Microsoft® Project 2007: introduction Lessons
Project management is a skill that can help you get ahead, and Project 2007 can make it easy for you to sharpen and demonstrate your project management skills. It includes tools to help you get organized so you can effectively manage a project's scope, deadlines, costs and resources. This class covers project management fundamentals and how to use Project 2007 to plan your projects. 1. Introduction to project management This lesson provides the basics of managing a project using Microsoft Project 2007. You'll discover how Project 2007 can help you manage project time, resources, costs and scope, plus you'll learn how to get started in Project 2007. 2. Working with tasks Defining, listing, organizing and scheduling tasks are key to any project's success. In this lesson, you'll discover how to list tasks in a project, organize them into phases and schedule them to be certain your project comes in on time.
Introduction to project management
3. Managing resources Most projects involve multiple resources. In this lesson, you'll discover how to assign people and equipment to tasks and define working times for resources to ensure effective resource management. 4. Tracking and reporting Once a project has been created and resources assigned, you need to track the project and create reports. In this lesson, you'll learn how to save a baseline of your project, enter progress data, print your plan and generate reports.
This lesson provides the basics of managing a project using Microsoft Project 2007. You'll discover how Project 2007 can help you manage project time, resources, costs and scope, plus you'll learn how to get started in Project 2007. PMs (project managers) have a lot on their plates. They must plan, organize, and manage resources to successfully complete assignments while keeping specific project goals and objectives in mind. Budgets, for instance, or project scopes are traditionally under the control of a PM as much as scheduling aspects. For many PMs, the only way to balance the work is to use special software designed for project management.
Microsoft® Project 2007 is a time-honored project management program that offers you the ability to control project work, schedules, and finances using a fairly simple interface. It also makes it easy for you to sharpen and demonstrate your project management skills by including organizational tools to help you effectively manage a project's scope, deadlines, costs, and resources.
What to expect in the course
This course is designed for a general business audience interested in understanding project management principles and working with Project 2007. To get the most out of this course, you should be familiar with Microsoft® Windows Vista® and basic computer functions.
This course covers project management essentials and how to use Project 2007 to plan your projects. The four lessons in this course are described as follows:
Project management basics
Projects typically involve the following:
Beyond the lessons, be sure to complete the assignments and quizzes. They're designed to test your new knowledge and skills and give you hands-on practice with Project 2007. Let's get started with the topics in Lesson 1.
Lesson 1 introduces you to the basics of managing a project using Project 2007. You'll discover how Project 2007 can help you manage project time, resources, costs, and scope, plus you'll learn how to get started in Project 2007. Lesson 2 shows you how to list tasks in a project, organize them into phases, and schedule them to be certain your project comes in on time. Lesson 3 explains how to assign people and equipment to tasks and define working times for resources to ensure effective resource management. Lesson 4 focuses on how to save a baseline of your project, enter progress data, print your plan, and generate reports.
Unlike many types of work in an organization, a project is a temporary venture with a beginning and an end. Projects can involve almost any type of activity or goal, and are typically collaborative in nature. In business, a project is often considered to be a temporary organization of related tasks in order to deliver an end result, which usually involves a business goal of some sort. Time Money Resources Scope
Let's take a look at each one separately.
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Projects are expected to be completed in a certain amount of time; it's rare that one is open-ended. Time frames, however, can vary wildly. Some might be very short -- a matter of weeks or less -- and others might be very long, involving multiple phases. For example, assume a software package must be installed throughout an international organization. A project manager might decide it's best to roll out the software in stages: perhaps European Union users get the software first, with Asian users receiving it after European users have had a chance to try it out. The PM might even decide that each separate European Union country needs a separate time frame for the rollout, extending the entire project even longer.
Regardless of how a project's time frame is determined, the timing must be carefully tracked by the PM to ensure that budgets, resources, and other issues don't go into overruns.
Budgets are major concerns for PMs. When a project doesn't come in on time,
for example, cost overruns can go into the millions of dollars on some projects. That's a heavy burden for the PM, who's responsible for budget management. As a result, the ability to track where money is going on a project is critical for PMs. If requests must be made for additional monies, the first thing executives will want to know is how the original monies were spent. Knowing that dollars were eaten up by, say, a key resource or a testing issue can help a PM justify the need for an increased budget. On the flip side, coming in under budget can be a feather in the cap for a PM. It's usually only possible, however, when dollars are being tightly monitored through some sort of tracking program.
There are two primary types of resources on projects: people and materials. The people can come from many different areas of an organization, which means that a project manager might need to track the hours an individual spends on a project to determine the costs related to that person's work. You might also need to track things like skills sets or experience levels.
Materials can involve all kinds of things, all of which make managing materials quite complicated. For example, you might need to know the type, brand, cost, and capacity of all equipment being used on a large project spread over several geographic locations. No matter what the resource, a PM needs visibility to things like workloads, availability, and other items at all times during a project.
When you manage people on a project, you need to assign them to specific tasks, too. That means part of your role will be to assign work to teams, and tasks to individuals.
For project managers, understanding the scope (extent) of a project is critical. Without knowledge of the total work required to complete a project, a PM can struggle to meet deadlines, find the right resources, and properly manage costs. Scope creep can sometimes occur on a project -- it's the incremental expansion of the scope of a project through added requirements that impact the schedule and budget. A complete project scope, then, is necessary up front to determine how a project will be managed and controlled. A skilled PM clearly defines project requirements early in the project, and communicates those effectively to everyone else on the project. Many PMs create scope management plans that specify how, when, and why changes will be allowed on a project. Next, learn how Project 2007 helps you manage projects.
How Project 2007 helps you manage projects
The beauty of a software program like Project 2007 is that it helps you handle all the key aspects of a project through a single interface. The following
sections give you an overview of project components and how Project 2007 enables you to manage them effectively.
