The Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite

 

Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite

Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite

Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite

Managing projects in an enterprise has three aspects.

  1. Preparing a schedule, tracking and reporting to stakeholders.
  2. Collaborating with project team and other stakeholders to share information & documents and receiving updates from them.
  3. Analyzing the performance of a portfolio. The third one is for senior managers who are responsible for a portfolio of projects.

To manager these three aspects, Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite has five components.

  1. Microsoft Project 2016 Standard
  2. Microsoft Project 2016 Professional
  3. Microsoft Project 2016 Server
  4. Microsoft Project 2016 Project Web App
  5. Microsoft Project 2016 Portfolio Management

Please refer the figure.

Different components of the Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite are used to manage different aspects of projects.

Project Standard and Project Professional address the first aspect of a project i.e. scheduling. Project Standard and Project Professional both are primarily made for project managers to prepare plans, track and report. Project Server and Project Web App together address the second aspect. They provide a platform for collaboration and information sharing among team members. Portfolio Management provides a platform for senior managers to create a portfolio of the projects and assess its performance against performance parameters addressing the third aspect.

Project Standard

Project Standard is a standalone software. The purpose of Project Standard is same as of Project Professional except that it cannot connect to Project Server and participate in Enterprise Project Management. Project Standard also does not have few features that are available in Project Professional. Some of the important features that are not available in Project Standard are Team Planner View, ability to connect to Project Server, ability to define generic resources, ability to make a task inactive, Resource Graph View, Custom Fields etc.

Project Professional

Project Professional is more capable product than Project Standard. First, Project Professional has some additional features explained above and second Project Managers can collaborate with team members using Project Professional through Project Server and Project Web Access as shown in the figure.

Project 2016 Server

Project Server is fundamentally a Share Point application and use SQL Server as its database. To install Project Server 2016, you should have Windows Server 2012 and higher, Share Point 2016 and SQL Server 2016.

Project Server provides a facility to make list of all resources in an enterprise. Normally it is done by Resource Manager who holds and owns resources in the enterprise. It also provides a platform for Project Managers to share their plan with assigned resources and receive tasks updates from them. It can also be used to track issues and risks, share project documents and have discussion with team. A simple system works like this…

Project Web App (PWA)

Project Web App (popularly known as PWA) is a web interface to Project Server. Project team can use it for all sort of work such as managing proposals, creating and updating project schedule, managing resources, entering time in timesheet, updating tasks status, generating reports and analyzing portfolio. Administrator can create a project site using PWA to be used for collaboration. Team can share documents on project site, can create issues and risks registers and collaborate, share minutes of meetings.\

Project 2016 Portfolio Management

Project Portfolio Management (popularly known as PPM) is a solution for a senior manager who is leading a portfolio of projects and programs. It provides a platform to a leader to define performance criteria parameters on which performance of the projects in portfolio is to be evaluated to achieve organization’s goals.

Hope this information will help you to understand Microsoft Project 2016 Product Suite. For more information, please explore following links

  1. Microsoft Project Blog
  2. Microsoft Project Product

Dealing with Integrated Change Control – Part 4

How to handle situations at ground and questions in PMP Exam related to integrated change control process.

Part – 4 – How to handle questions related to Integrated Change Control in PMP Exam?

So far we have understood basic principles of Integrated Change Control, the Integrated Change Control Process and how to deal with them at work. Now let’s see how to handle questions on PMP Exam. We will take some examples to understand how basic principles and change management process is applied on PMP Question to tick the right answer:

Dealing-with-Integrated-Change-Control-Part-4

Question 1:

You have just received a change from customer. Customer has analysed that it does not impact the schedule and easy to implement. What should you do first?

A. Request permission from project sponsor

B. Send the change to change control board for approval

C. Implement the change as soon as possible

D. Evaluate the impact on the project

Analysis of question 1:

Look at the basic principles and change management process to analyze the question. Basic principles says it is only project team that should do impact analysis. Customer analysis is not required and not sufficient. Irrespective of customer has done the analysis or not, project team must do impact analysis. Let’s analyze the options:

A- Request permission from project sponsor: You need permission from change control board to implement a change and not from sponsor.

B- Send the change to change control board for approval: If you look at the change management process, you can send the change request to change control board only after impact analysis. Customer impact analysis is neither valid not sufficient.

