This is the detailed guide to project communication. We’ll begin by
examinIng the role of communication in project management, then look at the methods used to communicate project information: manual, email, and Web-based data collection and feedback.
We can’t overstate the role of communication in a project or its importance to a project manager. Thoughtful, well-planned communication is a Significant factor in every successful project. (Well, at least all those we’ve received communications about!) Inadequate communication can cause even a well-designed project to falter or fail. ‘ Most projects ~hat are worth recording in Project 2000 have a project team-one or more people assigned to work on various project tasks. In addition to the project manager, who is responsible for team communication, team members may include the following:
• The organization’s permanent employees
• Temporary employees hired for the project
•Work groups and their leaders
• Departments and department managers
• Contractors and vendors
What needs to be communicated? That depends, in part, on the culture of your organization. Minimally, the project manager needs to communicate direction, expectations, and information required for team members to complete their tasks. The project manager needs to provide management and other shareholders with status reports detailing the progress and health of the project. Team members need to provide the project manager with task status reports so the project manager has accurate information for the project status reports
Communicating from Microsoft Project
The emailand Web communication features of Microsoft Project are collectively known as Project’s workgroup features. With Microsoft Project 2000, you have two ways to communicate electronically with team members:
• You can use the email message handler to send email with task assignments .
• You can use Microsoft Project Central, Project 2000’s new Web client/server system for project communication.
For the remainder of this chapter, we will focus on using email as your primary communication method. If you’re using or plan to use Microsoft Project Central, you will also be interested in Chapter 16, “Team Project Management with Project Central 2000. ” If you are a network administrator, you wall also want to see “Installing and Administering Project Central 2000
Using Email. to Communicate Project Information
Microsoft Project can freely access email address books available through the messaging application you are Using-for example, your Out look Contact’s folder. To use Project’s o workgroup features and send email messages to a resource, the resource must be listed in one of your active address books or you must enter their Internet email address directly in the Resource Information dialog box. (See “Defining Project Resources and Costs,” for more about the Resource Information dialog box.)
Accessing Email Addrsses
To verify that Project can access your email address books, follow these steps:
1. Open your project’s Resource Sheet (View > Resource Sheet).
2. Double-click the name of a resource who should be in one of your em ail address books. This opens the Resource Information dialog box, shown in Figure 15.1.
3. Click the Details button on the General tab of the Resource Information dialog box. This opens an Outlook contact form, a Microsoft Exchange Server Properties sheet (like the one shown in Figure 15.2), or the address book form of the MAPI-32 compliant email system you are running. Click OK to close the address book form.
If the message handler does not recognize the name, it asks you to verify the name or enter a new contact according to the process of the email messaging application you are using
Making Your Outlook Contacts Folders Appear As Address Books.
Outlook’s main Contacts folder does not automatically appear as an email address book. You have to instruct Outlook to make it one. If it is not already set up as an Outlook address book, you can set it up by following these steps:
1. Open Outlook.
2. Right-dick on the Contacts icon on the Outlook bar or on Contacts in the folder liSt.
3. Chose Properties from the shortcut menu.
4. On the Outlook Address Book tab, dick the Show This Folder As an Email Address Book checkbox.
5. Enter the name you want to assign to the address book in the Nam’e. of the Address Book box dick OK
When Microsoft Outlook Doesn’t Recognize a Name
If Microsoft Outlook is your email messaging application, Project turns the reins over to Outlook to manage contact information and addresses. If all the.resources you plan to use on a project are available in your Outlook Contact’s folder or another address book, Outlook uses that information to respond to requests for information from Project. When you click the Details button of the Resource information dialog box and Outlook recognizes a name, an Outlook Address book opens. However, if Outlook does not recognize the resource name, a Check Names dialog box opens, asking what you’d like to do.
You can create a new contact or find the name in a current address book for Outlook.
To create a new contact:
1. Select Create a New Address For and click OK.
2. Choose New Contact in the New Entry dialog box and click OK.
3. Outlook opens a Contact form for you to complete. When you finish entering the contact information, click Save and Close on the Contact form toolbar to save the contact.
How Name Order Affects Recognition
When you enter a resource name into Project, Outlook searches for the name ,as -entered. If you enter a name as First Nam.e, Last Name, Outlook looks for that eXact name. If Outlook is set to store names in the Address Book as First Name, Name. it has no trouble finding the name. However, if you enter a resource name First Name, Last Name and the Outlook Address Book is set up for Last Name, First Name, Outlook
MASTERING TROUBLESHOODING CONTINUED
does not recognize the name. You must follow the Check Names procedure outlined earlier in this chapter to locate the name. You can change the order in which Outlook. organizes names in the Address Book by following these steps:
1. Open Outlook.
2. Choose Tools Services,
3.So Select Outlook Address Book from the Iist of available services and click Properties.
4. Choose the Show Names As option you prefer, and click Close.