Monday, December 28, 2020

Updated Book: What’s New – I Want To Be A RMP, Second Edition


The book, I Want To Be An RMP, Second Edition has been available since last year. This book has helped many to successfully  achieve the PMI-RMP® credential. In fact, the book has seen 100% success rate so far, as I write this post.


Why the Updates?

Like any aspect of learning, risk management processes, principles, practices, and framework continuously evolve.  It brings in new practices, new principles and also updates on risk management software tools. Based on this, this book has seen continuous updates.

A traditional book in print rarely gets updated and if it is updated, the print cycle will be in months or years. This itself -- the inaction, because of inability -- is a risk, when the world of risk management changes frequently!

The book for Risk Management Professional Exam (RMP®) has seen frequent updates since its availability. These updates are possible, because all these books are hosted online. These updates are also important to know the latest practices or frameworks and stay up-to-date.

The updates for the RMP book are primarily driven by seven factors:

  • Availability or updates to existing guides: Risk management is based on guides, e.g., the PMBOK® guide, governance practice guides, risk management practice guides etc.
  • Availability or updates to existing standards: For example, updates to Risk Management standards.
  • New questions or ways to take the exam: New types of questions come in the RMP exam or new ways are introduced to take the exam.  
  • Emerging new practices: For example, some practices of Risk Governance or Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).  
  • Feedback from exam takers: Some successful RMPs write their exam experiences and inform on new types of questions. 
  • Updates on advanced or complex areas: For example, many times advanced concepts such as Contingency Reserve, Management Reserve, Simulations need further elaboration as readers request for it. 
  • Updates on Videos: Many times, I add additional videos with exercises and solutions so that exam takers get more practice and feel more confident. 

With this background, there have been continuous and frequent updates to the PMI-RMP Exam Prep: I Want To Be A RMP

All these updates are FREE for existing customers of the book.


What’s New in the Book – I Want To Be A RMP?

The book, I Want To Be A RMP, as noted before, has seen continuous updates. These are highlights for the new addition, and updates to the book. 

1. NEW section on Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is an approach to manage the risk of the entire enterprise or organization. Any organization’s leaders must manage this risk to stay relevant and stay in the business. A new detailed section has been added. 

2. NEW section on Risk Governance

Risk governance is a highly misunderstood concept. To understand governance, you need to first understand the elements of any governance model. Another misconception is this: Governance exists only at the organizational level. Not correct. It can exist at multiple levels. A new section on Risk Governance elaborates on it.

3. NEW section on Risk Attitude Spectrum

Risk attitude is a foundational topic to know. While some associated risk terms such as risk seeker or risk averse are known, many aspects of Risk Attitude and terms remain unknown. For example, in the attitude spectrum, a stakeholder can have risk addicted, risk paranoid, among others. A new section on it has been added. 

To understand basics of Risk Attitude, you can check:

PMP Protein: Understanding Risk Attitude 

Though it’s written for the PMP aspirants, the concepts are useful and valuable for RMP aspirants, too. 

4. UPDATED section on Probabilistic Branching 

The existing section of probabilistic branching has been explained further. I’ve written about probabilistic branching many times before. You can read some of the associated articles noted below:

5. UPDATED with a number of tips and tricks.

A number of new tips and tricks have been added. In addition, as I frequently write on Risk Management topics, they have brought in new additions to the book.  

6. UPDATED formulas in the RMP Exam Formula Gold Cars

Formulas in the RMP Gold cards are updated, primarily with respect to quantitative risk analysis, probabilistic durations and models. Don’t assume that the RMP exam has few formulas. Particularly, in the context of project risk management, you have to know a number of formulas. 

Note: The formula gold cards of the book can be downloaded.

7. NEW section on Conditional Branching 

A new section on conditional branching has been added to the book. Probabilistic and conditional branching are different concepts, though they can be used together. Many take the two concepts as the same, which is not correct.

The book now gives detailed explanations with examples. 

8. NEW – A list of varieties of possible risks

In risk management, you can have varieties of risks. Some risks are frequently used. For example, you would have heard about known risk, unknown risks etc. But there are a number of other possible risks such as enterprise risks, aggregated risks etc. This new section consolidates them. I believe it will help you in the RMP exam.  