Creating and controlling project schedules
From the initial definition of a project to a final report, Project 2007 uses wizards to help you plan and schedule every last detail. Integration with other Microsoft® Office programs also makes it simple to take information from say, Microsoft® Excel®, and drop it into your project plan.
Because Project 2007 offers custom display fields, too, you can also easily modify toolbars, formulas, and other items for your specific needs. Throughout a project lifecycle, you can track, consolidate, and analyze information to quickly determine how the project is going and where schedules might need adjustment.
Project 2007 has a variety of cost enhancements designed to help you more effectively estimate and manage project costs. A new "Cost" resource, for instance, improves cost estimation and tracking, whereas cost codes can help you map financial fields typically tracked in project accounting systems. Different types of budget reports are also available so you can perform a detailed analysis of your costs.
Assigning and tracking resources
There are often many variables involved in resource allocation. With Project 2007, you can not only assign resources to the project but you can assign tasks to resources and teams, link dependent tasks, balance workloads, and perform other key actions.
Overseeing project risks and issues
Getting started with Project 2007
No project is trouble-free. A successful PM can spot potential trouble spots, though, by anticipating and quickly responding to risks. Project 2007 has several different ways to help manage risks, from a risk management planning option to charting options such as Gantt charts that can help you quickly spot problems in time frames and resources. In the next section, you'll take a look at how to navigate Project 2007.
If you've worked with Microsoft Office products before, you'll find that Project 2007 follows a similar navigation system typically used in Office. Figure 1-1 shows you the menu bar and default toolbars (Standard, Formatting, and Project Guide) that appear at the top of the main window. Figure 1-1: The Project 2007 menu bar and default toolbars. Enlarge image
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The Project Guide toolbar in the lower-left part of the toolbar area has four buttons: Tasks, Resources, Track, and Report. Clicking a button opens the
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Project Guide for that particular feature, which appears along the left side of the window. The Project Guide asks like a wizard, walking you through steps and offering links to related information. You can use the Project Guide to accomplish many things, such as creating a project, adding resources, tracking the progress of a project, generating a report, and so on. The Project Guide for working with tasks is shown in Figure 1-2.
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Figure 1-2: The Tasks Project Guide.
If the Project Guide isn't showing, do one of the following:
Changing views in Project 2007
There are several types of views you can use in Project 2007 to help you focus on different aspects of your project -- they help you visualize and work with your data in many ways. Just select View on the menu bar and then select the view of your choice. Some of the most common views are:
Select Tools > Options from the menu bar, click the Interface tab, and then check the Display Project Guide checkbox in the "Project Guide settings" section. Select View > Turn On Project Guide.
Using a split view
You can review your project information in two different ways by using a combination (split) view in which the screen splits into two panes. The top pane displays your data in one view, the bottom pane in another view. To use a split view:
Gantt Chart: Consists of a table and a bar chart so you can see both tasks in a written and graphical format Network Diagram: Displays your tasks in a flowchart format Tracking Gantt: Displays your project's schedule and progress against that schedule
To return to a single view, select Window > Remove Split.
Changing cell background color
1. Select Window > Split. The screen splits into two panes. 2. Click anywhere in the bottom pane. 3. Select the View menu, and then select the view you want to appear in the bottom pane.
One handy feature in Project 2007 is the ability to highlight cell backgrounds. This can help you quickly spot information that meets certain criteria, such as an important milestone. You can highlight individual cells (up to 10 at a time) or categories of cells. To highlight individual cells, select the cells you want to highlight, select Format > Font, select a new background color from the dropdown list, and then click OK.
To highlight categories of cells, select Format > Text Styles. Open the Item to Change drop-down menu and select the category of cells you want highlighted, such as Critical Tasks as shown in Figure 1-3. Select a new background color you want for that category, and then click OK.
Figure 1-3: Selecting a category of cells to highlight. Enlarge image
Using multiple-level undo
Creating and saving projects
With Project 2007, you can make multiple changes -- and undo them multiple times. Just use the Undo button (the backward blue arrow on the Standard toolbar) to "undo" up to 20 changes. If you need to add more levels of undo, you can increase the setting by going to Tools > Options > General. Enter the number of undo levels you want in the Undo levels box. Now that you know the essentials of the Project 2007 interface, read on to learn how to create and save projects.
You can create a new project either manually or by using the Project Guide. To create and save one manually, follow these steps:
When saving your project, you can create a new folder in which to save your projects by clicking the New Folder button in the Save As dialog box. It's recommended you create a special folder, such as My Projects, to hold your files while working through this course. That's it -- you've just created and saved your first project with Project 2007.
1. Select File > New from the menu bar at the top of the main Project 2007 window. 2. Click Blank Project in the left pane. 3. Click in the first blank field in the Task Name column and enter a task, such as Create a plan. 4. In the Duration column, use the up and down arrows to select a time frame for your task, such as 3 days. 5. In the Start column, select a date. Use the current date. 6. In the Finish column, note that Project 2007 has already filled in a date three days from now. 7. Leave the Predecessors column blank. You'll learn what a predecessor is and how to add data to this column in Lesson 2. 8. To save the file, select File > Save. In the Save As dialog box, type L1Practice in the File name text box, select a location in which to save your file (such as a folder on your hard disk), and then click Save.
Creating a new project using the project guide
When you use the Project Guide to create a project, the Guide steps you through every aspect of project creation, which is a far more detailed approach than manual creation. Because of the depth of this process, we'll just take a quick look at how a simple project is created with the Project Guide's assistance. First you define the project:
The next phase is to define general working times:
1. Select File > New. 2. Click Blank Project in the New Project task pane on the left. The Project Guide now displays the Tasks pane. 3. Click Define the project. 4. Follow the wizard prompts to enter the estimated date your project will begin. For this example, use the current date. At the bottom of the Project Guide, click Continue to Step 2. 5. Select No at the prompt to use Project Server and Project Web Access, and then click Continue to Step 3. 6. Click Save and Finish. 1. In the Project Guide Tasks pane, click Define general working times. 2. Using the calendar template drop-down menu, select a template that works best for your project. Figure 1-4 shows the 24 Hours template being selected. Click Continue to Step 2.
