Learn Microsoft Project 2013 with this comprehensive course from TeachUcomp, Inc.Mastering Project Made Easy features 97 video lessons with over 6 hours of introductory through advanced instruction. Watch, listen and learn as your expert instructor guides you through each lesson step-by-step. During this media-rich learning experience, you will see each function performed just as if your instructor were there with you. Reinforce your learning with the text of our two printable classroom instruction manuals (Introductory and Advanced), additional images and practice exercises. You will learn introductory through advanced concepts including assigning and managing tasks and resources, tracking project tasks, developing dynamic reports and much more.
Whether you are completely new to Project or upgrading from an older version, this course will empower you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be a proficient user. We have incorporated years of classroom training experience and teaching techniques to develop an easy-to-use course that you can customize to meet your personal learning needs. Simply click to launch a video lesson or open one of the manuals and you’re on your way to mastering Project.
Microsoft Project is a software program that allows you to more easily manage and coordinate the various resources needed to accomplish a project. A project is simply defined as an endeavor to create a product, or accomplish a set of given goals, within guidelines established by the associated resource, time, and budget constraints. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Microsoft Project uses a Ribbon, shown at the top of the program interface, that contains the buttons and commands you will need to manage project files. As with any program, you should begin learning Project by familiarizing yourself with its working environment. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Title Bar is the thin bar that runs left to right across the very top of the Microsoft Project application window. The name of the current project that you are working on will be displayed in the center of this bar if you have the view of your project file window maximized. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The primary tool that is available for you to use in Microsoft Project is the Ribbon. This object allows you to perform all of the commands available in the program. The Ribbon is divided into tabs. Within these tabs are different groups of commands. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Starting in Microsoft Project 2010, you can click the “File” tab in the Ribbon to open a view of the file called the “Backstage View.” In this view, you can perform all of your project file management. This includes performing functions such as saving your project file, opening an existing project, or creating a new project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The scroll bars run both vertically and horizontally along the right and bottom sides of the panes that are displayed within your project file view. They have little arrows at their ends that point in the direction that they can scroll. You use the scroll bars to scroll through the content of your project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Quick Access toolbar is located above the Ribbon, by default. However, you can also place it below the Ribbon, if desired, by clicking the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” button at the right end of the toolbar and then selecting the “Show Below the Ribbon” command. You can reset it to its default location by clicking the same “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” button and then choosing the “Show Above the Ribbon” command. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The Entry Bar is no longer displayed by default, starting in Microsoft Project 2010. However, if you wish to use it, you can enable its display. To do this, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Options” command at the left side of the view to open the “Project Options” window. In the “Project Options” window, click the “Display” category at left. To the right, check the “Entry bar” checkbox under the “Show these elements” section. Then click the “OK” button at the bottom of the “Project Options” window. Learn this and more during this lecture.
At the bottom of the application window is the Status Bar. Within this bar you can see one of the three modes for Microsoft Project at the left end: “Ready,” “Edit,” or “Enter.” If the word “Ready” appears, Project is ready to do just about anything that you want. This is the mode that you want to see displayed in the Status Bar before you begin a task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Because of the increased use of tablets, Project 2013 has been redesigned with a new mode to allow for easier access to the buttons and other commands within the Ribbon and Quick Access toolbar. This mode is called touch mode. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you initially open Project 2013, you can see a listing of recently opened project files shown in the panel at the left side of the startup screen, under the “Recent” section. You can open one of these listed project files by clicking on its name within the panel to reopen it. However, if the project file you want to open is not shown in the listing, then you can click the “Open Other Projects” command within the panel to reveal the “Open” category within the backstage view. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To close the currently displayed project file that you have opened, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon and then click the “Close” command button at the left side of the backstage view. You can also just click the “x” in the upper right corner of the project file window to close the current project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you first open the Project 2013 application, you will be presented with the startup screen that allows you to create a new project file. In Project 2010, a new blank project file is displayed when you initially open the program. However, if you want to create a new project file while using Project you can click the “File” tab in the Ribbon and then select the “New” command from the command panel at the left side of the Backstage View. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After you have made any change to a project file that you want to keep, you should save the project file. Learning to save your work frequently is one of the most important computer skills you can have. When you save a project file for the first time, you must use the “Save As” command so that you can choose where to save the file and what to name it. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Within Microsoft Project, you have many different views of the project data available for you to use. Remember that the default view of a project file is called the “Gantt Chart” view of the project. This view displays the tasks associated with the currently displayed project in an “Entry” table that appears at the left side of the view. The duration and relationships between these tasks is then shown in the timescale bar chart to the right of the tasks. The “Gantt Chart” view is a fairly common and comprehensive way of viewing tasks within a project, and so it is the default view shown within Microsoft Project. Most views that are provided simply focus on showing task details or resource usage details. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can create a project plan for your new project by clicking the “Project” tab in the Ribbon, and then clicking the “Project Information” button in the “Properties” button group after creating a new, blank project file. A project plan allows you to set the basic parameters for the project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After you have created your initial project file within Microsoft Project, you will need to enter the tasks that comprise the project. Simply put, you need to enter the actual work that needs to be done to complete the project. In Microsoft Project, you enter this work as tasks within the project file. In this chapter we will examine how to create tasks within a project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
