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Vertex42 The Excel Nexus Overview

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Spreadsheets and risk simulation

Most estimators use spreadsheets as a matter of routine. Spreadsheets provide For risk purposes, the ability to incorporate distributional information in the spreadsheet and evaluate the net effect of multiple distributions are the main features of interest. Uncertainties can be included in estimating spreadsheets, with the accuracy set as a standard parameter in the absence of more precise information. An example of this was shown in Figure 20.9, where cell C5 contained a variation parameter. Dependence should also be included in the spreadsheet, with high positive dependence assumed for early estimates in the absence of more precise information. Using Risk, the level of dependence may also be set as a parameter. If uncertainty distributions and dependence linkages are built into the estimating spreadsheet in this manner, the risk software can be used to simulate the uncertainty in the total cost. The total cost uncertainty, or the uncertainty for any sub-total, can be displayed...

Importing Tasks from an Excel Worksheet

Note If you're working with a version of Microsoft Excel 2000 or earlier, you can still use the Microsoft Project Task List Import template. Open Excel and then click File, New. Click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab. Double-click the Microsoft Project Task List Import Template. 4 In the Files Of Type list, click Microsoft Excel Workbooks (*.xls). The task list appears in the list of folders and files. 7 Click Project Excel Template and then click Next.

Bringing Excel workbook information into Project

Want to start your project in Excel You can use the Excel template and then easily transfer the information from Microsoft Excel workbooks to Microsoft Project files. The Excel template automatically installs to the Office template folder (drive Program Files Microsoft 0ffice Templates 1033) and is available in the Templates dialog box in Excel. Note The Excel template made its appearance in Project 2002. Note You can use any of the existing import export maps to either import to or export from an Excel workbook, but you can't import an Excel PivotTable into Project. Figure 26-21 You find the Excel template on the Spreadsheet Solutions tab of the Templates dialog box. Figure 26-21 You find the Excel template on the Spreadsheet Solutions tab of the Templates dialog box. 3. Click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab. Figure 26-22 An Excel workbook that's based on the Microsoft Project Task List Import Template. 2. Open the Files of type list box, and select Microsoft Excel Workbooks, as shown...

Creating a lessons learned spreadsheet at the beginning of the project

At the very beginning of your project, before you can even imagine an ending, you ought to create a spreadsheet to document mistakes and successes. Better yet, why not create a template for the spreadsheet so that major project areas are covered. Share the template with your team and make documenting lessons learned a regular agenda item for your team meetings, asking the question, What did we learn from this If you enforce this level of critical thinking, team members will take ownership of this process, and they will be as proud of their successes as they are glad they learned from their mistakes. The final Look at the example of a lessons learned spreadsheet in Table 17-1 to inspire you about how to use this valuable tool in your own software projects. Remember, the column headings should vary depending on the particular type of software project that you're managing. You'll be amazed at how quickly this spreadsheet becomes a regularly expected part of your regularly scheduled...

Copying Sheet Information to Excel

Anything in a Microsoft Project table can easily be copied and pasted into Excel worksheet cells. Unlike copying from Excel to Microsoft Project, you do not need to match columns or data types because all Excel fields can accept any data types. To copy Microsoft Project table cells and paste them into Excel worksheet cells, follow these steps The selected project data is inserted into the Excel worksheet starting at the anchor cell. Adjust column widths in the worksheet as necessary to see the data (see Figure 17-4). Figure 17-4. Your project data is pasted into the Excel worksheet. Figure 17-4. Your project data is pasted into the Excel worksheet.

Copying Graphics from Excel

You can copy an Excel graph and paste it into certain areas of Microsoft Project as a picture. You can even copy Excel worksheet cells, and instead of pasting those cells into table cells, you can paste them as a picture in Microsoft Project. Excel chart picture in the Excel chart picture in the

Creating a New Excel Object in Project

You can create a new Excel workbook or chart as an embedded object in your project. In this case, the new Excel object exists only within your project file. To do this, follow these steps 4 In the Object Type box, click Microsoft Excel Chart or Microsoft Excel Worksheet. An Excel worksheet or chart appears in the location you selected (see Figure 17-7).

Linking from Excel to Project

In Microsoft Project, you can link an Excel worksheet fragment or chart in the chart area of a Gantt chart or the Objects box in the Task Form or Resource Form. To do this, follow the steps listed under Embedding Copied Excel Information in a Project File earlier in this chapter. In the Paste Special dialog box, select the Paste Link option. If you select Microsoft Excel Worksheet, a picture of the selected cells is embedded and linked, rather than flowing into the table cells as text. You can also copy a set of table cells in Microsoft Project and link them into Excel worksheet cells. The data looks as if they were originally typed in Excel, but they're actually linked to Microsoft Project data. To link Microsoft Project table data to Excel worksheet cells, follow these steps

Embedding Between Microsoft Project and Excel

This means that not only can you have a picture of a Gantt chart in an Excel worksheet, but you can double-click that Gantt Chart picture to access Microsoft Project commands to change data in the Gantt Chart. You can then switch to the Resource Sheet and change information there as well.

Exporting from Project to Excel

Suppose that your company's accounting department wants to analyze your project cost information in conjunction with those of other projects taking place throughout the company. The department uses Excel to analyze project cost data, so you'll need to export your Microsoft Project information to an Excel workbook.

Software for cost risk analysis

The risk analysis package Risk provides a convenient way of performing quantitative risk analysis calculations. Risk is a simulation package that embeds within a standard Excel spreadsheet. Risk has several useful features. It allows distributions and probability trees like the examples shown in Figure 20.5, Figure 20.6 and Figure 20.7 to be specified and incorporated in an estimating spreadsheet. As an example, Figure 20.9 shows how the distribution for valve supply, Element 2.3.2.1 in the irrigation case study, was represented in an Excel spreadsheet using Risk. The element valve supply has a base cost estimate of 300 000. The Risk function RiskTriang was used in cell D17 to represent a triangular variation distribution, with a most likely value at the estimate and a range from 0.75 to 1.25, i.e. a range of plus or minus 25 specified in cell C5 named VAR. The expected value of the cost distribution is displayed on the screen in cell D17. The distribution for the valve supply cost is...

