Friday, January 19, 2018

MS Project 2016 Live Lessons – Guaranteed Learning or Your Money Back


I am delighted to announce the availability of Microsoft Project (MSP) 2016 Live Lessons, a complete video course.  

"MS Project 2016 Live Lessons – Guaranteed Learning or Your Money Back"

This is one of its kind course in the world with guaranteed learning.

This course includes advanced concepts such as Earned Value Management (EVM), Resource Pool Management, Multi-project management, Critical Path Measurement (CPM), Forward/Backward Pass Technique, Float Management, Resource Levelling, Project Reporting and Project Closing

The content of this course has been used by project managers, delivery managers, program managers, project leads and project management professionals (PMPs).

Top Features
  1. 214 videos covering all relevant aspects of MS Project 2016.
  2. 8.75 hours of deep learning. (8 hours 45 minutes 34 seconds)
  3. 7 hours of practicals. Contains 15 practical with 30+ hands-on big practical solution files (not 3 to 4 liners mpp files), which are progressively built-up.
  4. Contains advanced concepts such as Earned Value Management (EVM), Resource Pooling, Managing Multiple Projects, Critical Path Measurement (CPM), Forward/Backward Pass Techniques, Resource Levelling, Project Reporting, and Project Closing.
  5. 100+ practice questions
  6. Highly simplified content and language, with real time examples.
  7. 100s of tips and tricks and shortcut keys as you go through the course.

High Level Course Breakdown
  • Lesson 1 - Welcome and Pre-requisites (16 videos): 24:27 [24 minutes and 27 seconds]
  • Lesson 2 - Introducing MS Project 2016 (21 videos): 47:49
  • Lesson 3 - Tasks (19 videos): 44:38
  • Lesson 4 - Resources (12 videos): 24:25
  • Lesson 5 - Calendars (10 videos): 21:14
  • Lesson 6 - Understanding Scheduling Formula (13 videos): 30:55
  • Lesson 7 - Developing Project Plan (12 videos): 31:32
  • Lesson 8 - Leveling Resources (8 videos): 22:43
  • Lesson 9 - Analyzing Project (21 videos): 01:01:38
  • Lesson 10 - Tracking Project (11 videos): 30:06
  • Lesson 11 - Sorting, Grouping and Filtering (11 videos): 29:42
  • Lesson 12 - Reporting Project (16 videos): 48:38
  • Lesson 13 - Earned Value Management (19 videos): 54:54
  • Lesson 14 - Resource Pool and Managing Multi-Projects (12 videos): 32:04
  • Lesson 15 - Closing Project (12 videos): 23:55
  • MS Project 2016 Practical Workbook
  • MS Project 2016 Practical Solutions Files
  • Tips and Tricks MS Project 2016
  • Final Talk (1 video) 2:28

More details available at:

What is Guaranteed Learning or Your Money Back Program?
You will receive access to the entire video course for 3 days. You go through the videos, along with detailed instructions (also in video format), If you don’t like the course, I’ll refund your entire money - no questions asked.

There are no little tricks on terms and conditions.

The premise is simple.
Check the entire course for 3 days. You like it, you continue and learn.
In case you don’t like it, I’ll refund your entire money. 

Applicable Software Versions

  • MS Project 2016 Professional, MS Project Online Professional/Project Online Desktop
  • MS Project 2013
    (if you have MS Project 2013 and want to use this course, you can use it as well. MS Project 2016 is backward compatible with MS Project 2013.)

Detailed Course Breakdown
The detailed course breakdown is shown below (Embedded PDF). It details on hours of learning, number of videos and practice questions, and practicals. You can scroll or open in larger screen by clicking the arrow on right in the embedded frame, to see the content. 

If you want to buy or have any other question, please send an email to
If you want to watch some sample videos, before taking your decision, you are welcome to do so. 

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Microsoft Project 2016 Brings New Agile Features

Finally, Microsoft Project 2016, a popular project-portfolio management software, has decided to bring Agile features. With this addition, if you are working in an Agile Project and using MS Project, you can apply various agile features to manage your project/iterations/sprints. 

It’s a very welcome addition by Microsoft Project Team. In fact, I would say a long awaited one.  