As you are creating your tasks in your project file’s task list, you will eventually need to edit, or possibly even delete, the tasks that have been entered. To change the information shown in the task list, you can click the cell whose contents you wish to edit, and then click again directly over the text within the cell to place the text insertion marker into the cell. You can then make your changes, as desired. Be sure to press the “Enter” key on your keyboard, or click into another cell, to save your editing changes when finished. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Each task that you create within your project file must have a duration. This duration can be measured in any unit of time from minutes to months, but most often is measured in terms of hours, days, or weeks. When entering your tasks into the task list, you can enter the duration into the “Duration” column of the table view within the Gantt Chart view. You can also enter this information into the “Task Information” dialog box on the “General” tab if you use that method of task entry. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Many tasks in the task list for your project file share a type of dependency. For example, perhaps “Task A” must be completed before you can start “Task B.” You can model this task dependency using task linking within Microsoft Project. There are four types of task links that you can create: “Finish-to-Start (FS),” “Start-to-Start (SS),” “Finish-to-Finish (FF),” or (rarely) “Start-to-Finish (SF).” Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can enter “milestone” tasks to indicate that a specified minor project goal has been accomplished. Unlike many other tasks, milestone tasks often have no duration entered, as they simply indicate that a series of tasks has been finished. However, you can set any task in a project task list as a “milestone” task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Often when managing a project, you will have a grouping of related tasks that create a larger task phase. You can group these lower-level tasks, which are often linked together, into a larger task- often called a phase, or summary task. The summary task, or phase, consists of the various tasks that must be completed to finish that part of the project. In this lecture, we will examine how to indicate a phase within a project file by using summary tasks. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can create task notes, which are one of three main types of notes that are available in Microsoft Project, to associate additional text, images, or hyperlinks to web pages with a selected task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Resources, within Microsoft Project, can be defined as the different people, equipment, materials, and costs used to complete the tasks within a given project file. Resources, therefore, can often be as varied as the tasks that they are required to complete within a given project. Generally, all projects need some people resources, and many projects also require the use of other equipment, cost, and material resources. Within Microsoft Project, you can create the various resources that you require to complete a project. You can assign costs to the resources, and also set a schedule of availability for your project file. This feature assists many project managers in tracking the time and cost constraints of their ongoing projects within an organization. In this section, you will learn how to create the various types of resources that are available within a project file: work resources (both people and equipment), material resources, and cost resources. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Since resources are used to track who and what was used to complete a given task in a project file, the first type of resource you will learn to create is also the most commonly used: the work resource. You create work resources to indicate who completes task work within a project file and what equipment they need to complete the task. Note that people resources can either be specific, such as a specific person with a unique or necessary skill that is required to accomplish a task (e.g. “John Doe”); or they can be general, such as the name of a general type of worker that is required to complete a task (e.g. “Electrician”). Either way, you enter the work resources, their availability, and their associated cost as a resource within your project file. In a later section, you will then learn how to assign these resources to tasks within a project- and let Microsoft Project schedule work assignments as needed. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another type of resource you can create within projects is the material resource. In the previous lecture on creating work resources, note you had to select the “Work” option from the “Type” drop-down for any work resources (people, places, or equipment) created. Material resource types are different from work resources in that material resources represent materials used or consumed by the various tasks within a project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Another type of resource you can create within your projects is the cost resource. Cost resources are different from work and material resources in that cost resources represent costs commonly incurred to complete various tasks within a project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The work and material resource types that you have created in the previous lectures in this section can have default costs and/or pay rates associated with them. This assists you in recording the costs associated with completing your tasks. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Once you have entered a work resource, you can adjust its working schedule so that Microsoft Project can then adjust the scheduling and use of the work resource, as needed. When you create a work resource in the “Resource Sheet” view, you can set the default working calendar for the resource from the “Base Calendar” cell’s drop-down menu. In this lecture, we will examine making individual changes to the availability schedule of a work resource. Learn this and more during this lecture.