Figure 1-4: Selecting a calendar template.
1. To define the work week, select specifically which days and hours apply to your project. Select work days by ensuring each box is checked. To change the working hours, select the I want to adjust the working hours shown for one or more days of the week option, shown in the middle of Figure 1-5. Additional options appear that let you select hours of operation for each work day. When you're finished, click Continue to Step 3.
Figure 1-5: Defining work days and hours of operation.
At this point, you would begin listing tasks in the project. As you can see, the guide gets very detailed. In a large project, you might need several days to complete the creation process. The guide, however, gives you a logical approach to the entire project and helps to ensure you don't leave out important elements.
1. In the Set Holidays and Days Off screen, you can click the Change Working Time link to make adjustments to your regular work days. These changes will be incorporated into your project timeline. When you're ready, click Continue to Step 4. 2. The next screen, Define time units, lets you change the number of hours that make up a work day (the default is 8), number of hours in a work week (40), and the number of days in a work month (20). Review the information in the Define time units screen but don't change anything. Click Continue to Step 5. 3. Click Save and Finish. You can close the file when you're finished without saving it.
In this lesson, you learned the basics of project management and how to navigate in Project 2007. In Lesson 2, you'll learn how to work with tasks, which are key to any project's success. Before you move on, however, take the quiz and complete the assignment for this lesson.
For this assignment, you'll create a new project plan for a fictitious company named Swish Home Makeovers, which specializes in unique renovations of any room in your house. You'll use the Project Guide in Microsoft Project 2007 to create the plan and define the days and hours of operation. Follow these steps: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Now you'll define general working times:
Select File > New from the menu bar. Click Blank Project in the New Project task pane on the left. In the Project Guide, click Define the project. Follow the wizard prompts to enter the estimated date your project will begin. For this example, use the current date. At the bottom of the Project Guide, click Continue to Step 2. 5. Click No at the prompt to use Project Server and Project Web Access, and then click Continue to Step 3. 6. Click Save and Finish. 1. In the Project Guide, click Define general working times. 2. Ensure the Standard calendar template is selected in the drop-down menu in the Project Guide, and then click Continue to Step 2. 3. The Standard calendar template uses Monday through Friday as the work week, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch period for the working hours. Leave the I'll use the hours shown in the preview on the right option selected, and then click Continue to Step 3. 4. Review the information in the Set Holidays and Days Off screen but don't change anything. Click Continue to Step 4. 5. Review the information in the Define time units screen but don't change anything. The defaults are 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week, and 20 days per month. Click Continue to Step 5. 6. Click Save and Finish. 1. Select File > Save As, type Swish Project 2007 in the File name text box, select a folder in which to save your file, and then click Save. 2. Close the file and exit Project 2007.
To save your work:
A) B) A) B) A) B)
In Lesson 2's assignment, you'll add tasks to your project. True True
Question 1: True or False: A project is a temporary organization of related tasks in order to deliver an end result. Question 2: True or False: Projects are usually open-ended. False Time False
Question 3: Which of the following are essential components of business projects? (Check all that apply.) C) D) Money Delays Resources
Question 4: True or False: Microsoft Project 2007 enables project managers to handle key aspects of a project through a single interface. A) B) A) B) Question 5: True or False: The Project Guide is a wizard that helps you set up new projects.
Working with tasks
Defining, listing, organizing and scheduling tasks are key to any project's success. In this lesson, you'll discover how to list tasks in a project, organize them into phases and schedule them to be certain your project comes in on time. Welcome back! In Lesson 1, you were introduced to the Microsoft Project 2007 interface and learned how to set up a project file via the manual and guided methods. In Lesson 1's assignment, you set up a project file using the Project Guide but stopped short of adding tasks. That's where we begin this lesson. As you use Project 2007, you'll see that the tasks you enter into it are critical. That's because tasks -- the pieces of work that must be accomplished in order to successfully complete a project -- show you exactly what needs to be done as well as what's actually getting done in a project. When you enter a task, keep in mind that you also need to track each one and enter progress status on them. If yours is an extremely large project, it's probably not practical to attempt to list every work item each project team is working on.
You can list tasks in any way you choose. Some people prefer to list tasks at fairly high levels, whereas others like to show even the tiniest piece of work that must be accomplished. It's up to you to determine the level of detail.
A more practical approach in many situations is to strike a balance between listing high-level phases, tasks, subtasks, and key milestones that each team must report on. Also, keep in mind what you truly need to know in order to keep your project from derailing. Think about things like: Once you've made a determination about the level of comfort you need when tracking your project, you can start entering tasks into your plan. Let's move on to how you actually list tasks in Project 2007. In Lesson 1, you saw how simple it is to create and save a new project. Now let's take a look at some additional details surrounding tasks. How critical is the task to the project? What's the highest level involved in the task -- will reports from that level be enough to help me effectively manage the project? How often can I actually get and enter information about the tasks I'm listing?
Using the change highlighting feature
When you enter tasks into your project, you're asked to provide a task name, a time frame for the task, start and finish dates (Project 2007 fills in the finish date automatically), and whether each task is dependent on the launch or completion of another task. Task names should be easy to understand, not just for you but for anyone else reading the plan. Try to avoid using acronyms or other terms that might cause confusion. Project 2007 assumes that every task needs at least one day to complete. Even if a task will only take a few hours, list it as requiring a minimum of one day. If you need more days for a task, just use the up and down arrows provided in the Duration column.
Based on the start date you select, Project 2007 automatically fills in the finish date for you.
