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Microsoft Office Project for Mere Mortals

Book Description

Microsoft Office Project for Mere Mortals® strips away the mysteries of Microsoft Office Project, giving you practical skills, methodologies, and best practices for building schedules and budgets that work.

Using the clear, concise, and friendly style that’s a hallmark of the For Mere Mortals® series, Jansen provides step-by-step instructions for every feature you really need to master, whether you’re using Project 2007, 2003, or 2002. You’ll learn why Project works as it does, so you can make the best possible decisions about how to use it. Realistic exercises offer extensive hands-on practice, and a start-to-finish case study covers the entire project lifecycle. Jansen shows you how to:

• Scope projects using work breakdown structures and task outlines

• Define projects rapidly with Microsoft Project templates

• Work with milestones, deadline dates, and task information

• Manage resource sharing across multiple projects

• Calculate accurate budgets

• Avoid common scheduling errors and oversights

• Tighten critical paths to reduce work overload and resource overallocation

• Use baselining to track variances, adjust projects “on-the-fly,” and become a more effective scheduler

• Uncover potential problems, identify alternatives, and avoid crises

• Discover little-known tips and tricks for better formatting and printing

• Use Project to close projects successfully, and learn from your experience

Whatever your title, organization, or project, this book will help you get powerful results with Microsoft Office Project—quickly, efficiently, and painlessly. The CD-ROM contains a searchable electronic version of the book and Microsoft Project (.MPP) files (available for Project 2002 and above) of the book’s step-by-step scheduling practices and case studies.

Praise for Microsoft Office Project for Mere Mortals®

“This book stands out of the ordinary, as it is the first one on Microsoft Office Project I know to be completely driven by project management methods.”

–Jan De Messemaeker, M.S., Microsoft Project Most Valuable Professional

“Patti Jansen’s practice sessions are a great way to become familiar with Microsoft Project and the step-by-step instructions make it easy.

–Kimberly Amaris, PMP

Patti Jansen, PMP, is a Senior Project Manager at QuantumPM, a leading project management consultancy that works closely with Microsoft. She has more than 10 years of senior project management experience, and is a well-known Microsoft Project and PMI instructor. She was a technical contributor to PMP: Project Management Professional Study Guide, Deluxe Edition, PMP: Project Management Professional Workbook, and PMP: Project Management Professional Certification Kit.