9. UPDATES to planning aspect of Risk Management

With a detailed explanation of enterprise risk management, it’s key to note that project risk management is integrated and linked to enterprise risk management. To make the link clear, the contents of Risk Management Plan and the ITTOs of Plan Risk Management process has been elaborated.

10. UPDATES to Book’s Index File

The index file is important to know the content of the book. As the book gets updated the index file also gets updated with clear highlighting for the NEW, as well as the UPDATED content. You will also know if any item has been removed. 


How Will I Know about the Updates?

Professinoals and people who want to purchase the RMP book, raise this question frequently. I understand this concern and below points clearly inform how to know about the updates.

  1. All changes will be clearly communicated to you via E-Mail. 
  2. Inside the book, the new ones will be highlighted as *** NEW ***, and the updates ones will be *** UPDATED ***. Green color coding will be there for these changes.
  3. All the previous updated mails are part of the RMP book, so that you are clearly aware of the new changes that have happened. 
  4. The index file of the book is also updated, because that gives you a quick view on the new/updated content. 
  5. For the new videos in the book, the videos are clearly noted as NEW, so that you are immediately aware of it. Yes, the RMP exam prep book also contains many videos. 
  6. For the new documents, the documents are cleared noted as NEW, too.
  7. A number of tips and revision reminders are also added along the content in the RMP exam prep book. They are also clearly highlighted.
  8. For any clarification or questions on these updates, you can ask your questions. You will definitely get a response. This one of the biggest advantages of having the book as I respond not only the queries on updates, but also your questions and clarifications.
  9. As noted earlier, all the new/updated content will be FREE of cost to you.

Conclusion

Almost every field of management is continuously evolving and bringing-in new practices, principles and knowledge. Risk Management is not different. In fact, with COVID19 pandemic, risk management is in focus. 

With these changes, the book – I Want To Be A RMP, also changes.

As far as I am aware, this is the only RMP Exam Prep book in the world, which sees continuous changes and updates. I firmly believe it enormously benefits all the readers of the book, helps them to prepare in a better way and gives them more confidence.

For overall details of book, please refer (first in the list):
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html


New Book for PMI-RMP Exam Prep:


Monday, December 14, 2020

Updated Book: What’s New – I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition


The book, I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition has been available since last year and has help many to successfully achieve the PMI-ACP® crendetial.

Why the Updates?

As you would know, nothing is static in the world of learning and you have to continuously learn and upgrade as new practices or approaches emerge. Hence, this ACP Exam preparatory book has seen continuous updates since its first availability.

Usually, a traditional book NEVER gets updated after its availability in print. It stays there static, becomes stale and quickly gets outdated. It really doesn’t help much in the world of development and Agile practitioners, which changes frequently. 

All my books for preparing with respect to the Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP®) exam, Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam, Risk Management Professional Exam (RMP®) or other exams have seen continuous updates since their availability. These updates are possible, because all these books are hosted online. These updates are also important for you to know the latest practices or frameworks and stay up-to-date.

These updates are primarily driven by seven factors:

  • New availability or updates to existing standards: For example, updates to existing Agile standards.
  • New availability or updates to existing guides: For example, a new Scrum 2020 Guide has recently been released.
  • New ways to take exam: For example, as the world goes through the COVID-19 crisis, exams now have an online option, with proctors. 
  • Emerging new practices: For example, some practices of Kanban such as cadence are now part of Scrum. 
  • Feedback from exam takers: Some successful ACPs call, write and/or share their exam experiences and inform on new types of questions. 
  • Updates on advanced or complex areas: For example, many times advanced concepts such as Earned Value Management, Graphical Interpretations of Agile Metrics need further elaboration as readers request for it. 
  • Updates on Videos: Many times, I add additional videos and/or new exercises with solutions so that exam takers get more practice and feel more confident. 

There have been continuous and frequent updates to the PMI-ACP Exam Prep Book: I Want To Be An ACP. All these updates are FREE of cost for the customers of the book.


