Rules to Better Microsoft Project Server - 4 Rules
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As long as you have work items created and your developers keep them up to date, you can use MS Project to calculate project budget usage in real-time; this helps the project manager to determine the progress in term of $ which is what client really care about.Note: To have this working properly, you need VSTS 2010 because it has better MS Project integration.
Follow the steps below to save a baseline and track your project budget usage:
- Open MS Project and connect to your Team Project
- Query the work items from the team project
- Note: normally you want to create queries for each of your Releases, then you can quickly import them together.
- To Track progress, we will use the "Team System Task Sheet" view; this can be selected from the "View" menu.
- Your work items will be imported and arranged within a hierarchy. As we are trying to track the progress, we want to keep “Original Estimate”, “Remaining Work” and “Completed Work” together, so drag them after the Work Item Title.
- In order to have the cost calculated, we need to assign a rate to each of the resources. This can be done by going to “View | Resource Sheet”
- When you switch back to “Team System Task Sheet”, you will want to add the following fields so we can see the cost status: a. Baseline Cost b. Remaining Cost c. Actual Cost
You will notice the “Remaining Cost” column has been calculated based on the “Remaining Work” column and the Rate we entered for each task.
- In order for MS Project to calculate and display a total cost for your current release you will need to add a summary task at the top level of the project tasks. Choose the 1st task in your project, right click and create a “New Task”
Name the task as per your release name so you know what this plan is for; also you don’t want this task to be created in your TFS as a work item because it’s just a summary, set “Publish and Refresh” as “No”.In order to make this a summary item you need to select all the other tasks and indent them. To achieve this click the little red forward arrow in the toolbar. Now, your summary task is ready and it’s showing the total cost for your current release:
Baseline management is very important for every project manager as it helps you to determine the budget usage; once the client approves your initial estimate for the project it will become your baseline. So before you set a baseline in your MS Project, make sure the client approves it.
To set a baseline, choose “Tools, Tracking, Set Baseline” from the menu:
A handy feature of MS Project is its ability to handle multiple baselines. Use a new baseline to seek approval from clients when they alter the project scope.
Once your baseline is set, you will be able to see the “Baseline Cost” column is showing $
When your project is running, your developers will update the “Remaining Work” and “Completed Work” columns from TFS, they may not use MS Project so you will need to refresh your MS Project file to get these changes, and the $ will be calculated on the fly to give you up-to-date status.
To refresh your project file, simply click on the “Refresh” button in the toolbar.
Note: If you find that the values are not calculating properly, it may be that the calculation mode is set incorrectly. If pressing F9 updates the values you should change the setting “Tools | Options | Calculation” from “Manual” to “Automatic”.
Also make sure “Actual costs are always calculated by Microsoft Office Project” is enabled.
Judging how long a project will take is a difficult task as there are many factors to consider like resourcing, leave and blowouts.
Thankfully Project Server 2013 or 2010 allows us to stay on top of the project with live updates with TFS and the project gantt chart to track progress and delays.
Timesheets have always been the bane of developers, with them trying every excuse under the sun to avoid them and project managers trying everything to convince them to enter them.
The main problem is timesheet entry is often difficult, time consuming and requires double entry (e.g. into different systems TFS and invoicing system).
Project Server 2013 offers a solution that integrates with TFS work items.
If you want a timesheeting solution built on top of Microsoft CRM and Azure DevOps, See www.SSWTimepro.com
Projects will change and deviate from the original scope – that is a given in software development. When a client sends you an urgent task (as per the order of importance rule) then you need to do it in the current sprint.
This should rarely happen, as new features should be pushed back to the backlog, to be prioritised into the next sprint, but sometimes the Product Owner will say that it's urgent and has to be done immediately.
Understanding the impact of slotting in a new request into the sprint is important because you can tell the Product Owner:
"If we do X now that means we can’t do Y and Z in this sprint and they will be push back to the backlog".
Tip: If you're using Project Server, you can see the impact on the timeline visually in the "Tracking Gantt".