MVP Guest Post: The No-confusion Time line Report

Our 10 Days for Office 2010 series, where we featured blog posts about Office 2010 written by MVPs, was so popular that we wanted to give MVPs more opportunities to contribute to the MVP Award Program blog. Periodically we will feature blog posts written by MVPs so they have one more place to share their passion and expertise with the community. We hope over time, to feature posts about a variety of subject matters and expertise.

The post below is one such post.

by: Bill Raymond

Title: Microsoft Project MVP & VP Solutions at Pcubed



The No-confusion Timeline Report

As a Project Manager, it has always been a struggle to communicate a clear time line to my key sponsors, stakeholders and even to the project team.

Even as a Project Manager it can be difficult to read a Gantt chart once it goes beyond 50 lines or so. Granted, you get comfortable with the plan after a while and no how to traverse a detailed project plan but even the people on your project team may not fully understand all the intricacies.

In previous versions of Microsoft Project, I would spend a lot of time plotting out massive prints of the project plan, creating a breakdown structure and then spend hours every week or two copying data to Excel or Visio to format the output for mass consumption.

Earlier versions of Microsoft Project had some nice features to copy certain levels of a schedule to PowerPoint and provide some visual reports for Excel but clearly communicating the time line was still problematic.

The challenge Microsoft faced was a way to change a graphic that looks like this:



Into something more appealing that highlights the key activities and milestones we are working towards. With the new Time line View in Microsoft Project 2010 Professional, life just became much easier. Now, you can easily add any tasks to a visually appealing report that is easily output to e-mail, PowerPoint or for large-scale color printing.



The Time line View graphic shown above is an output of a project with more than 80 tasks. It visually represents key dates and milestones that the entire project team and all stakeholders agreed to track. The color coding and placement of the text are easily formatted and can even be manipulated further from within other Office products.