The Best of 2018: MPUG’s Top Ten Articles from Last Year

Here’s our lineup of articles from 2018 that were the most popular! What do you think? Were any of these a favorite of yours?

1. Ask the Expert: Import Excel Data into Project – Tips & Troubleshooting

Ellen Lehnert updated her article on the topic of MS Project’s import/export function earlier this year. She explains that the design of the data, the wording of the Excel tabs, column headings, and a few other options need to be considered to have import/export working in a way that will allow you to achieve your goals.


2. Create a Monthly Cash Flow Report in Microsoft Project 2016

One of the useful features introduced in Microsoft Project 2013, and continued in the 2016 version of the software, is the Dashboard Reports feature. We learned in this article by Dale Howard that this feature replaces the old paper-based reports feature found in Microsoft Project 2010 and all previous versions of the software; however these Dashboard Reports have one main limitation. That is, it’s not possible to create a cash flow report as a Dashboard Report that looks like the old Cash Flow report. The good news? There is a work around! This article gave us the step by step how-to!


3. Newly Released Agile Capabilities in MS Project

Tim Runcie provided us a good run down of MS Project’s Agile capabilities earlier this year. As a Gold PPM partner, Project MVP with Microsoft, and a member of the Advisory Council for Project, he welcomed requests for add-on features and/or suggestions for the improvement of Microsoft tools that support the Project Community. This was an informative and helpful read for PMs using Agile.


4. Using Microsoft Planner

A big thank you to Ben Howard for giving us an overview of what Planner is and where it fits into the Microsoft ecosystem and into Project Management. Many of you enjoyed this Planner how to’s and best practices article. Part two of the series covering the Planner app can be found here.


5. Are You Using the Team Planner View Feature in Microsoft Project?

By way of a case study, Marie Le Fresne introduced us to a feature in Microsoft Project not commonly used, but one that can allow one to see the calendar for all Human Resources, and to set them as Work resources in Microsoft Project. We found out that Team Planner view allows us to manage resources’ schedules, overloads, and interdependencies in a very visual way.


6. Using Kanban Boards in Microsoft Project

Another article by Ben Howard acknowledges that there has been a lot written over the last year regarding Microsoft’s foray into the world of Agile Project Management and the Agile process changes that have be implemented within the MS Project software.  This article provides an update based upon one of the latest versions, discusses what’s changed recently, and provides a walkthrough on setting up and using the Kanban Board.


7. Three Reasons to Use Power BI with Microsoft Project

Power BI is one of those tools that definitely makes reporting easier from MS Project, says author Collin Quiring. He explains in this article that Project tells us the when, who, and what, and that it has a rich data environment, but that as PMs we often need to include pieces of data from other systems, too, when creating reports. This article lists three key advantages of using Power BI with Project for reporting purposes. It’s a good introduction to his on demand webinar covering the same topic.


8. Three features You Will like about Microsoft Planner

Erik van Hurck dove a little deeper into using the Planner app in this article, in which he covered the Promote Item feature, scheduling, and integration with Teams. He also pointed out to us the power we all have to help build MS Planner into a useful tool by visiting the UserVoice page dedicated to this app.


9. Why and When To Go For Agile Life Cycle

Detailed and useful as his articles always are, Satya N Dash give us an in-depth look at the different types of life cycles our projects can take. He begins by explaining the difference between life cycles that are predictive or adaptive, and then we learn that there can be one or many phases of development within that framework. The points made in this article should be considered especially if you are wondering whether or not to use the Agile model for a project.


10. Contingency Reserve and Management Reserve

Last but not least, Satya N Dash also brought us an article this year on the topic of reserve. As PMs, he explains, we have reserves for our estimates (time estimates or cost estimates). Estimates are many times expressed in ranges, such as rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate, budgetary estimate, definitive estimate, etc. By definition, estimates are always uncertain, but that ranges help us estimate the degree of risk. To address these risks, we use buffers or reserves. This one is not to be missed especially if you are preparing for the Project Management Institute® Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® or Project Management Professional (PMP)® examination.


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    Congratulations to all contributors!!

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