As you saw in the previous lecture, you have the ability to edit the individual work availability schedules of selected work resources in your project file. These scheduling changes are made as deviations from a selected base calendar, such as the “Standard” calendar or the “Night Shift” calendar. These base calendars are the calendars that you select when initially creating your project file to choose a default work availability schedule for your project. Sometimes, you may need to create a new base calendar for ease of use within your project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Microsoft Project uses effort-driven scheduling by default when you assign your work resources to, or remove resources from, a specific task. As an example, this means that if you assign one person to a task, Microsoft Project will calculate how long that person will take to complete the task based on the person’s work availability. If you assign another person with the same work availability to the same task, Microsoft Project would then decrease the total duration of the task by half. When using effort-driven scheduling, assigning the total work load of the task equally to the two resources results in a reduction of the work time involved by half. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can assign material resources to tasks to note project costs associated with the use or consumption of a material resource to accomplish a task. Remember that material resources do not perform any work, and therefore will not change task durations in the way that work resource assignment does. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can also assign cost resources to tasks within your project file. Just as when assigning material resources, when you assign cost resources, they have no effect on the scheduling of the tasks. You can assign cost resources to a task to indicate costs incurred to complete a task. This allows you to better track indirect project costs, such as client entertainment or business travel. Learn this and more during this lecture.
If you are using Microsoft Project Professional 2013 or 2010, you can make use of the “Team Planner” view to easily assign and manage multiple project tasks and work resources simultaneously. This view also shows how the work resource assignments you make impact other work resources within the project, so you can make additional changes as needed when assigning work resources to project tasks. Learn this and more during this lecture.
At this point in your project development, you should have an initial project plan created. Before you begin to record the actual progress made (actual work performed) on the tasks within your project file, you should save a copy of the original project plan. This copy is called a project baseline. You can use the baseline as a reference point later on as you begin to track the actual work performed on the project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Once you have saved your baseline copy and work has started on your project, you need to record the progress (actual work) performed on the tasks within the project file. You can update the tasks individually, or you can mark multiple tasks complete as of a selected date. In this lecture, we will examine how to mark multiple tasks completed as of a specified date. You can use this feature when a project has completed 100% of the tasks on schedule as of a set date. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You will often need to update the work performed on individual tasks in a project file. Often tasks with a long duration will need to have their completion progress measured and marked individually as the work is completed over time. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can also use the “Update Project” function described in lesson 6.2 of this section to reschedule all uncompleted project work. Just as when updating work completed within a project file, this can be applied to all tasks within a project or just for selected tasks within a project. We will now examine how to reschedule uncompleted work within a project to a date that you specify. Learn this and more during this lecture.
While you will most commonly use the Gantt Chart view of a project file, it is important to note there are several other views of a project file available. You can also customize these project views so you can print and share them with others who need to know your project information. In this section we will examine some of the basics of using project views and reports to share project data. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When formatting Gantt Charts, you can change the appearance of columns within the task list shown at the left side of the Gantt Chart view. In this lecture, we will examine the buttons found within the “Columns” button group on the “Format” tab of the “Gantt Chart Tools” contextual tab within the Ribbon. Learn this and more during this lecture.
