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Project Management - Planning and re-planning: keeing MS Project files updated

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Re-planning is just as important as planning. MS Project files need to be updated regularly to reflect the current status of the project and to streamline the upcoming tasks. We have seen a lot of issues where project managers have not updated the project file. They run into project status issues. MS Project file can reflect the schedule, cost and effort changes as the project moves along. This information is only available if the project manager updates the project file. If this information is not updated, then the status of the project is not known.

We can recognize this from questions such as "many project tasks have been delayed how can we change the project end date?"  The answer to this question is not to technically find a solution to just change the end date. But the right way is to re-plan. This is done by entering the information about the delayed tasks using the feature of actual start date and actual end date in MS Project. By using these parameters, actual proceedings of the task can be entered. MS Project will take these dates (and delays) into account and would adjust the project timeline accordingly.

MS Project also includes the feature to view status of any particular date. More importantly, we can view how much progress would have been made up to a certain date based on the information entered in the actual start and completion dates of completed and ongoing tasks. This is a valuable tool and project managers must use it in the project management process.

When the actuals of completed and ongoing tasks are entered, MS Project returns the correct status. This information is also used in the Status reports. This gives the project managers valuable information and they can use the slack in the project tasks, fast track or keep the management well informed about the missed target dates, budget and cost. Re-planning can only be done if actual task status is updated in MS Project. And it is MS Project that adjusts the timeline, budget and cost. Project managers can then make timely decisions.

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