Most users of Microsoft Project – Test Managers included – start with the best intentions of using the tool to effectively plan and keep track of their projects. However, in reality, those familiar with the tool will most likely have come across a number of areas which cause headaches and prevent them from using it effectively.

Microsoft Project can be a great help and enabler for Test Managers, as its functionality lends itself completely to effectively managing projects and resources. The tool is also a tremendous help in drawing attention to any constraints or issues which could affect the test schedule.

The rationale behind our guide is to show you how to get past the initial inputting of tasks, and to offer practical help on using Microsoft Project including an overview of the processes involved in creating the initial project plan.

In the guide we also cover many tips and best practices for compiling the project plan and highlight the various fundamental factors to consider when creating the plan in order to make it a successful one.

So if you are familiar with the basic concept of Microsoft Project, but want to delve further and use the tool more effectively when planning your next project, have a read of our Application Guide to discover useful tips on how to reduce and / or resolve some of the challenges users commonly face.

The guide covers the following key tasks in Microsoft Project, with a focus on Testing:

Creating your Plan:  Defining which ‘project options’ and ‘project file properties’ should be included/ excluded:

-configure the available project options, the project schedule and the file properties
-set the correct Date Format
-how to organize your Base Project Calendar

Completing Work Tasks and Resources: Our Guide describes the different types of work tasks and when each type should typically be utilised.  You will also need to consider whether the task should be measured by work or duration. To help with these issues the following areas are discussed in the document:

-Learn the difference between a work task and a milestone task
-Add work tasks
-Add milestones
-Add resources

Setting Task Dependencies and adding lag or lead time: Once you have finished adding your resources and tasks to the plan, you will need to link the tasks together. Our guide covers two areas to help with this:

-Setting Task Dependencies
-Adding Lag or Lead time

Problem Solving: Finally, after the above work has been completed, you should review the document, checking for issues.  The guide shows you how to spot problems such as:

-Resolving over or under allocation of resources
-Defining or changing an individual resource calendar and work time
-Date constraints

After you have read the document, you will be able to effectively complete a new test plan in Microsoft Project and understand how to resolve basic problems.

To view the guide, please click HERE.

Theresa is a Pricipal Consultant at Sogeti and joined the group in 2008.

Posted in: Microsoft, Software testing, Test Plans      
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