The Project Notebook

A Quick Project Visual

Here is a very clever way to use MS Excel to make a quick project visual of tasks. We all think of Gantt charts as having dependency arrows, a fallacy created by project software. The original Gantt chart did not show dependencies and was a simple bar chart.

Of course we often don’t know the actual duration without knowing the effort of the tasks and the resources which apply, so a refinement would be to add a Work or Effort column and a Units column. The Units column would hold the total number of full time project resources. If a half person is applied, it would be .5. One and a half project resources would be 1.5. Using the MS Project calculation of Duration = Work x Units gets the number you need for duration. If we know the dependencies, we can simply sort the tasks to get the appropriate ordering.

Following the instructions in the video with the suggested refinements and others you might want to make create a quick project visual suitable for sharing with the executive team. An added benefit is they are likely to relate more to Excel than Project, demystifying the schedule.


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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP