Author Topic: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans  (Read 1451 times)

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miless2111s

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Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« on: September 01, 2016, 09:28:50 AM »
Are you tired of the weekly / monthly pain of producing "plan on a page" summaries of your complex MS Project Plans? Sick of the waste of time and effort involved in moving bars around and guessing at the progress bars?  Or annoyed that updates provided by PMs show the wished for state of the project rather than the actual state shown in the plans?

I have developed a Visio tool that allows me to update summary plans suitable for the senior team or stakeholders directly from the detailed MS Project plan data - thus the plan and the summary are automatically in sync with each other.  Setting this up takes a little time (hours) but then the updates can be done much quicker than dragging bars around in PowerPoint!

Enclosed is an example of a Plan on a Page which summarised a large project as part of a significant program.  This can be made more colourful however the client wanted simplicity above all else.  We can also have boxes which spread across swim lanes, curved edges, baseline shown or hidden etc.

I can help take the pain and inaccuracy of maintaining summary plans away - contact me to discuss what you need.

FlowerGirl

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 04:49:12 AM »
Nice work!

Is the example linked to an external source, Excel, Access, Project?
This looks like something I could use.

FlowerGirl

miless2111s

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 05:54:43 AM »
Nice work!

Is the example linked to an external source, Excel, Access, Project?
This looks like something I could use.

FlowerGirl
Yes this is linked to MS Project so I can flag anything in a plan (milestones, tasks, summary lines or any combination of these) to be an item on the plan.  This way when the plan changes the update process is relatively quick and always reflects the plan.  Setting up the picture takes a little time as it is important to draw the correct picture of the plan to explain the story of the project and get the level right however if you already have a picture in mind / fact then it is a more simple process of flagging things in the plan.  The bars can be colour coded and can do nice things such as spanning multiple lines (so for instance if you have three work streams leading to a combined test or decision activity this can span all three streams of work). 

From the same plan or set of plans you can be running different summaries for different audiences - so for a complex program you might run detailed summaries for the PMs and their teams, a phase plan for the program manager and a very high level summary for the exec team.  The details project plans are the single source of the truth.

The key thing is that once set up you know that updating it will be faster than it has been before, the updated view will have to reflect the detailed plan and all types of summary plan are aligned with each other.

What is your challenge?  How can I help?

Miles

FlowerGirl

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 04:52:32 AM »
I create an assortment of timelines using Visio 2010 with data linked up to Excel and/or Access.
They work pretty good, but now I am being tasked with linking up to MS Project.

I think my first hurdle is to get a little more familiar with MS Project.
The next hurdle would be reading Project with Visio.

FG.

miless2111s

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 05:38:46 AM »
I always strongly suggest planning in MS Project rather than Excel.  Whilst plans are equally credible in either I always think of excel as masochistic planning as reacting to changes is harder (you need to remember all the links in the plan and make all the changes yourself) whereas I prefer to let the computer take the strain :)

My tool can accept inputs from Excel or Project but it is most useful for project as project is very challenged in terms of the aesthetic output and the complexity it presents :)  It did take me a few years to work out how to link it all up and make it work easily and the number of people that have told me I should sell the result has spurred me on to start working out how to do that! :)

Regards

Miles

FlowerGirl

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2016, 07:04:30 AM »
Sounds like this would be a good fit for my Project to Visio needs.

Do you have a starter version that would help get me going or is the starting of something like this no more complex then linking up to external data like Excel.
I would think that linking up to Project would be a little more intense. I do not know at this point, I have not done it yet.
I guess I need to brush up on a basic tutorial.
I appreciate your responses.

FG.

miless2111s

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2016, 08:19:43 AM »
Try outputting from project into Excel and reusing what you have already? Something as simple as cut and paste will work.

wapperdude

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Re: Plan on a page sumamries of MS Project plans
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2016, 09:23:04 AM »
@Flowergirl:  I think you'll find MSProject easy to learn.  It won't take you long.  I used it many years ago and liked its features. I preferred it over the Visio version of project.  The main downside was the additional cost.

Wapperdude