Generating Reports from Project XML Data

You can export project information as XML data and create reports in other applications. You can generate this information as an HTML file for viewing on a Web site. You can send this information to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. In short, you can use this project XML data in any application that recognizes XML.

The capital cost estimate

The variation distributions for items in the estimate were converted to cost distributions by multiplying by the base cost values. The cost distributions were then added, to form a distribution for the total budget cost (Figure 21.4). The additions were performed using the Risk simulation package embedded in a standard Excel spreadsheet. The analysis indicates a very high likelihood (better than 99 ) of achieving the budget with contingency, and a 95 likelihood of achieving a cost less than 105.

How Did The Pmo Evolve

Currently, the PMO tracks projects bi-weekly for schedule, cost, and risk management status in a simple Excel spreadsheet. The results are entered into a project inventory for analysis and prioritization by senior management. The PMO also provides regular training in the project life cycle and fulfills requests for project management assistance in the areas of

Mistake Not Identifying and Assessing Risks in a Standardized Fashion

Tracking System One popular method of tracking risks is to begin by having project team members submit their issues in a common centralized database. Although this may sound difficult to establish, one such database could be a simple Excel spreadsheet with various columns for the required information. Exhibit 2 contains sample fields that could be maintained in the database.

Organizing For Managing Risk

The effect on payback time concept is so simple that it can be done on the proverbial back of the envelope. I created a simple example in an Excel spreadsheet, in less than an hour. I am amazed that I rarely see anyone evaluating the effect of delays and cost overruns on return on investment. Yet, if we use the Standish data, such an evaluation would show that the typical project would, based on such performance, extend the payback time to more than twice the original plan. Of course, this is another example of downside potential. And in today's business environment, such bad news is more likely to be swept under the rug, rather than to have the project rejected because of the risk. It's that denial thing, again. Unfortunately, hiding the risk does not prevent it from happening.

Proficiency Enhancement Resources

In his book Introduction to Simulation and Risk Analysis, James R. Evans uses the Excel spreadsheet as a teaching and operational tool to illustrate simulation modeling concepts and analysis of results. Excel is a tool common to almost every office software set and can be used in direct support of your project.

Scenario Define Stakeholder Requirements

In their most recent meeting, the sales representatives were concerned about the response time of the new system. They have to wait an inordinate amount of time when placing orders. They also are concerned because the drop-down list on one of the screens does not contain the data they need. The managers agree that the response time issue seems to be a common problem throughout the sales organization. The sales report manager mentions that her biggest problem is having to create Excel spreadsheets to manipulate the format of the data contained in the canned reports.

Displaying different columns

Each spreadsheet view has certain default columns of data that are stored in tables. Gantt Chart view with the Tracking table displayed, for example, has data related to the progress of tasks. The Resource sheet contains many columns of data about resources that can be useful for entering new resource information. In addition to displaying predefined tables of columns, you can modify any spreadsheet table to display any columns you like.

Analyzing Financial Structure of an Investment

The important part of the financial analysis is the construction of the cash flow diagram. The rest of the analysis consists of a set of calculations using mathematical formulae. The annual values of the cash flow diagram are taken directly from the statement of the problem and by applying the effects of depreciation, capital gain or loss, etc. After the cash flow diagram is constructed, the annual values can be entered into a spreadsheet, and by using proper commands, the computer will perform the required calculations. There are financial analysis calculators that can perform the calculations and provide the NPW, EUAW, and ROR when given the annual cash flow values. Students familiar with computers can construct their own special spreadsheet or program using any of the programming languages.

Reporting Progress to the Steering Committee

The project manager next conducts the Lean Performance Planning Quality Assurance Review. The key report for this review is a progress report for the steering committee utilizing graphs generated by the Project Control Spreadsheet, based on project team process owners' updates. Figures 10.14, 10.15, 10.16, and 10.17 illustrate the type of visual reporting generated by a fairly rudimentary spreadsheet, here using Primary and Secondary rather than Organizational and Activity to denote process level.

Executing the Project

Pam uses spreadsheet software to prepare task assignments. This spreadsheet software is also known as what general project management term 4. Pam uses spreadsheet software to prepare task assignments. This spreadsheet software also known as a project management information system.

Review Organizational Resource Utilization Impacts

Resource requirements for the current project opportunity should be evaluated against the total portfolio of projects. This examination can be presented using a spreadsheet or other analytical tool. It includes examination of other projects' resource allocation plans (or extracted summaries), and it provides for a review of the total financial commitments and staffing requirements tallied across all projects. The following considerations can be deliberated

Options for Issue

Let's take a look at the available tool options for our Issue Log. The most popular options are word processor, spreadsheet, database, and collaboration workflow tools. There are advantages to each and each can be appropriate in the right scenario. Table 13.2 provides a comparison summary for our Issue Log options. Spreadsheet

Figure Process Requirements Definitionorder Entry

The process workflow is developed by the process experts and customers who perform and use the outputs of the process. Do not use documents and drawings or any secondhand sources to develop the diagram. The project facilitator should create a spreadsheet or other management tool to schedule process requirements definition meetings between process experts and customers.

Click OK to save the change

With the Change Highlighting feature turned on, you can clearly see the effect on your schedule of making this type of change. To turn on this feature, choose ViewOShow Change Highlighting. Any tasks affected by adding or deleting a dependency now have either their start or finish date columns highlighted in the spreadsheet pane, depending on which date the change affected.

Fast Foundation In Project Management

The action plan template is simply a spreadsheet formatted with standard headings for recording the basic information of a plan and tracking actual performance. Fill in the calendar portion by shading the cells to create a Gantt chart. This template is available for download at www.versatilecompany.com forms.