What’s New in the Book – I Want To Be An ACP?

The book, I Want To Be An ACP, as noted before has seen frequent updates - on an average one update every few months. Followings are highlights for the new addition, and updates to the book. 

1. NEW Document and Videos for Online ACP Exam

The ACP exam has gone online and with that a new document has been added, which illustrates how to take the exam step-by-step. The document has been divided into two sections:

  • Steps for traditional mode of the exam.
  • Steps for online proctored mode of the exam.

The book also has been updated with a number of detailed videos on how to take the exam online. 

2. NEW Formulas in Formula Gold Cards

There is a prevalent misconception that the PMI-ACP exam has little to no formulas. Not correct. There are quite a few related to earned value management, velocity calculation, Little’s law, among others. The Formula Gold Cards of the book now has additional formulas.

Note: The formula gold cards of the book can be downloaded.

3. NEW S-curve representation and elaboration for AgileEVM

S-curve related questions have little chance to appear in the exam. However, when you understand it, the neatness and usefulness of Agile earned value management (AgileEVM) becomes much clearer. The book has a new section on this regard.

4. NEW Changes to the Agile Scrum Framework

The Scrum framework has been revamped with the new release of the 2020 Scrum Guide, which happened in November, 2020. 

The guide contains numerous changes, some of which are:

  • Commitment based artifacts.
  • Product goal being clearly defined. (In a way it’s a new introduction)
  • Introduction of “Why” into the Sprint Planning event, among many others.

This has necessitated changes to various parts of Scrum framework such as:

  • Scrum Accountabilities (Roles)
  • Scrum Artifacts
  • Scrum Events
  • Practices related to Scrum
  • Overall Scrum Framework explanation, among others. 

5. UPDATED Changes to the Scaled Approaches, which uses Scrum

There are many scaled approaches in Agile, which uses Scrum as the foundation. They can be Scrum of Scrum (SoS), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), or Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), among others.

Whenever a change is applicable and corresponding changes have happened in the released framework, they have been made available. 

6. UPDATED Changes to the various Agile Stakeholders and their roles

These have been updated due to change in roles, responsibilities and accountabilities related to various stakeholders. Some of the highlights are:

  • There is no “Development Team”, but one Scrum Team.
  • The Product Owner (PO) is accountable for developing and communicating the Product Goal.
  • The Scrum Master (SM) is no longer informed as the Servant Leader etc. 

This in turn has resulted in changes related to team formation and performance related contents. 

7. UPDATED Changes to various associated concepts of Definition of Done (DoD)

Increments which give value to the end user, customer or stakeholders are closely related to Definition of Done (DoD). There are associated concepts to this definition such as Definition of Ready (DoR), Acceptance Criteria, among others.

The book now gives detailed explanations with examples. 

8. UPDATED Changes to Planning aspects of Agile.

There has been changes to planning aspects of Agile as well. Some of the highlights here are:

  • Removal of three questions in Daily Scrum event or Daily Stand-up meeting.  
  • Removal of taking one prioritized improvement into the next Iteration or Sprint.

9. NEW A Detailed Section for Backlog Refinement

A detailed section of backlog refinement has been added with the latest practices on it. It also contains diagram representations and explanations on how the refinement (earlier known as grooming), happens. Earlier little information was given, and it has been updated. 

10. NEW Document for All Scrum Guide 2020 Changes

As noted earlier, the new Scrum Guide has been made available last month. Scrum is one of the most used and popular frameworks in the Agile domain. In the PMI-ACP exam, you can expect a number of questions related to Scrum.

All the changes related to the new Scrum framework have been elaborated in detail. 

11. UPDATES to Book’s Index File

The index file is important to know the content of the book. As the book gets updated the index file also gets updated with clear highlighting for the NEW, as well as the UPDATED content. You will also know if any item has been removed.

How Will I Know about the Updates?

I face this question frequently from people who want to purchase this book. I understand this concern and hence, decided to add as part of this post.

