Project 2000 makes it easy to communicate about inter project dependencies. When your project depends on external projects that are not managed in Project 2000, you must establish your communication requirements with the other projects’ managers. It’s a good idea to add visual cues to tasks with external dependencies so they stand out In the Gantt Chart. Select the task and choose Format >Font to open the Font dialog box, and then choose a different font or color for external tasks.
Viewing Tasks with Long Duration
If a task is scheduled to start on Monday and finish two days later on Wednesday, you’ll notice that the task Is three days behind when it doesn’t finish on schedule. With longer tasks, delays of three days, three weeks, or three months are more easily camouflaged.
Even when you use Project 2000’s work group communication tools to request regular updates, it’s some time hard to know that a task with a long duration is slipping. It Is easy to understand why long-duration tasks often fall behind schedule. Short duration tasks provide little room to maneuver.
Team members realize that a two-day task needs to be started two days before the finish date. There are, after all, only two days when team members can work overtime to make up for a late start. The completion date is only two days away, which makes the deadline ‘cry real. After the first day, team members have a good idea of the task’s status.
They can quantify the number of hours spent on the task. and know how many are left to go Team members may report that a task with a distant deadline is on schedule when little or no time has been spent on the task. With longer duration. team members have more days that they can come in early or stay late t play “catch up” before the scheduled finish date.
The task deadline is a long way off. whereas other tasks’ deadlines (such as that two-day as .) are imminent. It may not be practical for the team to work 16 hours tomorrow to get a two-day task back on track, but team members rationalize that they can find eight extra hours sometime in the next month to make up for missing eight hours of work on today’s task. Which the project team focuses on completing each task by the scheduled finish date, the schedule for longer duration tasks is often compromised so that shorter duration tasks can be completed.
To view tasks with longer duration:
1. Switch to Gantt Chart view (View> Gantt Chart).
2. Display the Entry table (View >- Table Entry) or another table that includes Duration.
2. Right-click on the table. choose Insert Column from the shortcut menu, and insert the Duration column
3. Turn on Auto filters (Project Filtered For. Auto Filter or click the Auto Filter button on the standard toolbar).
4. Click the Auto Filter drop-down arrow in the Duration field.
S. Choose a duration from the drop-down list.
5. Choose Custom to specify a duration in the Custom AutoFilter dialog box, shown next.
Identifying and Managing Other Risks
Viewing tasks with estimated duration, long duration, or external dependencies focuses on task-based risks. Now that you’ve examined the trees, step back and look at the entire forest using contingency planning and force-field analysis. With these tools, you’ll ask two-questions: What can go wrong? What are the forces that support and oppose the project?
Creating a Contingency Plan
A contingency plan is a list of events that would.Impact the project schedule or budget, and plans for handling those events if they occur. For a small project in your area of expertise, you may be able to answer the question: What can go wrong? For larger projects that involve specific technical expertise, assemble members of the project team and brainstorm a list of events that may occur during the life of the project.
Some team members might have difficulty answering the broad question “What can go wrong?” Here are other ways to ask this question that our team members have found helpful:
• What real or potential obstacles would prevent you from performing your assignments as scheduled?
• What guarantees do you need to be able to ensure that you can perform your assignments as scheduled?
• What do you need from the project manager to guarantee your success with this project?
• 1J1}you see any places where you migiht expect difficulties in the project schedule? If so, where?
For the XYZ Branch Office Training project, our risk list included the following:
• No training facilities for lease at one or more locations
• Sudden loss of a trainer (personal illness, family illness, or death)
• Incorrect software installed on computers in rented facilities
• Pretests completed too late to be-used to drive course content
• Travel problems: cancelled flights, missed connections, weather delays
• Shipped materials don’t arrive before training starts After you identify the risks, develop contingencies to counter each risk. Our risk and contingency analysis is You can’t develop a contingency for every risk. If the only airport within 500 miles of the training site is closed for two days because of unusually heavy snowfall, a hurricane, or a bomb threat, travel delay is unavoidable.
Brainstorm contingencies where possible, and then decide which contingencies to build into the project plan and which to hold on reserve, based on the likelihood of the risk events and the cost of including the contingency In for example, having the trainers arrive at the training site one day in advance covers two areas of risk. By arriving a day early, trainers can check to make sure that the software installed at the training site is correct, and they can minimize the risk associated with cancelled flights and missed connections. The costs to implement this contingency include increased expenses for accommodations and trainer pay, but those may be acceptable costs compared to the costs of rescheduling part or
all of a training course. Some contingencies have little or no cost: providing trainers with master copies of materials or verifying the receipt of materials shipped to individual sites .
Storing the Contingency Plan
The contingency plan document, which doesn’t need to be any more formal than Table 13.1, should be linked to the project summary task. If you need the contingency plan, you probably won’t have extra time to search for it! For task-related contingencies such as renting laptops and hotel space, use copy and paste to include the contingency in the task’s Notes tab: