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Topics: Earned Value Management, Organizational Project Management
Using MS Project as a check list
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I have encountered during my career a few PM that use MS Project as a checklist of tasks. The tasks are sometimes similar to "reminders" such as "Call Supplier X", and typically do not bear assigned resources

This leads to Project Gantt Charts of 100 lines with virtually no useful information for project planning and monitoring (no base-lining)

Have you also encountered similar cases? If so, what is your preferred approach?
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Depends on the task. I tend to put checklist type items in the schedule, for instance, to verify the change was submitted to the build team for a production deployment request. In that case the lead developer is generally the resource, but for me its a reminder to ensure its done in time. And although it is seemingly a mundane task, it is essential the the deliverable.

I have not necessarily seen without a resource, but everyone has their own style of working.
Anonymous
Hello Eduard,

i have not seen the usage of MS Project like you has described it. And i would say that this is not very effective. There are so much great tools to use as a task/check list out there (like Wunderlist or Evernote for instance) using MS Project therefore seems not to make much sense here.
Even a customized MS Excel sheet will do a better job here, i guess.
If MS Project then it should be combined with MS Sharepoint what also has great features to build and maintain lists. And the option to link MS Sharepoint with MS Outlook and operate that lists via this connection seems also be a btter approach to me.
My personal favorite is a customized mind mapping template for such a list which also could be combined with tasks, dates, progress data, resources and connections and then could easily be transferred to more or less al the usual Office tools.

Just my 2 Cents ...
Network:9283



Hi Eduard,

Yes, I've seen this cases, marked as milestones.

- Call provider, confirm reception of printers...

I've tried to explain to the owner of this project plan that he was including some tasks that we can inform in a check list, cut over task or whatever.

From my point of view, milestones as SterCo meetings, are nice to have, but not this kind of reminders.

But if you are working in a companies without PMO, sometimes each project manager use the MSProject as they want, and not all the people is not open to listen improvements or tips.
Network:390



Hello Eduard,
Yes I have worked with some PMs who did try MS Project as a tool to collect tasks and activities but not as a management tool.
As PMO Manager I always reject MS project schedules that do not respect a correct use of the tool. We deliver trainig and advices to use MS Project to keep the project Schedule under control. My recommendation is to associate a MS Excel file when a checklist is necessary but the management data remain at MS Project level.
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In my experience checklist are too often a "checklist" that people just check but don't build on.

I understand some kind of list/reminder is helpfull.

To someone with just an hammer, everything is manage as a nail!
Network:11069



Thank you all for your answers, greatly appreciated. Good to know that I am not alone on this effort. Using MS Project to plan and manage the project and a separate Checklist (or even within MS Project activities, Notes section) seems to be a good approach.
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1 reply by Mayte Mata-Sivera
Nov 30, 2016 4:03 PM
Mayte Mata-Sivera
...
Sure, sometimes we need to feel that we aren't the weirdos. Good luck!
Network:9283



Nov 30, 2016 5:06 AM
Replying to Eduard Hernandez
...
Thank you all for your answers, greatly appreciated. Good to know that I am not alone on this effort. Using MS Project to plan and manage the project and a separate Checklist (or even within MS Project activities, Notes section) seems to be a good approach.
Sure, sometimes we need to feel that we aren't the weirdos. Good luck!
Network:60



Checklists are useful, but are more appropriate for Excel spreadsheet tracking. If the data is not schedule or order-specific a spreadsheet might be the best way to track conformity to some objective. Risk assessments or other "questionaire" type items ("Have you reviewed this?") can be kept in a checklist but referenced in MS Project (Task: Complete assessment checklist). Do not over burden your project schedule with too many very small tasks. We try to keep our tasks in the 40-80 hours/task range (of course it depends on your projects). Bundle small tasks in to meaningful larger blocks (eg "Complete Assessment") and track the minor items in the checklist, for example.
Network:98



I know how you feel. I feel deeply annoyed when I see People use MS Project as a chek for activities. That is underestimate the Project potential and In this case Excel is enough ( and cheaper).
Network:13



As kind of mentioned above, you have the ability to attach an object to a task. For instance, an excel or work document that has the activity as you need it. Do let us know if this proves helpful to anyone out there in the inter/exterwebs ;-)
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