  1. All changes will be clearly communicated to you via E-Mail. 
  2. Inside the book, the new ones will be highlighted as *** NEW ***, and the updates ones will be *** UPDATED ***. Green color coding will be there for these changes.
  3. All the previous updated mails are part of the book, so that you are clearly aware of the new changes that have happened. 
  4. The index file of the book is also updated, because that gives you a quick view on the new/updated content. 
  5. For the new videos, the videos are clearly noted as NEW, so that you are immediately aware of it. Yes, the book contains a number of videos as well.
  6. For the new documents, the documents are cleared noted as NEW, too.
  7. A number of tips and revision reminders are also added along the content. They are also clearly highlighted.
  8. For any clarification or questions on these updates, you can ask your questions. You will definitely get a response. 
  9. As noted earlier, all the new/updated content will be FREE of cost to you.


The world of development in Agile is never static. It’s continuously evolving and bringing new practices, principles and knowledge. As they change, the book – I Want To Be An ACP, also changes.

As far as I am aware, this is the only ACP Exam Prep book in the world, which sees continuous changes and updates. I firmly believe it benefits all the readers of the book enormously. 

For overall details of book, please refer (second in the list):
https://www.managementyogi.com/p/books.html


Few Published Articles - Referring the Book
New Book for PMI-ACP Exam Prep:


Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Displaying Total Slack (Float), Free Slack (Float) and Negative Slack (Float) Graphically in MS Project 2019


Takeaway: Many confuse Free Slack, which can be enabled with a checkbox in MS Project, with that of Total Slack. Free Slack and Total Slack are completely two different concepts in management.  A number of books, guides inform the default slack available in MS Project to be Total Slack, which is incorrect. This post will outline how to enable the Total Slack, Free Slack and Negative Total Slack in MS Project. Slack is also known as Float in project management.

Free slack (or free float) is the amount of time you can delay a task, without impacting the early start (ES) of the successor(s). Consumption of free slack has no impact at all on the project’s finish date and if you have a number of tasks-say thousands-free slack is not going to be your top priority.

On the other hand, total slack (or total float) is the amount of time you can delay a task, without impacting the project’s end date or violating a schedule constraint. This is very important for management practitioners because, this slack will push your project’s finish date. 

To understand early start, and related schedule fields, along with the Total Slack or Total Float values, you can use this webinar. I’ve spoken at length about them.

Recorded Global Webinar: Two Pass Technique with MS Project


Enabling Slack (Free Slack)

Now, in MS Project 2019 software, there is an option to enable the free slack (NOT total slack), with a flip of a checkbox. When you enable the checkbox, the free slack/float value is shown. To enable the checkbox, go to: 

Format tab – Bar Styles – Slack checkbox. 

After you have enabled for slack, the free slack is displayed as shown below.

As shown above, we have 4 tasks:

  • Task A – 3 days duration, FF = 1
  • Task B – 5 days duration, FF = 0
  • Task C – 4 days duration, FF = 0
  • Task D – 2 days duration, FF = 3

Many wrongly take it for Total Slack/Float, and assume this is the time which must be protected in order to protect the end date of the project. 

The most important point to note here is that it’s for Free Slack, not for the Total Slack. A number of books, tutorials, guides inform this the slack, which when exhausted, will have impact on the critical path. This is not correct.

This can be further confirmed by checking the Bar Styles by going to:

Format tab – Bar Styles – Format – Bar Styles. 

As shown above the colored line shown to the right of the task is for Free Slack, NOT for Total Slack. 

Enabling Total Slack

For total slack, there is no checkbox available in MS Project 2019, which can be enabled or disabled to check the value in the graphical side of the Gantt Chart. 

You have to create the conditions for it in the bar styles to show. The condition created is shown below. I’ve added another one for “Total Slack” below the “Slack” field in Bar Styles and it’s from: Task Finish to “Total Slack”. The color for Total Slack is shown as Green

As shown above, I’ve added another condition for Total Slack, just below the condition for Slack, which is for Free Slack. The conditions given for the tasks are minimal, i.e., only Active ones are considered. You can add more conditions in the bar styles. 


As shown above, the green lines are for the Total Slack in the Gantt Chart. 

