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Most of the time, you send an initial project schedule to various managers or coworkers for approval or input so that you can refine the schedule based on different factors. You can use the reporting features of Microsoft Project to generate several drafts of your plan.

Chapter 13 explains more about the reports that are available in Project.

Be prepared to revise your plan after everyone has a chance to review it. You may want to create and save multiple Project files to generate what-if scenarios based on the input that you receive. Seeing your plans from various perspectives is a great way to take advantage of Project's power.

Find out more about what-if analysis in Chapter 6.

Finding resolutions to conflicts in timing and resource allocation is another aspect of planning and revising. Project helps you pinpoint these conflicts, which may include the following:

♦ A team member or resource that is booked on several projects at once

♦ A task that begins before another task that must precede it

♦ An unusually high use of expensive equipment in one phase that is upsetting your budget

This book contains many tips and techniques for resolving conflicts. In particular, Chapters 9 and 10 focus on using Microsoft Project features to resolve scheduling and resource problems.

When your project plan seems solid, you can take a picture of it, called a baseline, against which you can track actual progress.

■ Cross- Chapter 11 explains how to set (and, if necessary, clear) baselines.

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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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