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Starting this week we are starting a new series of posts on project management using Microsoft excel. Excel, because of its grid nature provides a great way to prepare and manage project plans. We will also write formulas in all the cells (same formula pasted over the entire range) which displays a symbol like solid rectangle. Once you prepare such plan it is easy to track, find out the status of individual activities and take necessary corrective actions as needed.
Feel free to download gantt chart project plan template and make your own project plans using Microsoft Excel. In the next part of this series we will understand how to manage day to day activities of projects using to do lists in excel. Check out my Project Management using Excel page for more resources and helpful information on project management. One concern with this approach is that it is often very important to display the Planned and Actual schedules superimposed on each other (not available here).
This leads me to the thought that the Gantt chart you present will be very effective for a certain class of project, but not for others (ie. Also, it is very clear that Excel is a critically important tool for schedule analysis even when the high-power tools are used. I think excel based gantt charts are less powerful when you compare with MS project or some other project management tool. I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to finagle the conditional formatting to outline the target, and fill in the actual (or vice versa), or some other form of formatting that will superimpose the two. Ive been playing (learning) with this and took cognisance of the need to show planned and actual on the same graph. I looked at the comments from the other users and also noticed that the %complete line shows 100% even if its only 90% in column G. You can change the light blue color (actually it is white, due to the blue background it looks like light blue) by selecting the entire grid and changing the font color. Won't go into too much detail yet in case this sort of enquiry is inappropriate to the thread.
Is there a way to add milestones to the chart with no duration (similar to MS Project) like start, or meeting, or other no duration events? I needed a quick & inexpensive way to build a decent-looking Gantt chart and this fit the bill perfectly.
Chandoo - I love your posts - I drift back and forward periodically, as a source of expertise and skill. So - thank you for your posts - and I hope all those that stumble on your site, like I did years ago, find it as informative, educational, and value adding as I did (and continue to do so)!
However, when a lot of people start using the same sheet, then you run into a whole host of problems.
Also, try with more duration than 2 days (say 30 days) and you should see bars of varying lengths. How easy would it be to also incorporate a 'Budget' section showing a vertical bar chart presenting the target budget and actual costs incurred in implementing the project?
Data flow diagram institute management system  gives an over view of this application for system analysis and design.
In this data flow diagram there are two modules student and staff which is shown in the diagram. Main aim of institute management system project is to provide a software application for college students and institute for connection different aspects of college information in to single web application. Related PostsImplementing Institute Management System Project Institute Management System project is developed to manage information of institutes using a online portal.
I often get opportunity to talk to senior management, especially in the context of project management office (PMO), in some cases, organizations do not have designated project management office (PMO) but senior management has portfolio of projects to monitor and deliver.
With online project management software, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is significantly smaller compared to traditional software. It is not surprising that senior management typically look for high level status and progress reporting mechanism from the tool. As a solution provider, we definitely understand their priority- what they need the most and provide easier ways to access useful reports and dashboard of project status, portfolio status. As we interact further, I emphasis on the usability aspect of the software from team members point of view. On the brighter side I have also seen instances wherein project team is involved in the software selection process; team is asked how easy they find ZilicusPM to use. ZilicusPM is online project management software that offers an incredibly simple and collaborative  way to manage project Try ZilicusPM a powerful tool that enable online project planning – WBS, online scheduling, resource assignment, Gantt chart, project tracking, issue management, online calendar, risk register and much more.
As discussed in part 1, the biggest challenge when it comes to designing project portfolio (program) level dashboards is that, End users want it very concise yet powerful. We have identified important needs of our end users & come up with a mock up design that meets all these. First let us understand the design philosophy for this dashboard, because that is what drives all the Excel work. Structural references as much as possible so that formulas are readable, editable & dynamic.


