ms project

/Tag: ms project

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Project

2019-01-23T15:21:50-04:00

A template in Project, as in most other programs, is a blank form. We fill in the spaces, as on a tax form or license application. The more complex the job, the more complex the form. So when we’re managing a project, any help we can get doing a bunch of similar projects is really good. The key is having a project file that’s mostly or entirely complete—i.e., the project is done. Because if we know the project ran successfully, we can frequently use it to guide others of the same sort. So we open the file in question, and see [...]

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Project2019-01-23T15:21:50-04:00

How to Use Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project

2019-01-18T16:32:32-04:00

When we create a project plan, summary tasks are like the main points in a term paper outline. They mark off the highest-level things we need to do in the project. They’re the main stages or phases we look at. So they’re a useful tool for visually organizing the project, in a user-friendly way. The good news is, we don’t have to insert them immediately. We can start by just writing down what we need to do, and clean up later. Here we have a list of tasks for doing some house painting. (Yes, I’ve done this for real. Yes, that’s [...]

How to Use Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project2019-01-18T16:32:32-04:00

How to Create Calculated Fields in Microsoft Project

2019-01-18T11:07:11-04:00

Project allows for things like calculated fields and other custom data. It holds some fields “in reserve” aside from the ones set up for task names, durations, etc. This way, users can insert data the program couldn’t know about in advance. (I mentioned custom text fields a while back, but a calculated field is a slightly different thing.) Having some experience with formulas, in the style of Access or Excel, will help. And making sure one has a clear idea of what needs to be calculated is important, naturally. We start by calling up the Custom Fields box. It’s under the [...]

How to Create Calculated Fields in Microsoft Project2019-01-18T11:07:11-04:00

How to Format the Gantt Chart in Project

2018-11-10T00:06:39-04:00

Recently, I had a question about formatting the Gantt chart from a student who mentioned the issue of color-blindness. Since various kinds of this problem exist, knowing how to get around it can be helpful, just in case. As critical tasks are highlighted in red, it could be an issue. The Gantt chart, after all, depends at least in part on color, or so we normally think. But there are ways around it. To start the process, we go to the Gantt Chart Tools Format tab, and click the Format button in the Bar Styles group. We then have to go [...]

How to Format the Gantt Chart in Project2018-11-10T00:06:39-04:00

How to Create a Calendar in Project (and Why)

2018-10-11T20:20:05-04:00

When setting up a plan in Project, it’s very important to get the calendar organized first, before adding tasks, resources, assignments, or almost anything else. Why? Because a project timeline dictates many of the scheduling details, and the calendar controls the schedule. Getting to the dialog is easy—we click the Project tab, slide to the Properties group, and click Change Working Time. Once there, we usually want to click Create New Calendar at the top right, since copying an existing one and modifying it leaves the originals for later use. We can then change the name of the copy, say, to [...]

How to Create a Calendar in Project (and Why)2018-10-11T20:20:05-04:00

How to Use the Critical Path in Microsoft Project

2018-10-01T21:12:56-04:00

The use of the critical path in Project is a vital part of getting a project to finish on time. This is especially true if any juggling of the tasks, resources, and allocations has to be done once the majority of tasks are in place. It allows refinements to be done where they can have the best effect—what is sometimes called a “force-multiplier” (no Star Wars jokes, please ? ); it simply means to make the most of what one has. The critical path is that series of tasks in which there’s no slack, time-wise. Think of a group of boxcars [...]

How to Use the Critical Path in Microsoft Project2018-10-01T21:12:56-04:00

Using Dependencies, Lag, and Lead in MS Project

2018-09-24T14:47:31-04:00

Setting up dependencies, or task relationships, is an integral part of working in Project. But many newer users ask, Which relationship should I use, and What are these “lag” and “lead” things about? The choice of dependencies, as well as using the two other items, derives from the nature of the tasks. This is the one thing you have to bear in mind, because there’s no all-inclusive formula for determining these. That said, there are a couple of general pointers you can use to figure it out. If Task A has to be completely finished before Task B can start, such [...]

