - the ‘Yes’ works, but the ‘No’, yeekes no it won’t do the job :(-
Sometimes the answer is plain simple: after a short search I actually realised you can simply un-tick Summary Tasks from Tools/Options/View - and presto.

hiding Project summary tasks

[Read more on Summary task questions in MS Project...]
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