Computer Science

SCM435 – Project Management

MICROSOFT PROJECT ASSIGNMENT (COMBINED)

THE PALMERS GOLF COURSE PROJECT

Project background

Palmers Golf Course is a two-year-old signature golf course based in Auckland, NZ. Being unique, the

number of memberships is increasing and putting strain on the existing information system.

The current system is used only by Accounts Department to process Accounts Payables and Receivables.

With the steep increase in the memberships, Bookings and Maintenance the Human Resource department is

getting overwhelmed with the paper work. Therefore, there is a need to add these functions to a new system.

You are the Project Leader for SoftSystems Ltd., which has been contracted by Palmers Golf Course to

undertake this project. You need to advise how to develop the new system in a tightly constrained time

period. Specifically, you have been advised that the project can start no earlier than Mon, January 4th 2016

and must be completed by Thu, May 19th 2016.

You report to Ms Smith, the Project Manager for SoftSystems Ltd, who liaises with Palmers Golf Course.

You will report your progress and plans of the project to Ms Smith.

Note: There is a lot of information included to provide context for what you will do in this assignment.

Please read carefully, and thoroughly to ensure the directions are followed. Also, to make it more clear, the

steps that you will perform in Microsoft Project are all written in the Courier New font.

Setting the Project Start Date

Click on the Project Tab in the Ribbon, and then go to Project

Information. Set the project start date to Mon, January 4th 2016. Do NOT

enter finish date. Click OK.

Setting default values

 Set Current Date

The computer’s internal clock initially determines the date listed in the Current Date text box.

To access the Current Date, click again on the Project Tab, then Project

Information.

The current date box appears. Changing this date box has several implications:

• The date determines the location of the dashed (current) date line on the Gantt chart timeline.

• The Current Date appears in the header of the Project Summary standard report. You can also display the

Current Date in headers or footers on other reports.

• You can use the Current Date to track the progress of the project, specifically to record the progress of all

tasks scheduled to be in progress or finished as of the date in the Current Date text box.

For this assignment, you will, initially, leave the Current Date as defined by the computer clock, please

check that it is correct.

Click OK, to close the Project Information box.

Click on File, then in Project Information, choose Advanced Properties,

then Summary tab and in the Title box type PALMERS GOLF COURSE. This names the

project, which will then appear on your printouts. You should also enter your name (Author) and other

optional data.

 Set the Calendar

The calendar in this assignment should match the New Zealand calendar by the addition of non-working

days. Setting a new calendar can be done either (a) by modifying the standard calendar or (b) by creating a

new base calendar. You will do the latter (b).

Microsoft Calendars

Microsoft Project can support a large number of projects including large, complex projects, which are

usually broken down into sub-projects. Changing the working days on the standard calendar affects all

projects, with potentially unanticipated consequences. Therefore, each project should have its own base

calendar.

• Microsoft Project contains an internal standard calendar that defines the default working and non-

working days used for scheduling tasks in your projects. It assumes five working days per week,

Monday – Friday, eight hours of work per day (including an hour off for lunch). The default schedule is

8:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 5:00pm. No statutory holidays are set in the original standard

calendar.

• The standard calendar forms the basis for the base calendar, which applies to all resources in a project. It

would recognise special dates or circumstances that apply to a specific project. In this assignment the

base calendar will account for statutory holidays.

• The Base calendar is the basis for resource calendars, which apply to specific resources (groups of

people, material, equipment, facilities required to complete a project). Each resource has its own

calendar, which is linked to a designated base calendar (by default the standard calendar). A resource

calendar inherits all the elements of its base calendar. It can be edited to record the days and hours when

the availability of the resource differs from the normal working times such as holidays, differing hours of

work on particular days, or availability of special equipment.

Microsoft Project uses the base calendar and the resource calendars to schedule the start dates for tasks.

When Microsoft Project schedules a task, it notes the earliest possible starting date, based on when the

predecessors to the task will be completed. If resources are required, Microsoft Project consults the resource

calendars to find when they are available and the task is scheduled to start on the next available working

hour for the assigned resources. If no resources are assigned, the project’s base calendar is used to schedule

the start and finish of the task.

