OK, this really is my last post in the “highlights of highlights”series: I include some excerpts from the Project 2010 Step by Step chapters and elaborate on them. This week: the Appendices.
From Appendix A, "A Short Course in Project Management"
Succeeding as a project manager requires that you complete your projects on time, finish within budget, and make sure your customers are happy with what you deliver. That sounds simple enough, but how many projects have you heard of (or worked on) that were completed late, cost too much, or didn’t meet the needs of their customers? (pg. 431)
This excerpt is setting the stage for a proactive mental model of project management. Most practitioners of project management will be the first to say that project management is an imprecise practice. Sometimes despite competent project management, things can go badly off track. As I've said previously in my eyes a very big part of project management is risk management.
By now, you may realize that much of the work that goes on in the world is project-oriented work. In fact, a substantial portion of your work may be focused on project management—even if that’s not your job title. (pg. 432)
The comparatively broad success of a desktop project management tool like Microsoft Project demonstrates the degree to which project management is so much more than a narrow technical domain. I believe a large part of the success of our book comes from people who don't identify them selves as project managers yet find themselves with some project management to do. My goal in this excerpt (and really in the entire book) is to convey to these people that it behooves them to understand the context of the tool--that is, how to apply Project following the best practices from project management.
Here is our final word about the project triangle model. Like all simple models of complex subjects, this model is a useful learning tool but not always a reflection of the real world. (pg. 437)
This disclaimer of sorts follows our walkthrough of the so-called triangle of triple-constraints, or the project triangle. I have found the triangle model to be a very effective instructional tool and mental model. As such, it has some inherent limitations. Overall though I find the model to be of great value.
From Appendix B, "Roadmap for Developing Your Project and Project Management Skills"
If you’ve completed most of or all the chapters in this book, you’re well on your way to mastering Microsoft Project 2010. However, one book can get you only so far. To help further your knowledge of Project and project management, start with these sources. (pg. 439)
Again of our primary instructional goals is to introduce the reader to the domain of project management. As with all training material, our book is focused on changing skills and behavior once the reader (or student) returns to their real-world work.
From Appendix C, "Using the Practice Files if Connected to Project Server"
This appendix introduces some of the key differences between desktop project Management (as you’ve practiced it in this book) and Project Server–based enterprise project management. Project Server is the cornerstone of the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution (we’ll refer to this as Project Server–based EPM). EPM is one of the more complex but potentially rewarding practices that a large Organization can adopt. (pg. 444)
We include this short section in the appendix to take the opportunity to gently introduce EPM to our reader. In earlier versions of our book we included more material about EPM, but decided our best expertise remains with the desktop Project. And in any case there is now much more information about EPM available on the Web for those who want it.
From Appendix D, "Using Microsoft Project 2010 Step by Step in a Classroom: Suggestions for Instructors"
If you are an instructor preparing training material for classroom delivery, this appendix offers some suggestions for how to best integrate this book into your syllabus or lesson plans. (pg. 447)
We knew from reader feedback that previous editions of our books were often used in academic contexts. For the 2010 edition we created this appendix to give the classroom instructor some insight into our pedagogy and how the content can be integrated into their cirricula and learning activities. My suspicion is that our book is often assigned in project management classes, where the instructor (rightly in my view) does not want to spend a lot of class time fussing with the tool (Project). Instead they "outsource" the Project skills development to our book while they can focus on the project management methodology. This approach is just fine with me, and I like that we give such instructors some guidance on how they can use our book successfully.
Previous posts in the "Detailed Commentary" series:
Part 1, Simple Scheduling
- Introduction of Project 2010 Step by Step
- Chapter 1, "A Guided Tour of Project"
- Chapter 2, "Creating a Task List"
- Chapter 3, "Setting Up Resources"
- Chapter 4, "Assigning Resources to Tasks"
- Chapter 5, "Formatting and Sharing Your Plan"
- Chapter 6, "Tracking Progress on Tasks"
Part 2, Advanced Scheduling
- Chapter 7, "Fine-Tuning Task Details"
- Chapter 8, "Fine-Tuning Resource Details"
- Chapter 9, "Fine-Tuning Assignment Details"
- Chapter 10, "Fine-Tuning the Project Plan"
- Chapter 11, "Organizing Project Details"
- Chapter 12, Tracking Progress on Tasks and Assignments"
- Chapter 13, "Viewing and Reporting Project Status"
- Chapter 14, "Getting Your Project Back on Track"
- Chapter 15, "Applying Advanced Formatting and Printing"
- Chapter 16, "Customizing Project."
- Chapter 17, "Sharing Project Information with Other Programs"
- Chapter 18, "Consolidating Projects and Resources"