Your project’s been approved, so it’s time to get started. But before you do, it’s also time to save a project baseline. The baseline is a snapshot of the planned project.
As the project moves into development, you’ll update the project file wit}l actual costs, hours worked, and completion information, which you’ll compare to the baseline.
Choose File» Save and leave the default baseline option selected when prompted. If you checked the Don’t Ask Me About This Again check box earlier, you won’t be prompted to save a baseline. Choose Tools > Tracking > Save Baseline to open the Save Baseline dialog box and click OK to save a baseline:
Setting Up Project Communication
Project communication includes data collection and information reporting. There are three ways to collect data: manually, by ernail, or over the Internet or an intranet using Project Central. (Project Central is Project 2000’s new Web·based client/server system for communicating project information.) Data-collection tasks are the same, regardless of the collection method. Using email or-the \Veb as your primary collection method, however, means that workgroup members’ status reports automatically update the Project 2000 file. With manual collection, the project manager has to enter information in Project. Project 2000’s work group features provide outstanding support.for email communications using Microsoft Outlook or another MAPI compliant email system.
Project Central handles data collection and some information reporting, freeing your time for other project management tasks.
All our work group members (also known as resources) use Outlook as their email client, so we’ll use email to communicate and collect data for project management. (The project manager must have Project 2000, as well as Outlook, but team members only need ‘to
have Outlook) We’ll handle all our task assignments and data collection from Project’s work group menu:
Assigning Project Tasks
work group members can use the work group features to report on tasks that are assigned to them using the work group features.
To assign all the tasks in the project or one task, switch to Gantt Chart view, select a single task, and then choose Tools Work group Team.Assign. A dialog box appears, asking if you want to assign all tasks or the single selected task:
Change the subject on if you wish, and edit the text in the message. when you’re assigning tasks at the beginning of the project, you might want to let team members know how often and when you’D ask for status reports on the tasks they’ve accepted: for example, every week on They.
Click Send to send the task assignments to the work group members. A message box appears, reminding yo~ that recipients must have the work group- messaging features stalled from the Project 2000 CD (see Chapter 15). Click OK to send the messages. A message box appears briefly as each recipient’s Team- Assign menage is created:
In the Resource Sheet, an icon in the Indicator column Indicates that the work group member hasn’t responded to the message. For a visual overview of the status of a task assignments, open the Gantt Chart and switch to the Usage table (View> Table> Usage).
When team members receive the Team Assign message, they can d!ck the Reply button and accept or reject Individual task assignments, and send comments about Individual assignment or a message About assignments.
When a team member accepts an assignment, the task is automatically added to their Tasks folder In Outlook. (Ibis Is another good reason to assail your project tasks using Team Assign.) Responses !rom work group members are delivered to your Inbox in Outlook. Open the message, and the Project Melissa Service starts:
when the response opens” review the contents. To update the Project file with the accepted assignments, dick the Update Project button.
Updating Task Status
Work group members send reports in response to your request for an update. In Gantt Chart view, select one _ .are’tasks and, choose 100Is > Work group> Team- Status to open a Team Status form, much like the ‘Jeam Assign form. Set the beginning , and ending dates for the status report. Click Send to send the request for a status report to the team members assigned to the selected tasks.
The Team Status message has a grid in which the assign see can enter hours worked on the task(s) each day and the time remaining o~ the task, as shown in Figure 4.20. When you receive their response, review the contents and then click Update Project to update the actual work and remaining work in the project file for the tasks included in the Team Status report.
Creating Additional Reports
Project’s work group features handle reporting from work group members to the project manager. The project manager still needs to create reports for external consumption by stakeholders and managers. see are several reports commonly used for external . reporting, including Current.Activity Reports (Task sIn Progress, Tasks Completed, and Slipping Tasks), and Cost Reports (Cash Flow a~d Overbudget Tasks).
Current Gantt Charts show the percentage of each task completed as a dark bar within the task bar. The reports you include depend on the audience. Gantt Charts are user-friendly and popular with stakeholders. Managers often require a budget comparison report (either Overbudget Tasks or the Gantt Chart with the Cost table, which shows budget and vari~nce). You can access Project’s predesigned reports and create custom reports by choosing Reports from the View menu. For more about creating reports, see Chapter 18, “Using Reports to Analyze Data.”