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Topic 2 DQ 1

In working with Microsoft Project, discuss what have you found to be the most useful features, and which have been the most difficult to use. In replies to peers, provide troubleshooting tips you have used or researched to address the features that have posed difficulties in using the software.

Topic 2 DQ 2

Explain why buffers are a crucial part of IT project management. Provide a specific example that supports your ideas and can illustrate negative consequences of not including buffers. In replies to peers, provide additional explanations and examples that have not already been included as part of the discussion.

Reply to responses

Q1 Responses

A Sabrina

Hello professor and class,

After doing research and watching how other people use Microsoft Project, I think what it ultimately provides to users is information. Some of its features are providing task information, timeline with slippage calculated for each task, resource management interface, and insight/reporting to keep everyone on the same page. The feature I was most impressed with is the project timeline. The program calculates a timeline and includes data on how long it show takes each task to complete. In my perspective, that has to be one of the most powerful features it could have. It is a weakness of mine to properly estimate how long something will take me to do, especially if it is my first time and I need to refer to instructions frequently. From what I can tell, I have not seen anything that looks too complicated; however, in my experience, Microsoft makes good products with sufficient templates but the templates are not great. I often find myself getting templates online because they provide more graphics or more themes to use than Microsoft. I am not a designer and I do not possess the skills or patience to make graphics quickly, but it gets on my nerves when things are visually communicating how I want it to since I am such a visual learner. 

B Georgia

Hi Professor Flores,

Microsoft Project have many useful features. A feature that stands out to me is the ability to use different views especially the tracking Gantt Chart view. The Tracking Gantt view displays task information in two panels: the left panel displays information as a sheet and the right panel displays information as a chart. The tracking Gantt is useful for viewing tasks across time where you can view the progress by comparing planned (baseline) dates and actual start and finish dates. In addition to evaluating any slack and slippage between tasks. The tracking Gantt is like the Gantt chart the only difference is the format of the task bars. Another feature is the project timeline. This is where all your tasks are displayed on a timeline making it easy to visually see your start and end dates of each task on a calendar format. Based on my limited experience with Microsoft Project, I have yet to come across a feature I find challenging.

C Justin Thomas

Microsoft Project is a great app that is extremely useful is has a ton of things that help with project management. Templates are easy to stay organized through the project that is being worked on. From the beginning to the end of the project, things such as creating a budget, Software Development, Market Research Schedule, and new product launch. These are vital to the success of any type of project. It is my favorite program from Microsoft. There are so many functions to use. It took a while for me to get used to some of the functions and I am still learning

Q2 Responses

A. Jeremy

Buffers are like a just-in-case scenario or cushioning. When we add a buffer, it will be assumed something will go wrong and add a little extra time for completion. It is a clever idea because things do not ever go as smoothly as planned. Buffers assume that. For most IT projects, if not all of them. Writing code is a painstaking process. It comes with a lot of bugs and testing. Adding a little extra time, or a buffer to a task just keeps the scheduling open and keeps the project on task to the end date. When the IT team runs into a bug that is making the task difficult, there will be extra time to fix it. If the team finishes at the earliest time, even with the buffer, then there will be extra time to review their task or start a new one. Without buffers, the bugs will delay the task and the project can run behind schedule. This results in lost time and will cost money.

B. Justin Palumbo

Buffers are an integral part of the project management process without a buffer for a specific part of your project you might throw the whole timeline off. Let’s use an example of running a server upgrade for enterprise business. This step in the project is part of a larger project that includes upgrading all infrastructure in the business, routers, switches, hardware, etc. The timeline for the project is 30 days, within this, the server upgrade needs to get done by June 15th. As the project manager, I have to account for events like the server engineer getting sick or a delay on the software push to upgrade the servers, or other delays. As the project manager, I am going to set a 3-day buffer so in my project plan I want this done by the 12th of June giving me a buffer of 3 days to get in front of any delays that might happen.

C Samita

Buffers are usually included in the IT project management because project manager would want to project deadline against violations in the critical chain of activities. Project buffers acts as a protection shield against risk of overshooting the project deadline in the event of any violation which could risk the project delivery deadline thus giving cushion to managers to plan and mitigate risks better.

One example of buffer is the absence of critical resource due to sudden illness and has gone on a sudden leave plan. This situation if happens without any buffer will lead to direct impact on the project deadline. It will lead to poor execution on delivery of the project and ultimately customer churn due to low satisfaction.