Skip to content

Project Business Intelligence Reporting

2012 May 11

It is amazing that for as long as I have been working in Project, Project Server and SharePoint (all in support of Project, Program and Portfolio management), one of the driving factors in doing the work is getting good reports and reporting from Project data.

However, this still continues to be one of the least understood elements. I am going to write a series of posts showcasing different reporting options with Project Professional as well a discussion points of Project Server/SharePoint BI so that people may have a better understanding of the overall mechanisms. Today’s topic will address some very quick Graphical Options for showcasing dates on the Gantt Chart. One feature that has been embedded but hardly known is that you can have key dates (besides deadlines) and you can have them show up on your tasks, your summary tasks, etc. so that you can actually use this to help communicate a visual picture of key dates.

OK, here goes.

Step one, typically you will need to utilize a Start or a Finish Date (just need to use a custom field for this purpose). Once you have it, typically we reanme one of these fields so that it can be referenced for any or all tasks (as seen in this screenshot).

Screenshot of renaming Start field

To rename a field select the field to be renamed, click the "Rename…" button, enter the new name in the dialog box that pops up, and hit "OK."

Now once this is named, you can go to the Gantt Chart and work in the Bar Styles to build a new or customized entry as seen here.

screenshot of building a customized bar style entry

With the newly renamed fields, you can build a new bar style entry.

This will allow you to visualize customer dates, or key dates on the Gantt chart so that you can illustrate this information quickly and effectively.

Screenshot of a high level dashboard

Here is an example of a high level dashboard used for Portfolio Planning by customers exposing the different Key dates on projects.

Now this is just the beginning of leveraging Project for Business Intelligence, but I have found sometimes it’s the little overlooked items that can make a big difference.

I will continue expanding on this subject as I think we all get enamored with nice Reporting, however there is so much you can do without writing SQL or creating KPIs in SharePoint. Just note that the idea is to drive reporting quickly and easily in any and all of your project environments.

the_author

Tim Runcie is the President and Founder of Advisicon, a Project Management consulting company with a global headquarters based in Vancouver, Washington. Advisicon specializes in training for project management best practices and the use of Microsoft’s project management tools like Microsoft Project, Project Server, and SharePoint.