As you enter tasks, Project 2007 assigns an ID number to each task. For example, if you enter eight tasks, Project 2007 numbers each task starting with 1 and ending with 8. You can use this ID number to track the relationship between different tasks through the use of predecessors. A predecessor is a task that must start or finish before another task (the successor) can start or finish. Predecessors indicate dependent relationships between tasks. You can enter predecessors manually, but Project 2007 will also prompt you about them as well. Let's walk through the steps using tasks named A, B, and C to show you how predecessors work. Follow these steps to add three tasks, one task at a time:
Project 2007 has a feature called Change Highlighting turned on by default. This lets you see the impact of potential changes to your plan before you commit to the change. For example, if you were to change the finish date of a task, the duration date for it and other tasks might be impacted, as well as other start and/or finish dates. Project 2007 highlights those specific cells so you can quickly see everything that's impacted, and the Gantt chart is also immediately updated to reflect the change. If you don't like what a change might do to your plan, just click the Undo (backward blue arrow) button on the toolbar.
1. Create a new blank file in Project 2007 and name it Sample Project-< initials>.mpp. You can leave the default work days and hours of operation. 2. In the first field of the Task Name column, type A and press Tab to move to the Duration column. 3. Use the up and down arrows to select a time frame for your task. For this example, select 3 days and press Tab. 4. In the Start column, use the current date for task A. Notice that the Finish date is entered automatically. 5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 for task B, with a 2-day duration and a start date 3 days from today. When entering the Start date for task B, the Planning Wizard dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 2-1, asking if you want to link item B to item A. Select Move "B" without adding a link" and click OK. This indicates there are no dependencies between items A and B -- both tasks can start and finish independent of the other.
Figure 2-1: Planning Wizard dialog box.
Now take a look at the Gantt chart to the right of your tasks -- a blue line with an arrow connects tasks B and C, indicating a link (or dependency). Doubleclick the blue line to open the Task Dependency dialog box shown in Figure 22, which indicates that Task B must be completed before Task C can start.
1. Repeat steps 2 through 4 for task C, with a 1-day duration and a start date 7 days from today. When the Planning Wizard dialog box appears, select Link them. "C" will always follow "B." This creates a dependency between items B and C. 2. Save your file but leave the project plan open.
Figure 2-2: Task Dependency dialog box. Enlarge image
As you move through your project plan, you can add or delete predecessor relationships wherever you need to:
Importing tasks and indicating milestones
You'll learn about constraints, which are related to predecessors and task dependencies, in the "Scheduling Tasks" section later in this lesson. Next, find out how to import tasks and indicate milestones. Project managers often need to compile information from other sources into a project plan. One way to do that is to import tasks. There are several ways to import tasks into Project 2007: Import information from another file format, such as a Microsoft Excel worksheet, a text file, or a database. Import a Microsoft Outlook task. Link or embed data from Excel. 1. 2. 3. 4.
To enter a predecessor manually, in the Predecessors column, enter the ID number of the task that should be linked to the task you're entering. If you need to remove one, open the Task Dependency dialog box and click Delete. Project 2007 automatically questions your action by providing you with prompts to continue with removal or not.
Linking or embedding Excel data is a great way to save yourself some time. As the Excel source file is updated, changes are automatically included in your project plan, too. Here's how to link data from an Excel source document to your project plan:
Open the Excel file that contains the data you want to use. Select the data you'd like to link, such as fields, cells, records, or rows. Click Copy. In your project plan (Sample Project, for example), select View > Gantt Chart. (You can use another view, if you want.) 5. Click the empty Task Name field below task C. 6. Select Edit > Paste Special. The Paste Special dialog box appears. 7. Select the Paste Link option on the left, select Text Data in the As list as shown in Figure 2-3, and click OK.
Figure 2-3: Linking Excel data. Enlarge image
The information from your Excel file appears in your project plan, as shown in Figure 2-4. In the future, you can open the linked Excel document by doubleclicking any of the linked fields in Project 2007.
Figure 2-4: Linked data in Project 2007.
Importing an Outlook Task list
To import your task list from Outlook into your project plan, follow these steps:
1. Select Tools > Import Outlook Tasks. 2. If a Microsoft Office Outlook dialog box appears asking for permission to continue, click Allow. 3. In the Import Outlook Tasks dialog box in Project 2007, check the checkbox next to each task you want to import, as shown in Figure 2-5. Click OK.
Figure 2-5: Importing Outlook tasks. Enlarge image
Each task is added to your project plan in the first open row.
Occasionally you'll have tasks you want to mark as major events for your project. These are called milestones. You work with milestones in your plan using Gantt Chart view. Follow these steps to turn an existing task into a milestone:
1. Right-click the task. (For this example, select task A.) 2. Select Task Information from the shortcut menu. The Task Information dialog box appears. 3. Click the Advanced tab. 4. Check the Mark task as milestone checkbox, as shown in Figure 4-6, and then click OK.
Figure 2-6: Marking a task as a milestone.
Organizing tasks into phases
In the Gantt chart, the task appears with a black diamond to indicate its status as a milestone. Next, learn how to organize tasks into phases.
One way to make your project plan manageable is to group tasks into phases. Some people like to group tasks that share certain characteristics, whereas others prefer to group tasks by time frame. You can organize tasks by listing every possible task first and then grouping them, or you can list major phases first, dropping tasks into each phase as you determine them. There's no right or wrong way to group tasks. Project 2007 "thinks" in terms of hierarchies and timelines, similar to a ladder approach to outlining all the tasks required to complete the project. As you enter tasks with related timelines, it's simple to create phases through the use of summary tasks and subtasks. Once you've created a task, you just create subtasks for it. Here's how:
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To select a row, click its ID number.
1. Create a subtask in the field below a primary task, and then select the row for the subtask when you're done entering it. For this example, let's assume task C is a subtask of task B in your project plan -- go ahead and select row 3.
1. Click the Indent button, which is the green right-pointing arrow on the Formatting toolbar. (If you don't see the Indent button, right-click a blank area of the toolbar and select Formatting.)