Sources of Data for the Detailed Budget

The actual calculation of a budget is pretty straightforward it simply involves adding up figures. Just about any spreadsheet program is a good tool for the total budget calculation. What isn't easy is creating the numbers that go into the overall calculation. The following categories are the basis for the budget calculation. (Keep in mind that these are high-level categories. Depending on the size and nature of any project, some categories may be eliminated or may need to be broken down to be more specific.)

Present Value of Arithmetic Gradient Series

The spreadsheet calculation is shown below. As can be seen we used the same spreadsheet configuration in this case as for Example 1.2. In using the compound interest table, we had to break the cash flow diagram into two components and use the P G and P A expressions. The use of the spreadsheet made the operation a lot simpler.

Maintaining a Scope Bank

The process of discovery and learning by the team is continuous throughout the cycle. Any new ideas or thoughts on functionality are simply recorded in the Scope Bank and saved for the Client Checkpoint phase. The Scope Bank can physically be a list posted in the team room, or some electronic form (spreadsheet or word processing document). Whichever form you decide to use, make sure it is visible to the team. Changes to scope are never made during a cycle. The cycle plan is adhered to religiously. There are no schedule extensions or additions of resources within a cycle. Whatever can get done gets done. All of these extraneous items are taken up in the Client Checkpoint phase.

Facilitating Your Project with Microsoft Project

Because a project involves a myriad of tasks, resources, assignments, dates, and more, it's clear that you need some kind of tool to help you keep track of the details. By using a spreadsheet or word processing program, you could create a table that lists your tasks, durations, start and finish dates, and assigned resources. In fact, that might very well get you started. But it's likely that you'll end up working harder than you have to in an attempt to make the tool work right. Such a table would not be able to perform the following functions

Accessing Your Project Information

You view and work with information in Microsoft Project by selecting a specific view to be displayed in your Microsoft Project workspace. Of the many views built into Microsoft Project, some have to do with tasks, others with resources, and still others with assignments. Certain views are a spreadsheet of tables and columns. Others are graphs or forms. Other views are a blend for example, the Gantt Chart includes both a sheet and a graph.

List of Identified Risks

Risks are all the potential events and their subsequent consequences that could occur as identified by you and others during this process. You might want to consider logging your risks in a risk database or tracking system to organize them and keep a close eye on their status. This can easily be done in spreadsheet format or whatever method you choose. List the risks, assign each risk a tracking number, and note the potential cause or event and the potential impact. This list gives you a means to track the risks, their occurrence, and the responses implemented.

Simplified Valuebased Accomplishment Index

All that was required was a list of the work to be done and a weight factor for each item. If a task schedule has been prepared, the system will compute the planned effort (BCWS). But, as you can see from the example, we were able to use the EVA practice without an item-by-item schedule, substituting a planned rate of overall accomplishment. With the weighted task list, all that was needed was a periodic statusing of percent complete. Computers will do the rest. A traditional CPM program will have all the EVA capabilities built in. But if you don't use one, any spreadsheet program can easily be set up to do the job.

Format of Project Templates

Project templates should be provided in a standard electronic format. Many companies use the most common word processing or spreadsheet packages, such as MS Word or MS Excel. The formatting of the templates usually undergoes a series of editing checks and technical reviews before distribution. Text sufficient to guide the user should be included on each project template. The PMO should also maintain and publish a separate master record index with a complete list of all project templates in circulation in the company. The master record index should contain the following information

Establish Cost Estimating Templates

A long overdue application was suggested by the PMO for the creation of a spreadsheet application that would lead a project manager through the entire process of estimating time and cost. The system would include all the standard costing data in the tables generated from the above initiative. For the first time the organization had a repeatable and reliable method for building time and cost estimates. Under Laurie's direction the IT department designed and programmed the application. It was up and running in less than 3 months. No training was needed as the system prompted the project manager through the entire process. The teams enthusiastically endorsed the application. It was used exclusively by project managers beginning the day it was put into production status.

Statistical Parameters of Other Program Milestones

Therefore, some good advice for every project manager is to obtain a handbook of numerical tables or learn to use the Normal function in any spreadsheet program that has statistical functions. Of course, every project manager learns the confidence figures for 1, 2, or 3 standard deviations they are, respectively, 68.26, 95.46, and 98.76. 2 Actually, whether or not the project manager proactively thinks about the random nature of the task durations and assigns a probability distribution to a task does not change the fact that the majority of tasks in projects (projects we define as one-time endeavors never done exactly the same way before) are risky and tasks have some randomness to their duration estimate. Therefore, the fact that the project manager does not or did not think about this randomness does not change the reality of the situation. Therefore, the conclusions cited in the text regarding the application of the Central Limit Theorem and the Law of Large

Using the help of others

It's also beneficial to ensure that your system involves other people. Though the final decision is yours, you might as well have more than one set of eyes looking into all the facets of a proposal. Team members may see something you missed, or may verify a pertinent detail you weren't sure of. An evaluation committee using a screening tool such as a product comparison spreadsheet can provide essential input and insights as you approach decision time. A properly used screening system can greatly diminish the chances of signing up to a less than desirable stipulation in a purchase contract.

Whats required of you

Many people contemplate using project management software with about as much relish as they contemplate their next visit to the dentist. They anticipate hours of data-entry time before they can get anything out of the software. To some extent, that vision is true. You have to provide a certain amount of information about your project for any software to estimate schedules and generate reports, just as you have to enter numbers for a spreadsheet to calculate a budget or a loan payback schedule. On the other hand, after you enter your basic project information into Microsoft Project, the ongoing maintenance of that data is far easier than generating handwritten to-do lists that become obsolete almost immediately. In addition, the accuracy and professionalism of reports that you generate with Project can make the difference between a poorly managed project and a successful one. As with a quarterly budget that you create with spreadsheet software, after you enter the data, Project...

