MSP cannot replace sound, robust project management across all PMBOK(r), process areas and Knowledge Areas. The PM team and the Project Manager must perform these core activities. They will need to develop and maintain project plans, subsidiary plans, baselines, as well as other documents that will guide project execution, control, monitoring, and closure. Their experience, knowledge, and skills in managing projects will play a major role in the success or failure of a project. However, MSP would be able to help them with their duties and increase the effectiveness and efficiency in project management.
MSP would cover every knowledge and process area. MSP could be used as a project, program, and portfolio management tool in an organization. However, even a standard implementation of MSP would greatly assist project managers in achieving project success. It would enable what-if scenario analysis, provide early warning indicators and suggestive actions, update schedule dynamically in response o any changes you make, and highlight all such changes for you to assess.
Let’s take a look at MSP through the lens of knowledge and process.
Initiation – At the minimum, we can plan and track the schedule for initiation activities that will lead to Project Charter approval. Notes can be used to record reasons why the project was not approved.
Planning – MSP assists in the creation and maintenance of the schedule using the Schedule Management Plan data and Project’s schedule data. PMs can evaluate and analyze different what-if scenarios in order to determine the best schedule, cost, resources, and procurement plans. They can also set up performance reporting according to stakeholder expectations.
Execution – MSP assists in evaluating the effects of changes. It reflects changes in activities, estimates and resources in response a approved change request, corrective actions or preventive actions etc. It is important to have clear notes about resources, tasks, and assignment help when managing projects.
Monitoring and Controlling – MSP allows us track project performance, planned v/s actual for schedule (% Complete. Physical % Complete. % Work Complete), and consumption of cost or resources. It is useful for forecasting, earned value analysis, performance reporting, providing early warning indicators, insights into risks, procurement activities and resource issues, estimation inaccuracies, etc.
Closing – MSP provides important inputs to Post Project/Phase Review in terms of project performance and lessons learned.
Project Integration Management – MSP is a reflection of Project Integration Management’s results in an optimized project schedule, activities, WBS, resource allocation, risk management activities, stakeholder management activities, procurement activities, etc.
MSP Project Scope Management helps to create and manage WBS. It allows you to create custom WBS codes and other organization of activities, and it helps ensure that the product and project scopes are aligned. MSP 2016 allows you to create inactive tasks as well as manually scheduled tasks so you don’t lose sight of tasks.
Project Schedule Management – This is the core area of MSP application.
MSP assists in classical schedule planning activities like:
Activity Definition, Activity Sequencing, and Dependency Management (all four types of dependencies with leads or lags)
Defining task types (Fixed Durations, Fixed Units, Fixed Work) as well as schedule type (Effort-driven scheduling or otherwise).
Specifying Deadlines or Constraints
The defining project, resource, and task calendars, working day v/s elapsed time scheduling
Resource optimization includes overtime, task delaying and splitting
Create a dynamic schedule model by using the critical path method and project information
Exploring, fast-tracking, and crashing for schedule optimization iteratively, with scope, schedule cost, procurement, resource management, etc
A baselined schedule model is created for tracking and can be represented in different formats according to stakeholder needs (e.g., Milestone chart, detailed Gantt Chart or Network Diagram).
Monitoring and controlling project performance by providing performance reports according to stakeholder needs. Analyzing project performance using various views, such as task usage and network value.
Project Cost Management – MSP allows you specify standard and overtime resource rates, fixed cost associated with tasks and resources, cost accrual mechanisms, cost accounting mechanisms, project budget, and tracking actual vs. planned costs.