C- Implement the change as soon as possible: If you follow the process, you can implement a change request only after CCB approval.

D-Evaluate the impact on the project: You should evaluate the impact i.e. do impact analysis. So the answer is D. A question may arise how we can do impact analysis when a formal change request is not created and not gone through qualification test yet as per process. The answer is, these two steps are not available in the options. If either of them was available, I would have chosen it. We have to choose best out of available options.

So the answer is D.

Let’s take another question.

Question 2:

You are developing an application. In the last week, you have made the first delivery to your customer. Looking at the delivery, your customer has requested a change in the application and wants you to deliver it immediately. What is the BEST way for you to handle it?

A. Analyze the impact of the change on the project

B. Immediately ask your team to start work on the change and meanwhile you will do the impact analysis and take the approval from change control board

C. Create a formal change request

D. Call a team meeting to decide next step

Answer to question 2:

What do you do when customer ask you to urgently respond on the change? You should definitely try to fast track to address urgency but not at the cost of change management process. Tell to your customer that you and customer have agreed on a change management process and you cannot bypass it. You will try to expedite within the process.

Let’s analyze options:

A- Analyze the impact of the change on the project: You should analyze the impact of the change on the project but let us see if there is any option in B, C or D that comes before this step.

B- Immediately ask your team to start work on the change and meanwhile you will do the impact analysis and take the approval from change control board:  Asking your team to immediately start working on the change will be a total violation of change management process and also dangerous for you as you do not know the impact. By start working without understanding impact, you probably delay it instead of delivering it early.

C- Create a formal change request: Yes, you should first create a formal change request. This should be preferred over A as it comes first in the Integrated Change Control Process.

D- Call a team meeting to decide next step: Calling a team meeting to decide next step shows that you either do not have a change management process or you do not have inclination to follow it or you are unaware of it. If you have a change management process, next step is defined there, just follow it, there is no need to call a meeting.

So the answer is C as it is preferred over A.

Let’s take another examples

Question 3

Your project is half way. It is running on time and within budget. A team member comes to you and informs that he has added an extra features to the project that customer would like and there is no impact on time and cost. What should be your NEXT step after hearing this information?

A. Send this information to change control board to take a decision

B. Issue a change request and get it approved as soon as possible

C. Instruct the team member to remove the extra functionality

D. Present it to the customer as a value add

Answer to question 3:

Adding an extra feature which is not in the scope is called gold platting and not required at all. Team members should know that he/she is not expected to work on anything which is not part of the scope. It is a waste of time and energy. If you have time, apply energy to enhance quality of features within the scope. Often such things are done assuming customer will be delighted however we must understand that the extra feature was implemented without customer’s consent and therefore customer may or may not like it.

Let’s analyze options:

A- Send this information to change control board to take a decision: It is not right as this is not correct change control process. You should send the change request to CCB only when we have completed impact analysis.

B- Issue a change request and get it approved as soon as possible: Change request is to be issued before implementation of change and not after its implementation. It is violation of the process.

C- Instruct the team member to remove the extra functionality: You can instruct the team member to remove it as it is not in the scope.

D- Present it to the customer as a value add: Presenting it as value add is not only violation of Integrated Change Control Process but also risky as it was implemented without the knowledge of customer.

So the answer is C. Explain to your team member that he/she is not expected to work on features out of scope and ask him/her to remove it. Sometime it appears too hard on the team members but if you give such concession, you set an example and invite more such incidences. That may be difficult to control and you become selective in implementing the process. Better to stick to the process. Make team members aware of the process and sensitize them at regular interval instead of giving such concessions.

I hope this series on project change management will be of help to you. Should you have any question or suggestion or any comment to share, please click here and leave your question/suggestion/comment in the comment section. I look forward to hear from you.

Other parts of Dealing with Integrated Change Control

  1. Part – 1: Basic Principles
  2. Part – 2: The Integrated Change Control Process
  3. Part – 3: How to deal with change management
  4. Part – 4: How to handle questions related to change management in PMP Exam (This post)

Dealing with Integrated Change Control – Part 3

How to handle situations at ground and questions in PMP Exam related to integrated change control process.

Part – 3

In part 1 and part 2, I discussed about Basic Principles of Change Management and Integrated Change Control Process. In this part, I will discuss how to deal with changes at work based on basic principles and Integrated Change Control Process we defined.