Define an Outline for the Project Plan

Then include the documents spoken of above, including a textual representation of your tasks, activities, and phases. Most word processors today include the ability to extract a TOC from your documents. You should include your list of tasks, activities, and phases in a word processor or spreadsheet format after you ' ve gone through the efforts of keying the details into your project plan software. The file types are interchangeable, and you can typically export to a conventional spreadsheet or even HTML format.

You most likely have several packages already on your computer

For example, you can depict your project's schedule in a Gantt chart and display personnel hours over the duration of each task in a spreadsheet. However, if one team member is unexpectedly out for a week, you have to make separate changes by revising the person's hours in the spreadsheet and then changing the Gantt chart in the graphics package to reflect new activity start and end dates. Even though some programs can share data directly with other programs, the process is often cumbersome.

Funding Authorization

Of approaches that could be used to establish that prioritization. Some are non-numeric others are numeric. Some are very simple others can be quite complex and involve multivariate analysis, goal programming, and other complex computer-based algorithms. Our approach here is to identify those methods that can easily be implemented in the public sector and do not require a computer system for support, although for some, a simple spreadsheet application can reduce some of the labor intensity of the process. We discuss six models

Analyzing Your Enterprise Project Activities

The Portfolio Analyzer presents spreadsheet or graphical summary information through the use of online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes, used for both projects and resources. This tool enables the user to mine the enterprise data for specific kinds of information drawn from the entire organization.

Documenting Requirements

Whether the classified requirements list is stored in a database, word processing tables, or a spreadsheet, it is important that it is located and formatted in such a way that it is accessible and useable to the majority of people on the team. The requirements list is a project asset and should be thought of as such. Management, the development team, and the customer have a ready tool for determining what is within the scope of the project and what is not.

Common Planning Models

In a development chain management system, these financial planning models are sometimes implemented as financial tools that automatically integrate financial information within the broader system. While financial planning models can also be implemented using spreadsheet templates, this will achieve only a portion of the potential benefits. It will not enable automatic integration with other data from resource management or ERP systems nor will it enable the consolidation of financial data across all projects, since the spreadsheets are usually done and maintained on individual desktop computers. In addition, the deployment and updating of individual spreadsheets to all project teams is difficult, frequently resulting in only partial adoption of standard practices.

Accepted or Rejected for Sizing Some ideas are so off the wall that no

Resource should be expended on sizing them. They may include a function that is out of line with the product (adding a 3D game engine to a spreadsheet, for example), add a function that only 1 percent of the customers might need (say, elaborate plumbing joins and end in a general drawing program), or duplicate an existing function.

Measuring Progress When There Are Many Concept Similar Tasks

Figure 12.2 shows an example of a simple graph that displays this type of status. This graph can be generated by simple spreadsheet programs or project management software. These graphs can be extremely useful, but they can be misleading because they don't differentiate between easy and difficult tasks. For example, if all the easy piles were driven first, or if all the easy drawings were created first, the projects might initially show progress ahead of schedule, only to fall behind later when the time comes to handle the difficult piles and drawings.

OnDemand Portfolio Analysis

On-demand portfolio analysis requires integration of the portfolio analysis system with all project data. This means that everyone is able to do on-demand portfolio analysis, and all project teams must be part of a common system, such as a DCM system. On-demand portfolio analysis requires the transition of portfolio analysis from a technique and tool such as a spreadsheet to an integrated enterprise system. Most people have found that, if portfolio analysis is to be helpful, it must provide multiple ways to understand a portfolio of projects. From an overview analysis, a portfolio manager may want to take a deep dive into something that he's concerned about. He then may want to look at the analysis slightly differently. Portfolio analysis can be done on dozens of types of data, different time periods for the data can be selected, a wide range of comparisons can be made, and multiple charting techniques can be used to analyze the information selected. In total, there may be more than...

What Skills Do I Need

Your main tools are the word-processor and the spreadsheet (or pencil and paper). Project management is mostly about people and common sense, not about specialist tools. Communication aids, such as electronic mail, are other key resources. If you have them, then learn how to use them.

Create a requirements definition questionnaire

To effectively interview, the team should create a questionnaire to obtain information about how people work. To gather information for your questionnaire, use the reports that your company currently uses to record project performance. Evaluate each report to identify the resources and projects that are (or should be) included on the report how tasks, projects, and resources are categorized and who uses each report. To help you produce your questionnaire, you may want to download Microsoft's Enterprise Information Framework (EIF), a series of documents that describe implementing Project Server. In particular, the EIF Interview spreadsheet contains sample questions and codes them based on who should answer the question. Then, the Requirements Specification document assigns the question to a category that helps you identify how each question can help you with some aspect of the implementation. You can download the EIF at the following Web site

Real Time Integration with Project Resource Management

Companies at the first stage of pipeline management tried to combine this mass of resource data with portfolio information that contained the critical attributes of each project, and to enter all of this information into a spreadsheet to do pipeline management. As with periodic portfolio management, the data used in periodic pipeline management were frequently out of date by the time they were all collected. Understandably, this cumbersome process was only performed when there seemed to be a particularly burning need to do pipeline management.

Life Cycle Demand Analysis LCDA

The technique shows its value most when the results (obtained from interviews, surveys, IT administration) are displayed on a spreadsheet format for easy reference and review. Table 4.4 gives a typical LCDA for a company that would like to reflect the anticipated usage or demand of a proposed product or solution. In this example, a 16.6 percent average annual increase is anticipated. Accordingly, the analyst uses this growth factor when assessing the current and proposed utilization.

Documenting Your Project Even if You Dont Want To

1 Start early Most people start their lessons learned documents at the end of a project, but they should start this documentation at the beginning of a project. Create a spreadsheet that has placeholders for each area of your project and then add to this document as the project progresses. By the time you close the project, you will already have a nearly complete lessons learned document that you and others can use for your future software projects.

