The Project Manager’s Simplified Guide to Microsoft Project
As a Microsoft consulting partner, it’s no surprise we run our core business using Microsoft products. All project work completed by Timlin is delivered using the Project suite of products including task management, time tracking, resource management, and status reporting. These tools allow us to effectively manage our business without the obstacles that often are present when managing multiple projects using disparate systems and tools.
As a project manager, I need an easy-to-use solution and something I can quickly pull up to assess the health of multiple projects running concurrently.
The Phases of Project Management
Before we begin any project, we must understand the phases of the Project Lifecycle before determining the appropriate tools to solve our challenges.
- Identification – First we need to know why we’re undertaking the project. This stage in the lifecycle is often one of the more “subjective” phases since it’s frequently directed from the top down and/or primarily based on financial estimate; though there are many other secondary influencers.
- Prioritization – Organizational leadership frequently directs this stage and it requires ranking individual projects against an overall backlog or roadmap. Prioritization factors may include value, level of commitment, corporate strategy, expected outcomes, effort/work required, and interdepartmental agreement.
- Planning – Once the priorities are set, then we must determine the scope of work and available resources, assign those resources, and set the expectations for project milestones, deliverables and completion.
- Coordination – Next, we set up the logistics behind coordinating and managing the project workload such as task assignments, delegation, time allocation, and sequence of work.
- Execution – Once everything is in place, we need to manage the execution of the actual work on the project, including what we need to do, how to do it, and the collaborative effort required.
- Delivery – Finally we deliver on the project expectations and outcomes and present all deliverables to the client.
- Measure – We’re not finished yet; we then monitor, measure and report on the project results, outcomes, impacts, efficiency, timing, budget and other metrics.
From the perspective of a Project Manager, the Identification and Prioritization project stages are often less important to daily project planning and execution, however they are still areas we can and will impact. Ensuring the most cost effective and impactful projects are underway is often the biggest organizational hurdle during these phases.
In a perfect world,