Aunty Entity: The Myth Of MS Project
Dear Aunty Entity,
Does anyone ever use MS project to produce project schedules?
Signed, Phil McCracken
Dear Mr Crack,
Aaah yessss, the project fantasy charts. Impressive to unfurl across a boardroom table, a glorious sight in Xerox’s finest technicolour, some of them deserving of the Booker prize for best new fiction… just make sure you have them the right side up, that’s a dear. If produced at the beginning of the project and left as is for the remainder, they are as useful as the proverbial tits on a bull.
MS Project is listed on many job ads as a desirable or even a ‘must-have’ but consider this: Many corporate clients do not have a copy of MS project.
The purpose of a project schedule is to communicate tasks for the project stakeholders, dates when they are due and if any tasks have dependencies. These can also be produced in MS Excel and for some projects it is acceptable to submit a list of tasks and dates to your client. Bear in mind that schedules change on a regular basis – sometimes weekly and sometimes even daily and you still need to keep this updated and circulated for it to be a useful project tool.
MS Project when used by the experts can track progress, resources and costs. I’ve heard of one user being able to chart his personal algorithms, make predictions on the stock-market and align his stars using MS project but that is probably an urban myth.