I noted in my earlier post in 2015:
"Scrum is the most used one; Kanban is being used more now; however, organizations mostly follow their way of Agile implementation. The last one is interesting! Few follow Agile or Scrum or Kanban practices by the book per se, rather it is mostly customized as per the need of the organization. "

As of 2017 end, I see the same two methods (or frameworks) are mostly used – more compared to other Agile methods. Hybrid methods, in fact, have gained more momentum. This is based on the feedback when I engage with Agile practitioners in my classes.

It’s great to see Microsoft Project supporting both – Scrum and Kanban.

How to Have Agile Features in MS Project 2016?
This feature has been released for Project Online Desktop Client – one that comes with Project Online Professional Edition. This is noted here. 

Also, to have the agile features in your MS Project 2016, you need to have the right build. 
Ensure that you have this build: build Version 1710 (Build 8625.2121)

This build supports Agile Features: 

If you don’t have this build, your Agile features may not work.

Getting Started with Agile Methods in MS Project 2016
To get started, go to the backstage view, from where you have 3 templates.
  • Scrum Project template
  • Kanban Project template
  • Waterfall Project template

As we are talking of agile, you will choose between Scrum Project or Kanban Project.

Working with Scrum
In the above figure, click on Scrum Project template.
It will open up a "Sprint Planning Board" view (a new view in MSP 2016) with backlog state and other 3 default workflow states or columns.

Creating a Product Backlog
To add items to the backlog, simply click on “+ New Task” under the Backlog status. I’ve added 7 product backlog items (PBIs) into the backlog and it comes as below. 

You can arrange/order the backlog items in the Sprint Planning Board. 

Every iteration in Scrum is known as Sprint. At the end of a Sprint, you deliver an incremental and potentially shippable version of the product. To see the Sprints in your Scrum Project, go to Task Board Tools – Format tab – Customize – Columns: Sprint. 

By default, you will have 3 sprints for your project – each with 2 weeks of duration. The current date will be taken as your start date, which you can change. The Sprints in your Planning Board will come as below.

Managing Sprints for Your Scrum Project
You can add/remove Sprints or change the duration of your Sprints. To do that, go to:
Agile Tools  Scrum tab – Views group – Manage sprints command. This will pop-up the “Manage Sprints” box.
The "Manage Sprints" box is shown below.

To add more sprints, you can give a "Custom Date". The sprints will be auto-calculated and populated in the table. To change the duration of the Sprint, use the "Length" field in the above table – to increase or decrease the length of the sprint. For this article, we will go with 3 Sprints. 

Planning Your First Sprint
Next, you need to pull up the items from the Product Backlog into the Sprints. 
For example, I’ve pulled 3 items from the Product Backlog and put them into Sprint 1. Both Scrum and Kanban, have just in time(JIT)/pull approach.

Resources For Your First Sprint

Next, we will have our resources for the project, which can be done with the existing commands available. To assign the resources, you have to switch to another view, i.e., Sprint Planning Sheet View. To have this view, go to:
Agile Tools – Scrum tab – Views group – Planning command. 

From there, select “Sprint Planning Sheet” view. This is another new view in MS Project 2016.

After you add few resources, the view will come as shown below.

You can change the dates with start and end dates (if you need), can change the start and finish dates of your Sprint (with two new fields – Sprint Start, Sprint Finish), as well. 

From the Sprint Planning Board view itself, you can directly assign resources, too. After assignment of resources and movement of the PBIs as they are executed, your “Current Sprint Board” view will look as shown below.

“Current Sprint Board” view is another new view added to MS Project 2016 to have Agile/Scrum management. 

Reporting For Your Scrum Project 
After you have tracked your project (you have to move the PBIs, across the columns, as you complete the items), you can generate reports. A number of reports are newly available in MS Project, which are from Reports tab. This is shown below.

From there, I’m taking the “Sprint Status” report to generate the task and work related status of Scrum Project spanning across the sprints.

I also tried with a Kanban Project and it works fine. I would expect these enhancements first.
  • Breaking the PBIs into tasks.
  • Limiting the upper work in progress limits (and lower limits) for the items in the Kanban board (or Backlog Board as MS Project calls it) for the Kanban project.
  • Ability to see the progress for the Backlog Items on the Sprint Planning Board (Scrum Project) and Kanban/Backlog Board (Kanban Project). Don't want to see in Timeline view - though it is helpful, too.

