Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 15: Viewing and reporting project status
Viewing and reporting
IN THIS CHAPTER, YOU WILL LEARN HOW TO
▪ Determine which tasks were started or completed late.
▪ View task costs at summary and detail levels.
▪ Examine resource costs and variance.
▪ Use custom fields to create a stoplight view that illustrates each task’s cost variance.
After a project’s baseline has been set and work has begun, the primary focus of the project
manager shifts from planning to collecting, updating, and analyzing project performance
details. For most projects, these performance details boil down to three primary questions
or vital signs:
▪ How much work was required to complete a task?
▪ Did the task start and finish on time?
▪ What was the cost of completing the task?
Comparing the answers to these questions against the baseline provides the project
manager and other stakeholders with a good way to measure the project’s progress and to
determine when corrective action might be necessary.
Where the scheduled or actual project performance differs from the baseline plan, you
have variance. Variance is usually measured as time, such as days behind schedule, or
as cost, such as dollars over budget. After initial project planning is complete, many
project managers spend most of their time identifying, investigating, and, in many cases,
responding to variance. However, before you can respond to variance, you must first
identify it. That is the subject of this chapter.
Communicating project status to key stakeholders, such as customers and sponsors, is
arguably the most important function of a project manager and one that might occupy
much of your time. Although the perfect low of communications cannot guarantee a
project’s success, a project with poor communications low is almost guaranteed to fail.