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Microsoft Project 2013: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Chapter 11. Reviewing and Fine-Tuning Your Plan

Balancing a project’s scope, schedule, cost, and quality is a bit like juggling eggs: If you don’t keep an eye on every element, you’ll end up with egg on your face. In the chapters so far, you’ve built a project schedule based on scope and quality objectives. Now it’s time to see whether the schedule and price are right.

To get a schedule to work, you first have to make sure that all elements of your project are based in reality—like task duration, dependencies, and resource assignments. Then you have to make other changes to tasks and assignments to get the equation to balance—for instance, you might shorten task duration, decrease cost, or reduce scope. As you make these tweaks, you have to review the schedule to see if your changes are producing the results you want. Shortening the schedule may increase the project’s cost (you’ll learn about the technique called crashing on Modifying Task Dependencies to Overlap Tasks), but so can lengthening the schedule.

This chapter starts with examining your project’s schedule and cost. You’ll learn how to find the best tasks to shorten if the schedule is too long. Because your initial plan is almost guaranteed to need fine-tuning, this chapter also describes several Project features that can help you change the schedule. For example, Project’s Task Inspector scans your file for scheduling problems and ways to improve the schedule—flagging scheduling problems with red squiggly lines and opportunities ...

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