When is a Summary Task on the Critical Path?

Short answer: Never.

Long answer: Summary tasks are a collection of one or more child tasks. By definition, a summary task doesn’t represent any real work, resources, or deliverables, so summary tasks are neither on nor off the critical path of a project. Children of summary tasks can be on the critical path, assuming those children are not summary tasks themselves.

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Copying old Microsoft Project files instead of making a new one? Read this first.

We get it: you’re lazy (or really efficient, depending on your point of view).

You’ve just kicked off a new project and have been tasked with building a new Microsoft Project schedule from the ground up. The thing is, your new project is so similar to the last project that you managed, that you’re tempted to copy your old project plan over, change a few dates and tasks, and call it done.

Everybody does it. Continue reading

The revealing truth about the plan and schedule

Special Guest Article from Deb Schaffer at ProProject Manager

Project managers have many different roles: scheduler, budget analyst, occasional relationship coach. Educator is one role that is often unexpected. Often we are asked, “Aren’t the project plan and the schedule the same thing?”

Let’s eliminate the confusion about this. Your friends don’t think that the directions to your house are the actual house, right? Here’s some clarification.

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The Project Manager is an Expert in Business Intelligence

What if I told you that a Gantt Chart was a form of Business Intelligence (BI)?  Wait, hear me out.

Wikipedia tells me that BI is “the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.”  Yep, sounds like a Gantt Chart to me.

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How to Avoid the Death of Your PMO

rip-pmoWe’ve witnessed the collapse of a several large PMOs among our customers. It’s not a pretty sight. The collapse of the largest one started at the top, with the resignation of the PMO director, and ended with the rest of the PMO being completely disassembled. Some of the 100+ PMs were reassigned to individual business units, but most were shown the door. To say the least, it’s a harrowing experience.

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The Missing Project Management Success Metric

We talk a lot about how to build plan communications: the actual reports, visuals, etc. that you will present over the lifetime of your initiative.  But what about the Communications Plan?  …These are two different things that together encompass how you communicate during an initiative.

The Communications Plan is so important to the overall success of projects that we’d even like to suggest that it be a part of your performance metrics.

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