How to deal with Integrated Change Control Process

How to deal with integrated change control at work

The main challenge in change management is dealing with pressure. We don’t face much problem when a team member suggest a change. Our obvious answer is NO most of the time. The issue comes when a senior stakeholder or specially customer requests a change. How to say no? Second factor is cost. Who will bear the cost of change? Third factor is time. How to implement it without extending project time line?

How to say no to a senior stakeholder or customer, asking for money for the change and conveying message that it will extend the time line are the things that make change management complex. Change control is not challenging if change is acceptable, money is either not required or easily available, time extension is okay or there is no major risk.

So the main issue in dealing with integrated change control is who bell the cat? If we have to deal with a person we don’t have authority, the basic principles we laid in the part 1 and a well defined process we laid in part 2 come to our rescue or become our strength.

If our fundamentals are strong and we analyze the situation based on principles then we put forth our analysis in the context of principles i.e. what is right in this situation. It not only makes us more convincing about our own act/suggestion but also makes it easy to explain and convince other parties. Also the suggestions do not go as our opinion but become system/principle driven. If we are able to convince the stakeholders about the change and its impact, they are more receptive to accept additional time and cost.

We may have strong fundamentals but not everyone. So here comes the process. We define an integrated change control process based on fundamentals covering all important ingredients of a good change management process and appropriate to our project environment. We create this process in the beginning itself and explain it to all stakeholders how we will handle changes in the project. It is easy to convince on a process in the beginning as change is not in front of them and every one want to show loyalty towards project’s objectives. We cannot suggest a process when change is already requested. It becomes reactive and not principles/fundamentals driven.

This is all easier said than done. It becomes more a stakeholder management than change management. Our communication and interpersonal skills become very important. Even when we agree up on process, our struggle continues. We have to continuously watch for changes throughout the project. Many times, changes just slip in. We must recognize them. We should educate our team members about change management and give them understanding of what is a change. Then we must take them through integrated change control process irrespective of their size and impact. We cannot be selective otherwise our all efforts will go in vain.

In the next part we will discuss how to deal with questions related with Change Management on PMP Exam. Stay tuned…

Other parts of Dealing with Integrated Change Control

  1. Part – 1: Basic Principles
  2. Part – 2: The Integrated Change Control Process
  3. Part – 3: How to deal with change management (This post)
  4. Part – 4: How to handle questions related to change management in PMP Exam

Dealing with Integrated Change Control – Part 2

How to handle situations at ground and questions in PMP Exam related to integrated change control process.

Part – 2

The Integrated Change Control Process

Every project has its unique change management process to perform integrated change control but all such processes must have some fundamental and mandatory ingredients. A typical change management process looks like in the figure below

A Typical Integrated Change Control Process

A Typical Integrated Change Control Process

Step1: A change request can be initiated by client, any team member or any of the stakeholders on the project. As project manager, you ensure that a formal change request is created.

Step 2: The first step for the project manager after creating a formal change request is to qualify the change to check if the change is a value add to the final product. Question arise, how do we check it? Here is a very simple test. Is the change in line with charter? If yes, it is a value-add change otherwise it is a nuisance and we should say no to it explaining the reason for the same. It is important to explain and convince the requester that the change is not in line with charter. If the change is in line with charter, we should welcome it as it will make the final product more meaningful to the customer and end user.

Step 3: Prepare an impact analysis. Analyze the impact of the change on scope, time, cost, quality, risk or any other aspect of the project. Document it and prepare an Impact analysis report with revised project timeline and cost.

Step 4: Submit this report to Change Control Board (CCB). Again the question arise, who is change control board? It a panel of stakeholders who can weigh benefits against impact and take decision in the favor of project’s objectives. We can have senior manager, project manager, management at customer side, client project manager, project team member etc. on CCB. For example, marketing head, R&D head & production head may form CCB for an in-house product development. Project manager and subject matter experts from vendor and customer sides can be on CCB for a typical project. It can be a single person also like customer, R&D Head etc. What we need to ensure is that the person or the CCB panel must have knowledge, skills and experience (Expert Judgment) to weigh benefits against the impact.

Step 5: Now it is on change control board to weigh benefits of the change against impact of the change. If benefits surpass impact of the change, he/she/they should approve the change otherwise reject it.

