After a project enters the development phase, events may affect the project timeline, costs, or budget. A difficult aspect of project management is finding ways to complete a project successfully in an environment in which the following occur:
• Contracted resources are suddenly unavailable.
• Members of the project team terminate employment or transfer out of the project team .
• Unseasonably bad weather causes delays for outdoor tasks .
• Customers or stakeholders add deliverable.
• Tasks take more or less time than scheduled.
• Labor disputes delay project activities or increase costs.
• Costs for material resources increase substantially .
• Risk management has three components-assessing, planning, and managing risks that will affect the project timeline, scope, or budget. Some naive project managers feel that risk analysis leads to negativity, so they limit the team members’ involvement in risk analysis. Other managers feel their personal crisis-management skills will overcome any possible problems, so they skip or give short shrift to the risk analysis. The function of risk analysis is to ensure that your project is only kicked off track by unforeseeable events, as opposed to examined events. We recommend a thorough risk analysis and contingency plans to manage or respond to events that can put a project seriously over budget or behind schedule. When you assess risks, you’ll focus on project activities and external factors that increase project uncertainty. Begin by focusing on three types of project tasks:
• Tasks that haw estimated duration
• Tasks with external predecessors that are partially or completely outside the project manager’s control
• Tasks with long duration
Viewing Tasks with Uncertain Duration
To analyze risks, begin with the unknown aspects of your project. Examine the tasks that have estimated duration, and nail the duration down before the development phase. To view tasks with estimated duration, first turn off Auto Filter if Auto Filter is turned on (Project> Filtered For> Auto Filter). Then, follow these steps:
1. Choose View> Gantt Chart.
2. Choose Project> Filtered For> Tasks with Estimated Duration.
The Gantt Chart will include only tasks with estimated duration. For each task in the Gantt Chart, determine why the duration is estimated. If you can enter the task’s duration, do so now. For strategies to analyze task duration, see “Using PERTto Estimate
Duration,” later in this.
Viewing Tasks with External Dependencies
Tasks that depend on tasks or deliverable from other projects require special consideration. If a task’s predecessors are in another project, schedule changes in the other project can impact your project’s schedule. For example, one of the deliverable for the marketing project you’re managing is a brochure that includes pictures of a product’s prototype.
Creation of the prototype is a deliverable for another project. The activities to create the prototype are not within your control. The prototype may not be created on time.
The XYZ Branch Office Training project, created in Chapters 2 through 5, was split into two separate projects. Training setup and delivery remain in the original XYZ·BOT project file; curriculum development, printing, and shipping have been placed in a separate project: XYZ Materials. The Materials project is being managed by the training development supervisor.
• In the XYZ·BOT project, the final task in the Materials project, Schedule Delivery, appears as a task in the Gantt Chart. The task’s bar is gray to indicate that it is an external task, as shown in Figure 13.1. If you double-click an external task in the task table, Project opens the external project file.
If the external predecessors are being managed in Microsoft Project 2000. you’ll get good information about the predecessor. By default, you are notified when information about a task in an externally linked project changes. when you open a file that contains links to anaerobe project that has changed, Project 2000 opens the Links Between
Projects dialog box, to display the status of external predecessors and successors, and their impact on your project’s schedule. In Figure 13.2, the start date for the external linked task has been changed in the XYZ Materials schedule.
The second tab of the Links Between Projects dialog box shows external successors. that rely on your project’s tasks.shows the XYZ Materials project’s external successor, Deliver Training in the XYZ-BOT project file.
To view the status of external dependents when your project file is already open, choose Tools” Links Between Projects to open the Links Between Projects dialog box.