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Microsoft Project: The Five Keys - Key 1 Navigation

To be able to use MS Project you have to know the essentials on how to navigate the user interface.That is covered here
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190 students enrolled
Created by F. Kevin Gaza
Last updated 2/2013
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This is Key 1 Navigation Microsoft Project Tutorial of the Five Keys to MS Project. Key 1 covers Navigation. Key 2 covers Tasks and Task Linking essentials. Key 3 covers Task Constraints---one of the most misunderstood components of MS Project. Key 4 covers Project Calendars. Key 5 cover Tracking Actual Progress.

In total the Five Keys gives you the essential skills needed to create project schedules in a way that keeps the tool lean but powerful, and thus usable as a tool for actually helping your projects to be successful.

Take this first key in my Microsoft Project Training course and learn essential navigation skills needed to be able to use Microsoft Project effectively.

Who is the target audience?
  • From beginners to advanced users all of the Five Key courses offered on Udemy for MS Project provide key insights that you are not going to get anywhere else, and thus if you are an advanced users you can use the 2X playback to get through the videos and capture the knowledge you need
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What Will I Learn?
Be able to understand how to navigate MS Project from its different views to it quirky key board commands
Be able to understand how to take advantage of MS Project's Gantt Chart timeline, which is absolutely essential to creating effective schedules and simple reports
Learn about key setup configurations that are unfortunately set incorrectly by Microsoft "out of the box" and unless addressed will guarantee frustration
Be ready to explore the remaining keys! (Key 2-Linking, Key 3-Constraints, Key 4-Calendars, Key 5 - Recording actual progress!
View Curriculum
  • If you don't have a copy of MS Project, go to Microsoft's website and download their free two month trial of MS Project, or purchase their Project online product if you want to get the most out of these videos
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 14 Lectures Collapse All 14 Lectures 01:09:19
Introduction to the Five Keys Method
1 Lecture 04:50

This course covers Key 1 (Navigation). It is one of five keys. Thus this lecture explains how all Five Keys are broken down---in less than five minutes! Look for the other keys in additional lectures of the same name that you can purchase through Udemy.

Preview 04:50
Configuring MS Project and creating a schedule
3 Lectures 18:39
This lecture covers the basic setups needed in the Project Options found in the File ribbon tab (which is also called the "Backstage").  
In the downloadable materials there is an additional PDF file contains information on recommended settings for all of the Project Options.  This can be helpful if you have changed your project options, perhaps unknowingly, and need to get them back to the basic settings.
Preview 07:28

The Task tab, the View tab, and the Format tab are covered in this lecture.  The most important commands are covered and the essential skills you need to operate within MS Project thus get covered.  
Preview 04:10

This case study starts building the foundation for how to create simple but real world problems in MS Project that can be scheduled, and thus provide a sand box to play in for understanding how the tool works.  Even in my fifteen years of using MS Project, I still often go back to creating simple examples when I am trying to determine solutions with the tool.  So this exercise while simple, is instructive to learning how to use the tool to teach yourself!
CASE STUDY EXERCISE: Creating a Basic Schedule
View Tab Essentials
4 Lectures 14:59
This lecture covers the all important View tab in detail.
Preview 04:02

Understanding how to zoom in and zoom out of a project schedule may appear to be of minor consideration.  But in fact, zooming in and zooming out is a skill that everyone from beginners to advanced users rarely understand correctly, and often get frustrated due to their lack of understanding the quirks and tricks of zooming.  Don't think you can skip this lecture, it is very much a key to creating effective reports and views for understanding your projects.
Preview 04:43

Related to zooming is the need to understand on the Gantt Chart Timescale works. Thus this lecture goes hand in hand with the previous zooming lecture.  Again, fundamental knowledge about how the tool works is shared, and is needed for every users from beginners to advanced users as subtleties are presented that most users, even experts, miss.
Ribbon Tabs: Gantt Chart Timescale

