What do you guys recommend as a best practise to schedule project manager tasks?
I’d like a Monitoring and Control Task Start = Project Start, Finish = Project Finish and Work = 10% total work of the project.
I usually set a macro like the code below:
‘set finish date
ActiveProject.Tasks(“Monitor and Control”).Finish = ActiveProject.Tasks(“Project1”).Finish
‘set work 10% total of project total work
ActiveProject.Tasks(“Monitor and Control”).Work = ActiveProject.Tasks(“Project1”).Work * 0.1
But this kind of approach has some limits. I could use a manual task to set Start, Finish and Work manually, but I’m not certain it is the best option.
As an organization, we are wrestling with this same question as well. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing one option clearly emerging as the answer.
I think a lot of the answer has to do with how you’re tracking and managing the schedule. Bottom line, you want a solution that’s as simple as possible while keeping the Monitor and Control task off the critical path and also not having that task drive the project duration. There are a lot of considerations, such as how time is entered, how the task is configured, are you performing regular Update Project cycles and so on.
Generally, our organization is playing with two options.
1) Fixed Duration Tasks and 2) Recurring Tasks. Both have pros and cons and neither removes the need for the PM to manually monitor/review these tasks on a weekly basis to ensure that resource assignment units/work isn’t being changed and/or the finish date is not driving the project completion date.
Hammock tasks could be an option, however in discussions with MS personnel, they recommended not using these because of the known issues/problems with them.
Does that help?
Daryl has some good points and testing some of the options. That’s a good thing. As with Daryl, the assumption is that you are tracking or at least estimating total effort. If you aren’t then you don’t really even need this task (think about it). What I see as the options, other than attempting to use macros or VBA which I don’t tend to recommend, include:
1. One task to cover the project: I don’t recommend this as it doesn’t provide any real tracking ability and can affect critical path,as Daryl stated well.
2. Recurring tasks: I really like this one but the down side is the added maintenance. It provides very specific estimates on a weekly basis that can be tracked to see how well you are doing against those estimates. I tend to tweak the weekly tasks so that more time is allocated up front and less as the project continues. It is a true estimate of “planned” hours across the project. If you are entering time in Project Server, then zero out at the end of each week. You now have an accurate variance of your estimated to actual hour.
3. If I’m not that concerned with the details (I’m a consultant so I am in many different environments), I like a hybrid approach of creating a task per phase or major deliverable. This give me some idea of tracking against estimates, but not as complex as recurring tasks. It also has the added benefit of reporting on total hours per phase/deliverable, something that the other options don’t do.
It’s quick and high level but I hope that helps…