Optimized and Baselined Project Schedule

Optimized and Baselined Project Schedule. Create a Microsoft Project file (.mpp) and build out the Project Plan:


Before you  import your WBS from the prior assignment into MS Project,  you must set  up your Microsoft Project Options (this information is covered in  Chapter 2 of the Ambriz textbook):

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  1. From the File tab (which  takes you to the Backstage), select “Options” and then “Schedule” –  verify that the settings on that tab are correct for your project and  work environment. Change the scheduling options so that all tasks are  Auto Scheduled and that the default Task Type is set to either Fixed  Duration or Fixed Work. You want to use the dynamic scheduling  capabilities of MS Project. Select whether or not you want to schedule  the project from the start date or the end date (regulatory requirements  and events that have non-negotiable deadlines should be scheduled from  the Project End Date).
  1. Create a calendar for your  project or make necessary modifications to the Standard calendar to  include any revised schedule days, holidays or non-working days.


  1. From the Project Tab, select  Project Information and set the Start Date of your project. This can be  the actual start date of your project or you can select a fictitious  start date if you don’t know exactly when the project is going to start.  Select the appropriate Calendar for your project based on step 2.
  1. On the File tab in the  Backstage view, click on Info. From the right side of the window, select  Project Information, Advanced Properties. On the Summary tab, enter the  Title of your project, your name and a brief description in the  Comments box. Your project name will now appear in the project plan as  your Zero Task / Project Summary Task.

Using the Work Breakdown Structure that your created in the last assignment,  enter your Summary Tasks and Detail Tasks into Microsoft Project.  During this exercise, you may identify additional tasks that you didn’t  initially think of or you may decide to move things around a bit. That  is perfectly acceptable and common when you start building the schedule.  It is a living, breathing document and does change throughout the  course of planning. Use the Indent Task/Outdent Task  buttons on the Task tab to create the hierarchy of your WBS. If you  want to turn on the WBS numbering scheme, right-click the column to the  right of where you want that column to appear, select Insert Column and  select WBS from the list of available columns. Chapter 3 of the Ambriz book includes a lot of detailed information about entering tasks into Microsoft Project.


  1. Estimation: 


Once you have thoroughly  decomposed the project’s WBS by breaking larger tasks into smaller,  manageable tasks you can continue to the next step which is estimation.

Using one of the techniques  presented in the reference material (your textbooks or the videos),  estimate the effort required to complete each task. Determine for each  task what the duration and work effort is. Pages 175 – 187 in Ambriz discuss the differences and the relationship between duration and work. If  you need to display the Work column in Microsoft Project, right-click  the Duration column, select Insert Column and select Work from the list  of available columns. Enter your estimates into your Microsoft Project  schedule. Remember, don’t assign estimates to Summary tasks,  the time necessary to complete the Summary task is based on the  estimates of the Detail tasks that roll up to the Summary task.

  1. Dependencies: 

Create appropriate dependencies between your tasks. What tasks control other tasks?

Use the Link button on the  Task tab (or the predecessor and successor columns) to create  dependencies between tasks. Double click the arrow between the tasks to  change the dependency type. You should be attempting to use a mixture of  the dependency options offered in the software including: Finish to  Start (FS), Start to Start (SS), Finish to Finish (FF), and Start to  Finish (SF). Add Lag or Lead ( Negative Lag) time where appropriate.

Try to avoid adding constraints to tasks. Instead add deadline  reminders where necessary. Tasks should have a “Start As Soon As  Possible” constraint (default constraint) in order for the software to  show the project team the impact of changes to the plan.


Chapters 5 and 6 of the Ambriz book includes a lot of information on linking tasks in Microsoft Project.

  1. Resources:  

Build out the project Resource Sheet and assign all resources to tasks.

Add resources to your project  using the resources sheet. Please define all type of resources  including Work, Material and Cost. At a minimum, complete the following  fields for each human resource: Resource Name, Type, Initials, Max, Std. Rate, Base (Calendar).  You can choose to use role names or birth names. For other resource  types, complete Cost/Use. Once the resources have been added to the  project file, assign those resources to the tasks that you defined in  the project schedule. Multiple resources can be assigned to the same  task if appropriate but first consider if the task should be broken down  into smaller tasks and assigned to individual resources. Resources should not be assigned to Summary level tasksChapters 7 and 8 of the Ambriz book include step-by-step instructions for completing these tasks.

Once resources have been assigned to all Detail tasks you may find  that some resources have been identified by the software as  over-allocated. There is a red icon in the Indicator Column and in the  Resource Sheet view the resource is red. Before the plan can be  optimized and baselined, it will be necessary for you to address these  over-allocations by having the software fix the over-allocations  (Resource Leveling feature) or by manually adjusting the plan to  alleviate the over-allocations (Resource Usage view).

  1. Optimize and Baseline the Project Plan:

a. When  you are satisfied that over-allocated resources have been eliminated,  you can then begin to review the plan and analyze it for any areas where  changes can be made that will optimize the schedule for time and cost.

Using schedule  optimization strategies, decide which steps you want to take to attempt  to shorten your project finish date and decrease project costs. Update  your Microsoft Project Schedule accordingly. Through this process you  may create new over-allocated resources. If you do, address those  over-allocations. Chapter 9 of the Ambriz book includes step-by-step instructions for optimizing your project schedule.

  1. Baseline the Project Plan: 

When you are satisfied that you have done your best to create the most efficient plan possible, save the baseline for the project plan so that you have a point in time to measure progress against.

Optimized and Baselined Project Schedule

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