Changing Projects Looks

Beyond the obvious motivation of making the lines and colors in your schedule more appealing, you may have a practical reason for modifying a schedule's appearance. You may, for example, want to do any of the following to make information about your project more accessible:

♦ Display information, such as the start and end dates or resources assigned to the task, in text form alongside taskbars. This technique is especially useful for longer schedules in which a taskbar may appear on the printed page far to the right of the task information in the Gantt table.

♦ Use a bolder color for tasks that are on the critical path (tasks that, if delayed, will delay the final completion of the project). This method helps you keep an eye on tasks that are vital to meeting your deadline.

♦ Modify the display of baseline timing estimates versus actual progress on tasks so that you can more clearly see any divergence.

- Cross- You can store multiple baselines. You may want to format your project schedule to

: Reference more easily distinguish various baselines. See Chapter 11 for more information on ' multiple baselines.

♦ Display or hide dependency lines between tasks. In a project with many complex dependency relationships, multiple lines can obscure taskbar elements or network diagram nodes.

In short, beyond mere cosmetics, paying attention to the format of your schedule elements can help you focus on your project. Keep in mind that these changes pertain only to the currently open schedule, and any changes that you make to the format of these elements appear both on-screen and on any corresponding printed versions of the project.

You can change formats whenever you like and then change them back again without changing the data in your project. For example, you may decide not to display dependency lines to print out a report of resource assignments for your boss because printing the lines can obscure the list of resources next to each taskbar. You can always redisplay the dependency lines later.

Consistency counts

Displaying an abundance of elements on a schedule can be a mixed blessing. For example, highlighting critical tasks, adding end shapes to taskbars, and showing both baseline and actual lines as well as slack can result in a chart that is confusing. Remember that you're not formatting elements to satisfy your particular penchant for one color or another, but to make project information easier to read.

You'll help everyone in your organization read and understand Project schedules if you make the formatting consistent across your organization. The more that your coworkers and management see the same formatting in various schedules, the more quickly they will learn to read the symbols, and the less likely they are to misread a schedule. Set standards for formatting projects in your workgroup and your division (even across your company) and stick to them.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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