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Assignment Overview

Type: Discussion Board

Unit:  Project Time, Cost and Scope Management

Due Date:  Tue, 1/30/18

Grading Type: Numeric

Points Possible:  75

Points Earned:  0

Deliverable Length:  150 words

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Question1: What tools do you find most helpful for managing projects?

 In managing projects, MS-Excel, MS-Word, MS-Powerpoint, MS-Outlook, and MS-Project are all used on a daily basis. These products formulate the visual aids in communicating across the project and are essential in managing projects. “Studies report that successful project managers spend approximately 40–60% of their time on a project involved in communications” (MUSE-286). Taking this course is an example of a typical 5-week project. MS product usage is as follows:

·  MS-Excel, 6 times especially for creating tables for resources and figuring cost;

·  MS-Word, 21 times and was used for every assignment and much course material.  

·  MS-Powerpoint, 12 times and was used for the final project.

·  MS-Outlook, 30 emails in coordinating the final group project

·  MS-Project, 1 time for initial set-up, but accessed about 10 times to make tweaks in MS-Project

MS-Excel, MS-Word, MS-Powerpoint, MS-Outlook, and MS-Project are very important in communications and analysis for project management and are used on a daily basis.

Question2: How can you use spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, within the various project management processes?

 I used MS-Excel for 6 different products during this course. I created a table to plot each project resource against each project task they were assigned to. I pasted this table into my Human Resources powerpoint chart. I created a spreadsheet to calculate the budget for the project assignment. MS-Excel spreadsheets are great for keeping data because of the filter feature. For example, if a product such as the specifications, change log, stakeholder register, payroll report, vendor invoices, phone roster, etc, were in MS-Excel, with a filter activated entries of interest can be displayed. When monthly actual costs come in, data can be consolidated and graphed to display the earned value graph for the project. MS-Excel is awesome!

Question3: How can you use scheduling tools, such as Microsoft Project, within the various project management processes?

 I used MS-Project to display the project schedule for my project assignment. Once the project is planned into tasks, the task name, duration, dates, task dependencies, resources, resource rates, and percent usage of resources are all come together to provide the project schedule, cost for each task, total project cost, and many other ways of viewing project data. The graphical displays can be used in MS-Powerpoint presentations, too. Just like with spreadsheets, MS-Project can be tweaked to explore project planning options for improved project time/cost alternatives. Also, the impact of risk events can be analyzed to derive financial impacts.

Question4: What tips can you offer for using either of these types of products?

 I noticed in MS-Project there are an assortment of “undocumented” features, aka, bugs. One problem with MS-Project is its temperamental when entering resources and percent resource usage. To put my headache at easy, I use MS-Excel to cross check the cost figures in MS-Project. It seems like too much work to “do it twice” but it is very important to get the cost figures correct when planning projects. Maybe someday MS-Project will correct this problem.

 Another tip for the student user, MS-Office has a very inexpensive student price. I am addicted to MS products.

Question5: Briefly describe 2 other types of project management tools.

 MS-Word and MS-Outlook are two more obviously important project management tools. MS-Word is used for creating formal documentation while MS-Outlook offers a good e-mail solution. MS-Word and MS-Outlook use the same editing functions which make them compatible.

Question6: How do these 2 types of tools differ from the tools you have previously used?

 There are many more tools I did not discuss. There is dashboard software, showing on one screen a bird’s eye view of every aspect of the project, rendered in easy-to-read graphs and charts which may be used for presentations. There are also online Gantt charts that function similarly to MS-Project and include reporting and scheduling functions not just presenting a timeline chart. These packages boas ability to share with options to print, export or share online, either as a PDF, Excel or CSV file. In all, I see the same basic functions as offered by Microsoft. ( Landau, 2017)

References:

Landau, P. (2017), “5 Best Project Management Tools,” 3Oct2017, Project Manager, retrieved from: https://www.projectmanager.com/blog/best-project-management-tools

MUSE-286 (2017), “FAQ: Effective Project Communications and Stakeholders,” My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).  Retrieved from: https://class.ctuonline.edu/_layouts/MUSEViewer/Asset.aspx?MID=9865285&aid=9865286

  

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