Creating a Responsibility Matrix in Microsoft Project 2013

Here is a quick and easy way to use Microsoft Project to generate a responsibility matrix within your project schedule. This example follows the RASCI method (responsible, accountable, supported, consulted, informed).

Definitions

Responsible – The resource responsible for completing the work to achieve a task or make a decision. Only one resource should be responsible for a task, but additional resource(s) can be delegated to assist in completing the work (supported).

Accountable – Resource accountable that tasks are completed correctly and thoroughly. Delegates work to responsible resources, but can also be both accountable and responsible. Only one resource must be accountable for a task or deliverable.

Supported – Resource(s) allocated to assist those responsible to complete tasks. May be multiple resources. Unlike consulted, who may provide input, supported resources assist in completing the tasks.

Consulted – Resource(s) whose opinions are sought after to assist in completing a task, but are neither responsible or accountable for the quality or timeliness of the work completed. May be multiple resources.

Informed – Resource(s) who must be kept up-to-date on the progress and completion of tasks or deliverables.

Custom Fields

For the responsible field, use the Resource Names field. For the remaining fields, use custom text fields with no additional settings. You could use a lookup for accountable since only one person should be accountable per task, but the other fields may require multiple selections.

  • Responsible (Resource Names)
  • Accountable (Text1) *Lookup*
  • Supported (Text2)
  • Consulted (Text3)
  • Informed (Text4)

Custom View

Once the fields have been created, create a view for the responsibility matrix input by adding the custom fields to the Task Sheet view and save as a new view.

Task View.PNG

Custom Reports

Next, create a custom table report with the following fields: Task Name, Responsible, Accountable, Supported, Consulted, and Informed. The field list settings are as follows:

field list settings

The output will be a matrix table resembling the table shown below.

report

Additionally, you can add a “Group by” filter to manipulate the layout of the table. Below are two examples of the same table grouped by the accountable and responsible fields.

Accountable:

accountable

Responsible:

responsible.PNG

Summary

This is a quick and easy setup for integrating a responsibility matrix into your project schedule with the flexibility to add more functionality and create dynamic project schedules.

20 Custom Filters for Schedule Analysis

Here is a list of my 20 favorite custom filters I use to analyze schedules for completeness, find common scheduling errors, and create custom reports.

Sequencing Logic

1. Tasks without Predecessors

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that do not have a predecessor(s).

Good Practice: Every task and milestone in a schedule (with exception to the first task and summary-level tasks) should be connected to at least one predecessor.

Tasks -Pred

2. Tasks without Successors

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that do not have a successor(s).

Good Practice: Every task and milestone in a schedule (with exception to the last task and summary-level tasks) should be connected to at least one successor.

Tasks -Succ

3. Summary Tasks with Dependencies

This filter checks for and displays any summary-level tasks that have a predecessor and/or successor.

Good Practice: Predecessor(s) and successor(s) should be limited to detailed tasks and milestones only.

Summary +Depend.PNG

4. Out of Sequence Logic

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that have a reported actual start that is before the baseline start. For this filter, I use a custom flag field with the following formula:

IIf([Actual Start]<[Baseline Start],Yes,No)

OOS Logic

5. Manually Scheduled Tasks

This filter checks for any tasks that have a manually scheduled task mode.

Manual.PNG

Constraint Logic

6. Tasks with Hard Start Constraints

This filter checks for and displays any tasks that have a SNET, SNLT, or MSO constraint.

Start Constraint

7. Tasks with Hard Finish Constraints

This filter checks for and displays any tasks that have a FNET, FNLT, or MFO constraint.

Finish Constraint.PNG

8. Tasks with Constraints other than ASAP

This filter checks for and displays any tasks that have a constraint type other than as soon as possible.

Constraint ASAP.PNG

Time Logic

9. Tasks with Lead/Lag Time

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that have lead or lag time applied to the duration.

Lead or Lag.PNG

10. Tasks with Undefined Duration

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that have a duration of “1 day?”.

Undefined Duration.PNG

11. Unassigned Task Calendar

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that do not have a Task Calendar assigned.

No Calendar.PNG

12. Tasks Overlapping FY

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that start or finish after the end of the fiscal year.

Overlapping FY.PNG

13. Critical Duration Tasks

This filter displays any detailed tasks where the duration of the task is greater than XX% of the total duration of the project.

Good Practice: Any task(s) that comprises a significant percentage of the overall duration, as defined by the project, should be considered for further decomposition into smaller tasks.

