The Project Map: your roadmap to project management

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

In Project, you can use the Project Map to help you accomplish your project goals by using the accepted standards and practices of project management methodology.

The Project Map outlines the three phases of the project lifecycle: Build a plan, Track and manage a project, and Close a project. Familiarize yourself with this roadmap to project management by exploring the goals under each of these phases.

 Tip    Click the links below to see broad project management activities, and then click the goal items for detailed instructions on accomplishing each goal in Project.

Team members plan a project

Build a plan

ShowDefine a project

Before you can build a project, you have to decide what exactly the project is, what its scope (scope: The combination of all project goals and tasks, and the work required to accomplish them.) is, and what you hope to achieve by your project.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Initiate a project During the project planning phase of projects that will span a significant length of time or involve many people, it's important to define the objectives, assumptions, and constraints of the project.
Start a project plan After initial planning, you can create your project file, enter your preliminary project data, and attach your planning documents to the file.
Define project deliverables After you establish the objectives of your project, you define the actual product or service that meets those objectives.

ShowPlan project activities

After you have defined what your project is, and to ensure that your project is successful, you should explore the major activities involved in it. Many projects have failed because a project manager didn't consider, early enough, the full scope of the work involved in creating the project.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Define phases and tasks After you have determined the work involved in your project, you can organize it into milestones, phases, and tasks and enter it into a Project plan.
Show the project's organization After you have outlined tasks, you can also show the structure of your project by using built-in or customized work breakdown structure (WBS) codes or outline codes.
Estimate task durations Project can calculate a realistic schedule for you, often based solely on task durations and task dependencies that you enter.
Schedule project tasks After you have entered task durations, it's time to address how those tasks are related to each other and tied to specific dates.
Create relationships between projects By creating task dependencies between tasks in different projects, you can evaluate the effects of changes and activities in one project on other projects.

ShowPlan for and procure resources

At this point in the project planning process, you have identified the project scope, set up the task list, and estimated task durations.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Estimate resource needs By now you have identified the project scope, including setting up the task list and estimating the task durations. You can use this information to make preliminary estimates, identify requirements, and start your staffing and procurement processes to acquire the resources that you need.
Build the project team All your resources have been identified, approved, and procured. Now you can build your team by entering the resource information into the project plan.
Share resources among projects Project makes it easier for you to share resources across multiple projects in which the same people, materials, or equipment will be used.
Assign resources to tasks Now that resource information has been entered into the project, you can assign resources to the specific tasks you've set up as the work of the project.

ShowPlan project costs

Without a solid understanding of where your costs are in a project, the project can quickly fail and become unprofitable. Costs are comprised of all the resources required to carry out a project, including the people and equipment who do the work and the materials consumed as the work is completed.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Estimate costs Cost estimating is the process of developing the approximate resource and/or task costs needed to complete the project activities.
Define and share cost information After you enter cost rates, you can save them as your budget before you start tracking and managing the plan. Also, you may want to attach important notes about budget decisions, share the budget information with others, or transfer information to other file formats.
Prepare to manage costs After establishing costs, you can make the necessary preparations for tracking and managing them to ensure that the project stays within budget. You can specify a start date for the fiscal year, control the calculation options, and determine when the costs should be payable.

ShowPlan for quality and risks

Quality is a key concern that directly impacts your customers or users. Without a risk management plan, your project can suffer in unexpected ways.

What do you want to explore?    

Goal Description
Plan for quality Before a project begins, you should identify the quality standards that are necessary to achieve project objectives.
Identify and plan for risks Planning for, identifying, and reducing risk at various times during a project can help you to keep the project on schedule and within budget.

ShowPlan communication and security

Communication and the security surrounding it are critical aspects of creating a team that collaborates well.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Set up methods for communicating project information Set up a method for communicating with the project team and keeping the project up to date.
Help protect project information Project and Project Server offer basic security features that help protect your project information from unauthorized access.

ShowOptimize a project plan

After your project begins, you may need to review how things are going and fine-tune the tasks, resources, or costs.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Optimize the project plan to meet the finish date After building your project plan, you can review and fine-tune it to ensure that you meet the scheduled finish date.
Optimize the project plan for resources After building your project plan, review the allocation of your resources to optimize their workloads.
Optimize the project plan to meet the budget Review the planned costs in your completed project plan to ensure that they stay within your budget.

