Tips on how to create a good schedules in Project Professional 2010 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi, is there a post about the best practices on how to create a very good schedule on Project Professional?

    I've had several opinions about it, for example: 

    1. Create all the tasks

    2. Assign effort to the tasks

    3. Assign predecessors

    4. Assign sucessors

    5. Assign resources

    6. Etc.

    Is there an oficial step by step procedure written anywhere for this? I've been fighting with some schedules where I have overtime on some activities that I don't know how to fix (maybe is because of the resource capacity or something else).

    Any hints will be appreciated.


    Alex C.

    Monday, September 24, 2012 4:53 AM

All replies

  • Hi ACastano,

    Please visit the link below with best practices tip for scheduling using Project 2010:

    Thanks and Regards, Roopkumar Kamat (MCITP)

    Monday, September 24, 2012 6:13 AM
  • Hi, Alex. I do see a lot of variations on the planning sequence. To take the PMI's processes and to state them in terms that map to Microsoft Project, we have:

      • Initial Scope - what are the major deliverables. These would typically show up as achievement milestones.
      • Activity definition - a convenient first step here is to apply the structure to match the methodology in your shop. The methodology usually helps you with the top level WBS summary tasks - for instance, phase-wise. Then drill down to more detail so that you define the activities in progressively more detail and build out the WBS. Stop drilling when you get to the 4-40 (or 8-80) hour level of granularity.
      • Activity sequencing - apply predecessor links to all detailed tasks. A good practice is that every detailed task should have a FS predecessor. Any task resulting in a deliverable should have a FS successor (this can exclude status milestones and Level of Effort support tasks). If you are thorough with assigning predecessors, you shouldn't have to worry about assigning successors.
      • Task estimation - two kinds of extimation are required here. What is the task type (Fixed Work, Fixed Duration/effort driven. etc.). This is something not covered directly in the PMBOK so it represents a slight adjustment to the process. Once you know what the task type is, then estimate its size in those terms - i.e. for a Fixed Work task, how much work; for a Fixed Duration task, how much duration?
      • Task Resource requirements - what skills or attributes and at what level of effort. With MS Project it's convenient to use generic resources at this point and assign them to tasks at an appropriate units level.
      • Determine schedule and critical path - once you have the task dependencies, estimates and assignments, let the scheduling engine do the work and show when major events would happen and what the critical path looks like. Now you have to figure out how to bring the schedule and critical path into line with expectations. Cycle back to step 2 and start adjusting task scope, dependencies, task size and resources. From your question, it looks as though this is where you face challenges. The great thing about using a planning tool is that you can experiment without giving the project team whiplash.
      • Acquire the project team - replace the generic resources with named resources.

    Roopkumar's link is a great resource for describing the technical use of MS Project features.

    Good luck,               Graham

    Monday, September 24, 2012 6:13 PM