Enabling Negative Total Slack

The total slack can be negative in a number of situations. To understand when negative total slack/float comes, refer to this article:

Article: Negative Total Float with MS Project

For the project in this post, I would be adding a MFO constraint on the Finish Milestone to have the Negative Total Slack. This is shown below.

As shown above, I’ve applied the MFO constraint on Finish Milestone which resulted in a number of negative total slack for other tasks in the project.

Next, you can enable negative slack, again by making changes to the bar styles. This time, I’ve added another condition for the negative slack. Again, do note that it’s for the total slack, not free slack. 

The conditions given for the tasks are minimal, i.e., only Active ones are considered. You can add more conditions in the bar styles. 

Next, as you apply these bar styles to the Gantt Chart view, it will come as shown below.

In the above figure, the negative total slack values are shown in red color coding, whereas the positive total slack is shown in green color coding. 

Conclusion

This post addresses one of the biggest misconceptions for managers, planners and schedulers who use the MS Project software tool: Slack available as a checkbox in MS Project is for the Total Slack. It’s NOT. It’s for Free Slack. 

Don't think the consumption of this slack is a worrying thing for your schedule or for that matter protection of this slack will anyway help you to protect your end date. I’ve seen this misconception heavily used in various literature of MS Project.

I hope with this post, you get a better understanding on total slack, free slack, and how they can be visualized with MS Project. 


References:

[1] MS Project Live Lessons–Guaranteed Learning or Your Money Back, Satya Narayan Dash

[2] Global Webinar – Two Pass Technique with MS Project, conducted by Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG), presented by Satya Narayan Dash

 

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: Never Give Up, Victory is Right Around the Corner

By Vinny Dsilva, PMP



Introduction

I was introduced to the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification by one of my friends who was aspiring to take up the certification. After doing a bit of research myself, I was clear that I wanted to get certified as a PMP. 

Having around 10 years of experience back then, I knew that PMP certification would really help me have an edge to my career. Without much delay, I registered for the classroom training sessions in March 2018.


First PMP Learning Experience

The decision was made; however, I was not completely aware of the hard work, dedication and the amount of time it will consume. Add to that, I have a full-time corporate job! 

I was fortunate enough to have the classroom training session conducted by Satya sir. His immense knowledge about project management, right guidance and tips on how to prepare for the certification gave me the confidence to prepare. I would also recommend his PMP Exam prep book- I Want To Be A PMP. The questions after each chapter, plus the full-length questions really helps you to understand how the questions would come in the exam. 

Own Study

I planned to spend a minimum of four hours every day. I would spend two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, with some additional hours during weekends. Believe me, four hours a day with a full-time job, is not easy but fear of failing again, was the only driving factor that pushed me to work harder. 

I referred the below materials for my preparation;

Review – PMP Live Lessons

I gave my first attempt for the exam in October 2019 and did not qualify. Right then, I knew that the exam is not going to be easy. But I never wanted to give up. I immediately reached out to Satya sir. 

He helped me to identify the weak areas and guided me on how to prepare for those. Post that, I purchased the PMP Live Lessons, which really helped me to improve my score. 

I followed this approach while going through the Live Lessons:

  • I would start every chapter by going through the videos from the PMP live lesson and simultaneously make my own pointers/notes. 
  • I check and go through the PMBOK guide after each video lesson. 
  • I kept repeating this until I got familiar with each topic. 

The smart cards, ITTO video exercises at the end of each chapter would test your knowledge on each chapter. 

PMP Exam Experience

I scheduled my exam for 21st October, 2020. I opted for the centre-based testing and booked my slot at 8:00 AM. I reached the venue by 7:00 AM, however, due to COVID-19 precautions, I was only allowed to enter the premises by 7:30 AM. After completing all the formalities, I was allowed to start my exam. The entire experience was smooth and hassle free.  

I planned this thing first: NOT to spend more than a minute on each question. 

Types of Questions Faced

  • I was expecting any direct questions. And yes, very few questions were direct. However, most of the questions were situational, context based or indirect.
  • I also wasn’t expecting mathematical questions, however I got three problem solving questions from Cost management, which took some time and eventually I was running behind time.
  • Most of the questions were on:
    • Change Management
    • Risk Management and 
    • Communications Management. 
  • Make sure you read the question thoroughly and under it first. The answers can be tricky at times.