In this assignment, a group of senior secondary students who are undergoing work experience training will

be made available to assist you in this project. They will be available two afternoons per week. The resource

calendar for these students would initially show them as having the same hours as the base calendar but

would be modified to increase the number of non-working days and show afternoon working hours only.

 Set the Working Time

Note:

• The software checks all time entries for consistency. Each successive time must be later in the day than

the preceding time text box.

• You must use the top From and To text boxes first, only then can you fill the bottom pair. You cannot

leave the top work period row blank.

• You can restore default working hours by clicking on the default button.

• To change more than one day at a time, hold down the ctrl key and click on non-contiguous days; or hold

down the shift key and click to select a block of days. Now your time entries will affect all the selected

days.

• Use either the 24-hour clock, or the 12-hour clock using am and pm suffixes to enter times. If you enter a

time without using an am or pm suffix, the computer uses the first instance of the time following the

Default Start Time. If that is 8:00 am then 3:30 without a suffix is assumed to be 3:30 in the afternoon

and a pm suffix is attached.

• A shortcut hint: on the hour, enter 10 for 10:00 am, and 5 pm for 5:00 pm.

• Noon is entered as 12:00 pm and midnight as 12:00 am.

• To remove a work period delete both the From time and the To time for the period.

 Set the Project Calendar

You will now create a calendar for this project by accounting for the extra non-working times reflected by

statutory holidays.

1. Go to Project Tab in the Ribbon, then click on Change Working Time. 2. Click the Create New Calendar … button at the top right corner. 3. The “Create New Base Calendar” box appears. Enter ‘Palmers Calendar’

in the Name text box.

4. Choose the Create New Base Calendar button and click OK. 5. We will only change holidays, (non-working days) on this calendar.

Scroll to Mon February 1st 2016 (Auckland Anniversary Day), Select that

date, then in the Exceptions Tab in the entry area below, enter

“Auckland Anniversary Day” in the Name field, and then make sure the

Start and Finish date are correct. Repeat this process for:

 Mon February 8th 2016 (Waitangi Day)

 Fri March 25th 2016 (Good Friday)

 Mon March 28th 2016 (Easter Monday)

 Mon April 25th 2016 (Anzac Day)

6. Check the calendar and ensure you have made no errors when entering

the non-working days. Click OK.

7. Choose Timescale dropdown menu from the View Tab in the Ribbon and select Timescale, then click on the Nonworking Time Tab. Click on the

Calendar pull down menu and select Palmers Calendar. Click OK.

8. Within the Project Information box from the Project menu select Palmers Calendar from the Calendar pull down menu. Click OK. This

assigns the Palmers Calendar as the base calendar for this project.

Setting a Finish Date

The Project Information box (choose Project, Project Information) can give you a global view of the whole

project and you can do “what if” type scenarios from this box. For example, you could enter either a start

date or a finish date in the Project Information box to function as an anchor point for scheduling the tasks in

the project. If you enter the start date, Microsoft Project schedules the first task in the project to begin at that

date and calculates the project’s finish date based on that starting date. If you enter the finish date, Microsoft

Project schedules the tasks at the end of the project first and works backward. The final task is scheduled to

end by the finish date; the task that precedes the final task is scheduled to end in time for the final task to

begin, and so on. You cannot specify both a start date and a finish date.

Most projects have a deadline. If you don’t intend to assign resources or you do not need Microsoft Project to

help you reconcile resource overloads, you can safely schedule the project from a fixed finish date. Most

projects also have limited resources. If you want the program to help you adjust the schedule to resolve

resource overloads (levelling) you must schedule the project from a fixed start date. This is the approach you

will adopt in the assignment.

 Set the Gantt chart bar display

Click on the following in sequence to set the Gantt chart bar display:

1. Gantt Chart Tools Tab 2. Format Tab 3. Make sure the Critical Tasks checkbox is Checked:

What did this do? Now when tasks are added to the Gantt chart the bars will be coloured red if they are on

the critical path and when duration and links are added to the project you will be able to readily identify on

the screen what tasks lie on the critical path. When the project actually gets underway, you will be using a

different Gantt chart display to highlight any variances between ‘planned’ and ‘actual’ activity on the tasks.