Total Duration.PNG

Critical Path Logic

14. Single Point of Failure on Critical Path

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks on the critical path that have only one assigned resource.

Good Practice: 80/20 rule…If ~20% of the resources are responsible for ~80% of the critical tasks, identify alternate(s) and/or assign more resources.

SPOF on CP.PNG

15. Milestones on Critical Path

This filter checks for and displays any milestones on the critical path.

MS on CP.PNG

Resource Logic

16. Tasks without Resources

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that have no assigned resource(s).

without Resources

17. Summary Tasks with Resources

This filter checks for and displays any summary-level tasks that have assigned resource(s).

Good Practice: Resource allocation should be limited to detailed tasks only.

Summary Resources

Baseline Logic

18. Tasks Not Baselined

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that have not been baselined. For this filter, I use a custom flag field with the following formula:

IIf([Baseline Start]<50000,Yes,No)

Not Baselined.PNG

19. Missing Baseline Info

This filter checks for and displays any detailed tasks that have missing Baseline Start, Baseline Finish, Baseline Duration, Baseline Cost, or Baseline Work information.

Missing Baseline.PNG

Cost

20. Critical Cost Tasks

This filter displays any detailed tasks where the cost of the task is greater than XX% of the total cost of the project.

Critical Cost.PNG

Practice Standard for Scheduling and Microsoft Project: Resource and EVM

The Practice Standard for Scheduling – Second Edition defines the components that should be present in a scheduling tool based on different uses. In Part 1, the 38 core required components were discussed and aligned to available fields in Project. This part covers the conditionally based components: Resource and EVM required.

Conditionally Based Components

In addition to the 38 core required components, there are an additional 11 required components that are conditional for resource-loaded scheduling. They are listed below aligned to activity and category.

resource.PNG

There are 9 required components that are conditional for tracking earned value management. They are listed below aligned to activity and category.

EVM

Microsoft Project

There are many ways to view and incorporate the required fields above. The table below maps a few of the simpler methods.

PS to MS Map.PNG

 

Change Management with Microsoft Access

In Managing Risks with Microsoft Project, I mentioned that many projects utilize multiple separate data repositories to store various work products and how doing so can be a challenge. I had considered this for a while as the potential problem area on past projects, but it wasn’t until I watched a webinar called 5 Project Management Practices You Can’t Live Without that I began actively seeking ways to become more efficient and productive.

Of the 41 slides in the webinar, two points stood out:

  1. Work to keep tasks, risks, issues, changes, actions, documents, updates, hours, and assignees always associated to the project or operations tracking unit
  2. Work to keep all work centralized and easy to access from one access point of reference

I started thinking about those two points and eventually morphed them into a single goal. I realized that the project I was working on had six things that were being tracked or updated regularly. They were:

  1. Risks
  2. Requirements
  3. Issues
  4. Changes
  5. Action Items
  6. Decisions

Risks were being tracked and updated in an online repository.

Requirements were being tracked in separate spreadsheets, independent of one another based on each functional team on the project.

Issues, changes, and decisions were not being tracked in any specific location. Instead, they were parsed out in various briefs, white papers, meeting minutes, etc.

Lastly, action items were being recorded in meeting minutes and stored away in the configuration management database, but were never formally assigned or followed up on during the next meeting.

So, the goal became to develop a single, centralized database to manage the project RICA structures. In this case, RICA was extended to RRICAD (Risks, Requirements, Issues, Changes, Action items, Decisions).

mindomo RRICAD

Like I mentioned before, there are many software solutions available that are great for managing different types of project data. However, it’s rare to find one that will meet every requirement, so the best bet, in my opinion, is to develop a tool tailored specifically to a project that meets all requirements and excludes any additional features that may not be necessary.

For this, I used Microsoft Access and created a relational database to house the data. I started with the issue tracking template that was already available and with some minor customization met the desired goal.

Microsoft Access

If you have never used Access before, at first glance it can be quite intimidating, especially if starting with a blank database. I prefer to start with an available template to avoid having to create the tables and relationships between the data. Either way, it is still important to understand how Access uses relationships before getting too deep into it.

Issue Tracking Template

To track the project RRICAD items, the issue tracking template was the best place to start. The template is located under Lists when creating a new Access file, with the option of a desktop database or an app, which can be launched on a SharePoint.

Setting up RRICAD database

The first task was to replace all report/form/table titles from “Issue” to “RRICAD”.

nav pane

Next, I changed all titles containing “Issue” in the forms and reports by changing the caption within the Property Sheet.

property sheet

Then, I edited the category selection criteria to include risks, requirements, issues, changes, action items, and decisions.

category

That is essentially all of the major settings that needed to be made in order to start using the database to store and track RRICAD items.