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Task C is now shown as a subtask of task B, indicated by a double black down arrow and duration bar on the task B row in the Gantt chart, as shown in Figure 2-7. To remove a subtask, just select the row and then click the Outdent button (the green left-pointing arrow).
Figure 2-7: Creating subtasks.
When you create a subtask, Project 2007 automatically makes the primary task a "summary" task. You can collapse a primary (summary) task to help you view your plan from a very high level. When you need to see all the subtasks, you can click the plus sign next to each summary task to expand them. In the next section, you'll take a look at how to schedule tasks using deadlines and constraints.
Sometimes you need to adjust the start or finish dates in Project 2007 for a task. There are several ways you can apply restrictions to the way these dates are calculated. You can use: Flexible constraints, which don't have specific dates associated with them. These are titled As Late As Possible (ALAP) or As Soon As Possible (ASAP). Semi-flexible constraints, which allow a task to finish at any time but require an associated start or finish date. These are titled Start No Earlier Than (SNET), Start No Later Than (SNLT), Finish No Earlier Than (FNET), and Finish No Later Than (FNLT). Inflexible constraints, which use a specific date to control start and finish dates. These are titled Must Start On (MSO) and Must Finish On (MFO).
Keep track of your tasks
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To use constraints on a task, follow these steps:
1. Right-click the desired task. For this example, let's use task A in your project plan. 2. Select Task Information from the shortcut menu. 3. Click the Advanced tab. 4. Using the Constraint type list, select a constraint type. For this example, select Finish No Later Than. 5. Select a constraint date about 30 days from now, as shown in Figure 28, and click OK.
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Figure 2-8: Constraining tasks.
If you receive a conflict prompt from Project 2007, click Continue and then click OK.
You might not want to lock in your schedule to a specific constraint, yet you still might need to set a deadline date to help you determine whether a task finished after its deadline. To do that, follow these steps:
Now take a look at the information column next to task B, shown in Figure 2-9.
1. Right-click the task in question. For this example, let's use task B in your project plan. 2. Open the Task Information dialog box, and then click the Advanced tab. 3. Open the Deadline list and select a deadline date on the calendar. For this example, select one day prior to the finish date. 4. Click OK. 5. Save your file.
Figure 2-9: Missed deadline indicator. Enlarge image
A red diamond with a small exclamation point appears, which tells you this task has missed its deadline.
In this lesson, you worked with tasks: adding them to your project plan, and organizing and scheduling them. In Lesson 3, you'll learn how to manage different types of project resources. Before you move on, be sure you take the quiz and complete the assignment for this lesson.
For this assignment, you'll add several tasks and dependencies to your Swish project plan. Follow these steps: ID Task Number 1 Duration Start 1 day
1. Open the Swish Project 2007.mpp file in Microsoft Project 2007. 2. Enter the tasks outline in the following table. Don't link tasks other than where noted (Predecessors). Demo Customer A main floor powder room and living room wall (north) 1/5/2009
2 3 4 5 6 7
Paint/tile Customer A bath
Finalize blue prints and permitting for Customer A 3 days rock wall with engineer Rock in living room fireplace, Customer A Assess Customer B home and interview client Write and submit proposal to Customer B 3 days 1 day 1 day
1/6/2009 1/7/2009 1/5/2009 1/6/2009 1/8/2009
Table 3-1: Tasks for the Swish project plan. 1. Save the file.
Research carpeting and drapery costs, Customer 2 days B
1/12/2009 3 5 6
A) B) A) B) B) A) B) A) B)
Scroll over and take a look at your Gantt chart to see how it reflects the tasks on your plan. That's it for now. In Lesson 3's assignment, you'll add resources to your project. Question 1: True or False: Tasks are pieces of work that must be accomplished in a project. Question 2: True or False: Microsoft Project 2007 assigns an ID number to every task. True False True False
Question 3: Which of the following are ways to import tasks into Project 2007? (Check all that apply.) C) D) Import a Microsoft Outlook task. True True Add milestones. Link or embed data from Microsoft Excel.
A) Import information from another file format, such as a Microsoft Excel worksheet, a text file, or a database. Question 4: True or False: Summary tasks are formed when subtasks are created. False False
Question 5: True or False: There are three different types of constraints you can use in Project 2007.
Exploring types of resources
Most projects involve multiple resources. In this lesson, you'll discover how to assign people and equipment to tasks and define working times for resources to ensure effective resource management. Welcome back. If you worked carefully through lessons 1 and 2 and completed the assignments, you've picked up several new Microsoft Project 2007 skills. Now you're ready to work with project resources. In most projects, there are generally two types of resources involved: people and equipment. Within those two general categories, however, there are also subcategories.
Project server accounts
For example, you might add employees to your project using a list of enterprise resources -- resources that are available through and to the entire organization. With enterprise resources, a project manager can add people or materials on an as-needed basis. Plenty of resource sharing occurs with enterprise resources, which can sometimes be tricky when scheduling tasks and project deadlines or milestones. A resource is the people, equipment, or materials used to complete tasks in a project. Or, you might add resources to your project that are more limited -- these are called non-enterprise resources. It might not be as easy to get these resources, but the benefit is that once they're assigned to your project, no one else can use them. It's far easier to manage a project with non-enterprise resources because they're dedicated to the project and you can rely on them to meet deadlines.
Generic resources are a third type of resource. These are used when you know you have a specific type of staffing need -- such as programmers or engineers - but you don't have a specific person in mind for the job. Generic resources can be easily replaced with enterprise resources to slot in specific names. These types of resources are often added using Microsoft Office Project Server; however, you can also import resources from lists you already developed such as in Microsoft Excel. When you use the Project Guide to add resources, it walks you through the steps of using Project Server. Let's move on to how you actually assign resources using Project 2007.
Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, along with Microsoft Office Project Web Access, let you and remote team members collaborate on projects by logging onto the server and reporting the status of tasks. You need to create a Project Server account before you're allowed to connect to Project Server. To create an account, select Tools > Enterprise Options > Microsoft Office Project Server Accounts and follow the prompts. Project Server isn't covered in depth in the lessons, so you should read up on this service to decide if it's something your next project could benefit from.