Step 6: Once change approved. No second thought any more, just go ahead and implement it.

We should remember a good change management process and performing integrated change control with discipline, will not only make final product more meaningful to customer and end user achieving high satisfaction but also help earning more revenue. A badly implemented change management process will do exactly opposite i.e. will lower the stakeholder satisfaction and lose the opportunities for additional revenue.

Other parts of Dealing with Integrated Change Control

  1. Part – 1: Basic Principles
  2. Part – 2: The Integrated Change Control Process (This post)
  3. Part – 3: How to deal with change management
  4. Part – 4: How to handle questions related to change management in PMP Exam

Dealing with Integrated Change Control

How to handle situations at ground and questions in PMP Exam related to integrated change control process.

Project Change Management is one of the main challenges for project managers on the ground and for the same reason, many people find it difficult to answer questions in PMP Exam related to project change management process. In PMBOK it is explained as Integrated Change Control under Project Integration Management:

Part – 1

Basic Principles:

Let’s start with some fundamentals. Fundamentals are the foundation of good understanding of any subject and same applies to integrated change control. We must understand some basic principles of change management first before we start dealing with it:

  1. We should have a well-defined scope duly signed with customer or stakeholders
  2. We should have a well-defined project change management process for integrated change control.
  3. We should discuss and explain the change management process to customer/stakeholders in the beginning of the project.
  4. Do incorporate suggestions of customer and other stakeholders in defining the process. However once finalized, stick to it.
  5. All changes in the scope either suggested by customer/stakeholders or by project team must go through change management process irrespective of their size and impact on the project.
  6. Any change to change management process is also a change and must go through existing project change management process.
  7. Team members should not be allowed to work on anything beyond the scope of the project.
  8. Team members should be aware of project scope very well so that they can recognize the change.
  9. Team members should be explained the change management process, how to recognize a change and how to follow project change management process.
  10. The world is changing and therefore changes are inevitable.
  11. Project managers should welcome all value-add changes and deny all non-value-add changes.
  12. We must create a Change Control Board (CCB). We will define CCB further in Change Management Process.
  13. Team should work on a change only after it is approved by change control board
  14. Project team being expert and in-charge of project is the only stakeholder to analyze the impact of changes and prepare impact analysis.
  15. If any other stakeholder has done the analysis, we should thank him/her for his/her help but it is not sufficient. Project team must do impact analysis to understand the real impact.

Other parts of Dealing with Integrated Change Control

  1. Part – 1: Basic Principles (This post)
  2. Part – 2: The Integrated Change Control Process
  3. Part – 3: How to deal with change management
  4. Part – 4: How to handle questions related to change management in PMP Exam

Individual project risk Vs Overall project risk

Individual project risk and overall project risk

Individual project risk and Overall project risk

Understanding difference between Individual project risk and overall project risk is important for project management professionals. It is especially important for people going to attempt PMP Exam. Let’s look at the difference…

Individual project risk Vs Overall project risk

Individual project risks are the risks that we identify in the project. By looking at the impact assessment of these risks identified in project, you can rank them which one is more severe and which one is less. Accordingly you can assess whether a quantitative assessment is required. The process of risk management documented in PMBOK is to manage individual risks in project.

However it is also important for the project manager to understand the overall risk exposure of the project. If a program manager has 10 projects in his program, how he will assess which project is more risky and which one is less. Similarly you need to assess overall project risks to contribute in portfolio risk management. Therefore project managers should assess the overall project risk. Sometimes called risk profile or overall risk exposure of the project. Overall risk is not just sum of individual risks you have identified in the project but it also includes other sources of uncertainties.

Overall project risk is defined as “the effect of uncertainty on the project as a whole”. It is the joint effect of all risks in the project and other sources of uncertainty. It is stakeholders’ perception of the effect of various variables/uncertainties on the overall outcome of the project. The main objective of the overall risk assessment is to understand the degree of achieving the final project goal.