Enter tasks in the schedule

The first step in creating your schedule is to enter task headings and tasks. With the Gantt chart on the

screen, begin by typing a list of tasks or events that need to be done in order to move the project forward,

preferably in the approximate order they will happen. Tasks entered are assigned the default duration of one

day (1d). It is easy to delete and insert tasks and to relate tasks so that each task will be scheduled

appropriately.

1. At the bottom left-hand corner of the Project window, click on the

“New Tasks…” button. Make sure all new tasks are entered as Auto

Scheduled.

2. In the first field in the Task Name column type PALMERS GOLF COURSE

PROJECT

3. Press Enter.

4. In field #2 enter, Initial Study

5. Continue entering these task headings, one in each Task Name field:

Feasibility Study

Requirements Analysis

Requirements Specification

System Design

Coding & Testing

System Testing

Now is a good time to save your work using the Save As command under the File menu, ensure you have

selected the appropriate drive (e.g., H:) in the drives box on the “Save As” screen. In the File Name box,

give this file an appropriate name (e.g., Palmers_D1_EnterTasks).

Note:

 If you wish to make corrections you can use the white Entry Bar. Make the corrections and press enter or click on the tick button.

 To delete tasks, select the task and use the Delete key. If you inadvertently delete a task immediately click the Undo button on the toolbar.

 Here and below, do not be concerned about not understanding what this means. This project information is about various stages of systems development project, but it is not necessary for you to understand

systems development terminology to carry out this assignment.

Select the Feasibility Study task. Then either use the Insert key on the

keyboard or choose New Task from the Insert menu. This enters a blank

line above the current task.

Repeat until there are three cells between “Initial Study” and “Feasibility Study”. In the three blank cells

enter:

Study Existing System

Carry Out Interview(s)

Prepare Documentation

Continue by inserting the relevant number of blank lines below each task heading and then enter in the

following:

Under “Feasibility Study” enter:

Identify Problems

Understand and Analyse Problems

Estimate Project Cost

Assess Project Risk

Propose Solution

Task Scheduling

Under “Requirements Analysis” enter:

Investigate Current Environment

Investigate and Define Requirements

Under “Requirements Specification” enter:

Prepare Specifications

Prepare Use Case Diagram

Prepare Data Dictionary

Prototyping

Under “System Design” enter:

Design New System

Design Test Plan

Under “Coding & Testing” enter:

Coding

Unit Testing

Integration Testing

Update Data Dictionary

Under “System Testing” enter:

Hardware & System Testing

Acceptance Testing

Prepare Documentation

Some of the Task Name information is not completely visible in the field. To view the full field, place the

cursor on top of the vertical line to the right of “Task Name” in the dark grey title area. Its shape will change

to a thin vertical line with two arrows. You may “drag” the line and view the enlarged Task Name field.

As you progress with your work, you’ll need to regularly save the project. In the File Name box, give this

file an appropriate name (e.g., Palmers_D1_EnterTasks).

Although there will be places in the assignment where it is recommended that you save your data, you

should use common sense and save more regularly. Don’t forget to have a backup file saved too.

Durations and Milestones

With your tasks entered, you are now ready to enter duration for each task in the Duration field. Duration is

an estimate of how long it will take to complete each task. Enter durations by using a number followed by a

letter to indicate the unit of measure: days (d), weeks (w), hours (h), and minutes (m). The default duration is

1d.

Note: Here and below, do not be concerned about calculating the duration yourself. For this project, we are

giving you the durations that should be used throughout the project.

A vital part of project management is to place “milestones” in order to identify significant events in your

schedule or to measure the progress of your project. A milestone is created by declaring it as a task of zero

days duration. Microsoft Project displays the milestone symbol on the Gantt chart at the start of that day. To

the right of the milestone symbol is the start date for the task, such as:

 Set Milestones

You are to add milestones, which are the dates project deliverables are due. To enter the first milestone:

1. Insert a blank task line above Task 13 Requirements Analysis.

2. Type “Deliverable to Project Manager”.

Repeat this process one more time at the end of the project, after “Prepare Documentation”.

 Set Durations

The durations shown in the Gantt chart on the next page are to be entered in the Duration column.

1. Select the Duration field for the first task.

2. Type a number for the duration length followed by the duration unit

abbreviation.