This dashboard display follow box layout with simple colors, easy charts, picture links & lots of conditional formatting goodness. To understand the important Excel features used in this, see below image & following list.
These fonts are specified in dashboard’s theme so that they apply by default when opened in any computer. Since the workbook uses macros, I have added a warning message that shows up when macros are disabled.
Since all this explanation might not do justice to the work, I made a short video [12 mins] explaining how the dashboard works. Now you can get this and 4 other project portfolio management templates (including simplified portfolio dashboard, time line chart, gantt chart templates). Extract the first 5 corresponding Project IDs and feed them to calculations for rest of the display. Received the Email with discount for previous PM purchases after I already placed my order, can you refund 20%   wasn't sure where to contac tyou directly  I can provide Transaction information when you contact me! Hi Chandoo,Your PM dashboards impressed me so much that I’ve downloaded the Portfolio and Project Management package. Can the portfolio management dashboard  be translated to spanish?   can the translation affect the functionality? I want to know if I will always have to convert the reports to pdf before I sent them to the project team or I am able to e-mail them on an excel format? Besides that, I understand there is conditional formatting but I was wondering how the reference to the cell valGantstart links to show the "today line" for the gantt chart when the formula to show the "today line" on conditional formatting refers to this valGantstart. Hi Chandoo, your portfolio template is great, the one issue is the progress on teh project, if 100% is added in progress, it does not fully display, All that I see is ##### on teh dashboard. Have downloaded the trial portfolio template to see how the various elements work but the 'calculations' worksheet is hidden so I am unable to establish how the data is calculated? Kindly explain how your percentage of Projects done on the dashboard is calculated as this seems to depend on the budget? Is there way to display a line to show the 'Baseline' within the dashboard under the Plan section? I purchased, nice presentation on the Port Dash, seems basic on the data entry side of things. I would like to know apart from the Dashboard usage, can we have a facility to extract as a report showing all Projects status report as read only to all Stakeholders, I am not interested in sharing the whole Dashboard as it comprises of complex code. All I am looking is a button, which extract whole dashboard as a report in PDF or jpg format to share it with all stake holders.
I'm about to get the dashboard but will need to have that feature as the Stakeholders will not be needing all the info the Prog Mgr sees.
I purchased Portfolio dashboard yesterday; I am trying to modify it by adding Customer in front of Project name, estimated hours, and hours spent - I tried replacing Budget and spent title, and $$ format to number - the dashboard choked. Then I just tried to add columns in Project details, Customer, estimated hours, and hours spent.
I have been working in various projects in the last 6 years and almost in all cases we have been using excel to manage, measure and track various aspects of project. In this part of the project management using Microsoft excel series we will learn how to prepare and track a project plan using gantt chart in excel.
For finding out if we should fill in the symbol or not, we use the % completed column of the gantt chart. Also, it is not uncommon to save multiple benchmarked versions of the plan along with current re-plan, and to display multiple versions of the plan simultaneously.
I used the following formula to shade the weekly cell and then used conditional formating.. Excel 2003 has a limitation on the number of 3 conditional formats applied on a range of cells.
I am a project manager that is trying to get an 'old fashioned' (defunked) program under control by making everything uniform. Is it possible to include budgets as a % of total build cost, contractor's quotes against actual payments to them, etc.
You can easily add more columns.If you are familiar with how excel formulas (and conditional formatting) work then it should be fairly easy. Excel is a poor mans database and should only be used with cost reporting for regularly used reports.
To start with, there is no straight forward way to do even the simplest project management activities using excel.
From what I have seen, excel seems like a decent fit when the other choice is learning a complex tool or paying money through nose. Excel is great for making personal logs and list that very few people will use (and have limited amounts of records and fields). So cost is definitely something they consider but it is not a major factor in consideration. They periodically ask for project reports from portfolio managers, in turn from project managers and would prefer to see all progress indicators in a dashboard way. Just because some system allows them to extract hundreds of report; it may not be a right choice.


Thus without  making any upfront payment for licenses you can ensure whether a given tool for for you and your team. Since each plan has its own table, getting selected project’s table is necessary to drive all calculations.
All these files are easy to use, beautiful to present, fully customizable, unlocked and designed to make you awesome.
The only issue I'm having is, when I change an activity to 100%, it's showing ##### on the Dashboard Gannt. One alternative is to show list of holidays that occur in the filtered date range in legend area of the dashboard. In Dashboard tab, the scroll bar displays each project, but in my case,  the entry Months displays ZERO. I koow you have mentioned that it takes upto 24 hrs to send the link but could you send it to me at the earliest. These posts represent few of the things related to project management using excel that I have learned over the years. Every week you will receive an Excel tip, tutorial, template or example delivered to your inbox. I have thought about it when writing this post, but I didnt mention the exact method to achieve it here. This is particularly true for large and complex projects where there are several tasks and plans always change. I am sure we can do this in excel too, but it would be too many functions and scaling it would be an issue. While excel cannot fulfill a large scale project's management needs, it works very well for day to day project management stuff be it maintaining issue logs, change logs, listing and tracking activities, reporting, analyzing. You have to make templates, created models and charts before starting to use it for a real project. In addition, it is much more pliable than other products, insofar as its ability to present and manipulate data. My point is you need to look at the alternatives which includes total life cycle cost , creation time, and who will use the information. Students can understand flow from one phase to other face and based on requirements they can design in a better way. Student module consists of course registration, exam result management and master details where as staff module consists of only master details. Of course, they ask whether a given tool meets organizations requirement  in terms of feature. And unless project team updates status of project activities, the information displayed in project reports and dashboard will be less useful.
I must say,  these days, free trial is reasonably common for online software and many companies take advantage of this. I think the final workbook summarizes performance of a bunch of projects in a concise yet powerful way.
What more, as a joining bonus, I am giving away a 25 page eBook containing 95 Excel tips & tricks.
One reason is I wanted to keep the series and this tutorial simple and yet share powerful ideas.
I've been able to figure out a lot of what I'm doing on my own, but I've hit a wall with this last part. I will be discussing about effort estimation as part of the 4th installment of this series (will be posting it this week). I also accept that it is not purpose built for gantt charting, dependency mapping and WBS development - but let me tell you, it sure can represent the outputs much more effectively! In the past, some of them have realized how such solutions have resulted in waste of time and money for the whole department. Can you please explain what the two different colors on the chart represent (light blue, dark blue) and the difference between the proposed and actual bars? Meanwhile, you can edit the downloadable workbook on this post and add budget details as well. I have used MS project and a handful of agile software project management tools, but I find excel quite simple and intuitive compared to these complicated tools. Do you recommend this be owned by 1 manager or could this be stored on SharePoint and be updated by several people? I've probably taken on more than I should have with a gantt chart, but I'm too far along to give up now. It is because my company is to cheap and ignorant (of the processes) to buy the software to do project management functions more effectively in less time.
Andin my line of business (consulting) I aasure you - not all companies understand, invest, or even want to use the more complex tools.



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