More on Project Risk Management

  1. Project Risk Management Workshop – Learn the art of managing uncertainties in the projects
  2. Risk Appetite Vs Risk Tolerance

Risk Appetite Vs Risk Tolerance

Risk Appetite Vs Risk Tolerance

Risk Appetite Vs Risk Tolerance

Risk Appetite and Risk Tolerance are two terms often confuse the professionals especially PMP Aspirants who are preparing for PMP Exam as they are very close terms. Though both Risk Appetite and Risk Tolerance are defined in the PMBOK but the explanation is so abstract that people hardly make out any difference. Also in practice these terms are loosely used for the same purpose. Let’s look at the difference between them

Risk Appetite Vs Risk Tolerance

Risk Appetite is at high level and shows the policy or the attitude of stakeholders or organizations if they are willing to take risk or not to achieve their strategic goal. While Risk Tolerance is at lower level and shows how much risk is acceptable within a specific category, an organization unit or a specific area.

An organization can be called having higher risk appetite related to its strategic goal if it is willing to accept higher losses in the pursuit of higher returns.

So if an investment company ready to invest in a new startup venture as they expect higher returns if the venture is successful, it has higher appetite. But there is always a bar. Company further says, if there are 50% chances of losing the 50% investment, the company is not willing to invest. This is its Risk Tolerance.

Let’s take another example.

A hospital has low risk appetite related to emergency ward while higher appetite to general ward. – Risk Appetite.

The hospital attends to an emergency patient within an hour but respond within 15 minute to attend a critically ill patient. On the other side, a patient in general ward may take upto 3 hours – Risk Tolerance.

Risk Appetite is more subjective and difficult to measure. It shows the nature or inclination and is at policy level. While the Risk Tolerance is more measurable and specify limits beyond which company or stakeholders are not willing to take risk.

More on Project Risk Management

  1. Project Risk Management Workshop – Learn the art of managing uncertainties in the projects
  2. Individual project risk Vs Overall project risk

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 – Part 2

This is in continuation to my previous post “What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 – Part 1” in which I discussed new features added to Microsoft Project 2016 Professional. I this post I will cover new features added on the server side of the Microsoft Project 2016.

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 Server?

There are two features which could of real use if you are working on Project Online or Project 2016 Server.

1.      Resource Engagement

Proper resource management is always a challenge for project managers and resource managers. Negotiating with resource managers and getting required resources committed on the project is no easy task for project managers. Until Project 2014, it was very difficult to know for a project manager if the resource he/she is planning for his/her project is really available. Now in Project 2016, a project manager can request a resource from resource manager. Resource manager looking at the availability can approve or reject the request. Once approved, system locks the resource guaranteeing its availability to the project.

How does it work? Resource Manager can mark some resources (mainly shared resources whose availability is not assured to project) as “Need Approval” in the Project Server/Online. When any Project Manager assign these resources to his project (in Project Professional), he gets a warning that resource requires approval. Project Manager can request an approval. Resource Manager can approve or reject based on availability. If Resource Manager approves, the resource gets reserved for the project and if Resource Manager rejects, Project Manager and Resource Manager can negotiate and agree on an arrangement to ensure the availability or otherwise Project Manager has to use other resource.

The first step for Resource Engagement feature to work, Administrator or Resource Manager have to set “Resource requires approval…” for the resources they want project manager to take approval on assignment. To do this, resource manager has to go to Resource Center, select specific resources and click on Bulk Edit (or Edit if only one resource is selected) as in figure 1.

On the next page, click on Resource requires approval for all project assignment and “Save” the setting as in figure 2.

By doing so, I have made Architect, Engineer, Project Manager and Surveyor as require approval before assignment in the project in my example. I left the supervisor.

Once this setting is done, it is for project manager to request approval by creating an engagement from Project Professional. Please note “Add Engagement” feature on Resource tab does not appear if you are working offline or on a local project on your computer.

To create an engagement, I go to Project Professional, open the project and assign Surveyor, Project Manager and Supervisor. You may notice a warning indicator (refer figure 3) where Surveyor and Project Manager are assigned indicating that an engagement is required while there is no indicator where Supervisor is assigned. This is because I have not set “Resource requires approval…” for Supervisor.

These warnings indicate that I have to create resource engagement and take approval from Resource Manager to continue with these assignments. I need not to create any engagement and take approval for Supervisor. Now I have few options to create an engagement. First in the Gantt Chart view itself, I can right click on indicator and select “Fix in Engagement Inspector” to understand what action I have to take to resolve this. If you do so, you will observe an Inspector side windows opens and it suggest you to view conflicts in Task Usage view. Alternatively I can directly go to Task Usage view and see the conflicts. I go to Task Usage view and see these conflict highlighted by red squiggly line as in figure 4.

