Forecasting Programs with Microsoft Project 2016/2019/2021 - self-paced course

Forecasting Programs with Microsoft Project 2016/2019/2021 - self-paced course

Regular price $1,045.00 USD Sale

For program managers, their support staff and their subproject managers who use Microsoft Project for the Desktop (Project Online) as a standalone tool to manage an integrated program schedule that is broken into multiple subprojects.

This course is self-paced: you will view a recording of a live course at a time of your choice. The course consists of 4 session recordings of 3 hours each (12 PDUs). You finish the exercises on your own while being able to ask the instructor questions by email.

About This Course

What to do when you have a 10,000-task program schedule with 15 subprojects and 500 dependencies between them? Programs are notoriously hard to schedule: the amount of data is mind-boggling, subprojects are dependent upon each other and the client wants to see the Critical Path for the entire program. The presenter will share special techniques and tools that he and his team developed for identifying the Critical Path in large programs and managing it. If you have more than 1,000 tasks in your schedule, you should attend this course.

Each participant will receive a copy of the 375-page published textbook 'Forecasting Programs' (published in January 2018) and a certificate with PDUs upon course completion.

This course is based on and aligned with the PMI® Standard for Program Management, 4th edition, and PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition.

Program Prerequisite

Participants must have managed at least one project from beginning to end with Microsoft Project. If you don't meet this requirement, we recommend you take our Fundamentals and Forecast Scheduling courses first. For more, see: Overview Courses or Overview Certification

Course Learning Objectives

Overall, you will learn how to use Microsoft Project effectively when managing programs. You will achieve the following learning objectives (subject to customization in onsite training):

  • Choose the right scheduling approach for your program: Agile, Critical Path, Resource-Critical Path, Critical Chain, Earned Value or Earned Work
  • Be able to combine Agile with Critical Path scheduling in one schedule if you have to (e.g. in hardware + software programs)
  • Determine whether to keep one large schedule for the program or split it into sub schedules
  • Choose the best orientation to break a program schedule into subproject schedules
  • Be able to re-integrate subproject schedules into a program schedule
  • Create dependencies across the subproject schedules (handoffs)
  • Track the slippages of handoffs between subprojects
  • Identify the Critical Path to the next major milestone and for the entire program
  • Determine and take corrective actions in order to bring the program in on time
  • Track progress in subprojects and program schedule during execution
  • Be aware of best practices for managing integrated program schedules

Course Topics


  • What is a 'program'? How is it different from a 'project' or 'project portfolio'?
  • Modeling a large program: How to prevent drowning in the data?
  • What orientations are possible for breaking down programs into projects? Pro's and con's of each orientation
  • What kind of schedule to request for subprojects: time model, workload model or cost model?
  • Establishing scheduling guidelines and standards for subproject schedules, e.g. 
    • Importance of focusing on deliverables (handoffs between projects in a program)
    • What is the appropriate level of detail: 1%-10% rule
    • The beneficial use of Deadlines (target dates)
    • Minimizing the use of date constraints (fixed dates): how they make your program schedule rigid
    • Creating complete and correct network logic: importance of identifying all dependencies within each subproject schedule (intra-dependencies) as well as between the projects (interdependencies or handoffs)
  • Rolling wave approach: look-ahead window for detailed planning: how many months ahead?

Centralized versus Delegated Scheduling?

  • Keeping one large program schedule or splitting it into separate subproject schedules? Pro's and con's.
  • Time modeling, workload modeling or cost modeling?
  • Centralized scheduling:
    • The need for a program management office and scheduling support services
    • How many schedulers do you need?
  • Delegated scheduling: Splitting the program schedule into multiple sub schedules:
    • What orientations for breaking down programs are there? Pro's and con's
    • Transferring ownership to the subproject managers
    • Implementing quality assurance for sub schedules: 35 - 86 point checklist
  • Training schedulers / subproject managers on the scheduling needed for the program

Re-integrating the Subproject Schedules

  • Ways to re-integrate sub schedules: cross-project links feature, deliverables feature, macros to create and remove cross-project links on as-need basis, third-party solutions
  • Creating the cross-project dependencies: use the master schedule!
  • How to check the completeness of the network logic in a large program (while keeping your sanity)
  • What to do if circular dependencies suddenly appear?
  • Creating the back-end schedule for the program where all subprojects come together: assembly and integration testing
  • Monitoring cross-project impacts and governing cross-project impacts:
    • Manual date coordination between subprojects
    • Automated date coordination between subprojects

Reporting: Monitoring and Managing Subprojects as a Program Manager

    • Keeping multiple breakdown structures side-by-side for reporting purposes
    • Tracking Gantt view:
      • How to verify if schedules are up-to-date?
      • How to assess the performance of subprojects
    • Program WBS: put the major milestones at the top? Pro's and con's
      • Creating one-page reports ... always ... even on very large programs!
        • Milestone charts
        • Timeline charts
        • Swim Lane charts
        • Earned Value
      • Working with large schedules requires you to become a master at filters: using multiple conditions, using multiple And/Or's (Boolean logic) and interactive filters
      • Reporting the project the way you want: developing custom views using custom Fields, Tables, Filters and Grouping
      • How to defend a visible time buffer or cost reserve to your manager, sponsor or client?

      Optimizing: How to Keep Your Program on Schedule?

      • Should we find the Critical Path for the entire program schedule that has, for example, 1,000 tasks in a 10,000 task schedule?
      • We recommend identifying the detailed Critical Path into the next major milestone of the program and we will share a manual technique we developed to identify the Critical Path into a major milestone:
        • Sequester the sub network of the major milestone
        • Isolating the Critical Path into the major milestone
        • Shortening the Critical Path
      • Your options for automatically identifying the Critical Path to any major milestone: useful add-ins for MS Project
      • Monitoring the forecasted finish date for the entire program


      • Updating tasks: what update info to ask for?
      • Maintaining the integrity of the program Baseline
      • An easy check to verify if a subproject schedule is up-to-date
      • Interpreting the Tracking Gantt chart of a subproject


      (PMI and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.)