Assigning human resources
You can add resources to a project plan in several different ways. One method is manual. Other methods include adding resources from Project Server, a company address book, or a company directory. At this point in the course, your project plan should have several tasks in it. Now we'll assign people and materials to some of those tasks to give you an idea of how the process works. To get started: 1. Open Sample Project-<initials>.mpp in Project 2007.
You can assign one of two booking types to resources. "Proposing" a resource indicates the resource is under consideration; "committing" the resource means the resource has been approved. To commit resources, for example, go to the Project Guide under Resources and click Specify
2. When prompted to reestablish links, click OK. 3. Click the Resources button on the Project Guide toolbar. The Resources Project Guide appears on the left side of the main window, as shown in Figure 3-1.
the booking types for resources. Select one or more resources in the current project plan, and then click Commit resources. A new column appears in your Resource Sheet indicating that your selected resources are committed to your project. Click Done to return to the next steps in the Project Guide.
Figure 3-1: The Resources Project Guide. In the Resources pane:
A Resource Sheet displays in the center of your window. The default view of this sheet includes Resource Name, Email Address, Windows User Account, Group, Standard Rate, and Overtime Rate. You can use an expanded Resource Sheet view if you prefer: Select View > Resource Sheet to see additional columns of information, such as Cost/Use, Accrue At, and Base Calendar. Let's go ahead and enter a human resource using the standard view. Follow these steps: 1. On the first row in the Resource Name column, enter a name for the resource. For this example, enter Lori Kane. 2. Under Email Address, enter Lori's address of email@example.com. 3. Leave Windows User Account blank. 4. Under Group, enter Engineering. 5. Under Standard Rate, enter $25/hour. 6. Under Overtime Rate, enter $43/hour. Your project plan should resemble Figure 3-2.
1. Click Specify people and equipment for the project. 2. In the next screen, select Enter resources manually.
Figure 3-2: Sample human resource entry. Enlarge image
Let's add one more person using the preceding steps: Benjamin Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, Accounting group, $23/hour standard rate, $39/hour overtime rate. After you've entered this second resource, click Done in the Project Guide pane. Now let's assign resources. In the Project Guide: 1. 2. 3. 4. Click Assign people and equipment to tasks. Click Assign resources. The Assign Resources dialog box appears. On the project plan, select task C (row 3). In the Assign Resources dialog box, select a resource name. For this example, select Lori Kane, as shown in Figure 3-3.
Figure 3-3: Assigning a human resource. Enlarge image
In the project plan, the Resource Names column should now show Lori Kane for task C. If you can't see the column, just use your mouse pointer to expand the plan to the right. Her name should also appear in the Gantt chart shown in Figure 3-4. Click Done at the bottom of the Project Guide and save your work.
1. Click Assign, and then click Close.
Figure 3-4: A resource name shows up in two places in the project plan.
Entering material resources
That's the basic way to enter a human resource. Next, you'll learn how to enter material resources. To enter material resources, you'll follow some steps already used in the human resources section with some key differences. You need to: To enter material resources, follow these steps: Insert a Materials column Select a type of resource Enter information that indicates how the material is measured
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1. In the Project Guide, click Specify people and equipment for the project. 2. Select Enter resources manually. 3. On the project plan, click the Email Address column header to highlight the entire column. 4. Select Insert > Column from the menu bar. 5. Open the Field name list, scroll down and select Type, as shown in Figure 3-5, and then click OK.
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Figure 3-5: Specifying field names.
The Type field automatically fills in with resource options: Work, Material, or Cost. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
1. Highlight the Email Address header column. 2. Select Insert > Column, open the Field Name list, scroll down and select Material Label, and then click OK.
Now that you've added Type and Material Label columns, you're ready to begin entering materials. Follow these steps: In the first blank Resource Name field, enter Sheetrock. In the Type field, select Material. In the Material Label field, enter SF (square feet). Double-click the Standard Rate field to open the Resource Information dialog box. Click the Costs tab, enter 10 under Per Use Cost, and then click OK. In the Project Guide, click Assign people and equipment to tasks. Select Task Z. Click the Assign Resources button on the toolbar. The Assign Resources dialog box appears.
Ten square feet of sheetrock should display in the Resource Names field for task Z.
1. Select Sheetrock, and then enter 10 under Units. 2. Click Assign, and then click Close.
Assigning work to multiple teams
As you can see, you can add any type of material required, and then quickly assign it to your project plan. In the next section, you'll take a look at how to schedule your tasks using deadlines and constraints.
Often, project managers don't know at the beginning of a project which specific person is going to perform the actual work on a task. It might be necessary to assign work to a team instead. To do that, you'll need to create a team in Project 2007, associate team names to a custom Team Name field, and then assign team leaders and team members. The steps for doing all this are a bit
lengthy, but they're actually fairly simple to complete and Microsoft Office Project Help can walk you through them.
The caveat, however, is that assigning work to teams in the manner just described is designed to work with Project Server. If you don't have access to Project Server, you have to enter individual resource names. One way around this is to enter Team Leader names, and assign a set of tasks to that team leader. Many people use this process, especially in large projects where tracking hundreds of people and tiny tasks would be a daunting chore in and of itself. Regardless of how you assign the work to multiple teams, you'll want to keep a close eye on workloads and availability to ensure the amount of work is reasonable for the team. One way to do that is to use Resource Usage view and check for overallocated resources. Follow these steps to see your plan in this view: 1. Select View > Resource Usage. The project plan is displayed in Resource Usage view. 2. Select Format > Detail Styles. The Detail Styles dialog box appears. 3. Scroll down, select Percent Allocation, click Show, and then click OK.