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest challenge I faced during the exam is keeping up with the time. I was left with only two seconds after I clicked the option for the last question. So please make sure you keep a close watch on the time.

When you see that Congratulations pops up on the screen, you realise that your hard work has paid off. There’s nothing more satisfying than that. You have to go through the process and earn the credential to feel and believe it. 

Suggestions for PMP Aspirants

Dos 

  • Plan well and make sure you adhere to the plan. 
  • Revise and practice as much as you can.
  • Attempt full length questions. These will help you to plan your timings while attempting the exam. 

Don’ts

  • Do not be take the examination and your preparation lightly. The exam is of high standard and the questions are tough.

Conclusion

The entire journey has been long. I would say perseverance is the key. As I wrote in the beginning: Never give up. If you believe you can, you will.


Brief Profile: 
Vinny Dsilva, Senior Manager, PMP

I work as a Senior Manager, Clinical Data Management with close to 13 year of experience in Pharmaceutical sector.



Book  for PMP exam:
You may also like:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Course Review: MS Project 2016 Live Lessons–An Effective Way to Learn Microsoft Project

By Naveen Kumar, PMP


Introduction

Although I have in the Project Management field for a long time and have been managing various projects, I never had any formal training on MS Project software tool. I wanted to sharpen my skills, after my PMP on this tool and equip myself with all the available features of this tool. 

By gaining practical knowledge of this tool, I can now take full advantage of this tool to manage projects in my current role as a Program Manager. That is the reason why I decided to enrol for this course.


Why this Course?

This course is unique in the way that you can complete this online course in the comfort of your home and at your own pace. The training is quite comprehensive, detailed and with practical exercises for each and every topic. These practical exercises will really help you to actually master your skills in this tool usage.

Key Features

Although all the topics in the course are very informative, I liked reporting and analysing the project a lot. 

Reporting: Reporting is very helpful in how we communicate the project progress to top management. 

Project Analysis: Analysing project covers schedule compression techniques - Fast tracking, Crashing, Critical path analysis which are very helpful day to day project management.

Theory and Practical: This course has a blend of theory and practical. There is a detailed explanation of each and every feature of MS Project tool followed by quiz questions and practical exercises. This allows the user to check his or her existing knowledge post which the user can validate the result with the answers. 

Conclusion

I highly recommend this course to anyone who would like to have a detailed and structured knowledge of the MS Project tool. I found this to be very helpful in my current role as a Program Manager. I would like to specially thank Satya for his dedicated efforts to create this course and spreading his knowledge to various Project managers. He has been really very helpful and approachable throughout the learning process.

Brief Profile:

Naveen Kumar, Senior Program Manager, PMP, 20 years of total experience primarily in Project Management field.



Saturday, November 07, 2020

Using Custom Fields and Project Functions in MS Project 2019 (1)


One very important and significant functionality available in MS Project 2019 is availability of various project functions which can be used with the custom fields. While for normal management work with MS Project, you may not need these fields, you may have to use them for some out-of-the-box thinking and applicability. 

For example, you can use the fields, functions and operators to have:

I’ve listed a few above. There can be many other real-world applications. For the below examples, I’ve used MS Project 2019. You may try with other versions. 

Viewing Custom Fields

To know the custom fields, go to the Project tab – Properties group – Custom Fields command. 

You can also see the available custom fields by:

  • Checking the Gantt Chart tools – Format tab – Columns group -- Custom Fields command. 
  • Right clicking on any column on the tabular side of the view and choosing Custom Fields from there.

This will open up the “Custom Fields” dialog box as shown below.  

Types of Custom Fields

The custom fields available can be “Task” related, “Resource” related or “Project” related as the dialog box shows. 

Next, you can see that there are various types of custom fields. 