Some other settings that were changed later included:

  • Added contact lists
  • Change date format to short date
  • Added conditional color formatting to due dates (Ex. Red: due within 5 days, Orange: due within 15 days, Yellow: Due within 30 days)
  • Created a report for RRICAD items with status of “Resolved”
  • Added organizational logos/headers to reports

Summary

Modifying the issue tracking template in Access is a small task (1-2 days, at most) that can have a tremendous impact on a project.

Having the ability to track multiple aspects of a project in one centralized location and create consolidated reports can:

  • Reduce time spent in project status meetings
  • Increase productivity of the project team performing the work, and
  • Provide more visibility to project stakeholders

I hope this was useful and thank you for reading. Please leave a comment, question, or feedback!

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Managing Risks with Microsoft Project: Part 2

In Managing Risks with Microsoft Project: Part 1, I showed how I incorporated risk tracking into a project schedule by creating a risk register to associate risks to specific tasks. Here, I will discuss how to deal with risks that apply to more than one task.

First, let’s look at the demo schedule with assigned risks.

Gantt

In this example, there are three different risks assigned to three different tasks. But, what if Risk 001 applies to both Task 1b and Task 3a? In order to accomplish this, I will use a dynamic link.

What is a dynamic link?

A dynamic link is basically an identical, linked copy of data within the schedule. When a task is dynamically linked to another task, the task will automatically update based on any change to the driving task’s information and eliminate the need to manually adjust any tasks that have the same information.

Create a dynamic link

To create a dynamic link, copy the desired field(s) of the driving task and paste as a link to the desired task by selecting Paste, then Paste Special, then Paste as Link.

paste link

Using the same demo schedule above, I want Task 3a to also reflect Risk 001 and all the fields from Task 1b. In this example, I chose not to link fields that may be different for Task 3a, such as the Impact, Consequence, and Adjusted Duration.

copy

Paste the copied information in place of Risk 003. The cells in line 9 will update with the information from line 3. Cells that are dynamically linked will contain a gray triangle in the bottom right corner of the cell.

paste demo

Now any changes to Risk 001 in line 3 will be automatically updated in line 9 and a different Consequence and Adjusted duration can be input for the same risk on a different task.

adjusted

Switching back to the Gantt Chart view, Task 1b and 3a now both show Risk 001 associated with them, with Task 3a showing a longer Adjusted Duration. If I add the Risk Rating field to the bar style, it will also reflect the difference between the Likelihood and Consequence of Risk 001 applied to separate tasks.

new gantt

Adjusting Successors

Notice that the relationships are not considering the added duration of any risks associated with the tasks. In order to include the added duration of a realized risk and adjust the finish-to-start relationship, it is necessary to add a lag to the successor task that is equal to the adjusted duration of its predecessor.

For example, Task 3a has a realized risk with an added duration of 6 days. In the Task Information for task , add a lag of 6 to 3b, the successor of Task 3a.

TI +6.PNG

Or, in the Gantt view, change the information in the predecessor column for Task 3b to include +6 days.

adjusted lag

Summary

Dynamic links are a good way to link objects in Project that contain identical information. It is recommended to add a note to tasks that contain dynamic links with instructions in the event the link is broken.

Thank you for reading!

Practice Standard for Scheduling and Microsoft Project: Intro & Core Required Components

The Practice Standard for Scheduling – Second Edition is a compliment to the Project Time Management Knowledge Area and describes good practices for scheduling. The bulk of the practice standard lists 117 potential components of a scheduling tool and categorizes them based on whether they are required, conditional, or optional.

CRO

Core components (CRC) are required regardless of project complexity or use of conditional components. Conditional components are required if the project utilizes resource loading (RRC), earned value management (ERC), or risk management (KRC). Optional components may be present but are not required to be used. And, not scored (NS) components may be present but are not required to be used and are not used in the conformance assessment.

PMI Scheduling Components

The practice standard includes two tables and a detailed section that lists and categorizes the scheduling components.

Components by Activity

Fig 2-2(b) of the practice standard aligns 105 scheduling components to 9 activities, 7 of which are activities in the Project Time Management Knowledge Area (PMBOK® Guide – 4th Edition). The chart below depicts the activities and total number of components aligned to each.

By Activity

Components by Category

Table 4-1 of the practice standard aligns 117 scheduling components to 12 categories. The chart below depicts the 12 categories and the number of scheduling components aligned to each.

