How to Use Microsoft Project Manager

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Microsoft Project is a software application designed to help you manage complex projects by allowing you to generate a project plan that reflects all the work that needs to be done to accomplish the goal. Use Microsoft Project to organize, assign, track, budget and report your project activities. Using Microsoft Project allows you to create critical path schedules necessary for ensuring that your project proceeds smoothly. Use built-in functions like calendars, tables and filters to view different aspects of your project so that you can troubleshoot any problems that arise. Begin by using basic features, and use more advanced functions as needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Project

Getting Started with Microsoft Project

  • After purchasing and installing Microsoft Project, use the links at Microsoft.com to view demos, help files, and other training material. Then use details from your current project to build your project plan using Microsoft Project. Begin by using a template. Use templates available in your organization, or, from the File menu, click the Templates on Office Online link. For example, click the Plans link and then the Business link. Select a file, and ensure that you have the required ActiveX control installed or click the Download Now button to save the file. Open the file, and then save it with a file name reflecting your project.

  • From the Project menu, open the Project Information dialog box and enter the Project Start Date. Alternatively, enter the Project Finish Date. Typically, you choose today's date as the starting date.

  • From the Tools menu, choose Change Working Time. Define the working time. Typically, working time is 8 hours each day, Monday through Friday. Confirm that the standard hours per day and week reflect the requirements for your project. For example, your working time can be only 5 hours per day.

  • Enter details about your human resources, including their availability and rates. Resources can be assigned to many different tasks in many different plans. Utilize additional software to handle production of physical goods.

  • Assign your resources to tasks necessary to complete the project. For each task, enter the start and finish information; or enter a duration, and Microsoft Project will calculate the finish information for you. Use a duration of 0 to indicate a milestone such as project completion. Insert tasks and select groups of tasks, clicking the Tasks Indent option to create subtasks in your project plan. Establish dependencies to show that some tasks must be completed before others are started. Enter task numbers in the Predecessors column to reflect this information. Documenting all the work that needs to be done is essential in building a robust plan.

  • View the Gantt (bar chart of the project schedule) view and resource loading charts to examine workload. If you are using Project Server, data is stored in an SQL database. Other project managers can display and update the information. For example, use Microsoft Project to allow users to submit time sheets. If you are using SharePoint as well, you can upload information related to the project in a project workspace.

  • As the project progresses, update the information to reflect the status. Microsoft Project allows you to see where you are, where you need to be and what you need to get there.

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