Sharing Resources Across the Enterprise

Sharing Resources Across the Enterprise

New to Microsoft Project 2002 is the capability to share resources across your company’s network. This enables you to create larger, company-wide projects, with resources spanning the entire enterprise.

 Server  There are actually two enterprise-wide resource sharing tools, both of which require the use of Project Server.

  • If you’re also running Project Professional, you can create and use what Project calls enterprise resource pools, which are discussed in Chapter 21.

  • Project Server’s Web Access feature enables similar enterprise-wide resource sharing, as explained in Chapter 22. Read these chapters to learn more about these Project Server-specific features.

What’s Next

Now that you know how to use Project to manage multiple projects, it becomes even more important to effectively communicate with your project resources about the status of a project’s tasks. In Chapter 15, you’ll learn how to communicate using Project’s team tools with e-mail.

Chapter 15: Communicating Project Information

Overview

This chapter is the detailed guide to project communication, focusing on the communication options within Microsoft Project Standard 2002. (The enterprise communication features unique to Project Professional and Project Server will be discussed in Chapters 21 and 22. We’ll begin by examining the role of communication in project management overall and then look at the two most common methods for communicating project information: manual and e-mailñbased data collection and feedback. Here are the topics covered in this chapter:

  • Understanding project communication

  • Using e-mail to communicate project information

  • Sending and receiving workgroup messages

  • Customizing workgroup messages

Understanding Project Communication

We can’t overstate the role of communication in a project, or its importance to a project manager. Thoughtful, well-planned communication is a significant factor in every successful project. (Well, at least all those we’ve received communications about!) Inadequate communication can cause even the best-designed project to falter or fail.

Most projects that are worth recording in Microsoft Project have a project team—one or more people assigned to work on various project tasks. In addition to the project manager, who is responsible for team communication, team members may include the following:

  • Temporary employees hired for the project

  • Workgroups and their leaders

  • Departments and department managers

  • Contractors and vendors

  • Stakeholders

What needs to be communicated? That depends, in part, on the culture of your organization. Minimally, the project manager needs to communicate direction, expectations, and information required for team members to complete their tasks. The project manager needs to provide management and other shareholders with status reports detailing the progress and health of the project. Team members need to provide the project manager with task status reports that supply accurate information for the project’s status reports.

In many organizations, particularly those with a less-hierarchical structure, team members are encouraged or required to communicate with one another, providing upstream feedback about tasks that were completed earlier, and downstream feedback to team members involved in tasks that occur later in the project. Teams or workgroups engaged in simultaneous tasks share information by e-mail or on a project website. The project manager may provide project status reports to shareholders as well as managers.

Whether your organization has a top-down approach to project management, or is more workgroup-focused, there’s one fundamental truth: The successful project manager accepts responsibility for establishing and disseminating the communication requirements for the project.