  • Number custom fields: From Number1 to Number20
  • Duration custom fields: From Duration1 to Duration10
  • Cost custom fields: From Cost1 to Cost10
  • Date custom fields: From Date1 to Date10
  • Start custom fields: From Start1 to Start10
  • Finish custom fields: From Finish1 to Finish10
  • Flag custom fields: From Flag1 to Flag20
  • Text custom fields: From Tex1 to Tex30
  • Outline Code custom fields: From Outline Code1 to Outline Code10

As you can see there are over 100 custom fields which you can use as you plan for your project or program.

Among the custom fields, the most used ones will be the Number, Flag, Date, and Text custom fields. Date is another custom field, which is also highly likely to be used. I’ve not seen much usage of other custom fields, though Cost and Duration can be used for earned value measurement (EVM) and earned schedule measurement (ESM), respectively. 

In fact, for earned schedule measurement, I’ve already used the custom fields before. You can read on it in the below link:

Earned Schedule Management (ESM) with MS Project 2019 Custom Fields


Formula Dialog Box 

This is the most interesting part available in MS Project 2019, and you can have a plethora of formulas using the available normal fields as well as the custom fields.

To write your own formula, select the radio button next to “Formula” under “Custom Attributes” and then click on the Formula button.  This will open up the “Formula” dialog box associated with the custom field.


As shown above, you can:

  • Enter the formula for in the formula area.
  • Enter the fields you want to associate by clicking on the “Field”.
  • Enter the functions you want to associate by clicking on “Function”.

Elements of Formula Dialog Box

The formula dialog box, as noted above, has primarily 3 elements – text area to write the formula, fields which can be used in the formula and functions which also can be used in the formula. 

Above the fields and functions, you have various mathematical operators such as +, -, /, * and also logical operators such as AND, OR, NOT among others. This is shown in the below figure.

There are a number of fields available when you click on the drop down arrow of Insert: Field command. These fields include the custom fields. These are shown in the below figure.


Next to the Fields, you have Insert: Function command. With this command, you can insert any function or a set of functions as you want. Of course, you have to build the logic needed to have the final formula. The functions under “Conversion” are shown in the below figure. 

For a management practitioner, the most used functions will be under “General”, “Date” and “Microsoft Project 2019” specific functions. 

Practical Examples 

Let’s take a few examples to understand the usage of formulas built with the help of fields and functions. 

Question - 1: You want to show the task ID number along with a prepended string, informing on the followings: 

  • Task type: A summary task or non-summary task
  • Task ID: The identifier value of the task.
  • WBS Outline level: The level, e.g., level 1 or level 2 of the WBS the task belongs.

An example string can be: “This is a summary task with Task ID 3. It's under WBS outline level of 2.”

Solution: 

To have the solution, we will have the following steps:

  • Create a custom text field and rename it as “String Description”. 
  • Next, we will open-up the formula dialog box and enter the following formula as shown in the below figure. This formula is concatenating multiple strings.  

As shown above, in the formula, I’ve the followings:

  • It's a text field, which means it will have a string value.
  • I’ve taken the “Type” field to know on the task type and added it to the previous string. Type is a “Number” field and hence to convert to string, I’ve used the “CStr” function, i.e., CStr([Type]), which will convert the number into a string. 
  • I’ve taken the “ID” field and again converted it to string using the CStr function. The ID field is under “ID/code”. 
  • I’ve taken the “Outline Level” field and again converted it to string using the CStr function. The ID field is under “Number”. 

The result is shown below along with the project plan. Remember to enable the “Use Formula” radio button so that the formula is applied. 


Let’s interpret the result.

  • Task A1 is with Task ID 3 and it’s correctly shown in the above string. Similarly, for other tasks. 
  • Task A1 is at Outline Level 3 and it’s correctly shown in the above string informing at outline level 3. Similarly, for other tasks. 
  • Task A1 is a non-summary tasks and hence the value for [Type] is “0”. For summary tasks, the value for [Type] is “1”. These are also shown correctly.  

However, it’s possible that you may want to show an enhance version of string, informing:

  • Task A1 is a non-summary task
  • Work Package-1 as a summary task. 

This can be done with IF function, which MS Project 2019 notes as “IIF” and it’s under one of the functions under General category. We will know this function, along with others, in the next post.