ShowDistribute a project plan

Keep stakeholders and team members current on project progress by providing them with access to online or printed views and reports.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Distribute project information in printed format After your project is scheduled, you may want to distribute printed copies of the most current project information to stakeholders or team members.
Distribute project information online You can also distribute the most current project information online to stakeholders or team members.

Track and manage a project

ShowTrack progress

Select the items you want to track and choose your tracking method, and then begin monitoring your project's progress.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Set up a project for tracking Though Project makes tracking easy, there are several steps to take before you can begin tracking project progress.
Record progress and respond to updates After you've chosen the items you want to track and the tracking method, you can begin tracking those items.

ShowManage a schedule

Manage your project by identifying problems, fine-tuning the schedule, and reporting its progress to stakeholders and team members.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Identify schedule problems As you track the actual progress of tasks, you can review your schedule to identify problems or potential problems with task schedules.
Put tasks, phases, or the project back on schedule If you identify problems in your schedule, you can use a variety of strategies to manage your project schedule.
Distribute project information in printed format If you have changed tasks, resources, or assignments, you can distribute printed copies of the most current project information to stakeholders or team members.
Distribute project information online If you have changed tasks, resources, or assignments, you can also distribute distribute online versions of the most current project information to stakeholders or team members.

ShowManage resources

Manage your resources by tracking their progress, identify and resolve allocation problems, manage shared resources, and report project progress to stakeholders and team members.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Track resource progress The most effective way to gauge the progress of resources' work on a project is to balance their workloads and track progress on tasks.
Identify resource allocation problems By reviewing resource information, such as assignments, overallocations or underallocations, resource costs, and variances between planned and actual work, you can verify that resources are optimally assigned to tasks to get the results you want.
Resolve resource allocation problems To get the best performance and results from resources, you need to manage their workloads to fix overallocations and underallocations.
Manage shared resources After you've added enterprise resources, review or change shared resource information to make sure your project is as flexible and cost effective as possible.
Distribute project information in printed format As resources complete work on the project, you can distribute printed copies of the most current project information to stakeholders or team members.
Distribute project information online You can also distribute online versions of the most current project information to stakeholders or team members as resources' work progresses.

ShowManage costs

You manage costs by keeping costs within your budget. Costs are all the resources required to carry out a project, including the people and equipment who do the work and the materials consumed as the work is completed.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Monitor costs By reviewing the basic cost information for your project on a repeated basis, as well as performing a more detailed analysis of cost information, you can help to ensure your project's financial success.
Adjust costs to keep the project on budget Once you identify a budget problem, you can take corrective action by using Project to fix the problem and to re-optimize the schedule for cost.

ShowManage scope

The scope of a project consists of the products or services to be provided and the work required. As your project progresses, you may find that some parts of the product or service need to be adjusted or eliminated.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Respond to changes in scope After your project begins, you may need to increase or cut the scope to meet your budget, cost or quality goals.
Distribute project information in printed format If the project scope changes and you have changed tasks, resources, or assignments, you may want to distribute printed copies of the most current project information.
Distribute project information online You can also distribute online versions of the most current project information.

ShowManage risks

Identify potential trouble spots by anticipating risks and responding to risk events, and report project progress to stakeholders and team members.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Identify new risks Identifying, mitigating, and controlling risk will help you meet your project objectives.
Control project risks After a risk event occurs, you may need to respond to the risk in order to control the impact it may have on the project.
Distribute project information in printed format If you have changed tasks, resources, or assignments in response to a risk event, you may want to distribute printed copies of the most current project information to stakeholders or team members.
Distribute project information online Instead of distributing printed copies, you can make the most current project information available online to stakeholders or team members.

ShowReport project status

Keep stakeholders and team members current on project progress by making information available with online or printed views and reports.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Distribute project information in printed format You can distribute printed copies of project status information to stakeholders or team members.
Distribute project information online You can also make information available online to stakeholders or team members, regularly or on an as-needed basis.

Close a project

ShowReview final project information

The end of a project is a good time for stakeholders and team members to come together to analyze what went right or wrong, and to produce final online or printed views and reports.

What do you want to explore?

Goal Description
Review final project information Closing a project involves summarizing and communicating project information, analyzing project effectiveness, and archiving project data.