Foreword     xvii

Preface        xix

Acknowledgments  xxvii

About the Author   xxix

CHAPTER 1  Introducing Microsoft Office Project     1

CHAPTER 2  Revealing the Secrets of Microsoft Project     23

CHAPTER 3  Building Your Schedule: Scoping Your Project 87

CHAPTER 4  Understanding Task Information 137

CHAPTER 5  Sequencing the Work: Creating the Critical Path      195

CHAPTER 6 Understanding Resources and Their Effects on Tasks 235

CHAPTER 7  Using Project to Enter Cost Estimates 301

CHAPTER 8  Polishing Your Schedule    347

CHAPTER 9  Reviewing Work Overload and the Critical Path        389

CHAPTER 10 Baselining: The Key to Tracking Your Schedule        431

CHAPTER 11 Tracking Your Schedule    451

CHAPTER 12 Closing Down Your Schedule: The End Is Only the Beginning        521

CHAPTER 13 Project Mysteries Resolved!       535

APPENDIX    Answers to Review Questions    573

Glossary      591

Index 601

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Praise for Microsoft Office Project for Mere Mortals®
  3. Addison-Wesley presents the For Mere Mortals® Series
    1. Series Editor: Michael J. Hernandez
    2. Titles in the Series:
  4. Foreword
  5. Preface
    1. Microsoft Project Versions and Products Covered in This Book
    2. Prerequisites and Conventions
    3. How to Use this Book
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. About the Author
  8. 1. Introducing Microsoft Office Project
    1. Using Project Rather Than a Spreadsheet or Text File
    2. Using Project Effectively
      1. Create and Enter the Project Scope
      2. Define Key Task Attributes
      3. Define Task Relationships
      4. Add Resources and Estimate Their Work
      5. Estimate the Cost of Tasks and the Project
      6. Review the Schedule
      7. Optimize the Schedule
      8. Baseline
      9. Track the Schedule
      10. Close Down the Schedule
    3. Project Management Processes Create Success
    4. What Is Effort-Based Scheduling?
    5. What Is Duration-Based Scheduling?
    6. Summary
    7. Case Study: Preparing for Virtually Nostalgia’s Web Site and Catalog Launch Event
    8. Review Questions
  9. 2. Revealing the Secrets of Microsoft Project
    1. Recognizing the Underlying Rules of Project
    2. Understanding the Project Data Structure
      1. Tasks, Resources, and Assignments in the Project Data Structure
    3. Using Primary Project Data Fields
    4. Project Behavior and Definitions
      1. Scheduling
      2. Costs
      3. Resources
    5. Navigating Project and Some Quick Tips
      1. Using the Menu Bar
      2. Using the Toolbars
      3. Using the View Bar
      4. Entering Data into Project
      5. The Split Window
      6. Using Common Buttons on the Toolbars
        1. Link or Unlink Tasks
        2. Information Button
        3. Zoom In and Zoom Out on Timescale
        4. Scroll to Task
      7. Hover over Fields to Obtain More Information
      8. Right-Click, Double-Click, Click, Click, Click?
    6. The Major Project Views
      1. Gantt Chart View
      2. Resource Sheet
      3. Task Usage View
      4. Resource Usage View
      5. Tracking Gantt View
      6. More Views
    7. What Are Project Tables?
    8. Practice: Navigating and Using Project Views
      1. Practice 2.1
        1. Creating a Project and Using Views
      2. Practice 2.2
        1. Creating a New Project and Using the Split Window
    9. Summary
    10. Review Questions
  10. 3. Building Your Schedule: Scoping Your Project
    1. The First Steps in Planning a Project Schedule
      1. Project Charter
      2. Defining Project Scope
    2. Building a Task List: Creating a Work Breakdown Structure Outside of the Tool
    3. Naming and Saving Your Project
      1. Creating a New Project File
      2. Saving a Project File
      3. Opening a Project File
      4. Naming Conventions
      5. Project’s Filenames
    4. Set Project Information and the Calendar
      1. Create a Project Calendar
        1. Creating a Project Calendar for Project 2007
        2. Creating a Project Calendar for Project 2002 or Project 2003
        3. Changing Working Time
        4. Creating a New Calendar by Copying an Existing One
        5. Making a Calendar Available for All Projects
      2. Setting the Attributes of the Project
    5. Building the Work Breakdown Structure in the Tool: Outlining—Summary and Subtasks
      1. Adding the Project Summary Task
      2. Understanding and Entering Summary and Subtasks
