Goal: Identify schedule problems

Applies to
Microsoft Office Project 2003
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003
Microsoft Project 2000 and 2002

After your project begins and you are tracking the actual progress of tasks (task: An activity that has a beginning and an end. Project plans are made up of tasks.), you can review your schedule (schedule: The timing and sequence of tasks within a project. A schedule consists mainly of tasks, task dependencies, durations, constraints, and time-oriented project information.) to identify problems or potential problems with task schedules. Identifying or anticipating problems enables you to take care of any issues that may affect the project's finish date.

 Tip   This article is part of a series of articles that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project. The project life cycle is outlined in The Project Map, where you can find a link to an article about each project management goal. Most of the articles include links to supporting information or procedures that you perform in Project or Project Server. These "goal" articles were designed to help you not only use Project but also better understand project management.

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number 1  Analyze your schedule    After you've designed a basic schedule, you should check it to discover problems or oversights that require adjustments. You can use a PivotChart® (PivotChart: Provides a graphical representation of the data in a PivotTable report, an interactive, crosstabulated report that summarizes and analyzes data. Use the Portfolio Analyzer to select the data that you display in a PivotChart.) or PivotTable® (PivotTable report: An interactive table that summarizes, or crosstabulates, large amounts of data. You can rotate its rows and columns to see different summaries of the source data, filter the data by displaying different pages, or display details.) to help you analyze the schedule for resource (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.) or project problems.

Number 2  Compare two versions of a project    You can perform a customized comparison of two project files from the same project and produce a detailed report (report: A format in which you can print schedule information that is appropriate for the intended recipients. You can use the predefined reports provided by Project or create custom reports.) to help you identify schedule problems.

Number 3  Determine if your project's finish date has changed    You can view an overall summary of the project's dates compared with the baseline plan.

Number 4  Assess why the project finish date is delayed    Review the factors in the schedule that could extend the finish date of your project.

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Number 5  Determine which tasks are delayed or incomplete    Review the tasks that are in danger of finishing late or that are incomplete and may delay the project.

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Applies to:
Project 2003