How Do I Complete My Plan

Work out the most logical sequence of events. There may be dependencies between different tasks, or overall constraints write these into the plan and make sure you observe them. (This is where a project management tool, or at least a spreadsheet, is very useful.) You have a team of three You (Self), Andy and Bill. You will do the Strategy, Bill should do the Design, and you can split the other jobs. Work will start on 1st January. The completed plan might look like the following. (This is a very simple spreadsheet. The start formulas just copy a date from the end column. The end formulas take the start date, and add either effort*7 4 or effort*78, depending on how many are assigned. Tve manually picked out the critical path with a * in the CP column.)

Stage Periodic Portfolio and Pipeline Management

The problem was that all portfolio data had to be collected manually, because product development teams were all using independent and inconsistent practices and systems to manage the information on their projects. Some team managers and members stored project data in spreadsheets on their personal computers, some created this information for presentations, and some used formal planning documents to define the information. Some important information, such as information vital to project-risk analysis, was not even collected by some project teams. This was even worse if a company wanted to manage multiple portfolios across multiple divisions. Spreadsheets were typically used as the repository of this manually collected information, and portfolio and pipeline charts were then created from these spreadsheets. In some cases, these spreadsheet tools were quite complicated, with programming that enabled data to be entered into worksheets that automatically moved the data to the right...

Structuring the risk model

Because the unit costs in a risk model may be represented by distributions rather than simple numbers, the fact that one unit cost makes up part of several cost elements has a profound effect on the process and the outcomes that are obtained. If individual distributions are included each time a unit cost appears in the estimating spreadsheet, then appropriate levels of correlation must also be incorporated in the model to avoid underestimating the spread in the outcome of the total cost, as discussed in the next chapter. A preferred approach is to identify the uncertainty associated with each unit cost and apply it consistently through the model, usually by isolating the relevant unit cost and treating it as a model parameter. The tasks required to construct a risk model will depend on the modelling technique to be used and the tools that will support the process. They will typically involve the implementation of the structure discussed above in a computer-based tool such as a...

Extend Your Knowledge

Interview two or three people who regularly use an application software package. Examples of an appli cation software package include an Internet browser, electronic spreadsheet package, or a word processing package. Summarize each interview in one or two pages based upon the following questions

The Progressing Stage

The software must allow the user to define just how the work is to be executed, and not force the user to create some artificial plan, just because the tool is too limited to allow finer definition. A few tools allow finite definition of schedule and resource assignment conditions. For example, the Distribution Spreadsheet Mode, in Scitor's PS8, allows the user to define exactly how resources are applied to tasks. (Tools from Advanced Management Solutions and from ABT, acquired by Niku, provide similar capabilities.) Additional features support discontinuous application of resources (determined during the resource leveling execution), and assignment to multiple tasks.

Test Cases and Scripts

For major testing efforts, especially those involving the feeding of test data from one system to another, the progress of test cases should be monitored. In large projects it is common to use an automated test management tool. If an automated tool is not available, a spreadsheet should be created to track the progress of test cases. The current status

Fixed Dates and Multiple Precedences in Monte Carlo Simulations

The same is usually said for precedences other than finish-to-start redefine all precedences to finish-to-start before running the simulation. Many Monte Carlo results may be strange or even incorrect, depending on the sophistication of the package, if there are other than finish-to-start dependencies in the schedule. Again, the general rule of thumb is to go through your schedule and remove all relationships other than finish-to-start and replace them with an alternative network architecture of all finish-to-start dependencies of project outcomes. Although objectionable at first, the author has found that few networks really require other than finish-to-start relationships if the proper granularity of planning is done to identify all the points for finish-to-start, which obviates the need to use the other relationships. 4 There are many PC and larger system software packages that will run a Monte Carlo simulation on a data set. In this chapter, our focus is on the network schedule,...

NonCPM Resource Planning and Analysis Tools

Allegro is not a critical path scheduling tool. It is a resource planning and analysis tool, employing a spreadsheet metaphor as a convenient mechanism to input to and analyze a comprehensive project and resource database. The master calendar, in Allegro, can be set to define up to 54 custom, variable periods. Normally, you would set up a few historical periods, followed by weekly periods for a few months, and then go to coarser periods, such as months and quarters. A period can be any number of days. Each period becomes a column in the spreadsheet. Data can be analyzed by project, resources, timeslice, and so on at any level of detail. All analysis views are in the spreadsheet format, with a freeze column at the right and a freeze row at the bottom (user selectable). Data can be viewed in Hours, Revenue, Labor (costs), or Percentage of Available Time. All views can be printed. In addition, there is a report writer for graphs and customized reports.

Figure Example Schedule

Create a dynamic plan that will change as a reflection of tasks completing earlier or later than scheduled. This is where the spreadsheet loses its appeal and project management software becomes a necessity. Keep in mind to apply any Lead and Lag times that you discovered during Activity Sequencing.

Managing the Project Portfolio

Gather the list of all the projects in your department. Note when management thinks the projects have started or are planned to start and when they are supposed to end. Organize them in a grid, month by month.1 If you used stickies on the wall, it would look something like Figure 16.1. Yes, you can certainly use a spreadsheet or a grid and make the portfolio look nicer. But if you want to be able to change it, use the most low-tech tool you can so you have the flexibility to change it easily. Ranking projects is similar to ranking the project drivers (see Section 1.4, Decide on a Driver for Your Project, on page 23). At some point, one project is more important than the others. If your management is having trouble deciding, list all the projects in a spreadsheet. Across the columns, ask the questions. Meet with your managers, and facilitate their discussion about the answers to those questions. Once they're done, you have a ranked list of projects. You know where your project fits....

Project with a View

Gantt Chart view is like a favorite room in your house, the place where most people end up. It's the view that appears first when you open a new project. This view, shown in Figure 2-5, is a combination of spreadsheet data and a graphical representation of tasks it offers a wealth of information in one place. You can customize every view in Project to show different information for example, you can choose to show different columns of information in spreadsheets, different labels in Network Diagram boxes or taskbars, or different sets of data in graph views. You can modify the size of panes of information and adjust the timescale.

