You’ve spent hours in Microsoft Office Project 2007 hand-crafting a project plan that you’re pretty sure must be glowing because it’s so darned brilliant. All of the start and finish dates line up perfectly, your resources are balanced with reasonable workloads, and the costs are well within budget. People are talking about your Incredible Plan, and now Pete, your manager, wants to take a look at this work of project management genius. Your options for sharing your project plan with Pete depend on what he has available for viewing the plan.
Scenario 1: Pete has Project 2007 installed
As you might expect, this is the simplest scenario. You created your plan in Project 2007, and Pete has Project 2007 installed. If your organization is using Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Pete can simply open the project from the server, or, if you’re not using Project Server, you can send him the .MPP file as an e-mail attachment. If you think that Pete will want to make changes to your plan as he’s reviewing it, you might consider checking the project out and saving it for sharing.
Scenario 2: Pete has Project 2003 installed
If Pete has Project 2003 installed on his computer, he can use a converter to open a Project 2007 file in Project 2003. He needs to make sure he has Project 2003 Service Pack 3 installed, which contains the converter. Once that’s installed, Pete can open a Project 2007 file in Project 2003 as a read-only file. Here’s a big catch though: if your plan relies on any of the features that are new in Project 2007, those features won’t be available when Pete opens the file in Project 2003. So depending on how much of your plan’s brilliance is being derived from the new Project 2007 features, you may want to go a different route.
Scenario 3: Pete doesn’t have Project installed
Pete’s a reasonable guy. He knows that the project managers on his team rely on Project 2007 for scheduling tasks and tracking resource usage, but he’s just not into it himself. If he had Project installed, he wouldn’t use it nearly enough to warrant the license, so he’s chosen not to install it. In this case, you have to cater to his situation: you’ve got a project plan that he can’t currently open on his computer.
What’s the solution for sharing the plan with him?
· Trial version. If Pete doesn’t mind temporarily installing Project 2007 for the purposes of viewing your project plan, he can download and install the trial version of Project 2007. Once activated, the trial version provides full functionality for 60 days at no cost.
· Copy project data. If Pete really just needs to know the basics, you can copy your project data into another Office application, such as Excel 2007.
· Soft copies. The next section talks about ways to provide Pete with your project information as hard copies, printed out on paper to put on the desk in front of him. For most of these options, you could also choose to provide Pete with soft copies, either attached to e-mail messages, shared on a network, or brought to him using other file sharing means (USB flash drive, burned CD, Windows Mobile device, etc.).
Scenario 4: Pete hates computers
Okay so not everyone is as in love with computers as you are, and Pete just happens to be one of those people who prefers good old-fashioned paper trails. That’s just fine.you’re a pro, you can handle this situation too. Your project plan is so brilliant that it glows even on paper.
Best bets for providing Pete with a hard copy that effectively illustrates your project plan:
· Printed view. If you really want Pete to see your project plan the way you do, you can print your view for him. For more great information about printing a view, check out the previous blog entry, “Back to basics: Printing your project.”
· Reports. Project 2007 has a number of reporting options: basic reports, custom basic reports, and (insert drumroll here) visual reports (which are particularly cool in a slice-and-dice kind of way). To meet Pete’s printed-copy needs, you can simply generate a report on your project data, and then print it for him to review. To learn more about visual reports, check out this article about integrating with Excel, and this article about integrating with Visio. And again, I have to plug the previous blog entry, “Back to basics: Printing your project,” because it has some great pointers to more content about printing reports.
· Pictures. Another option for printing a view is to capture a picture of the view for printing. Using this option, you can limit which rows you want to share with Pete, and you can generate a picture with a resolution that is best suited for printing.