Tag Archives: Project Management

Context-Level-DFD-with-Groupings.vsd

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This is a Visio template for a Context Level DFD (Data Flow Diagram).  A Context Level DFD is often used in system analysis and IT projects to help determine scope.  Typically, the name of the project or the system that is being worked on is put into the middle circle.

The boxes connecting to the middle circle are people, groups, departments, processes and other systems that will interact with your project.  The connecting lines describe what input (information, business rules, etc) are being provided to you and what output you are providing to the other entities.

This Context Level DFD provides groupings of the connecting entities to help organize the document.  This is useful anytime a group of entities share the same inputs or outputs.

It is important to complete the Context Level DFD early in the project.  The connecting entities need to be aware and in agreement with the changes you are making since they will be impacted.  The connecting entities are often considered stakeholders of your project.

The colors, green, yellow and red are used to demonstrate what connection points are in scope and out of scope for the given phase or duration of the project.  

Context-Level-DFD.vsd

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This is a Visio template for a Context Level DFD (Data Flow Diagram).  A Context Level DFD is often used in system analysis and IT projects to help determine scope.  Typically, the name of the project or the system that is being worked on is put into the middle circle.

The boxes connecting to the middle circle are people, groups, departments, processes and other systems that will interact with your project.  The connecting lines describe what input (information, business rules, etc) are being provided to you and what output you are providing to the other entities.

It is important to complete the Context Level DFD early in the project.  The connecting entities need to be aware and in agreement with the changes you are making since they will be impacted.  The connecting entities are often considered stakeholders of your project.

It is considered a best practice to only document one step out from the middle circle.  The inputs and outputs between a connecting entity and their stakeholders are not typically included in the Context Level DFD as that entity is responsible for managing and understanding all of their own connection points. This also prevents the diagram from becoming over complicated.

The colors, green, yellow and red are used to demonstrate what connection points are in scope and out of scope for the given phase or duration of the project.

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IT-Project-Plan-Template.xlsx

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This IT Project Plan template is intended for small IT projects, roughly 3-6 months.  It has the basic tasks of a project already populated for the Project Manager, Business Analyst and Developer/Programmer.

Additionally, it has places for the Status of each tasks, Start Date, End Date, Duration, and Owner.  The Duration field calculates automatically based on the Start & End Date of the Task.

Be careful with the Status field.  What you enter into this field determines the color of the entire row.  You may enter: Not Started, In Progress, Delayed, Completed, Milestone or (Phase).

Since this is a template for smaller IT projects, it does not provide functionality for Dependencies, a Gantt Chart, etc.  For those types of features, consider using MS Project or another tool instead of Excel.

Project-Plan-Template.xlsx

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This is a project plan template that can be used across many types of projects. It is built in Microsoft Excel and is simple and easy to use. This project plan template allows for the entering of:

  • Task Name
  • Status
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Owner.

Additionally, the Project Plan template automatically calculates the Duration of each task, as well as the Total Project Duration and Project Completion Date.

The project plan template also shades each row a certain color based on which status the task is in. A Completed task shades the row green, an In Progress task shades the row orange, a Delayed task shades the row red.  A status of Not Started does not create any shading and leaves the text black.

To indicate a line is a Milestone, type “Milestone” into the Status field and it will turn the text blue and remove any shading. To indicate a line is a Project Phase (or header of multiple tasks), type “(Phase)” into the status field and it will shade the row grey to mark it as a a phase which does not have a status.

The project plan, also known as a “project schedule”, is created and maintained by the Project Manager. It should be easily accessible to project team members, stakeholders and sponsors. It can also be printed and hung in a common working area to create a sense of accountability for tasks and timelines.