Understanding How This Applies to Your Next Project

Estimate Activity Durations is a process you'll perform for most projects you work on. For larger projects, I'm a big fan of PERT estimates. PERT gives you estimates with a high degree of reliability, which are needed for projects that are critical to the organization, projects that haven't been undertaken before, or projects that involve complex processes or scope. It's easy to create a spreadsheet template to automatically calculate these estimates for you. List your schedule activities in each row, and in the individual columns to the right, record the most likely, pessimistic, and optimistic estimates. The final column can hold the calculation to perform the weighted average of these three estimates, and you can transfer the estimates to your schedule. You can easily add columns to calculate standard deviation as well.

Simplified and Balanced Approach to PM Software Selection

There will need to be a balance between the expanse of features and ease-of-use. But here are two things to note about this. First, due to differences in product design, some products will be easier to use than others, even when having similar functional attributes. Second, expect all PM software products to be complex. They will not be as easy-to-learn or easy-to-use as word processing or spreadsheet tools because the typical user will have to learn many new things about planning and control in addition to learning the new tool.

Executing the risk model

The process by which a model is evaluated to produce outputs will depend on the technique selected to aggregate the individual sources of uncertainty into an overall view of risk. Simulation is the most commonly used technique, using Excel for spreadsheet modelling and packages such as Risk or Crystal Ball to perform the simulation.

Chapter Integrated Financial Planning and Project Budgeting for New Products

In the previous generation of product development, financial planning and budgeting were limited to individual spreadsheets prepared by project managers or their financial team members. These plans and budgets were disconnected from underlying operational data and had to be manually updated on a regular basis, or just left to drift away from what was really happening. At the same time, chief financial officers became increasingly unhappy with the state of financial control of R& D in their companies, beginning with the failure to collect accurate financial planning and budgeting information from product development projects. Prior to DCM systems, spreadsheets were the primary tools for new product financial planning and project budget management. While it was a start, spreadsheets are very limited. Today, a company wouldn't consider using a spreadsheet to manage inventory, do its accounting, or run its materials planning. Spreadsheets were initially used to perform those very...

Integrated projectmanagement software

Integrated project-management software combines database, spreadsheet, graphics, and word-processing capabilities to support many of the activities normally associated with planning and performing your project. An example of an integrated package is Microsoft Project, although more than 50 such packages of all shapes and sizes are on the market today. * The following abbreviations represent the different types of packages available WP Word processing, D Database, S Spreadsheet, A Accounting, BG Business graphics, IPMS Integrated project-management software. * The following abbreviations represent the different types of packages available WP Word processing, D Database, S Spreadsheet, A Accounting, BG Business graphics, IPMS Integrated project-management software.

Simple Change Control Method

In Figure 6.1a (pg. 189), we illustrate a simple spreadsheet-based method for logging changes to project scope. We use this illustration, both for an example of providing an audit trail of such changes, and for registering any changes to the project baseline for EVA purposes.

Creating Pareto charts

Have you ever just randomly reviewed a software project issues database or issues spreadsheet just to look at the trends in the issues and the causes Some Saturday night when you're really bored and you could be going out to some goofy party with friends, stay at work and review as many of your project issues as you can in, say, 30 minutes. Make a chart listing each issue and its cause. We bet that you will have lots of issues listed but the cause of each project issue won't be unique. You will probably

Probability Distribution Statistics

Most often we do not know every value and its probability. Thus we cannot apply the equations we have discussed to calculate statistics directly. However, if we know the probability distribution of values, or can estimate what the probability function might be, then we can apply the statistics that have been derived for those distributions. And, appropriately so for project management, we can do quite nicely using arithmetic approximations for the statistics rather than constantly referring to a table of values. Of course, electronic spreadsheets have much better approximations, if not exact values, so spreadsheets are a useful and quick tool for statistical analysis.

Project Charter Contents

The charter may sometimes be called by other names, such as the project initiation document (PID), scope baseline, or just contract (usually for external work). It may be produced in many forms, such as a narrative document (most common), a fill-in-the-blank form (paper or software application), or spreadsheets for extensive financial justification.

Integrated Financial Planning and Project Budgeting

The expected success of a new product is expressed in financial terms in new product financial planning, and the cost of developing this new product is expressed in financial terms in the project budget. Today, most companies do this planning and budgeting using individual spreadsheets located on the project manager's or financial team member's computer. Consolidating critical financial information across projects is very difficult, if not impossible, when spreadsheets are used in this way. In some cases, the spreadsheets are inconsistent across all projects and all too often they are financially flawed, leading to incorrect project cost and benefit assessments. Finally, while financial information is really derived from other operational information, this derivation is rarely automatic, making the synchronization of financial and operational information very difficult. This is where the information-processing automation afforded by DCM systems is useful.

Content Management in Networked Project Teams

The work of product development teams is frequently communicated through various forms of content, such as text, presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, pictures, and notes. The networked project team manages all this content through collaborative content management. Project content can generally be referred to as documents or files in one form or another, including project requirements documents, product specifications, project plans, product drawings, bills of material, marketing plans, pricing analyses, competitive analyses, progress reports, phase-review presentations, financial estimates, and so forth. Some of these files are text documents and others are charts and graphs. Documents may be made accessible to all team members or only to selected members, and some team members may have the application software to manipulate and edit these documents or files, while others may be restricted to a read-only format.

Consolidation of Financial Information across Projects

In general, this consolidation is very difficult when done from individual spreadsheets, because they reside on individual desktop computers. Consolidation requires the periodic collection of all spreadsheets (which can be very time-consuming), adjustment of inconsistencies prior to consolidation, and then programming to create the totals across all projects. This is a lot of work that needs to be done each time a consolidation is needed, and given the dynamic nature of product development, the consolidation is usually out of date before it is even completed. With the integrated financial planning capability of a development chain management system, this consolidation is fully automatic and always up to date.