A Resource Leveling indicator (a yellow diamond with an exclamation point) displays next to any resources that appear to be overallocated, plus the person's name displays in red. Figure 3-6 shows an example of an overallocation. Figure 3-6: Resource Usage view showing an overallocation. Enlarge image Although this is useful when reviewing how an individual resource is being used, it's not necessarily useful when you've used the individual as a team leader. To avoid confusion, just make yourself some notes about how many people are on that person's team, and monitor the total number of hours required to complete the tasks assigned to that team. To add a note to a particular resource, follow these steps: A notes icon appears next to that resource name in your project plan. Just double-click the icon to see the notes wherever you see the icon. 1. Click the resource in Resource Usage view. 2. Select Project > Resource Notes from the menu bar. 3. Enter the details about the team, and then click OK.
You've learned how to manage both human and material resources using Project 2007. In Lesson 4, you'll learn how to track and report progress on your project. Before you move on, test your skills by taking the quiz and get further hands-on practice in Project 2007 by completing the assignment. 1. Open the Swish Project 2007.mpp file in Microsoft Project 2007. 2. Click the Resources button on the Project Guide toolbar.
For this assignment, you'll add some resources to your Swish project plan. Follow these steps:
A) B) A) B) A) B) A) B)
In Lesson 4's assignment, you'll save a baseline of your project and print the plan. True
3. In the Project Guide, click Specify people and equipment for the project. 4. Select Enter resources manually. 5. On the first available line, enter a name for a human resource. For this example, enter Paula Neves. 6. Under Email Address, enter Paula's address of email@example.com. 7. Leave Windows User Account blank. 8. Under Group, enter Designer. 9. Under Standard Rate, enter $60/hour. 10. Under Overtime Rate, enter $90/hour. 11. Click Done in the Project Guide. 12. Click Assign people and equipment to tasks. 13. Click Assign resources. 14. On the project plan, select task 3. 15. In the Assign Resources dialog box, select a resource name. For this example, select Paula Neves (the only resource at this point). 16. Click Assign, and then click Close. 17. Review the information in the Project Guide. If you're satisfied with the assignment, click Done. 18. Enter another human resource: Arlin Hanke, firstname.lastname@example.org, Engineer, $75/hr standard rate, $100/hr overtime rate. Assign Mr. Hanke to the same task as Paula Neves. If prompted to change the duration, choose to leave it as is. 19. Save the file. 20. Change the duration from 3 days to 1 day for task 3. Which cells become highlighted? Why? Undo the change. 21. Using the skills you learned in Lesson 3, add two material resources to your project plan: 1 ton of field rock and 5 bags of cement for the Customer A fireplace. Research and enter a reasonable cost per unit for each item. Assign the material resources to task 4, Rock in living room fireplace, Customer A. 22. Save and close the file, and exit Project 2007.
Question 1: True or False: You can manage human and material resources using Microsoft Project 2007. False Manually
Question 2: What are the different ways resources can be added to a Project 2007 project plan? (Check all that apply.) C) D) Question 3: True or False: A Resource Sheet shows you information about each resource. Using Microsoft Office Project Server True True Using Microsoft Exchange Server Using a company address book or directory
Question 4: True or False: When you add a material resource, you should first add a Material Label column.
Tracking and reporting
Once a project has been created and resources assigned, you need to track the project and create reports. In this lesson, you'll learn how to save a baseline of your project, enter progress data, print your plan and generate reports.
Saving a baseline of your project
Welcome back. At this point in the course, you know how to create and set up a simple project plan in Microsoft Project 2007, and add tasks and resources. With those skills under your belt, let's focus on progress checking and reporting.
When you create a project plan, it's important to use your best estimates in the plan. How long various tasks will take, logical start and finish dates, approximated costs, and other aspects of a project plan should be as accurate as possible. If they aren't, you might find yourself scrambling at some point to figure out where, when, and why things changed -- and that's a tough spot to be in when executives are hounding you or a missed contractual obligation is staring you in the face. Start dates Finish dates Durations Work Cost estimates
Provide detailed plans
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One of the best methods for tracking a project is to create a baseline of it at the beginning of the project and/or at the end of every phase. A baseline helps measure changes in a project plan by tracking multiple reference points in five categories: You can also set additional baselines that might be specific to your project. Setting a baseline for your project is a smart way to compare planned actions and values against actual data; it lets you quickly see if your project is derailing or staying on track. You can set a baseline for an entire project or for specific tasks. To get started, open your sample project file (Sample Project-<initials>.mpp) in Project 2007, and then follow these steps to set a baseline for the entire project: 1. Select View > Gantt Chart. 2. Select Tools > Tracking > Set Baseline. The Set Baseline dialog box appears. 3. Ensure Baseline is selected in the Set baseline list. 4. Under For, leave Entire Project selected and click OK.
Entering progress information
Figure 4-1: Set Baseline dialog box.
That's it -- your baseline is set. Now let's move on to entering progress information.
One way to enter progress information into your plan is to use the Project Guide. Click Track on the Project Guide toolbar to display the Track Project Guide in the left pane, and then follow these steps:
Notice that two new columns appear that you haven't seen before: Status Indicator and % Work Complete. The Status Indicator column gives you quick information about task status. In the % Work Complete column, you can select a specific task and update the task to the specific percentage completed using the up and down arrows.
1. Click Prepare to track the progress of your project. 2. Click No when prompted to use Project Server and Project Web Access, and then click Continue to Step 2. 3. Determine which tracking method works best for you. In this example, let's use Always track by entering the Percent of Work Complete, which is the default setting. 4. Click Save and Finish. 5. Click Check the progress of the project.
Integration with Microsoft Outlook 2007
Did you know you can install an add-in that lets you report your actual work and status of your tasks to someone else through Outlook 2007? You need Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, and then you can use the add-in to send manual or automatic updates to anyone you want. Check Microsoft Office Project Help for specific information about the add-in and how to use it.
Figure 4-2: Status Indicator and % Work Complete columns.
