Diagrams that aid project management

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Gantt Charts, network diagrams, and work breakdown structures (WBSs) are tools of project management that have evolved over many years. These tools are simply charts that you can use to track different aspects of your project. Figure 1-3 shows a Microsoft Project Gantt Chart, and Figure 1-4 shows a Microsoft Project network diagram. Figure 1-5 shows a typical WBS, although Microsoft Project does not include a WBS chart as one of its standard views.

Gantt Chart Microsoft Project Standard
Figure 1-3: The Gantt Chart bars represent timing of the tasks in a project.
Project Management Networks Charts
Figure 1 -4: The network diagram resembles a flow chart for work in a project.

Project Summary

Design Phase

Programming Phase

First Design Phase

Second Design Phase

— Start Milestone Design Task 1

End Design Milestone

Testing Phase

— Program Task 1 Program Task 2 End Program Milestone

— Test Task 3 End Milestone

Figure 1-5: The work breakdown structure chart reminds you of a typical company's organization chart.

nn'nnm ^ou can purchase an add-on product (WBS Chart Pro) to create a WBS chart from a Microsoft Project file. The CD-ROM that is included with this book features a sample of the program.

CD-R

Before people used computers to manage their projects, managers drew these charts by hand. Any self-respecting project war room had a 10-foot network diagram, WBS, or Gantt Chart tacked to the wall. By the end of the project, this chart was as marked up and out of date as last year's appointment calendar. Thankfully, project management software makes these charts easier to generate, update, and customize.

A Gantt Chart represents the tasks in a project with bars that reflect the duration of individual tasks. Milestones are shown as diamond-shaped objects.

You can find out more about the various elements of the Gantt Chart in Chapter 2. For this chapter's purposes, you simply need to know that a Gantt Chart enables you to visualize and track the timing of a project.

Network diagrams, on the other hand, don't accurately detail the timing of a project. Instead, a network diagram shows the flow of tasks in a project and the relationships of tasks to each other. Each task is contained in a box called a node, and lines that flow among the nodes indicate the flow of tasks.

Note In Project 98 and prior versions of Project, network diagrams were called PERT

charts. PERT stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. The Special Projects Office of the U.S. Navy devised this method for tracking the flow of tasks in a project when it was designing the Polaris submarine in the late 1950s.

The U.S. defense establishment uses the WBS as its primary tool for managing projects and describes the WBS in Military Standard (MIL-STD) 881B (25 Mar 93) as follows: "A work breakdown structure is a product-oriented family tree composed of hardware, software, services, data and facilities . . . [It] displays and defines the product(s) to be developed and/or produced and relates the elements of work to be accomplished to each other and to the end product(s)."

Note MIL-STD 881B was superceded by MIL-HDBK 881, 2 January 1998. The forward of the newer documents states that there were "no substantive changes in work breakdown structure definition." The full text is available on many DOD sites (e.g., http://dcarc.pae.osd.mil/881handbook/milhdbk881_cover_chap1.pdf).

On the \ Project doesn't contain a PERT chart view. However, on the enclosed CD-ROM, you CD-ROM can fjncj a samp|e version of PERT Chart EXPERT, a program that converts the information in any Project file to a PERT view.

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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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