By Cynthia Snyder

Project 2016, which is a scheduling tool, helps you organize, manage, and control defined variables, as identified in the following table. Project can also help you manage the undefined variables as well. You can use Project to organize and manage your work, create realistic schedules, and optimize your use of resources.

Project Variables
Variable Description
Defined
Scope The work needed to produce the deliverables, products, or outcomes for the project.
Time The duration required to complete the project work.
Cost The funds required to complete the project.
Resources The people, equipment, material, supplies, and facilities needed to accomplish the project.
Undefined
Change The type, timing, number, and degree of modifications from a project baseline; can affect the project’s scope, time, cost, or resources.
Risk Uncertainty (associated with the scope, time, cost, resources, stakeholders, or environment) that can threaten the completion of any aspect of the project. Fortunately, risks can also present opportunities to accelerate the schedule or come in under budget.
Stakeholder A person who can affect, or who is affected by, the project, either positively or negatively.
Environment The location, culture, or organization in which the project occurs.

 

Take a moment to look at some of the wonderful ways in which Project can help you organize, manage, and control your project. Now that you have, or your company has, bought Project and you’re investing your time to understand how to use it, you can enjoy these benefits:

  • Use built-in templates to get a head start on your project. Project templates are prebuilt plans for a typical business project, such as commercial construction, an engineering project, a new product rollout, software development, or an office move.
  • Organize your project by phase, deliverable, geography, or any other method. The outline format allows you to progressively elaborate the information in greater granularity depending on how detailed you want your plan to be.
  • Determine costs by your chosen method. Examples are time period, resource type, deliverable, or cost type.
  • Organize resources by resource type. Level your resources to avoid overallocation, or determine the impact on the duration of a task based on a change in resources.
  • Calculate costs and timing based on your input. You can quickly calculate what-if scenarios to solve resource conflicts, maintain costs within your budget, or meet a deliverable deadline.
  • Use views and reports with the click of a button. A wealth of information is now available to you — and those you report to. You no longer have to manually build a report on total costs to date to meet a last-minute request from your boss.
  • Manage complex algorithms (that you couldn’t even begin to figure out on your own) to complete such tasks as leveling resource assignments to solve resource conflicts, filtering tasks by various criteria, modeling what-if scenarios, and calculating the dollar value of work performed to date.

No matter how cool the tool, you have to take the time to enter meaningful data. Great software doesn’t ensure great outcomes; it only makes them easier to achieve.

Project Variables
Variable Description
Defined
Scope The work needed to produce the deliverables, products, or outcomes for the project.
Time The duration required to complete the project work.
Cost The funds required to complete the project.
Resources The people, equipment, material, supplies, and facilities needed to accomplish the project.
Undefined
Change The type, timing, number, and degree of modifications from a project baseline; can affect the project’s scope, time, cost, or resources.
Risk Uncertainty (associated with the scope, time, cost, resources, stakeholders, or environment) that can threaten the completion of any aspect of the project. Fortunately, risks can also present opportunities to accelerate the schedule or come in under budget.
Stakeholder A person who can affect, or who is affected by, the project, either positively or negatively.
Environment The location, culture, or organization in which the project occurs.