Right click on any red squiggly line showing conflict as in Figure 5, I can either select “Fix in Engagement Inspector” to suggest me next course of action or as I know already, I simply select “Create New Engagement” (Refer figure 6). Now I go to Resource Plan view (A new view added in Project 2016 for Resource Engagement feature) to see these engagements created with draft status (Figure 7).

They remain in draft status until I submit them to Resource Manager for approval. I can select few engagements and submit those selected engagement for approval or I can simply submit all the engagements for approval. When I submit these engagements for approval, their status change to “Proposed” as in figure 7.

Engagement Requests are submitted for approval. Now Resource Manager can see them on Project Online. Let’s switch to Project Online to see what happens there.

I go to Resource Center in Project Online as Resource Manager. I select Project Manager and Surveyor resources and click on Resource Requests as in figure 8.

I see the resource requests in “Proposed” state pending for approval. I select the resource to approve and click on Accept or Reject as in figure 9. I can also provide appropriate comments for Project Manager to see the justification of the action. The Resource convert into committed or rejected as in figure 10.

Project Manager can see them as soon as resource is accepted or rejected. He sees the status in Project Professional as in figure 11. He can also see the justification comments from Resource Manager. If he wants he can reply and that way Resource Manager and Project Manager can negotiate in the system. Please note it is not a good idea to keep talking through system, better to pick up the phone and negotiate online interactively.

2.      Resource Capacity Heat Map

For a resource manager to approve or rejects a proposed resource engagement, he should know resource capacity and current engagement. This is exactly what Heat Map does. Heat Map uses Red, Green and Blue color coding to show the current engagement of resources over time. It shows Red for over allocation, Blue for under allocation and Green for appropriate allocation. Based on this map, a resource manager can decide if he can approve a proposed resource engagement.

To see heat map, go to Resource Center, selected the resources and click on Capacity Planning as in figure 12.

On the next page, select Capacity and Engagement Heat Map from the View drop down, you will see a heat map of current engagement as shown in figure 13.

If a resource is over allocated, it shows allocated hours in red background, for appropriate allocation it shows allocated hours in green background and in case of under allocation, it shows allocated hours in blue background.

Hope you will find it useful and make use of this new feature in your project. Please do let me know if you have any question.

I look forward for your views. Please leave your comments below.

 

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2
Figure 2

Figure 3
Figure 3

Figure 4
Figure 4

Figure 5
Figure 5

Figure 6
Figure 6

Figure 7
Figure 7

Figure 8
Figure 8

Figure 9
Figure 9

Figure 10
Figure 10

Figure 11
Figure 11

Figure 12
Figure 12

Figure 13
Figure 13

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 – Part 1

I will cover following under “What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016”

  1. What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 Professional? – In Part 1
  2. What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 Server? – In Part 2

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 Professional?

Almost every 3 years, Microsoft launches a new version of Project. Project 2016 is recently launched with some new features. As such there is no change in fundamentals, new features are add-on and make life of project manager simpler.

If you are still working with Project 2010 or 2013, you may continue using them. You are not going to lose a lot. However if you have 2016 version, there are some new features for you to make your life simpler. These features are as follows…

  1. Tell me what you want to do?
  2. Multiple Timelines
  3. Resource Engagement

1.      Tell me what you want to do?

Microsoft has introduced a new feature to search the functions easily. As number of features increasing in MS Project with every new version, organizing them is becoming difficult and difficult. This new features will come very handy to locate the feature you need.

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 - Tell me what you want to do?

“Tell me what you want to do?” is a search box right next to the tabs. You need not to locate the feature you want to use, just start typing a word appear in the name of the feature you want to use and MS Project will start displaying relevant features. As you type, it will narrow down the search for you to select easily. Select the feature to execute.

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 - Tell me what you want to do?

I personally feel this feature will help a lot and save time in reorganizing the features. It will also make it easy to find those features which are not used so frequently. It will saves you from filling up you quick access from infrequently used features.

2.      Multiple Timelines

Timeline view was introduced in Project 2010 and project managers really liked it especially when they had to report the project plan to senior management. However its usages remain limited. In Project 2016 version, timeline view is further enhanced. In 2013 and 2010, you can create only one timeline. Now in 2016 version, you can create multiple timelines. Every timeline has its own start date and end date and can be customized independently.

