Saturday, March 14, 2009

How To...Create a Project Network Diagram in PowerPoint

One of my favourite topics in my Project Management and Business Systems Analysis classes at NCI is Project Network Diagrams (PND). They are used to show graphically the sequence of activities in a project, to show the critical path, and to calculate the duration of the project. They are relatively straight-forward to do, but not the first time you try one. I almost always set an exam question on this topic.

Today I created a short video for my YouTube How To... Channel. This shows first of all how to draw a PND based on some data I have provided, and then shows how to put it together for display on a PowerPoint slide. Here's the video:

This video was created using CamStudio, but I still have not mastered the art of creating quality videos under 1GB in size (YouTube upload limit). The quality is not great, but is good enough to view. After a while in the video you will notice that the video starts to lag behind the audio - this is OK for a while, but by the end of the video it is very noticeable. 

I recorded this video several times to try and get the quality right within the file size limitations. This version is about 0.4GB, so I could have increased the data rate to improve the video a bit more. I always use 8-bit mono (instead of 16-bit stereo) for audio to keep file size down. I also recorded a very good quality version using Adobe Captivate - but this only generates Flash SWF files that are not recognised by YouTube. It was my first time time using Captivate and it is an excellent and easy to use tool.

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