MS Project TemplatesOne of the first things that I do when I start a project is to put a schedule or a plan. Being in IT for such long a time I like to make myself comfortable that my project is meeting the timelines. I have used Microsoft Project 2013 in the example you can any project version as the basics should remain the same.
|Sample MS Project Plans|
We will look at the process on creating the plan in 3 steps - Step 1 will be to have the basic or bare- bones schedule, Step 2 will be to populate the schedule and finally, in Step 3 we will look at maintaining the schedule.
Before you start work on the plan make sure you have a list of tasks and following information about each task -
- The Owner or the person who will do the task.
- An Estimate for the task.
- Is the person available to start the task?
- Availability of the person (full time, part time, % availability etc).
- Task dependencies – are any tasks dependent on each other?
- It’s good to know the stakeholder expectation of the project delivery.
Default Field Name
Name of the task.
Person / Resource assigned to the task.
Contains the task ID of the task which needs to be completed before the current task starts.
The date on which the task is planned to start.
The date on which the task is planned to finish.
The duration of the task. It the actual elapsed time.
Example - A person may start on 1-Feb and finish on 5-Feb but might work just for 2 days and take off for 2 days. In this case, the duration will be 5 days but the work will 2 days.
The effort which we have estimated for the task. This is estimated so can change.
The effort spent on the task.
The effort remaining.
The % of work done. If you update percent complete the Actual Effort and Remaining work will be updated automatically.
Let’s assume you start a task which is 3 days and as you just started the
% Complete will be 0%.
Actual work will 0 days
Remaining Work will 3 days.
After a day if you update the % complete to 50%.
% Complete will be 50%.
Actual work will 1.5 days
Remaining Work will 1.5 days.
|This is my favorite column. This allows you to write free-form text like delayed as machine crashed, a person is sick etc.|
Step 2: Build the Schedule or Plan
I have taken an example of typical a IT Project. I will walk you through on adding a single phase and will leave rest of the phases to you. Please see How to add resources and working times in MS Project to understand how you can resources.
Indenting is important as effort, duration and other fields for a child will add up to the parent. Updating either the child tasks will roll-up to the parent and visa-versa. It will always be recommended to update the child tasks.
You can have any number of child and sub –child tasks. I would recommend keeping to 2 -3 levels at max. as more than that would make it confusing to maintain. You can add the rest of the phases by yourself. I would also recommend that you use colors to show the different levels of tasks.
If you look at the picture you can see that I have used some colors to highlight the phases. It makes it more presentable and easy to read for the team. You can change the colors for cells like you I highly recommend that you use Traffic light indicators so that people can see where the issues are.
Step 3: Maintaining the Schedule
I send out daily updates as it will a make sure that the team is aware of the latest changes to the schedule and have it handy when they have a doubt. You should only send the phases in-progress.
|Sample Status Update Email|
Below link will take you to an IT Sample Project Plan(MPP) which can be used a template for creating new project plans.