This exercise takes what you have learned to this point to see if you can apply that knowledge and create a timescale and a zoom level that effectively presents your project schedule information in a way that makes sense.  Seems simple, but the ability of most users in being able to accomplish this feat quickly is sadly missing in practice. If you have followed the lectures closely, you should be able to handle this exercise with little difficulty.  If not, then you may need to think about reviewing the prior lectures!  Hey, it's video.  Watch it on your iPhone at the Mall! Bone up baby!
SKILL BASED EXERCISE: Controlling the Gantt Timescale
Gantt Chart Essentials
2 Lectures 11:48
Believe it or not, the Gantt Chart view itself has some quirks and tricks that can make using MS Project easier.  Those basic skills are covered here.  Don't miss this!
Preview 04:32

This lecture covers the Format tab and the important commands found there.  The Insert Column command button is covered in detail as it is an important command button to understand if you are going to master the information in MS Project.  Additionally, but going into detail on the Insert Column button, the lecture also introduces the viewer to the vast underlying database structure that is the inner gears of MS Project.  Fortunately, the lecture closes out by how to simplify all of this so that it is usable, and of course it does that by emphasizing the Five Keys Method!  

Lastly the Insert Column command closes out with the insertion of the Text1 field and that sets the table for using Text1 as an effective proxy for the resource feature and thus sets the table for the next lecture.
Important stuff if you are going to understand and master MS Project. And all done in seven minutes!
Preview 07:16
Basic Task Assignment
2 Lectures 06:56

A key concept in the Five Keys Method is to keep things as simple as possible--but no simpler. In this lecture an approach for keeping Project simple yet effective is to avoid using the Resource functionality in MS Project by using the Text1 field. There is nothing wrong with the Resource feature in MS Project, but it adds a significant level of complexity to the tool. And the focus of this course is on creating a schedule as quickly and effectively as possible.

Avoiding the Resource feature is not possible in all organizations and situations but it is important to realize that by not turning on the Resource feature by using Text1 as shown here, you can still create the all important task assignments that set the task ownership responsibilities, and helpers, needed to get your project work done.

Watch this video and see if the vast majority of your projects could start with and use Text1 in place of the Resource feature, and make your scheduling simpler and more effective. Then when you are ready to use the Resource feature, and get the proper training (which is no trivial matter, and beyond the focus of this course) you will find that turning the Text1 field into a Resource field is easy and complimentary to the Resource functionality in MS Project.

Avoiding the Resource Feature - Using Text1

This skill based exercise takes you through the application of using MS Project without the Resource feature, so you can quickly see that this approach works.
2 Lectures 06:07
Closing out Key 1 is this summary video, that takes all of the skills you have learned in this key and presents them in one final demonstration.  Also presented are some additional shortcut keys that will make using MS Project even easier---which again, is one of the objectives of the Five Keys, Simple, but not simpler than needed.  Enjoy!
Key 1 CLOSEOUT: Shortcut Keys and Key 1 Demo

Unfortunately, other than re-installing, there is no Microsoft “reset to factory defaults” for the Project Options. Thus this lecture is simply a PDF file with screen shots of all eleven sections of the Project Options with my setups options specified, in case you need to or would like to verify what you have for these settings.

Preview 6 pages
About the Instructor
4.6 Average rating
7 Reviews
254 Students
6 Courses
Enterprise Project Manager

F. Kevin Gaza, PMP

Kevin has been an enterprise project manager for over fifteen years for a multi-state healthcare organization. In that role he has been a primary architect and author of the organization’s project methodology and has been a lead project manager on a variety of enterprise projects including rolling out ITIL/ITSM, building data centers, FCC funding projects , deploying networking systems, upgrading Windows and Office for over 20,000 users---and not to mention deploying numerous healthcare products.

Prior to healthcare Kevin worked as a PM for the Indiana Secretary of State, and had fun for several years as the IT Director at the Indianapolis Zoo---but only after paying his dues for some years as a project engineer in the manufacturing sector. He has taught Microsoft Project at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) since 1994 as an adjunct, which is basically one of his rat labs for course development.

Through all that---three decades of project work, four-plus industries, and teaching at IUPUI---Kevin has developed this approach to using Microsoft Project, called The Five Keys Method.  The Method is jam packed with insights and tricks you won't find anywhere else.  

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