Using MS Project for doc groups

Subject: Using MS Project for doc groups
From: Faith Weber <weber -at- EASI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 1994 18:21:45 -0800

George Hayhoe writes:

>I've used
>Microsoft Project 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 quite successfully to manage projects
>in a small group of four to six writers/editors/illustrators/layout

I use Project for a doc group of three trying to keep up with about
6,000 pages of doc. Frankly, I find it difficult to deal with our
software doc schedules (which change regularly), breaks in a person's
work for review cycles, etc. using Project.

For example, because it can only look at a task like writing a
draft as, say, a 10-week chunk, it's incapable of putting part of
that time into a 3-week slack period between other tasks. But that's
how our department works, more or less by necessity. So I have to go
back and redefine the task as two arbitrary chunks, and link them, and
there's still no guarantee that Project will arrange things the way I
want without a lot of tweaking.

For changing schedules, I thought it would simplify matters if I created
a separate project for each product, created milestones in the project
for beta and production releases, linked the tasks (usually "draft" and
"final" -- it's hard to justify spending time on anything more specific)
to those as needed, and then mushed them all together into a master
project. Then, I thought, if release dates changed I'd just change
the milestone dates and go from there. In fact, it didn't work very
well. I still haven't come up with a usable project file on the scale
that I need.

I haven't found the Project manuals helpful in resolving these
problems. It's making me feel that either I'm incredibly dense, or
the product just isn't really designed for my needs (I can't tell which).

Does anyone have any suggestions for using Project to manage doc
projects? If so, please email me directly and I'll summarize

Faith Weber
EA Systems Inc.
weber -at- easi -dot- com <----Note that this is a new address as of mid-Nov.

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