3. Press the enter button or the tick mark.

4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 to enter durations for all the tasks in your

project.

Having completed all the duration entries plus adding the two milestones, your Gantt chart should look

similar to the chart below with “PALMERS GOLF COURSE PROJECT” as Task 1 and “Initial Study”

as Task 2.

3

This Gantt chart shows it will take 10 working days (2 weeks, there are 5 working days per week), as defined

by the duration of tasks 26 and 27, to complete the project (the red bars). By definition, these are the critical

paths and are shown in red on your screen. However this assumes each task is independent and running in

parallel with each other, starting at the same time and same date. Nothing could be further from the truth and

it is time to change the Gantt chart to reflect this.

Designating tasks and sub-tasks To show the structure of the project, that is the hierarchical nature of task headings and subtasks, the

subtasks are indented to the right of the task heading.

To do so, select the subtasks and click the Indent button (right pointing arrow on the Formatting toolbar) or choose Outline from the Project menu

and then choose Indent.

Select tasks 3 – 5 and indent them.

Note that the Task Summary “Initial Study” has become bold, its Gantt Bar has changed shape and colour

and the length of the bar is now the same as the longest duration of the subtasks.

Continue indenting the subtasks associated with:

Feasibility Study, Requirements Analysis, Requirements Specification, System Design, Coding & Testing,

System Testing. To check on the structure, it is helpful to show all of the subtasks by clicking on the +

symbol on each Task Summary, as shown below. On completion your chart should look similar to that

below.

Now it is necessary to make all the tasks part of the project. To do so, indent all Task Summaries so that they become a sub-task of PALMERS GOLF COURSE PROJECT.

Note how the PALMERS GOLF COURSE PROJECT Summary Bar now takes on the duration of the

longest Task Summary (10 days) as shown below. Pay attention to the and in front of the project

tasks.

Now is a good time to save your work using the Save As command under the File menu. In the File Name

box, give this file an appropriate name (e.g., Palmers_D1_Indent).

Establishing Relationships between Tasks

The next step is to link the tasks in sequence and see how long it will take to finish the project. When you

link one task to another, you establish a relationship between tasks and specify a sequence of events.

When a task begins after the previous task finishes, this is a finish-to-start relationship. The finish-to-start

relationship is the most common and is the default one in Microsoft Project.

A finish-to-finish relationship is one in which both tasks finish at the same time.

A start-to-start relationship is one in which both tasks start at the same time.

The least common relationship is a start-to-finish relationship in which the completion of one task depends

on the start of a later task.

A task that must start or finish before another task is called a predecessor task. A task that depends on the

start or finish of a preceding task is called a successor task.

As a general guideline, link sub-tasks to sub-tasks within a group and then link Summary Tasks to other

Summary Tasks.

* * * Practice exercise starts here. This is just practice, at completion, Exit WITHOUT saving * * *

The two buttons for creating links and breaking links are represented by the two “chains” shown in the

Standard toolbar.

To create a link:

1. In the Gantt chart select the tasks you want to link in the correct order i.e. predecessor before successor.

2. Click the Link Tasks button on the toolbar.

To remove a task relationship:

1. In the Gantt chart, select the tasks you want to unlink.

2. Click the Unlink Tasks button on the toolbar (the “broken” chain), or choose Unlink Tasks from

the Edit menu.

To change the type of relationship (between two tasks):

1. Select the second sub-task of already linked sub-tasks.

2. Click the right button of the mouse to open a drop-down menu.

3. Click on Information.

4. Click on the Predecessors tab.

5. Click on the Type field (for example, “Finish-to-Start (FS)”).

6. Click on the downward arrow above the information, this will open a drop-down menu.

7. Click on the new type of relationship (e.g., Finish-to-Finish).

8. Click OK. Note how the bars for the task and its predecessor now have the same finish date.

* * * Practice exercise ends here. At completion, Exit WITHOUT saving * * *

You will now create links on the PALMERS GOLF COURSE PROJECT. Later you will be called upon to

shorten the duration of the project due to the consequence of either a completion date requirement or the

amount of resources used. Normally there is a third consideration, the cost, but this is beyond the scope of

Deliverable #1.

