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Microsoft Project: The Five Keys - Key 2 Task Links (Part B)

The previous course covered task linking mechanics. This course covers the Critical Path and Outlining, key tools.
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Created by F. Kevin Gaza
Last updated 5/2016
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In the previous module, Key 2, Task Links Part A, the mechanics of linking tasks was covered. In this course module, Key 2, Task Links Part B, the application of the task linking feature in Microsoft Project is covered by the discussion of two important task scheduling tools: The Critical Path Method, and Task Outlining.

Microsoft Project automatically performs the complex Critical Path calculations within the tool, thus this course covers how it does that, and how to use the Critical Path feature to improve the management of your project schedule.

Additionally this course module covers the all important Outlining feature, as with task outlining being built into Microsoft Project you have a powerful and easy way to decompose your projects down to the needed level of detail to be able to monitor and control your projects, while also providing the ability to rollup your project schedules to high level summary tasks which are beneficial for management reporting.

All of this is covered in detail in this important Microsoft Project course. Watch and understand key features for mastering the Critical Path and Outlining features you need to be an effective project scheduler.

Who is the target audience?
  • The Five Keys Method classes are intended for all individuals, regardless of skill level and experience, that wish to use Microsoft Project effectively in its intended use of creating and managing project schedules
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What Will I Learn?
By the end of this course you will understand the mechanics of how the Critical Path feature works in Microsoft Project, but more importantly you will be competent in using the Critical Path in making your project schedules effective
By the end of this course you will understand how the outlining feature works in Microsoft Project and you will be able to create detailed project outlines and rollups to better create, manage and communicate your projects to your team and to management
View Curriculum
  • The Five Keys to Microsoft Project - Key 1 - Navigation
  • The Five Keys to Microsoft Project - Key 2 Part A - Task Linking Mechanics
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 12 Lectures Collapse All 12 Lectures 55:24
Five Keys Introduction for Task Linking Advanced Features
2 Lectures 06:36

This lecture provides an overview to the Five Keys courses.  

The opportunity the Five Keys course provides is promising it will give you unique insights to understanding MS Project for creating task driven project schedules like no other course or book. It is based on fifteen plus years of creating content and teaching MS Project at a local university and using MS Project as an enterprise project manager.  This course is not about teaching you how to pass a Microsoft Exam.  This course is about showing you how to turn MS Project into the power tool it truly is.  No other does this.  Period.

Preview 04:50

This lecture provides an overview of what will be covered in Key2 - Advanced Linking

In this lecture we will introduce the concept of taking the mechanics of task linking learned in Task Links Part A, and expand it to two very important tools: The Critical Path in Microsoft Project, and the Outlining Feature in Microsoft Project.

Preview 01:46
The Critical Path in Scheduling with Microsoft Project
5 Lectures 25:00
In this lecture we will go through the underlying mathematical algorithms that Microsoft Project uses to calculate the Critical Path, not so that you need to be able to do this by hand, but so that you can understand what Microsoft Project is doing for you automatically, and why it is important to your schedules.
The Mathematics behind the Critical Path

With the previous lecture covering how the Critical Path is calculated in MS Project, this lecture goes through how to make it an easy tool to use in your project schedules.
How to use the Critical Path -- Practically, in your Project Schedules

With the basics of the Critical Path in place, this lecture shows you different ways to get at the Critical Path information, and thus make you more efficient and effective in creating your project schedules.
Additional Ways to Look at the Critical Path in Your Schedules

Sophisticated project managers use Resource Crashing as the next step in wringing out all they can from their project schedules.  This lectures shows you how to do Resource Crashing in the Five Keys Method (using the Text1 field for resource assignments as presented in earlier keys).
Preview 05:52

With the majority of the key components with respect to task linking covered, this is a good place to take a bit of a perspective style breather, and review one of the oddities you can run into with respect to tasks, and that is task splits.
Task Link Odds and Ends - Split Tasks
Using the Outlining Feature in Microsoft Project
5 Lectures 22:48
Knowing how to use the Outlining feature in Microsoft Project is absolutely essential to being able decompose your project's products and deliverables down into identifiable tasks.  This lecture introduces you to how the task outlining feature works in Microsoft Project.
The Basics of Outlining Your Project Tasks in Microsoft Project

Some of the finer points of how to make task indenting and outdenting work are covered in this lecture.  Indenting and outdenting are essential skills needed to master if you are going to be effective in using the Outline feature in Microsoft Project.
Indenting Tasks

Being able to rollup your outlines into a big picture view of your project involves collapsing your project schedule outlines.  That and the reverse of expanding your outlines is covered in this lecture.
Collapsing and Expanding Outlines

To close out the Outlining feature in Microsoft Project, the Recurring Meeting feature is covered, which is an Outlook type of functionality that may be of use for you in your project schedules.  So now that you understand Outlining, it is time to look at the Recurring Meeting feature in Microsoft Project.
Preview 05:18

This story problem is provided to enhance your learning experience. It exercises the concepts of the critical path and outlining. It should take you about 30 minutes to complete.

Story Problem: Dressage Delights LED Saddle Pad
1 page
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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