Organizing the Updating Process

Before you launch into the mechanics of updating a project, you should take a moment to examine the updating process. Updating a project can become complicated, particularly for large projects with many resources assigned to them. You need to establish efficient manual procedures for collecting information in a timely fashion, and then you need to determine the best ways to enter that information into Project.

Individuals working on tasks should answer the following questions regularly:

♦ Is a revised estimate available on the duration of the task?

♦ Is a revised estimate available on the work that is required to complete the task?

In This Chapter

Organizing the updating process

Understanding calculation options

Updating tasks to reflect actual information

Using actuals and costs

Techniques and tips for updating

Tip If your organization has forms and processes in place to capture actuals and status information, use those forms and processes as much as possible. While the orga-

* nization's forms and processes may not currently capture project information, sometimes it is easier to ask for a little more information using current forms than it is to create new forms and processes.

You may want to create a form for participants to use for their regular reports. Their reports should provide the information that you need to update your project plan in Project. You may be able to use one of the reports in Project (or customize one of Project's reports) to provide the necessary information.

If you use Project in an e-mail workgroup or you use Project Server, you can take advantage of electronic reporting capabilities. See Chapters 16, 18, and 19 for more information.

You also should decide how often you need to receive the collection forms. If you request the reports too frequently, your staff may spend more time reporting than working. On the other hand, if you don't receive the reports often enough, you won't be able to identify a trouble spot early enough to resolve it before it becomes a major crisis. As the manager, you must decide on the correct frequency for collecting actual information for your project.

Tip You can use the timephased fields in Project to track actual work and costs on a daily or weekly basis. Read more about timephased cost tracking in the section

* "Tracking work or costs regularly," later in this chapter.

When you receive the reports, you should evaluate them to identify unfinished tasks for which you need to adjust the planned duration, work, and costs. You'll find that these adjustments are easiest to make if you make them before you record a task's actual dates or percentage of completion.

Also, remember that recording actual information enables you to compare estimates to actuals; this comparison often proves to be quite valuable. To make this comparison, make sure that you set a baseline for your project.

- Cross- See Chapter 11 for more information on setting baselines.


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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