The Excel Project Management template is designed as a generic and intuitive Excel based solution to plan and manage simple to complex projects. The familiar Excel environment and stepwise work flow provides a straightforward project management solution without requiring knowledge of sophisticated software or project management methodologies.
The ability to construct and manage the project budget as tasks are identified and updated facilitates the processes of business case proposal, feasibility analysis and securing required project funding.
Project dynamics can be altered and project progress performance monitored with best practice Earned Value Analysis throughout the complete project life cycle. The Project Planning and Management template provides the ability to define the project budget and scope as tasks are defined during the planning phase.
Project Resources and Control
Project parameters can be defined for setting up dynamics of the project in centralized control panel. Key project parameters flow through to reporting display and automated routine rules for project planning and management tasks. Standardized project phase and task texts can be customized to specific business domains and project types to accelerate the creation of tasks and milestones across projects. Human resource management provides flexibility to apply granular levels of productivity to individual participants to reflect ongoing availability which can subsequently be overridden in task definitions. Financial resources with the definition of relevant unit types can be defined and managed independently as well as updated automatically during the task definition and updating process. The project control panel allows quick access to various process and reports in the project management template.
Project Task Management
Project tasks can be added and updated using an input window that facilitates the definition of task characteristics. Predefined texts can be selected and existing task information can be copied used to speed up task creation. The calculation of timing, unit and financial resources is made automatically as participants are selected and duration specified. Calculated and entered resource information can be optionally specified to update the overall project budget. The auto timing feature can be executed to intelligently allocate timing for the most efficient project plan to tasks by accounting for participant productivity availability, task dependencies and project phase priorities. Timing can be recalculated as tasks are updated with revised estimates, progress status or removed from the project plan.
Project Gantt Chart Scheduling
The project Gantt chart schedule can be generated at any time as the structure and timing of project tasks are defined and updated. The Gantt chart can be generated as a daily, weekly or monthly schedule depending on the scope of the project timeline and project monitoring requirements. Project tasks are categorized by phase with colored cells corresponding to each time period in the project timeline. Detailed information regarding the overall task and time period can be accessed with comment boxes on hover over the task title and colored cells respectively. Cell comments relay task information including participant information, timing productivity and resource consumption. The lower section of the project Gantt chart displays the total scheduled versus completed hours as well as operating and capital expenditure costs per time period.
Project Collaboration Tools
Project task lists for each participant can be generated as Excel workbooks or text based emails. The participant workbooks contain subsets of the tasks list and project Gantt chart for only tasks that have been allocated to the participant. Text emails combine explanatory that has been predefined in the template with task information pertaining to the participant. The benefits of the Excel file generation include the generic spreadsheet format that can be opened and edited in other spreadsheet programs, such as Open Office and iWork Numbers, as well as the ability to batch import progress updates from modified participant files. Information from imported files for task progress and completion automatically updates the overall project task information and resulting progress status reporting.
Project Progress Status Monitoring and Reporting
The project status report can be updated at any time to monitor the progress of the project using earned value analysis methodology. The project status report utilizes the specified start, end and reporting dates in the project control with the detailed task information to provide the corresponding project progress analysis. Help icons throughout the report detail the project performance metrics used and how they should be interpreted to monitor project progress. The two key metrics that summarize the project status against the project plan are the cost performance index and schedule performance index which track resource and timing risk respectively. Additional project reporting sections include break downs of the cost risk analysis, estimated project timing over/under run and unit completion analysis. Cost and schedule performance trend can be tracked over time with a chart plotting snapshots of the cost and schedule performance indices. Project performance snapshots can be taken at regular intervals to easily monitor progress within the Excel project management template. Performance snapshots can also be selectively removed to customize the historical trend analysis for reporting requirements.
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