I was just sifting through some of Microsoft’s
business-focused add-ins available in its Downloads
Center. Not a bad place to poke around from time to time. What caught my
eye today is this little Project-to-PowerPoint add-in (official unwieldy name: The
Report Presentation Add-in for Microsoft Office Project 2003).
Once you install the add-in, you can open a project and
click Create Report Presentation on the Project Report Presentation toolbar.
Specify the tasks and fields you want to include and the tool will build a new
presentation with a tasks summary table that shows the status of project tasks
(e.g., Start, Finish, % Complete). You can get about eight tasks on a slide, but
if you need to include more, the tool will create an additional slide and
summary table to accommodate them. Along with the task summary, the
presentation consists of slides for the title, introduction, agenda, overview,
outstanding risks and issues, budget, schedule and scope, acceptance review,
and next steps.
If you spend a lot of time reporting on project issues,
conducting meetings to communicate project objectives or changes with
stakeholders, and/or debriefing management and staff on project status and
what’s needed for successful completion, you should definitely check out this unassuming
little tool. As far as I can tell, it does exactly what it’s designed to do, offering
the potential for saving you tons of legwork.
The presentation design could be improved — there’s
a sort of anemic putty-colored background, along with those dopey, ghosted-out
clip art effects and stylized geometric distractions. But that’s a small
concern. If you don’t like the looks of the presentation, just go to Format |
Slide Design and choose something you like better.