O'Reilly logo

Microsoft Project 2007: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Documenting Work Package Details

If you've ever asked a teenager to do a chore, you already know the importance of clearly specifying the work to perform and the results you expect. Otherwise, the dishes in the dishwasher might be placed in the cupboards—unfortunately, before they're washed. Providing project team members with clear guidance is equally important, but the task names in Project are too short to get into detail. For that reason, separate documents that describe work packages are a great way to tell team members how to do their assignments completely and correctly. And you don't even have to worry about keeping track of lots of loose documents: You can link them to the Project schedule, as described at the end of this section.

As you map the fields, the Preview area shows how the values in your text file map to Project fields. In this example, the Name field will hold the values Planning, Identifying Requirements, Documenting Assumptions, and so on. If the mapping isn't correct, then modify the fields in the To: Microsoft Office Project Field cells until you're satisfied

Figure 4-10. As you map the fields, the Preview area shows how the values in your text file map to Project fields. In this example, the Name field will hold the values Planning, Identifying Requirements, Documenting Assumptions, and so on. If the mapping isn't correct, then modify the fields in the To: Microsoft Office Project Field cells until you're satisfied

Ideally, a work package document describes the work to perform, how to tell when the work is done, and how to tell whether it's done right. A work package for baking a loaf of bread might include the steps for mixing, kneading, forming, and baking the bread. The document could specify that the bread is done when tapping the loaf delivers a hollow thump. Similarly, the work package might state that a successful loaf of bread is an attractive brown color, twice as tall as the unbaked dough, and full of evenly sized holes.

Building Work Package Documents in Word

Even small projects require dozens of work package documents. You can speed up your work by creating a Word template for work packages, as basic or as fancy as your knowledge of Word. That way, you can open the template and have a document all labeled and ready for you to fill in. For example, you might set up a basic work package template with the following information:

  • WBS number. The WBS number that Project assigned to the task in your Project schedule.

  • Work package name. The task name from the Project schedule.

  • Description of work. You can use paragraphs or bullet points and provide as much detail as you need to ensure success. If you know an experienced resource is going to do the work, the document can be brief. For trainees, you can provide detailed checklists of steps, or, perhaps, the name of the person who can mentor the assigned resource.

  • Result. Describe the final state when the work is done as well as how to verify that the work is done correctly. For a work package for setting up a computer, you might include the list of programs that should launch when the installation is complete.

  • Reference materials. Projects use many types of documents to specify deliverables: requirements, specifications, blueprints, and so on. If additional detailed documentation exists, include the location of those documents, like the folder on the network drive or the project notebook.

Making a Word template

Creating a Word template is no harder than creating a Word document. However, finding and using a template takes some setup. Here's how to create a Word template and save it for reuse:

  1. Create a Word document with the labels you want to include.

    If you want to get fancy, then insert a logo, add instructions to help others fill in work packages, and so on.

  2. In Word 2007, choose Office button → Save. In Word 2003, choose File → Save.

    The Save As dialog box appears.

  3. Navigate to the folder you use for your custom templates.

    For example, create a folder called Templates in the My Documents folder.

  4. In Word 2007, in the "File name" box, type the name of the template, and in the "Save as type" box, choose Word Template. In addition, in the navigation bar on the left side of the dialog box, click Trusted Templates. Click Save.

    In Word 2003, in the "Save as type" box, choose Document Template.

  5. To set up faster access to your template, Click the Office button and then, at the bottom of the Office menu, click Word Options.

    Telling Word where to find your custom templates makes it easier to find and open this template later. That way, you can see these templates right in the New Document dialog box every time you start a new project, as described in the next section.

    Tip

    If you don't specify a folder for templates, then you can always use Windows Explorer to navigate to the folder that contains your template files. When you double-click a Word template file, Word launches and creates a new document based on the template.

  6. In the Word Options dialog box, click Advanced. Then scroll to the bottom of the window to the General section, and select File Locations.

    You want to tell Word where to find your templates.

  7. Select "User templates" or "Workgroup templates", and then click Modify. In the Modify Location dialog box, navigate to your template folder, and then click OK.

    Choose the folder you created in step 3.

  8. Click OK again to close the Options dialog box.

    Tip

    The box below explains how to find the File Locations feature in Word 2003.

Opening a Word template

In Word 2007, click the Office button, and then choose New. In the New Document window, click "My templates." The New dialog box appears showing the templates in your Trusted Templates folder. Select the template, and then click OK.

To use a template in Word 2003, choose File → New. In the New Document task pane, under the Templates heading, click "On my computer". The Templates dialog box appears open to the General tab, which displays the templates in your User templates or Workgroup template folders (whichever you chose in the previous steps). Select the template, and then click OK.

Linking Work Packages to the Project Schedule

With work package documents illuminating the details of tasks, you're likely to refer to those documents as you work on your Project schedule. There's no need to open them by hand or try to remember where they are. Instead, you can insert a hyperlink from a task in the Project schedule to the corresponding work package document. With a hyperlink in place, opening the work package document is a quick click in Project.

To create a hyperlink in a Project task, do the following:

  1. In Project, select the task you want to link to a work package document, and then choose Insert → Hyperlink.

    The Insert Hyperlink dialog box appears.

  2. In the "Link to" bar, click Existing File Or Web Page.

    Navigate to the folder that contains the work package document, and then double-click the name of the work package file. The "Look in" box shows the folder while the Address box displays the file name.

  3. Click OK.

    In the Indicators column, a hyperlink icon appears, as shown in Figure 4-11.

    The Hyperlink icon looks like a globe with a link of chain, a not-so-subtle commentary that hyperlinks connect the world. If the Indicators column isn't visible, then right-click the Entry table and choose Insert Column on the shortcut menu. In the Field Name drop-down list, choose Indicators, and then click OK.

    Figure 4-11. The Hyperlink icon looks like a globe with a link of chain, a not-so-subtle commentary that hyperlinks connect the world. If the Indicators column isn't visible, then right-click the Entry table and choose Insert Column on the shortcut menu. In the Field Name drop-down list, choose Indicators, and then click OK.

  4. To access a hyperlinked file, simply click the hyperlink icon in the Indicator cell.

    The program associated with the file launches, and the file opens.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required