May 8, 2012

PM0015 [Quantitative Methods in Project Management] Set1 Q4

Q.4. Describe how you can display data using Gantt chart and Network Diagram Chart .

Project data can be entered and/or viewed in a number of ways; the three principal formats are charts, forms, and sheets.

Charts can be either Gantt Charts or Network Diagram Charts both of which are a diagrammatic representation of the project data.

Displaying of Data 
There are several ways for displaying the data. Gantt Chart as well as Network Diagram Chart are two important tools by which it is possible to display project data. 

Gantt Chart 
The Gantt Chart is a horizontal bar chart that represents each task in the time scale of the project. Each task entered in the project will be shown. 

The Gantt Chart can be used to visually keep track of the tasks and also may be used to identify important points about each task. Those tasks that together control the completion date are known as the critical Path and are shown differently to highlight that fact.

Gantt Charts can be printed and therefore these form the significant part of a regular report which shows the current progress, comparison with the original plan, and the new projected completion data.

Changing the split between chart and table 
When the Gantt Chart view or the Task Entry view is selected, the Gantt Chart area has part of a table on the left and the bars on the right.

It is possible to move the dividing line between these two areas with the mouse pointer. When the pointer is on the dividing line, it changes to two vertical lines with left and right arrows. If the left button is held down then the dividing line can be moved to the left or right as required.

Changing Time Scale 
It is possible to change the time scale on the right side of the chart directly by using the View, Zoom command or with the Format, Timescale command. 

Where the latter is chosen, the dialog box will provide the ability to change both the major and minor time scales and within each of these it will be possible to alter the units, the label, the alignment, and the count of the interval between the unit labels.

Changing the Palette 
The Palette can be accessed from the Format, Bar command or by double clicking on the Gantt Chart.

Using the dialog box, it is possible to maximise the information provided by the format of the bars on the Gantt Chart. The appearance of the existing bars can be changed and additional bars can be used. The full use of colour is also possible.

Format Bar 
For example it is possible to show the planned, actual and scheduled times for each task.

Editing Tasks 
One method of editing tasks is changing them on the Gantt Chart using the mouse and dragging the changes into place.

Positioning the pointer at the beginning of a bar will change the pointer to a % sign and if the left button is pressed and the symbol dragged to the right a box will appear showing the amount of "percentage complete" that has been added. This information will then be updated throughout the system.

If the pointer is placed in the centre of the bar it will change to a four-way arrow pointer. If the left button is held down it is then possible to drag the bar to the left or right in time, the changing dates options will be shown in a dialog box (see below) and, on clicking OK, the files will be updated with the new information.

Planning Wizard 
The third possibility is that the duration of the task can be changed by changing the length of the bar. If the pointer is positioned at the right end of the bar it will change into a right pointing arrow. If the left button is held down it is then possible to change the length of the bar and the respective change in duration is shown in a box. 

Viewing the Gantt Chart 
  1. Select Gantt Chart from the View menu. 
  2. Place the pointer on the border between chart and table, hold the button down and drag the border left or right. 
  3. From the Format menu, select Timescale. Try changing the major and minor scales as view the changes at the bottom of the box. 
  4. From the View menu, choose Zoom. Try out the various changes that can be made to the amount seen. 

Network Diagram Chart 
The term Network Diagram is derived from Programme Evaluation and Review Technique which was invented for the management of Projects by paper based systems. The Network Diagram chart is a diagrammatic view of the tasks where the position of the task and the lines linking them together represent the detailed steps that comprise the project. It is possible to modify the project in the Network Diagram by adding extra tasks or nodes and creating the links. Each task on the chart is known as a node and within the node is a selection of the data that is relevant to the task. The Nodes can have different boarders which represent the task type.

Using the Format, Box Styles command 
Within this command box (shown below) there are many different types of Task, each of which can be given a combination of line style and colour to provide visual identification, for example the critical tasks can have thick red borders. 

The Network Diagram view must be active in order to see the Box Styles as an option in the Format menu. 
Changing styles of Network Diagram Chart 

Changing the contents of a Node 
The Data Template command in the Box Styles dialog allows change to the data that the node displays. 

Changing data template of Network Diagram Chart 

Setting the following is possible: 
  1. Grid Lines between the five areas - on or off. 
  2. The cross marks that indicate "In progress" or "Complete" on or off. 
  3. The format for the display of the dates. 
  4. The selection of the size of the Node - Small, Medium or Large. 

Modifying the layout of the Chart 
The Format, Layout command gives the ability to select how the interconnecting lines between the nodes will be shown. 

Changing Layout of Network Diagram Chart 

View the Network Diagram Chart 
  1. Select Network Diagram Chart from the View menu. 
  2. From the View, menu, select Zoom and change the size of the Nodes 
  3. From the Format menu, select Box Styles and examine the different style of borders that are available to show different types of tasks. 
  4. Also check how the contents may be changed using the Boxes Tab. 
  5. From the Format menu, select Layout and examine the different ways the lines can be displayed. 
  6. You can drag the boxes with the mouse. If you Zoom to 50% or Entire Project you will find it easier. 
  7. Double Click on a Node and examine the options in the dialog box. 

Zooming In and Out 
Zooming in can be useful when you want to focus on a particular Network Diagram box or group of Network Diagram boxes. Alternatively, zooming out can be helpful when you want to see as much of the project as possible on one screen. The more you zoom out, the more clear the paths become and the more unclear the text becomes. 

To zoom in: 

  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the Zoom In button. 
  2. Repeat until you reach the desired size. 
To zoom out: 
  1. On the Standard toolbar, click the Zoom Out button. 
  2. Repeat until you reach the desired size. 

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