There's another simple method for updating progress using percent completed if you don't mind using general percentage information instead of being specific. First, you need to display the Tracking toolbar (select View > Toolbars
A series of percent complete icons from 0 to 100 appear on your toolbar, as shown in Figure 4-3. Just select a task, click one of the percentage options, and Project 2007 automatically updates the plan for you.
Reviewing and finalizing the plan
Figure 4-3: The Tracking toolbar.
Next up is reviewing and finalizing your plan.
Now that you've set a baseline and entered progress information, you can review and finalize your plan. To review how your plan is tracking to the baseline plan, select View > Table: variable > Variance. Your plan appears on-screen and should look similar to Figure 4-4. Your tasks are all listed along with start and finish dates, then there are columns showing the Baseline Start and Baseline Finish dates along with Start Variance and Finish Variance columns. The Gantt chart shows any variances between the two plans, if any. The Table menu changes depending on what's active in Project 2007.
Figure 4-4: Project 2007 makes it easy to compare baseline information against your actual progress. Enlarge image
Finalizing your plan
Many project managers say that a project isn't final until every task is complete, while others say a plan is final once it's been approved by management. However, if you're in the early stages of a project, it's probably safe to assume that changes will be made to the plan. As a result, it's a good idea to keep a good grip on your plan by using version control.
Version control is a method of finalizing a plan, at least temporarily, through the naming of the file. When you're required to send the plan to others, clearly note the date in the file name. Also, add your initials to it. So if you send the plan on December 10, 2009, and your name is John Doe, your project plan might be named My Project 2007 example_121009_JD.mpp. If you make multiple changes in a single day, just add "v1" or "v2" after your initials to help you remember which plan contains the latest possible information. It might seem a bit cumbersome to use version control; however, if you work in a large organization or on a large project, it can get tricky trying to remember what the most recent plan was and who changed it. Version control helps you stay in control and manage whatever the current "final" version happens to be.
Printing a plan
In the next section, you'll learn how to print your plan.
You can print your plan using the standard File > Print command; however, there are other ways to print your plan. For example, you might want to print the Calendar view of your plan. To print a particular view of your plan, follow these steps:
Before you print, optimize the print job by checking your options in File > Page Setup. For example, use Landscape instead of Portrait to fit more columns on a page. 1. Select View. 2. Select the view you want to print in, such as Calendar. 3. Select File > Print Preview. Review the file layout in preview mode, as shown in Figure 4-5, to be sure it's what you want.
Figure 4-5: Print Preview mode. Enlarge image
1. 2. 3. 4.
Now let's take a look at various reports you might need throughout your project.
1. Click Print, and then click OK in the Print dialog box. 2. Click Close to exit Print Preview, if necessary.
Besides printing the basic project plan, you'll often need to print various reports. There are six different types of report categories you can print reports from depending on your needs. To access the report categories:
Click Report on the Project Guide toolbar. In the Project Guide, click Select a view or report. Click Create a project report. Click Display Reports. The Reports window appears, as shown in Figure 4-6.
You can display your project's information in a graphic format using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft® Visio®. These kinds of visual reports are often more effective when you need to present information from your project plan to others; people learn in
Figure 4-6: Project 2007 report categories. Enlarge image
Overview reports Current activities Costs
different ways and many people learn better when they can see information in a visual format. The bonus to using Excel or Visio to produce visual reports is that you can customize the report to display specific fields and easily change how the report displays.
With Overview reports, you can print reports reflecting a summary of the entire project, top-level tasks, critical tasks, milestones, and/or working days. The idea is to create a report that offers general information about one of these areas so you and others have a high-level understanding of the project and its status. If you need to know the specific status of tasks on your project, print a Current Activities report of some sort. Those include Unstarted Tasks, Tasks Starting Soon, Tasks in Progress, Completed Tasks, Should Have Started Tasks, and Slipping Tasks.
There are five different Costs reports you can print: Cash Flow, Budget, Overbudget Tasks, Overbudget Resources, and Earned Value. Each one helps you see how your project's actual costs compare to budgeted costs.
Assignments Workload Custom
When you need to understand what human resources are doing, create an Assignments report. There are four: Who Does What, Who Does What When, To-do List, and Overallocated Resources. You can quickly check on task usage and resource usage using reports in the Workload category. A helpful aspect to the Workload reports is that you can change time increments to reflect specific pay periods, too. If the above reports don't fit your needs, you can develop your own custom reports using a variety of filters and information.
To print most reports, just select the report category of your choice, click Select, select a report, click Select, and then click Print in the Print Preview
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
In this lesson, you learned how to track and report progress on your project, as well as review your plan and print various aspects of it. At this point, you know enough about Project 2007 to start using it effectively for your next project. There are, of course, more detailed actions you can perform in Project 2007, which are explained in the Help feature and on Microsoft Office Online. Before you leave the class, however, don't forget to take the quiz and complete the assignment.
For this assignment, you'll save a baseline of your project and then print the plan in Gantt Chart view. Follow these steps:
A) B) A) B) A) B) A) B) A) B)
Question 1: True or False: A baseline helps measure changes in a project plan. True True True True True False False False False False
In Microsoft Project 2007, locate and open Swish Project 2007.mpp. Select View > Gantt Chart. Select Tools > Tracking > Set Baseline. In the Set Baseline dialog box, ensure Baseline is selected under Set Baseline. Under For, leave Entire Project selected and click OK. Select View > Task Usage. Select File > Print Preview. Click Print, and then click OK. Switch to Gantt chart view and print the project plan again. Use the Report feature to select and view at least five different reports. You don't have to print them unless you want hard copies. 11. Close the file and exit Project 2007.
Question 2: True or False: You can set a baseline for an entire project or for specific, multiple tasks. Question 3: True or False: You can quickly enter tracking information by using the Tracking toolbar. Question 4: True or False: Current Activities is a type of report category.
Question 5: True or False: You should use version control on your project plan.
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