What’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 - Multiple Timelines

Now you can present more effectively your project plan to your seniors especially those who do not want to go into details. I feel, usages of this feature will remain limited. To make it a hit, I believe, Microsoft has to introduce tracking details in timeline. That means display baseline plan, current plan and completed in timeline view. I hope Microsoft will introduce this feature in coming version. We need to wait till that time. Still it is a quite useful feature and we should use it to present our plan to stakeholders who do not want to get into details.

3.      Resource Engagement

ResouWhat’s new in Microsoft Project 2016 - Resource Engagementrce Engagement is a new feature added in Project 2016 version to give more control over resource management. Some resources have limited availability and cannot be assigned freely. With this features introducing, resource manager can identify some resources as requiring approval to be assigned to projects. If a project manager want these resources, he/she can submit an engagement request and seek approval from resource manager. Project manager and resource manage can negotiate and once resource manager approves it, project manager assign the resource in his/her project.

This feature only works when you are connected with MS Project 2016 Server/Online. Therefore I will discuss this in details in my next post which will be focused on server side enhancements. Till that time enjoy these features.

For more on this subject, please refer Microsoft support for Project 2016

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/What-s-new-in-Project-2016-111BCAF9-BC27-4C15-80E6-85E726307520

 

 

How to update a baseline in MS Project

You may need to update a baseline in MS Project, you created before start tracking your project. First of all you should update baseline only in the following circumstances

  1. You have got a change which is approved by change control board/client/stakeholders
  2. You decided to re-plan your remaining project.

Now let’s discuss the second option first as it is quick. As you are preparing a new plan for all the pending project work, you can safely baseline the entire new plan. Please remember, you should not baseline the tasks that are already executed and actuals are entered for them earlier.

Let’s discuss the 1st option. When your client, your team, you, or any other stakeholder suggest a change in the project scope, you may need to include new tasks or delete some tasks from the WBS. We will discuss both the scenarios.

  1. Additional work is added to the project

Schedule your new tasks in the project as you do usually. Insert new tasks wherever you find them suitable. Enter new estimates, set appropriate dependencies and assign required resources. Once finalized, please follow the steps below

Step 1: Selected all newly inserted tasks

Step 2: Click Set Baseline on Project tab

Step 3: In the dialogue box, select the baseline you want to update from a Set Baseline drop down. Usually the first one.

Step 4: Select Selected Task radio button.

Step 5: Now under Roll up baselines, select how you want baseline data to be rolled up to summary tasks:

To all summary tasks:  Select this check box if you want to update baseline data for the selected tasks to be rolled to the corresponding summary tasks up to the project summary task.  If you do not check this box, baseline data of newly inserted task will not be reflected in baseline data for summary tasks. It may create an anomaly. This check box is a usual choice.

From subtasks into selected summary task(s):  Select this check box if you want baseline data for only selected summary tasks to be updated to reflect newly added tasks. You cannot by pass a lower level summary tasks but you can restrict update to baseline for only lower level summary tasks. This check box is to be used in specific situation only and with caution as baseline data of upper level and lower level summary tasks may not match.

Step 6: Click ok.

  1. Some work is removed from the project

Updating baseline in this case could be bit tricky especially when we have entered actuals in some tasks. Consider the following scenario

                Summary Task

                                Sub Task 1           2 days

                                Sub Task 2           1 day

Suppose you have entered 3 days as actual for Sub Task 1. Now due to an approved change request, you need to remove Sub Task 2. You may be confused how to re-baseline Summary Task. If you use the method describe in 1st scenario and re-baseline by selecting Sub Task 1, actuals in Sub Task 1 may get baselined and your variance will be lost.

Instead of that you follow the steps below

Step 1: Selected the summary task under which you have removed the tasks

Step 2: Click Set Baseline on Project tab

Step 3: In the dialogue box, select the baseline you want to update from a Set Baseline drop down. Usually the first one.

Step 4: Select Selected Task radio button.

Step 5: Now under Roll up baselines, you select both the check boxes “To all summary tasks” and “From subtasks into selected summary task(s)”. When you do this actuals in Sub Task 1 will not make effect in baseline but it will remove the effect of deleted task.

Step 6: Click ok.

Do not forget to verify the baseline data of new tasks and their corresponding summary tasks.