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Microsoft Project Fundamentals



Lessons

Recognize when to use project management.

Your role as a project manager is to deliver a project. Your communications, influence, and careful use of authority all play a major factor in the support you receive to complete the project.

Project managers frequently find themselves with the challenge of adding new scope to a project with an already tight timeline. Typically, the job of the project manager is to work with their team to determine what this new scope will mean and how it will affect the project.

With Microsoft Project, you can build and track project schedules.

Recognize best practices when running MS Project for the first time.

The Microsoft Project user interface is made of seven areas. Each of these areas help you perform a particular action.

The ribbon area takes up the top portion of the Microsoft Project user interface. Here, you will find icons, tabs, and access to the backstage.

The ribbon contains all the actions (icons) you may need to perform within Microsoft Project.

The backstage is a full-screen area that allows you to open, save, share, and print your project.

Access views and tables via the view tab and selecting icons located in the task views and resource views sections.

The scheduling engine calculates dates for you based on constraints you place on tasks and resources.

Microsoft Project calculates the critical path by way of looking at how all tasks connect with their predecessor/successor relationships. User-controlled scheduling can effectively break the ability to identify the critical path because durations, start dates, and finish dates are not required when using this feature.

Microsoft Project offers many options for you to configure the user interface, scheduling engine, and task tracking for your project. Most of these options are located in the backstage using the Options menu item.

Before you create a new project, make sure you have all the project options configured as you want them. Unless you have a unique reason to do otherwise, it is a good practice to start with a blank project.

Learn the differences between the Microsoft Project calendars and when to use them. As a general rule, you should use the standard calendar.

Learn best practices for adding tasks to a project.

Learn to standardize the type of duration you add to tasks in days or weeks for ease of use. 

To link tasks together, the best approach is to insert the predecessor column into the Gantt chart entry table, then link tasks from the top of the project to the bottom.

Utilize the network diagram to see how all the tasks link together and create a critical path.

When you add resources to a project, you do so by using the resource sheet view. In this view, you can add named, generic, material, and many other types of resources.

Learn to add resources to a task and identify how much time each resource will require for that task.

Once you define the tasks and resource needs for your project, you should create a work breakdown structure -- or WBS. The WBS will make it easier for you to know when one set of activities finish and another begins.

The best approach to adding these costs is to create cost type resources and assign them to tasks. Once you have a task that represents the cost for the project, you can assign the appropriate cost resources to the task and then enter the amount.

You add milestones to a project so you can track the completion of certain groups of tasks. Milestones are not required in a project but you will likely find them helpful when building reports or sharing the project with others.

When you are updating tasks in a project, you might want to make some light adjustments. You can use the free slack field to see how much time you have before the task becomes critical.

Resource allocations display as a red person icon in the indicators column. This column displays in most Gantt chart views. In nearly any task-level view, you can insert the indicators column if you need to.

Baselines store certain pieces of information related to your project so you can compare your original plan to the current plan.

Updating task status is an important process a project manager should follow. You will get updates from your team and update the project progress.

When you update resource assignments, you are updating the time a person requires for the task or updating the costs for a task.

Views represent how the current window looks in Microsoft Project. The table defines the column of information you want to see.

Microsoft Project provides many of the fields you need, but if you require your own, you can create them. You can even create formulas and graphical indicators.

When you create a custom field, you can further enhance it to use graphical indicators. These indicators allow you to display things like red, yellow, and green flags.

The timeline provides a graphical visualization of your project. The timeline is excellent for reviewing the project’s implementation plan from within PowerPoint or in emails.

The reporting module is new for Microsoft Project 2013 and contains most of the capabilities you can use in Microsoft Excel.

When you create custom tables, reports, views, filters, and other custom items, you can copy these from one project to another. You can do this using the organizer.

When you have resources on a project, you may need to replace them at some point in time. Learn best practices to replace a resource.

You can print nearly anything in Microsoft Project, but you cannot print multiple items displayed on the screen.

An overview of key takeways from previous lessons in the course.

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