      3. Using Task Notes Liberally
    6. Using Project Templates
      1. Finding Templates in Project
      2. Creating or Saving a Project Template
    7. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    8. Practice: Setting up the Schedule
      1. Practice 3.1
        1. Setting up the Project Schedule
      2. Practice 3.2
        1. Setting up the Task List
    9. Summary
    10. Case Study: Starting the Schedule
    11. Review Questions
  11. 4. Understanding Task Information
    1. Reviewing Task Information
      1. Methods for Seeing Task Information
      2. Multiple Task Information: Changing Task Data All at Once
    2. Important Task Information
      1. Milestones
      2. Deadlines
      3. Constraints
        1. Task Relationships
        2. Examples of Constraints
      4. Task Calendars
      5. Custom Fields
    3. Understanding Duration and Work Fields on Tasks
    4. What Are Task Types and Why Should I Care?
    5. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    6. Summary
    7. Practice: Entering Milestones, Deadline Dates, Task Calendars, and Task Types in Your Schedule
      1. Practice 4.1
        1. Using Milestones
      2. Practice 4.2
        1. Using Deadlines
      3. Practice 4.3
        1. Using Task Calendars
      4. Practice 4.4
        1. Setting a Task Type
    8. Case Study: Continue Building the Schedule
    9. Review Questions
  12. 5. Sequencing the Work: Creating the Critical Path
    1. Linking Tasks
      1. Using the Link Tasks Button
      2. Typing in the ID of the Task in the Predecessors Field
      3. Using the Predecessors Tab in the Task Information Dialog Box
      4. Split Window
    2. Using Task Relationships and Linking to Sequence the Work
      1. Network Diagrams in Project
      2. Task Dependencies Between Projects
    3. Using Leads and Lags to Reflect Realistic Scheduling Situations
    4. Using the Predecessors and Successors Columns Effectively
    5. Using Task Relationships to Develop the Critical Path
    6. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    7. Summary
    8. Practice: Linking Tasks, Using Leads and Lags, and Using the Network Diagram
      1. Practice 5.1
        1. Creating Task Relationships
      2. Practice 5.2
        1. Creating Leads and Lags
      3. Practice 5.3
        1. Use a Network Diagram
    9. Case Study: Creating Task Relationships
    10. Review Questions
  13. 6. Understanding Resources and Their Effects on Tasks
    1. Reviewing Resource Information
      1. Creating the Resources for a Project
        1. Generic Resources
      2. Methods for Seeing and Changing Resource Information
      3. Multiple Resource Information: Changing Resource Data All at Once
    2. Important Resource Information
      1. General Tab
      2. Working Time Tab or Change Working Time Button: The Resource Calendar
      3. Costs
      4. Notes Tab for Resources
      5. Custom Fields Tab
    3. Assigning Resources to the Project and to Tasks
      1. Duration-Based Scheduling Versus Effort-Based Scheduling
        1. Resource Units
        2. Resource Calendar
        3. Maximum Units in Resource Sheet
        4. Assignment Units
      2. Methods for Assigning Resources to Tasks
        1. Assign Resources
        2. Split Window
        3. Task Information: Resources
        4. Resource Name Field on the Gantt Chart
      3. Example of Assigning Resources in the Roofing Project
    4. Entering Estimates in Your Schedule
      1. Entering Duration-Based Estimates
        1. Tracking with Duration-Based Estimates
      2. Entering Work-Based Estimates
        1. Tracking with Effort-Based Estimates
      3. Entering a Work Budget Estimate
      4. Putting Estimating All Together
    5. Leads and Lags
    6. Reviewing the Critical Path
    7. Sharing Resources Between Projects or Creating a Resource Pool
    8. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    9. Summary
    10. Practice: Adding Resources and Estimates to the Schedule
      1. Practice 6.1
        1. House-Painting Project: Assignments
      2. Practice 6.2
        1. House Painting Adding Estimates
      3. Practice 6.3
        1. House Painting Lead and Lag
    11. Case Study: Adding Resources to the Schedule
    12. Review Questions
  14. 7. Using Project to Enter Cost Estimates
    1. Introducing Project Cost Concepts
      1. Calculating Costs in Project
      2. Cost Accrual Methods
      3. Methods for Entering Costs
