MS Project - Status Reporting


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After creating a project plan and baselines, the project begins. At this stage, the project manager would be focusing on collecting, monitoring, analyzing project performance, and updating project status by communicating with the stakeholders.

When there is a difference between what is planned and the actual project performance, it is called a Variance. Variance is mostly measured in terms of Time and Cost.

Task Slippage

There are several ways to view task with variance.

Method 1 − Graphical View by Tracking Gantt

Click View tab → Task Views group → Gantt Chart dropdown → Tracking Gantt.

By comparing the currently scheduled Gantt bars with baseline Gantt bars, you can see what tasks started later than planned or took longer to complete.

Tracking Gantt

Method 2 − Graphical View by Detail Gantt

Click View tab → Task Views group → Other Views → double-click Tracking Gantt.

Detail Gantt

Method 3 − Variance Table

Click View tab → Data group → Tables → Variance.

Method 4 − Filters

Click View tab → Data group → Filters → More 
   Filters → choose filter as Late tasks, Slipping task, etc.

MS Project 2013 will filter the task list to show only the tasks filtered in this process. So if you select Slipping Task, you will view only incomplete tasks. Any task that is already completed will not show up.

Task Costs

To examine cost in a project life cycle, you should be aware of these terms and what they mean in MS Project 2013 −

  • Baseline costs − All planned costs as saved in baseline plan.

  • Actual costs − Costs that have been incurred for tasks, resources, or assignments.

  • Remaining costs − Difference between baseline/current costs and actual costs.

  • Current costs − When plans are changed due to assigning or removing resources, or adding or subtracting tasks, MS Project 2013 will recalculate all costs. This will appear under the fields labeled Cost or Total Cost. If you have started to track actual cost, it will include actual cost+ remaining cost (uncompleted task) per task.

  • Variance − Difference between Baseline Cost and the Total Cost (current or scheduled cost).

Click View Tab → Data group → Tables → Cost.

Project Life Cycle

You will be able to view all relevant information. You can also use filters to see tasks that have run over budget.

Click View tab → Data group → Filters → More Filters → Cost Overbudget → Apply.

Resource Cost

For some organizations, resources costs are primary costs, and sometimes the only cost, so these need to be closely watched.

Click View tab → Resource Views group → Resource Sheet.

Click View tab → Data group → Tables → Cost.

We can sort the Cost column to see which resources are the most and least costly.

Click the AutoFilter arrow in Cost column heading, when the drop-down menu appears, click on Sort Largest to Smallest.

You can use the AutoFilter feature for each of the columns, By sorting Variance column, you will be able to see the variance pattern.

AutoFilter

Project Report

Project 2013 comes with a set of predefined reports and dashboards. You’ll find all of these on the Report tab. You can create and customize graphical reports for your project as well.

Dashboard Reports

Click Report → View Reports group → Dashboards.

Resource Reports

Click Report → View Reports group → Resources.

Cost Reports

Click Report → View Reports group → Costs.

Progress Reports

Click Report → View Reports group → In Progress.

Custom Reports

Click Report → View Reports group → New Report.

There are four options.

  • Blank − Creates a blank canvas. Use the Report Tools - Design tab to add charts, tables, text, and images.

  • Chart − Creates a chart comparing Actual Work, Remaining Work, and Work by default. Use the Field List pane to pick different fields to compare. The look of the chart can be changed by clicking on Chart Tools tabs, Design, and Layout tabs.

  • Table − Creates a table. Use the Field List pane to choose what fields to display in the table (Name, Start, Finish, and % Complete appear by default). Outline level box lets you select how many levels in the project outline the table should show. The look of the table can be changed by clicking on Table Tools tabs, Design, and Layout tabs.

  • Comparison − Creates two charts side-by-side. Charts will have the same data at first. You can click one of the charts and pick the data you want in the Field List pane to begin differentiating them.



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