Microsoft Project: Production Schedule

Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Terminology:

MSP Microsoft Project

Program I use the term program for the entire document for my production schedule because once I have created the baseline for the production schedule, I am able to move and manipulate the figures, dates and level of completion of that task.


Baseline a snapshot/a picture of your project at a particular moment in time. Used to show progress and compare actual completion of work with the original plan.

Task

a tool that an individual, team, or organization uses to represent work and its completion path. This includes ongoing, completed, and upcoming tasks that may be in a to-do list.


Summary also called a parent task is a collection of subtasks that shows their combined information. The indented tasks or following tasks of the summary task are called subtasks. The summary task is shown in bold in the project outline.


Manual Scheduling Project enables you to skip entering the duration and dates, and specifying them later. When you enter the duration and dates, Project fixes the schedule for the task and doesn’t move it unless you do so manually.


Auto Scheduling Project calculates task schedules for you based on the project start date and finish date, task dependencies, calendar selections, and resource scheduling.

Exception Day

which is a day you want to block out for events like holidays and vacation.


Why have I chosen to use Microsoft Project 2016?


For my production schedule for this semester I wanted to create a more detailed schedule than I have in previous year.

As I want to pursue a career in production, I see this as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of scheduling and gaining experience of maintaining a moving schedule.


I have chosen to use Microsoft Project to create and maintain my Production Schedule because I have access to it through Uclan. As I have a Mac laptop and desktop, I use Citrix to access MSP because it is a Windows only program. MSP as a cloud based program is around £7 a month in subscription fees, to buy a full copy for a single device is over £600. There are a variety of softwares on the market, but using Citrix to use MSP it the most financially logical choice for this project. I'm in a unique position to learn how to use Microsoft Project because my Dad works as a Planning Manager within construction and has many years of experience using a variety of management softwares. In a previous job, part of my Dads role was to teach others how to use MSP 2013, so he has the experience and knowledge to teach me to how to use the program, as well as resources from when he used to teach. As I have access to MSP2016, there are some elements that are different between the 2013 version and the 2016 version, so I am also using a variety of youtube tutorials and online manuals to fill in the gaps of knowledge from my Dad.


Starting the program


When I started to make the program, I used this tutorial.


I stopped using the tutorial as a reference at around 6 minutes because I started to get a decent understanding of how to use it.


I started making my production schedule 21/1/20 after Mario and Pete gave us a welcome back talk because of the Christmas break.


The first thing I did was add tasks; individual things I need to complete per milestone in order to make my film in its completed to the final deadline.


Once I added a couple of tasks, I realised I needed to separate them by header. This is when I started to use Summary's.


I used the summary button to create headers for each of my deadlines, and then inputed the tasks I need to complete within them. I also started to use subtasks to make the information within the summary's more organised and logical to follow.


I made all my tasks manual, because when I started to input dates to them, the automatic function was changing dates for other tasks and annoying me a lot.


I had planned to complete my schedule by Friday 24th January, so I could fully dedicate myself to it and be able to do the rest of the tasks for milestone 1. However, NONE OF THE WORK SAVED!!!


For reasons unknown, the work I completed Tuesday didn't save at all. I had stayed in uni until 9pm the day to get as much done as I could.


Wednesday I stayed again until around 9pm in order to remake and continue the program, and AGAIN it didn't save despite saving it to several locations.


By Thursday I was irritated and peeved off. I remade all my work for the 3rd time and saved it over 7 times to various locations on my laptop, hard drive and the cloud. Guess what... It didn't save either. I'd spoken to my Dad about the issues I had been having and sent him an email with a simple MSP attachment with about 5 tasks in it. He was able to see it through MSP viewer so it was definitely saving, but not the work I'd continued to add.

My only conclusion to the saving issue I was experiencing, was that I was having to use Citrix to access and use MSP.

Over the weekend I completely remade the program on the evenings after work. It was saving my progress so I was much happier than the week before.


Again for reasons unknown, my progress was now being saved! Hallelujah!!!


Now the problem was I was already behind on my planned work, and I hadn't completed my program yet.


Why did I get a job in final year? Oops


Now that I was confident that the work was being saved, I began adding start/end dates to each of my tasks backwards. I started with my final deadline in May and worked backwards in order to keep myself realistic in my time keeping.


I started to think about how I can incorporate my work hours at my job into the project so that I can give myself a semi-realistic workload for uni.


Earlier in the year I spoke to Mario about the minimum hours he recommends for students to work for uni, and he said a minimum of 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day. 'Treat university as a full time job. If you have a part-time job then put the hours you work into the 40 hours minimum for yourself.'


Over the Christmas period I was working over 20 hours a week (tis the season to keep busy) so I struggled significantly with completing work in a reasonable time for the January deadlines.

I knew that if i didn't change my hours i would be screwed once I came back for semester 2.

The week before I started back at uni I spoke to my boss about my hours, my contract hours are 12/week, which previously had been split into 4 hours shifts over 3 days as a minimum. I told her that I couldn't commit 3 half days a week to the shop, and working over 2 days will cover my contract hours plus over time if needed. (2 full days of 8 hours, or 1 full day and a half day each week).


For the minimum hours of 40 a week, including the max hours I can work at my job, I have a minimum of 24 hours available for university. I do 5 hours a day on Tuesday and Thursday, and 3 hours on Wednesday mornings in class. Which leave 11 hours of work to be completed outside of my job and class.


Making a Calendar


After figuring out my hours per week, I did some googling and found out that I can make a custom calendar on MSP for my program. So that's what I did.




(This is the standard calendar that MSP has, it is based on a general 5 day working week)





I started by making my weekends non-working days, this is because when it comes to me building my assets and animating, I will be limited to the working week because of access to the Victoria Building. I may swell set my program to the minimum hours I am able to commit to even though I will be doing many more hours .

I then figured out how to make exception days, which in my case, I have used to show what days I cannot work due to my job. I have chosen to use exception days because I do not have the same shifts each week, and as I get my rota around 3 weeks in advance, all I have to do is input the dates.


I then went into my setting and adjusted the hours that I work on this project. A minimum of 8 hours a day (this includes within class), over 4 days is a min of 16 hours per week.


The benefit of making a calendar and including these exception days are simple. When I input a specific number of days that a task will take to complete, as long as I input either the end date (or the start date), the program will automate the start date (or end date) and will exclude weekends and the exception days.


Adding dates to Tasks and Summary's.


I started by filling the start/end dates to the milestones and other deadlines I have as summary headings. I've repeated this for every task, deadline and event I have inputed on the program. This allows me to use the program to measure the length of time I have to complete each task and how long I have until my deadlines. Creating Links


Linking in this program allows me to create relationships between tasks. This helps to make a program which I can easily change as the projects goes on.



The entire purpose of this program is to record the productivity of my production.





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Feedback: Pete Bishop

With the whole situation of lockdown, days have melded into one long day and night. Thank god for the Pete! With the final deadline looming, I honestly didn't know it was May bank holiday Monday when