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Synching Project 2013 with Outlook 2013 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello!

    I'm new to MS Project so I'm not sure if there is an easy method of synching meetings between Project 2013 and Outlook 2013?

    Updating them separately opens up quite a bit of room for error with the number of resources I'm using.

    Thanks!
    Tom

    Monday, August 19, 2013 6:13 PM

Answers

  • THTolleson --

    No, if you are using Microsoft Project 2013, there is no way to syncrhonize meetings in Outlook with recurring tasks in Microsoft Project.  Sorry.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    • Marked as answer by THTolleson Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:35 PM
    Monday, August 19, 2013 11:58 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Tom --

    To build upon my friend Dale's response, I would argue that meetings have no place in a properly structured, dynamic project schedule. If you want to track the time that people are spending on project-related administrative activities such as meetings, I would instead suggest creating a single task that spans the entire duration of the project -- a "bucket" task, if you will -- and assign the team members to that task for time capture.

    Do you have other reasons for tracking meetings in a project schedule?

    -- tz


    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | http://www.epmainc.com | Blog: http://www.epmablog.com | Training: http://www.epmainstitute.com

    • Marked as answer by THTolleson Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:35 PM
    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:30 PM

All replies

  • THTolleson --

    No, if you are using Microsoft Project 2013, there is no way to syncrhonize meetings in Outlook with recurring tasks in Microsoft Project.  Sorry.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    • Marked as answer by THTolleson Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:35 PM
    Monday, August 19, 2013 11:58 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Tom --

    To build upon my friend Dale's response, I would argue that meetings have no place in a properly structured, dynamic project schedule. If you want to track the time that people are spending on project-related administrative activities such as meetings, I would instead suggest creating a single task that spans the entire duration of the project -- a "bucket" task, if you will -- and assign the team members to that task for time capture.

    Do you have other reasons for tracking meetings in a project schedule?

    -- tz


    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | http://www.epmainc.com | Blog: http://www.epmablog.com | Training: http://www.epmainstitute.com

    • Marked as answer by THTolleson Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:35 PM
    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:30 PM
  • The meetings we have are with our clients and are specifically called "Workshops," where we demo SharePoint functionality for, say, mysites and then ask the customer what fields they want their employees to be able to update manually. Then we have a second workshop where we demo the MySite wireframes to the customer, get approval, and then a third "Workshop" where we demo the actual implementation. In between we have specific deliverables (e,g, wireframes, documentation for wireframes, etc.)

    I'm new to using Project and my approach to this has been to just schedule all these things as tasks.

    I'm guessing there's a better way to do that?

    Thanks!

    Tom

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:41 PM
  • Good to know! Thanks, Dale.
    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 2:41 PM
  • Hi Tom --

    It sounds like these workshops are different from typical daily / weekly team meetings; if you think of them as project-related activities that are necessary in order to produce a deliverable for your customer and they take a significant amount of work effort, then perhaps they should indeed be tracked as separate tasks.

    People have different definitions of "significant", but a general rule of thumb is the 8/80 rule; this rule states that if an activity should take between 8 hours and 80 hours of effort, then it qualifies as a trackable task in a project schedule. other people use the 4/40 rule, which is similar. Based on these rules, a one-hour meeting probably does not belong in a project schedule as a stand-alone task, but a 3-day workshop may belong... if it is a necessary predecessor to another activity or deliverable.

    Good luck!

    -- tz


    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | http://www.epmainc.com | Blog: http://www.epmablog.com | Training: http://www.epmainstitute.com

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 3:47 PM
  • Thanks, Tony!

    If it shouldn't be a separate task, is there a way to add it on to another task?

    That is, if it takes 20 hours to produce a deliverable (a document), and then there is a one-hour Workshop to plan at the beginning, a second one-hour workshop in the middle (at ten hours) to approve progress, and then another one-hour meeting at the end to present the document, would that all be somehow integrated into the single task?

    Thanks!

    Tom

    Thursday, August 22, 2013 7:59 PM
  • Hi Tom --

    It's ultimately up to you to determine how much detail should be in your project schedule, although I personally do not recommend going overboard with the detail. A project schedule is intended to show the significant activities required to produce the project deliverables; it should not consist of a set of detailed work instructions / steps, team meetings, etc. Those types of details can be tracked separately in task notes, attached documents, etc.

    If I think that I might feel like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, then I could create an elaborate, overly detailed project schedule with tasks such as...

    • 'Pause Duck Dynasty'
    • 'Stand up'
    • 'Walk to the kitchen'
    • 'Open the refrigerator'
    • 'Reach inside and grab strawberry jelly'
    • etc.

    ...or I could designate a single task such as 'Eat lunch'... or I could not create a project schedule at all and just do it. It's entirely up to me. If I need a detailed set of instructions and I want to stop and track my progress at every step along the way, then that's my prerogative. I probably won't though. I'm just hungry, and I want to get back to my quality television programming as quickly as possible.

    In your case, perhaps you could simply create a single task, 'Produce Deliverable' that is understood to include the associated meetings... unless you have outside reporting requirements dictating that you track the meeting time separately from the working time.

    Good luck!

    -- tz


    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | http://www.epmainc.com | Blog: http://www.epmablog.com | Training: http://www.epmainstitute.com

    Friday, August 23, 2013 2:34 PM