When people think of symbology, they often think of The DaVinci Code. Symbology is important in project management, too, though it’s not going to cause as much of a stir as the aforementioned novel and film.
As you create your project reports, you and your colleagues define a set of symbols to represent the different tasks and milestones in your project. Keeping symbology in mind is a good way to maximize understanding from your project stakeholders.
Next Tuesday, in my double life as a semi-professional classical baritone, I will be singing the 90-minute Verdi Requiem from memory. So I have been spending a lot of my downtime studying music that looks like this:
Free sample from http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/requiem-sheet-music/983445
Naturally, this has got me thinking about project management. So what does a set of lines and dots like my Verdi Requiem choral score have to do with planning and executing large, complex projects?
Anyone who has used Microsoft Project will tell you – if they are being honest – it is not easy to use.
Think of it this way: Microsoft Project is a program built specifically for project management. That makes it unlike any other Microsoft Office product. I can use Microsoft Word to write a book, pen a love letter, finally kickstart my career in beat poetry, and so forth. I can use Microsoft Excel to make a budget, track orders, maintain my list of fantasy football stats, and yes, manage a project plan. But I can only use Microsoft Project to manage a project plan. That makes its menus, buttons, and behavior specific to the discipline of project management – and, as a consequence, intimidating for new users.
So what is a new user to do?
Many of our users ask us about the two different types of scheduling modes available in Microsoft Project; Manual and Automatic, and what will work best for them.
Not surprisingly, this topic has loads of information on the internet available and I’ve included some helpful links to very useful articles or discussions below to help. However, the goal here is to ensure you know how these scheduling modes work, and we’ll cover more about how to choose between them in a follow-up post.