Communicating with Stakeholders Who Are Vendors

Another more exotic methodology would be to use remote collaboration techniques to bring stakeholders to you for your regular meetings. Conference calling is appropriate and is quick, easy, and inexpensive to set up. You could implement virtual collaboration software, such as Microsoft NetMeeting or CUSeeMe (www.cuseeme.com), to set up a camera and microphone and even share a virtual whiteboard and standard office automation products such as word processors and spreadsheets.

Resources Plan Purpose

The type of information that is incorporated in a resource plan can be presented in a variety of ways, including bar graphs (resource histograms) and spreadsheets. The choice of approach will largely hinge on the information being presented and the emphasis desired. If users desire a quick, at-a-glance consumption rate on the resources, then the bar chart is the most desirable display format. If more detailed information (including cost information, specific hours consumed, and other data) is essential, then the spreadsheet would be more appropriate.

Roadmap for Improving Resource Management

Taylor decided to use the resource management stages model to determine CRI's baseline performance and to develop a roadmap for improvement. It was immediately obvious that CRI was at Stage 0. We have tried several times to get control over our resources, but without much success, Taylor conceded. We generally used spreadsheets or other simple tools to track assignments, but this wasn't the right approach. We are now serious about this. This is a priority for us, and we are going to do it right.

What Other Resources Do I Need

Think about any specialist equipment and software needs. As well as your development environment, you'll need word-processors and spreadsheets. You may need test and CASE tools, but they're not essential unless they're required by the methods and standards you follow. You may have to share some specialist tools.

Portfolio and Financial Management Process Level

As previously mentioned, portfolio management techniques were, for the most part, introduced in the later years of the Time-to-Market Generation of product development, after companies had achieved basic control over individual projects. Data were collected manually from each project, entered into spreadsheets, and then used periodically to analyze the portfolio. The next generation of product development is bringing two significant changes to portfolio management. First, integrated DCM systems automatically consolidate all portfolio information, making it available on demand, and second, they dispense with the need for manual data collection. This on-demand availability of portfolio information elevates portfolio management from a set of techniques applied periodically into a consistent, enterprise-wide management process. I refer to this transformation as dynamic portfolio management, and will explore it further in Chapter 18.

Practical Resource Scheduling

Practical resource scheduling is best achieved via a balance of long-term resource aggregation (analysis of predicted resource loads) and short-term resource leveling (possibly with user intervention). Resource aggregation is the tally of effort for each resource for each time period. These results can be viewed in resource histograms or resource tables (spreadsheets). Resource leveling is not required.

Capturing What You Need

Organization remains fixed and relatively light. Reporting is one area where the benefits to a portfolio management process are obvious, rather than rolling up numerous ad hoc spreadsheets, and an effective and broad system for data capture can save time and increase visibility into business performance. Without it, you must be very precise in the data you collect in order to avoid overburdening the organization or hitting material data-quality issues.

Importing and Exporting with Excel

You can import information from Excel into Microsoft Project. You can also export information from Microsoft Project into Excel. When you import information, you're bringing information in a foreign file format (for example, the Excel .xls file format) into the current application (for example, Microsoft Project, which uses the .mpp file format). When you export information, you're saving information in the current application in a different file format, so that it can be easily opened by another application. In both cases, the information will look as if it were created originally in the target application.

Integrating Microsoft Project with Microsoft Excel

Several techniques for information interchange are at your disposal to exchange information in Microsoft Office Project 2003 with Microsoft Excel. Not only can you integrate Excel information into your project plan, but you can also feed information from Project 2003 to an Excel workbook. Such capabilities provide for a greater ease of information sharing among team members and project stakeholders. Transferring data between Microsoft Project and Excel can simplify aspects of building your project plan, tracking progress, reporting status, and communicating with stakeholders Using the special Excel-to-Project templates, you can have stakeholders build task lists and even a more elaborate project plan using Excel, and import those files seamlessly into Project. You can copy resource lists from an Excel worksheet. You can embed an Excel chart into a Gantt chart. You can even link Excel information in Microsoft Project to automatically update when that information changes. Insert, or...

Valis Houston Pmp Acacia Pm Consulting

This simple phrase can be your guide through many difficult times in a project management career. The Time Management Knowledge Area should be applied with the support of a project scheduling tool. Of course, it can be done with 3x5 cards to gather information and then organized in a spreadsheet. However, the spreadsheet will only communicate the proposed plan. Once the project starts and the dynamics of a project ensue dates slip, unplanned scope is added, resources are suddenly unavailable managing from the spreadsheet will probably become quite frustrating. The plan will no longer be a tool to provide project tracking and oversight. At that point, you will have lost control of your project.

Develop Initial Budget

Unless your organization has invested in an enterprise project management application with an emphasis on project costing or you have advanced skills in project scheduling software, I recommend the use of spreadsheet software (such as Microsoft Excel) for your project budget. I favor the spreadsheet approach for three principal reasons Capture all costs The spreadsheet approach allows you to easily capture all of your project costs (and not just labor costs which is the primary cost element captured by your schedule). Flexible The spreadsheet approach offers flexible options in how you set up and organize your budget. It can also be used to track your project costs during project execution. Easy analysis The spreadsheet approach comes with built-in analysis and reporting capabilities that can be easily leveraged.

Exporting Complete Project Data to Excel

You can export more complete information about tasks, resources, and assignments. With this method, Microsoft Project organizes data into Task, Resource, and Assignment data types, which in turn are presented in their own separate worksheets in the single Excel workbook. To create a complete Excel workbook of project information from your project file, follow these steps 4 In the Save As File Type list, click Microsoft Excel Workbook (*.xls). 7 On the Data page, click Project Excel Template and then click Finish. Your data is saved as a complete Excel workbook. Click the Timescaled Data worksheet tab at the bottom of the Excel workbook to review the data in an Excel worksheet. 2 In the Save As Type box, click Microsoft Excel Workbook (*.xls).