By Category

Notice there are 12 scheduling components from the Components by Activity table excluded?

Below is a revised Process Component Mapping Table [Fig 2-2(b)] with all scheduling components included. The Project Time Management Activities were also edited to reflect changes in PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition.

By Activity

Project 2013 Components

Project 2013 has [more than] 264 fields that have applications across 7 different types of fields. These 264 fields do not include each custom field, instead are accounted for as a single field (ex. Baseline 1-10 Cost instead of Baseline 1 Cost, Baseline 2 Cost, etc.).

The 7 types of fields and the number of each type is depicted below.

MSP fields by type_line

Core Required Components 

Of the 117 potential scheduling components, 38 are identified as Core that are required regardless of the project complexity in order to be in conformance with the practice standard.

Below is a table of the 38 Core Required Components and the most commonly used field(s), settings, or features available in Project 2013.

PMI CRC mapped to MSP

Part 2: Resource, EVM, and Risk required components mapped to available fields in Project.

 

Managing Risks with Microsoft Project: Part 1

On many projects, the majority of work performance information and reports that are generated are stored in separate repositories, with little to no collaborative capability. For smaller projects, this may not become an issue, but for larger projects it can become difficult for Project Managers and PM staff to manage. In many cases, it can even be a major project risk and ultimately become the root cause for many project failures.

By utilizing the custom features that are available in Microsoft Project (views, fields, reports, filters, etc.), some project functions and work reports can be integrated into a project schedule and reduce the number of plans, logs, registers, etc. that have to be maintained in separate repositories.

This is an example of how I incorporated risk management into a project schedule by creating a risk register that associates risk identification data to specific tasks within the schedule.

Create Custom Risk Fields

First, I identified the project-specific risk fields that were required. Based on industry standards and tailored to the project requirements, I used the following fields (as they appear from left to right in each view):

Gantt Chart View

Risk? (Flag) – Flag with graphical indicators to identify that a task has an associated risk.

risk.

Risk Register View

Task Name (Name) – To display associated task from Gantt or Task Sheet to risk in Risk Register.

Risk Description (Text) – Free-text input for the risk statement.

Risk Date (Date) – To record the date the risk is identified.

Risk Approval Date (Date) – To record the date the risk is approved.

Risk Status (Text) – Lookup to define the risk strategy based on the project plan.

status

Risk Owner (Text) – Lookup to enter the risk owner. (I left the lookup value blank and selected the data entry option to allow manual inputs be added to lookup values).

Risk Impact (Text) – Lookup to define risk impact based on the project plan.

impact

Risk Likelihood (Text) – Lookup to define the likelihood of risks (Y-axis of risk matrix).

likelihood

Risk Consequence (Text) – Lookup field to define consequence of risks (X-axis of risk matrix).

consequence

Risk Rating (Text) – Formula to compute the risk rating (Risk Likelihood x Risk Consequence). Assigned graphical indicators based on the project risk matrix.

rating

Realized? (Flag) – Flag with graphical indicators to identify that a risk has become an issue.

realized

Risk Realization Date (Date) – To record the date the risk is realized and became an issue.

Adjusted Duration (Duration) – To record the duration to be added to the task in the event the risk is realized.

New Finish (Finish) – Formula to compute a new finish date based on the Adjusted Duration. 

new finish

Create a Custom View for the Risk Register

Next, I created a custom view that included the custom risk fields and saved as a new view (Risk Register).

Create a Custom Filter for the Risk Register

After the Risk Register was created, I created a custom filter to only display tasks where the “Risk?” flag equaled Yes.Custom Filter

Finished!

That’s basically it. Once the custom fields, Risk Register, and filter were created, I input a mock schedule to the Gantt Chart view to test the settings.test

Any task that is flagged with an associated risk will appear in the Risk Register and the risk information can be input.
risk test

Display Adjusted Duration on Gantt Chart

To display the Adjusted Duration caused by a realized risk to the Gantt chart, add a new bar style from the Task Finish to the New Finish.

bar style

Now, all risks with an adjusted duration from the Risk Register will appear on the Gantt Chart.

Gantt

Custom Risk Reports

Using the custom reports, it is also easy to create a quick risk report and add any additional information that is desired.

report1

Summary

Now, project risks can be input and managed within the project schedule instead of a separate, independent repository tracking system. This enables the project manager and team the ability to view and analyze the impacts of risks as they are directly tied to tasks within the schedule.

I hope this was useful and thank you for reading. Please leave a comment, question, or feedback!

Next: What if the same risk applies to more than one task?

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