Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding the dreaded
triple constraint
You’ve seen the signs at the copy store or the auto repair place: You can have
it fast, cheap, or right; pick two. That, my friend, is the triple constraint of
project management in a nutshell.
In a project, you have timing, resources (which are essentially costs), and
quality of the product or service produced at the end of the project. Microsoft
Project helps you manage the resources and timing of your project. The
quality of your project is often affected directly by how well you manage them. If
you add time, costs increase because resources are working longer hours at a
certain wage. If you take away resources, you save money, but this can affect
quality — and so on.
Coming to a logical balance of time, money, and quality is at the core of what
a good project manager does throughout the life of a project.
Applying tried-and-true methodologies
Microsoft Project incorporates some scheduling and tracking tools that are
the result of many years of developing project management methods. A few
of these are worth noting:
The Gantt Chart (shown in Gantt Chart view of Figure 1-7), which is
the main view of Project, shows you a spreadsheet with columns of
data along with a graphical representation of the tasks in the project
arranged along a horizontal timeline. By using the data in the columns
(such as task name, start date, finish date, and resources assigned to
tasks), you can understand the parameters of each task and see its
timing in the graphical area. Being able to view all this information on
one page helps you understand what’s happening in your project in
terms of time and costs.
The Network Diagram (also called a logic diagram) , shown in Figure
1-8, is essentially the Microsoft version of a PERT chart. PERT (Program
Evaluation and Review Technique) was developed during the
construction of the Polaris submarine in the 1950s. This mostly graphical
representation of the tasks in your project reflects the flow of work in your
project rather than the literal timing of tasks. This view helps you to see
how one task flows into another and to get a sense of where you are —
not so much in time, but rather in terms of the work you have to
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