      4. Examples of Entering Costs
      5. Costs in Project 2007
        1. Cost Resource
        2. Budget Resource
      6. Which Costs Do You Use?
    2. Assigning Costs to Resources and Tasks
      1. Viewing Costs on a Project
      2. Entering Labor Costs for Tasks
        1. Entering Hourly Rates for Resources
        2. Entering Per Use Cost for Resources
      3. Entering Nonlabor Costs
        1. Entering Costs for Material Resources
        2. Entering a Fixed Cost on a Task
        3. Entering Cost Resource on a Task (Project 2007 Only)
        4. Custom Cost Fields
      4. Entering Budget
        1. Entering Budget Using Fixed Cost
        2. Entering Budget Resources in Project 2007
        3. Overtime Costs and Setting Accrual Method on the Resource Sheet
        4. Using the Roofing Example to Enter Costs
    3. Assigning Different Rates to a Resource
    4. Your Project Budget
    5. Tips and Recommendations for Dealing with Costs
    6. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    7. Summary
    8. Practice: Adding Costs to the House-Painting Project
      1. Practice 7.1
        1. Adding Resource Rates
      2. Practice 7.2
        1. Practice Adding Fixed Costs
      3. Practice 7.3
        1. Practice Using Cost Resource in Project 2007
      4. Practice 7.4
        1. Practice Using a Budget Resource in Project 2007
    9. Case Study: Adding Costs to the Schedule
    10. Review Questions
  15. 8. Polishing Your Schedule
    1. What Errors Will You Look For?
      1. Spelling
      2. Project Preferences
      3. Project Attributes
      4. Task Calendars
      5. Tasks and Summary Tasks
      6. Milestones
      7. Task Relationships
      8. Task Types
      9. Task Constraints and Deadlines
      10. Work and Duration
      11. Resources
      12. Resource Calendars
      13. Costs
      14. Critical Path
      15. Workloads
    2. The Various Methods for Reviewing Your Schedule
      1. Formatting Text
      2. Sorting
      3. Grouping
      4. Filtering
      5. Adding Columns and Using Different Views or Tables
      6. Using Graphs and Viewing and Printing Reports
        1. Exporting and Graphing in Excel in Project 2002 and Project 2003
        2. Using Visual Reports in Project 2007
      7. Viewing and Printing Reports
      8. Reviewing the Schedule
      9. Using Task Drivers (Project 2007)
      10. Using Change Highlighting and Undo (for Project 2007)
      11. Using a Special Audit View
        1. Task Audit Table
      12. Final Thoughts on Reviewing Your Schedule
    3. Checks to Review Your Schedule
    4. Adding to or Changing the Schedule
      1. Notes
      2. References to Project Documents
      3. Adding or Changing Tasks
      4. Changing Resources
      5. Reserves or Contingency
    5. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    6. Summary
    7. Practice: Looking for Errors
      1. Practice 8.1
        1. Checking for Errors Using Grouping
      2. Practice 8.2
        1. Checking for Errors Using Filtering
    8. Case Study: Reviewing the Schedule
    9. Review Questions
  16. 9. Reviewing Work Overload and the Critical Path
    1. Understanding How Overallocation Happens
    2. Ways to Review Overallocation
    3. Leveling Your Project Manually
    4. Leveling Your Project Using Automated Leveling
      1. Rules for Leveling
        1. Project Settings
          1. Priority of the Task
          2. Constraints on a Task
          3. Actual Start Date
        2. Leveling Settings
          1. The Basis for Leveling
          2. Leveling Order
          3. Other Settings
        3. Project Leveling Decisions
        4. Resource Leveling Flag
      2. Performing Leveling
    5. Reviewing the Critical Path
    6. One Last Look at Your Schedule
    7. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    8. Summary
    9. Practice: Reviewing Overallocation and the Critical Path
      1. Practice 9.1
        1. Review and Resolve Resource Overallocation
      2. Practice 9.2
        1. Reviewing and Adjusting the Critical Path
    10. Case Study: Leveling and the Critical Path
    11. Review Questions
  17. 10. Baselining: The Key to Tracking Your Schedule
    1. What Is a Project Baseline?
    2. Setting a Baseline
      1. Baselining Tasks
      2. Clearing Baseline
    3. Baselines for Tracking and Variance Reports
    4. The Project Schedule Building Methodology So Far
    5. Summary
    6. Practice: Baseline the House-Painting Project