Select tasks 3 – 5 inclusive and link these in a Finish-to-Start

relationship.

Note:

• The bars are now red because they are currently the critical path.

• The duration of “Initial Study” is the sum of all linked subtasks and equals 10 days (3 days + 2 days + 1

week [which is equivalent to 5 working days]).

Complete linking the tasks by linking them in a Finish-to-Start

relationship:

Link tasks 7 – 13 inclusive

Link tasks 15 – 16 inclusive

Link tasks 18 – 21 inclusive

Link tasks 23 – 24 inclusive

Link tasks 26 – 29 inclusive

Link tasks 31 – 34 inclusive

Tasks 9 and task 10 can go in parallel so they both finish at the same

time (a finish-to-finish relationship). Change the finish-to-start

relationship to finish-to-finish relationship as discussed above.

In order to show the total duration of the project it is necessary to link the Task Summaries. Select a Task summary; click on hide subtasks button (a – (minus) symbol in the

View Tab  Outline) and all its subtasks will become hidden thus making

the next Task Summary become adjacent.

Repeat this process through the rest of the project so that only the Task Summaries are displayed. Select

all Task Summaries then click Link (finish-to-start) button. This method

summarizes the project at the Task Summary level, which is useful for reporting purposes. Click on the show all tasks button (+ + button) under the Outline option in the View

Tab to restore the full Gantt chart display.

Do NOT link the PALMERS GOLF COURSE PROJECT Task to the other Task Summaries.

Now you should analyse and format the chart to give an overall view. Note that the duration of the project is

now 110 days, all tasks are on the critical path, and your Gantt chart is spread over 6 or more pages. To get

an overall view of the project, select Zoom from the View menu, then Entire Project.

Looking further at the Gantt chart shows that the milestones have shifted due to their relationship with their

predecessor. The duration of the whole project is “task-driven”. To check the global project information,

view the Project Information box in the Project Tab. This will show you the project start date and the project

finish date as well as the name of the calendar in use (Palmers Calendar). With a starting date of Mon Jan

4th 2016 the project would conclude on Fri June 10 2016. This finish date is completely unsatisfactory as

the project due date is Thu, May 19th 2016. Click cancel.

Setting milestones The final date will be set by the milestone at the end of the project (Task 34).

To adjust the milestone, double click on the task to display “Task Information”. 1. Then click on the “Advanced” tab. 2. In the “Constraint Type” change to “Must Finish On” by using the pull

down menu.

3. Then change Constraint Date to the required date of Thu May 19 2016 for that milestone.

4. Click OK.

If the date is earlier than the one shown prior to changing, a ‘Planning Wizard’ screen will come up advising

of the difficulties being encountered with this deadline. For the purposes of this assignment, the date is not

negotiable, therefore click on the last option, “Continue, A Must Finish On

Constraint will be set”. Click Ok. Another screen will now come up advising of a

scheduling conflict. Select, “Continue. Allow the scheduling conflict”. Note how on

the Gantt chart the time folds back to the milestone. This means that the duration of the project will have to

be shortened. This will be addressed shortly.

To meet an organizational deadline, the milestone at task 13 must set to

Wed February 10th 2016. Note again there is a problem with this milestone being achieved as shown

by the “fold back” in the Gantt chart.

Despite these changes, note that the total duration for the project as shown on Task 1 remains the same at

110 days. What has just happened? See column “Finish Date” (down two columns from Duration column).

We still have MS Project scheduling the entire project on finish date of Fri June 10th 2016 (showing 110

days). However, the last milestone 34 “Deliverable to Project Manager” has to be handed in on the Thu,

May 19th 2016 (the date specified by the Project Manager, Ms Smith). From now on in the assignment we

are going to use the Thu, May 19th 2016 date and milestone as a critical path to bring the project in on time.

This will happen in Deliverable #3. For now you have finished Deliverable #1 Initial Gantt Chart,

however, keep going to get the necessary paperwork to hand in.

 Formatting the Deliverable

The following formatting steps are required for the first deliverable (such as inserting footers). Microsoft

Project will enter the project start and finish dates for you automatically.

To set footers: 1. Click on the File Tab, choose Print, then choose the Page Setup link

under the Print settings.

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