Using Dependencies, Lag, and Lead in MS Project2018-09-24T14:47:31-04:00

How to Create Custom Fields in Microsoft Project

2018-09-19T13:45:23-04:00

MS Project has a LARGE number of fields set up by default, for almost anything the program can track. But even with all the feedback the design team gets, they can’t anticipate everything a user might need to monitor during a project. So the team built in the ability to create, or rather modify, “custom” (unnamed generic) fields which are held in reserve for just this situation. One example might be which resources belong to which department in a company. The Group field in the Resource Sheet could be used to contain this information, but some users already employ it for, [...]

How to Create Custom Fields in Microsoft Project2018-09-19T13:45:23-04:00

Using the Cost Tables in Microsoft Project

2018-07-20T16:53:49-04:00

The Cost Tables feature in Microsoft Project reflects a point which is particular to this program—it is, basically, time-sensitive. Since a business project takes a minimum, usually, of several weeks to run, the things that happen in a project must take time into account. And, no pun intended on this phrase, accounting for costs which might change during the run of the project is therefore an integral part of the resource data we can (and often must) enter. Fortunately, the first part is pretty easy. When creating a resource, one can (in the Resource Sheet) start by entering standard and overtime [...]

Using the Cost Tables in Microsoft Project2018-07-20T16:53:49-04:00

Creating Cost Resources in Microsoft Project

2018-04-09T23:29:42-04:00

There’s a quirky thing about Microsoft Project, having to do with resources—more specifically, Cost resources. The other two types, Work and Material, are pretty easy to understand and use, but Cost takes a little bit of extra work to make do its thing. A Work resource is a person or a piece of equipment, someone or something that stays around. A Material resource is a consumable, such as reams of paper or toner cartridges—something that gets used up. Even gasoline might be looked at this way. But Cost resources, at first, seem a little more indescribable. And where to put the [...]

Creating Cost Resources in Microsoft Project2018-04-09T23:29:42-04:00

How to Create Subprojects in Microsoft Project

2018-03-14T13:15:25-04:00

Microsoft Project was designed with the idea that one might need to set up subprojects, or projects within projects. If you think of a set of manuals, or a company-wide reworking of hardware and software, or a movie (such as Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy) where many departments have to coordinate their efforts  to  all be ready for filming at about the same time, you have an idea of why this might be. But Microsoft set the feature up with a couple of hidden little bonuses, which I’ll talk about in a moment. To start with, one simply sets [...]

How to Create Subprojects in Microsoft Project2018-03-14T13:15:25-04:00

Auto vs Manual Scheduling in Project

2017-10-08T00:49:39-04:00

One small but important feature in MS Project is the Auto versus Manual Scheduling popup, in the Status Bar at bottom. Here's how it works: Manual Scheduling allows the user to control start date, finish date, and therefore, duration. And the program will not change the dates of a manually scheduled task. Period. It might let you know if there are potential conflicts or problems with other tasks, but that’s up to you, as far as the program’s concerned. (If you can look at the project plan, especially in Gantt Chart view, most of those kinds of problems are fairly easy [...]

Auto vs Manual Scheduling in Project2017-10-08T00:49:39-04:00

Using Effort Driven in Project

2017-09-21T11:47:22-04:00

Even though Microsoft Project is fairly easy to use at the basic level--entering tasks and resources, assigning the one to the other, and fine-tuning a schedule--there are a few parts of the program that seem quirky, and can take a little practice to use comfortably. One of these is the checkmark in the Task Information dialog box called "Effort driven". The name is fairly self-explanatory, in that a task's duration (the thing we normally concern ourselves with) can be affected by how much effort we want to put into the task, in the form of resources. Specifically, how *many* resources. There [...]

Using Effort Driven in Project2017-09-21T11:47:22-04:00