Total Cost of OwnershipTCO and Return on Investment ROI

Return Investment Visual Example

The Gartner Group does estimates for the cost of computers in a networked environment that can be used to determine some of the hardware costs. There are some software tools that can provide estimates for software, such as Price Systems. Creating a schedule with Microsoft Project 98 will also provide you with a tool to estimate the cost of resources, such as team members. Microsoft provides a spreadsheet tool called TCO ROI Desktop Advisor. It can be downloaded from the following site

Importing from Excel without a Template

If team members or other project stakeholders created an Excel workbook containing project information before they knew of the existence of the templates, you can still import Excel worksheets. 2 Go to the location on your computer or network where the Excel workbook is saved. 3 In the Files Of Type list, click Microsoft Excel Workbooks (*.xls). The workbook appears in the list of folders and files. Map the incoming Excel fields Select the Excel worksheet. to Microsoft Project fields.

Conflicts Between Projects

You further determine that some of the project team is using different project management methodologies that have different estimating standards, deliverables and work products for essentially the same types of work tasks. You also learn that some of the team members are using spreadsheets to build project tasks lists, whereas others are using project management scheduling so robust that 10 of their time is required to enter and track project work in their areas. You need common data to understand what is going on in the entire project. How do you manage

Importing a Project Task List from Excel

You can make your project plan more accurate and inclusive by integrating the suggestions and concrete input of team members and stakeholders into the project plan. Specifically, you can have others on the team create a task list from an Excel workbook and quickly incorporate it into Microsoft Project. Using the Microsoft Project Task List template in Excel, introduced in Project 2002, this process becomes seamless. 3 In the Templates dialog box, click the Spreadsheet Solutions tab. The columns in this Excel template are specifically designed for integration with Microsoft Project. For example, the ID, Duration, Start, and Deadline fields are all set up to flow in to the Microsoft Project fields in the correct format and data type. Make sure that you're saving the new task list as an Excel workbook (*.xls), not overwriting the template (*.xlt).

Process Of Ongoing Improvement Deming Goldratt And The Pareto Principle

Goldratt suggests using the Pareto Principle (the 80 20 rule) to help determine where the next improvement effort should be. In other words, 80 of the penetration of the buffers is probably caused by 20 of the different originating causes. The approach is simple and it works. Have each project manager document in a simple spreadsheet the reasons for tasks taking longer than expected. Accumulate those reasons across projects. Take the top one or two reasons and have the PMO do an improvement process on those. If it works, buffers can be shorter across all projects.

Other Cost Considerations

Cost reports for fixed-price contracts can take the same form illustrated in this chapter, as each element of cost is tracked on a periodic basis. A PM may wish to shorten the periodicity of such reports, such as getting a weekly reading of costs instead of the more usual monthly report. This can place a strain on the company accounting system, which may not be geared to such rapid reporting. In such cases, PMs have been known to generate their own interim cost reports in order to satisfy their needs. This may be done by capturing weekly time charges on Friday afternoon and feeding them in to a spreadsheet developed by the Project Controller, so that by the Monday following the week in question, a weekly cost report is available. This type of special reporting is recommended for all contracts as they near their completion times when it may be necessary to exercise more stringent controls. Cost Graphs. It is also recommended that the PM convert project cost report data to graphs of...

Calculating the z values

There are a number of packages available for carrying out Monte Carlo simulation. Some will exchange data with project scheduling applications and some interface to standard spreadsheet software. The majority of these packages will apply Monte Carlo risk analysis to cost and resource as well as duration estimates.

Sending Project data to Excel

Open the Save as type list box, and select Microsoft Excel Workbook or Microsoft Excel PivotTable. You can choose Project Excel Template to export the entire Project file to Excel. Tip If you want your Excel workbook to contain assignments that are listed under tasks Figure 26-3 As you add fields in the Task Mapping dialog box, a preview of the Excel worksheet that you're creating appears at the bottom of the Task Mapping dialog box. To Excel Field Select a field to export, and click the column next to the field that you added. Project suggests a column heading for the field in the Excel worksheet you can change this heading.

Standalone specialty software

Spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel is an example) Useful for storing moderate amounts of data, performing repetitive calculations, and presenting information in a variety of chart formats. Initially, specialty packages performed one or two functions very well. As they've evolved, however, they've expanded to include capabilities that support their primary functions Word-processing packages now possess some spreadsheet, business graphics, and database capabilities spreadsheet packages now have some business-graphics and word-processing capabilities and database packages now have some spreadsheet and word-processing capabilities.

Cost Baseline Purpose

The baseline is normally maintained with other project information in either project management or spreadsheet software. It is used both for comparison and reporting and is normally a critical element in project status reports, progress reports, and forecasts. The cost baseline serves as affirmation of what the project's cost structure looked like when the project was originally approved. According to the Project Management Institute, the cost baseline incorporates any approved changes. cumulative cost curve is among the most common, spreadsheets comparing work and the investment for that work are also relatively commonplace. For all costs in the cumulative cost curve, however, the funds should be those that the funding organization recognizes as the agreed-on funding allocations for the project.

Importing an Excel task list

The template provides four Excel worksheets, as shown in Figure 4-4, in which you can enter tasks, resources, and resource assignments, and then export that data from Excel to Project. 6. Choose the second option, Project Excel Template, for the format of the data you're importing. Then click Next.

Project Budget Elements

One common misconception, especially in the IT world, is that accounting is the same as budgeting. That's not true. Accounting is designed for external reporting, whereas budgeting is designed for internal informational needs. Accounting looks back on the money you've spent budgeting looks ahead. Accounting requires a general overview report budgeting is geared towards specific content. Accounting history is kept for much longer than budgeting history. Finally, accounting has a lot of software applications available for it, but applications that are designed for budgeting are very few (though the electronic spreadsheet is a very useful tool for budget formulation). Table 9.1 captures these differences. Popular project management software allows you to directly manage your budget within the project plan, but you can also use a simple, separate, spreadsheet. You can get as detailed as you like, but there are some things you should always keep track of. Here ' s a list of some basic...

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