Nevertheless, addition of Agile Features is a great addition to MS Project. As I long time user of this software, I would say – an excellent start. Well done, MS Project Team!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

PMP Success Story: Eat, Sleep, and Drink PMP

By Karthik Hongalkar, PMP

I work as a technical lead at Eurofins. In my day to day activities there were lot of questions asked by my manger as what are the new risks, what are the mitigation plans and many other management related question. 

One person informed me to do PMP certification and many discouraged telling it is tough. It hit me hard. I have this bad habit – if someone tells it is tough then I’m game for it. 

After clearing the PMP exam, I believe you really have to earn this credential. 

PMP Coaching Experience
As soon as I decided to do PMP in the month of October 2017, I reached out to Knowledgehut. 28th October was the first day of class and it was led by Mr Satya Narayan Dash. Satya walked in to the class and set some ground rules - be attentive, participate in the sessions, and actively listen.

Four days of session was very informative. Satya is a master in project management. We went through each and every chapter and touched all important areas. The mock questions and answers at the end of each chapter showed us where we lack. Also, we went through some significant flows such as change requests flow and how the deliverables flow until it is being accepted – it defines the quality and in-depth knowledge of Satya. 

At the end of 4th day session he gave us 30 questions. Based on the scores, we were informed how much more effort we have to put in-order to clear the exam. Satya proceeded to hand-hold us - how to plan each week, how to prepare, what to do a week before the exam, meeting the Prometric staffs, and also not to study anymore, day before exam. 

I believe this was a complete session. I had attended another session of PMP before, but the class of Satya provided me the needed confidence and knowledge to give this exam.

Own Study
On the final day of the PMP session, we were provided with 30 questions which covered all knowledge areas. To be frank, I scored 12. My target of giving exam in January 2018 looked too far, as he mentioned I would require at-least 4 months of preparation with 6 hours of effort daily. But if I put in more effort, then the time will be reduced. I put out a plan of 8 hours study in a day along with my office work. 

This is what I did. 
  • Demystifying the PMBOK Guide is not easy it has to be done with some other books and then study PMBOK.
  • I studied Satya’s “I Want To Be PMP” initially and then covered the PMBOK guide.
  • After couple of rounds studying, I did all the questions from “I Want to be PMP”, Rita’s book and Christopher Scordo’s practice sets. 
  • As Satya mentioned -  do only quality questions and I stuck to these mocks. 
  • One last free mock provided by simpli learn. I’ve tried nearly 3,000 mock questions.

Book Review - I Want To Be A PMP
The reason I bought this book, because it is really difficult to demystify the PMBOK guide. It looked very heavy to me. Another person in the class had this book and informed it is very easy to understand.  As I went through this book, in fact, it was in simple English and easy to understand and had all the latest changes of PMBOK

The videos on Earned Value Management (EVM), a number of flow charts, which are really unique and help you to understand the topic in the first time itself. 
It will give you many Yogic Tips, which will help you a lot during exam.

PMP Exam Experience
I scheduled my exam on 3rd January, 2018. It took a lot of courage to do it with just 2 months of hard preparation.

Strategy for exam: I blindly followed what Satya had told in the class. Taking 3-4 mins gap after 75 questions and completed my exam 15 mins ahead of schedule and took 10 mins to review my answers, which I had marked. In the remaining few minutes, I said to myself - it’s enough and submitted my answers.

After submitting the answers, it takes around 3 minutes to show the results. Believe me those 3 minutes were one of the toughest in my life. All the hard work paid off seeing “Congratulations”. It was my dream and I achieved it.

There were lot of questions on Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and Cost Performance Index (CPI). I had to tell where a project is ahead of schedule of over cost. Same questions came at least 4 times at different period in time, in different ways. I had around 15 questions related to mathematics. I didn’t have any questions on Point of Total Assumption (PTA) and To Complete Performance Index (TCPI). 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants
  • Please do as much quality mock exam as possible. Read all the correct and wrong answers.
  • Don’t mug up the Inputs, Tools and Techniques and Outputs (ITTOs). Rather understand the concept and the reason why it is there.
  • Read questions twice and especially the last line. 

I want to be a better manager where people look up to me. I want to be an expert in project management. I want to enhance my carrier and move up the ladder. 

Brief Profile 
Karthik Hongalkar, working as a technical lead at Eurofins IT solutions for past 6 years. 

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