Before you start changing the schedule in search of shorter duration or lower cost, check out some of Project 2007's new features. Microsoft programs are renowned for offering new widgets you may never use, but Project 2007 includes several new features that really help when you're trying to refine your schedule:
Figure 12-6. You can modify the time periods that you see in the chart by switching to the Task Usage worksheet. As you expand and collapse time periods, the chart on the Chart1 worksheet follows suit.
Task drivers show the elements that make tasks start when they do, so you know exactly where to look to obtain an earlier start date.
Change highlighting shades all the cells whose values change in response to an edit you make. You can easily review these highlighted cells to see whether the changes you make are effective.
Multilevel undo is a feature that Project devotees have requested for years. Instead of the one-action undo in previous versions, Project 2007 lets you undo as many changes as you want.
Whether you're trying to shorten a schedule during planning or recover from delays during execution, a typical strategy you might use is to make tasks start earlier. What you must change, though, isn't part of the task that should start earlier—it's an element that controls the task's start date, like predecessors, calendars, ...