Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Change Highlighting shows you only the results of the last change you made
and works only on scheduling changes.
It’s About Time
We’ve all had this experience: Your boss asks you to commit to getting a
project finished by a certain date. Your palms sweat, you get a sick feeling in the
pit of your stomach, you add a week onto the deadline the boss suggests to
cover yourself, and then you promise to deliver the impossible. You hope you
can do it. You want to do it. But can you do it?
Project allows you to feel much more confident about committing to a
timeframe because you can see how long all your tasks will take to complete.
Before you go to your boss and make any promises, make sure you’re
comfortable with two things: the total time it takes to complete the project and
the critical path (the longest series of tasks that must be completed on time
in order for you to meet the overall project deadline).
The timing data for your project summary task tells you how long the entire
project will take. Just display Gantt Chart view and look at the Duration,
Start, and Finish columns. If your finish date doesn’t work, you’ll have to go
back and modify some tasks.
You should also make sure that there’s room for error. You can use filters and
groups to identify the critical path in, for example, Gantt Chart view or
Network Diagram view. If you judge that too many tasks are on the critical
path, it’s wise to add some slack to the plan to allow for inevitable delays.
Giving yourself some slack
How many tasks should be on the critical path in your project, and how many
should have some slack — that is, some time that they could be delayed
without delaying the entire project? I wish I could give you a formula, but sadly, it’s
not a science. Ideally, every task in your project should have slack because
things can come up that you never expected (shortages of vital materials,
asteroid strikes, management turnover that places you in an entirely different
department). If you add slack to each and every task, however, your project is
probably going to go on into the next millennium. Figure 10-11 shows a more
typical scenario, with a mix of noncritical and critical tasks.
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