      1. Practice 10.1
        1. Baseline
      2. Practice 10.2
        1. Viewing Changes in the House Painting Project
    7. Case Study: Baselining the Schedule
    8. Review Questions
  18. 11. Tracking Your Schedule
    1. Why You Should Track
    2. Fields for Tracking Progress
      1. % Complete
      2. % Work Complete
      3. Actual Start and Actual Finish Dates
      4. Actual Duration
      5. Actual Work
      6. Actual Costs
      7. Which Fields Should You Use?
    3. Tracking Costs
      1. Set Up to Track Costs
        1. Project or Manual Actual Cost Calculation
        2. Accrual Method
    4. Using Status to Understand Your Project’s Progress
      1. Setting the Bar for Status Date
    5. Methods for Entering Status
      1. Out-of-the-Box Methods
        1. Using the Task Update Tool
        2. Using the Tracking Table and Tracking Gantt View
        3. Updating as Scheduled
      2. Using a Custom View or Report
    6. Duration-Based or Effort-Based Tracking
      1. Duration-Based Status Tracking
        1. Done or Not Done
          1. Use Actual Start and Finish Dates
          2. Use 0 or 100% Complete Based on Status Date
        2. Using % Complete
        3. Actual Duration and Remaining Duration
      2. Effort-Based Status Tracking
        1. Actual Work Status Tracking (per Period)
        2. Actual Work Tracking Day-by-Day (Timephased)
    7. Reporting
      1. Progress Report
      2. Milestone Report
      3. Roll-Up Reports
      4. Visual Reports
      5. Standard Project Reports
      6. Using Filtering and Grouping for Reporting
        1. Filtering
        2. Grouping
      7. Custom Reports
        1. Building a Custom Table
        2. Building a Custom View
        3. Moving the View into the Organizer
    8. Introducing Earned Value
      1. Earned Value Table
      2. Earned Value Cost Indicators Table
      3. Earned Value Schedule Indicators Table
      4. Earned Value Visual Report
    9. Printing in Project
    10. The Project Schedule Tracking Methodology
    11. Summary
    12. Practice: Tracking and Reporting on Your Schedule
      1. Practice 11.1
        1. Tracking Your Project
      2. Practice 11.2
        1. Creating a Report for the Roofing Project
    13. Case Study: Tracking the Schedule
    14. Review Questions
  19. 12. Closing Down Your Schedule: The End Is Only the Beginning
    1. Closing Tasks and the Entire Schedule
    2. Using What You Learned on Future Projects
    3. The Project Schedule Closing Methodology
    4. Summary
    5. Practice: Closing the House-Painting Project
      1. Practice 12.1
        1. Closing the House Painting Project
    6. Case Study: Closing the VNLE Project
    7. Review Questions
  20. 13. Project Mysteries Resolved!
    1. Additional Tips and Tricks
      1. Formatting Gantt Chart Bars
        1. Setting Individual Chart Bars Using the Format Bar
        2. Using Format, Bar Styles
        3. Using the Gantt Chart Wizard
        4. Other Gantt Chart Formatting Capabilities
      2. Formatting Text for Particular Kinds of Tasks
      3. Project Guide
        1. Defining the Project Calendar
        2. Tracking the Project
        3. Status for Progress Information
        4. Reporting and Tracking
        5. Toolbars
        6. Hovering over Fields
        7. Double-Clicking and Right-Clicking
        8. Keyboard Shortcuts
        9. Smart Tags (Preference Indicators)
        10. Using Your Mouse to Change the Gantt Chart
        11. Moving Columns in Tables Around if You Don’t Like Their Order
        12. Creating Custom Fields Containing Values, Formulas, and Indicators
    2. Underlying Project Behavior Settings: The Options Dialog Box
      1. Setting the Options for All Projects
      2. View Tab
      3. Calendar Tab
      4. Schedule Tab
      5. Calculation Tab
      6. Save Tab
      7. Interface Tab
      8. Security
      9. Spelling
      10. General
      11. Edit
    3. Using the Methodology from This Book
      1. Planning
      2. Tracking and Reporting
      3. Closing
    4. Getting More Information
      1. Use a Search Engine
      2. Join MPA: The Microsoft Project Association
      3. Go to Microsoft’s Site About Project
      4. Check out Microsoft Project Newsgroups
      5. Use the Project Help File or Project Guide
    5. Summary
    6. Review Questions
  21. Answers to Review Questions
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
  22. Glossary