In this lecture, we will discuss formatting task bars within the Gantt Chart view. To do this, select the “Format” tab of the “Gantt Chart Tools” contextual tab within the Ribbon. To change the appearance of a bar graph for a selected task in the Gantt Chart view, click the “Format” button in the “Bar Styles” button group and select the “Bar” command from the drop-down menu that appears. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can add drawing elements to the task bar area within your Gantt Chart. Drawing objects can provide additional information or serve to illustrate important data within the Gantt Chart view. To add a drawing object to your Gantt Chart, click the “Drawing” button in the “Drawings” group on the “Format” tab of the “Gantt Chart Tools” contextual tab within the Ribbon. Then select the type of drawing object to add to the chart from the drop-down listing that appears. Then click and drag over the area within the chart where you want to draw the object. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can change the increments, appearance, and labeling of the timeline shown at the top of the task bar area in the Gantt Chart view. To do this, click the “View” tab in the Ribbon, and then click the “Timescale:” drop-down button in the “Zoom” button group. You can then easily select a different timescale from the increments shown in the drop-down menu. To see all of your timescale formatting options, select the “Timescale…” command from the drop-down menu to open the “Timescale” dialog box. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can create your own custom views of a project file that contain the desired project elements and custom formatting that you wish to see within the view. A custom view can display information from any of the other existing views within project. You can even create combination views that display information from two different views at the same time. You can use the “More Views” dialog box to create your own custom views of a project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Starting in Project 2010, you can use the “Timeline” view of a project file to display tasks within a project file as blocks of time allocated over the timeline of the project. This is the view that is displayed at the top of the “Gantt Chart View” of a new project file starting in Project 2010. This view can be useful as a visual way to display the tasks that need to be accomplished in a timeline format. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can use the “Task Usage” view to view the hours spent by work resources on the tasks within the project file. To view the “Task Usage” view, click the “Task Usage” button in the “Task Views” button group on the “View” tab in the Ribbon. At the left side of the pane you will see a table view that lists the project tasks and their associated work resources. To the right of each row you will then see a calendar timeline that shows the amount of work performed by each task resource for the given days. The work appears within selectable cells whose values you can edit, if needed, to modify the hours worked on tasks for the associated resources. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The “Network Diagram” view displays the tasks within the project in a flowchart style. You can switch to this view of your project file by clicking the “Network Diagram” button within the “Task Views” button group on the “View” tab within the Ribbon. Within this view, each task is represented by a rectangle with information about the task displayed in the lines within the shape. Critical tasks appear in red and non-critical tasks appear in blue. Tasks that are linked together will be shown within a connector line between them. You will also see the “Format” tab of the “Network Diagram Tools” contextual tab appear within the Ribbon. You can use the buttons within this tab to change visual aspects of this view. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The “Calendar” view displays the tasks within the project in a calendar style. This view can assist you in showing which tasks are scheduled for which days in a calendar layout. You can switch to this view of your project file by clicking the “Calendar” button within the “Task Views” button group on the “View” tab within the Ribbon. Within this view, each task is represented by a rectangle that contains the task name and its duration. You will also see the “Format” tab of the “Calendar Tools” contextual tab appear within the Ribbon. You can use the buttons within this tab to change visual aspects of this view. Learn this and more during this lecture.
To print a view of your project file, first ensure you are viewing the project file in the desired view that you want to print. Then click the “File” tab within the Ribbon and select the “Print” command at the left of the backstage view. To the right, you will see the printing options that are currently set, followed by a large print preview of the content of the selected view of the project file. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can edit relationship links between tasks within your project file to allow for lag time or lead time between tasks. For example, you could allow a day of lag time to pass between tasks. Alternately, you could also allow for lead time, where you begin working on a second task before completing all the work on a first task. You can edit the duration shown in the “Predecessors” column within the Gantt Chart view of your project file to enter a lead time or a lag time. Learn this and more during this lecture.
All tasks have some type of constraint applied to them. A constraint is simply a scheduling rule that determines the start or end time of a task, or otherwise controls the scheduling and rescheduling available for the task. Constraints allow the scheduling engine within Microsoft Project to reschedule tasks, as needed, within a project file. By default, Microsoft Project creates tasks with flexible constraints to allow for maximum flexibility in rescheduling. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When you record actual work completed or progress made on a task in your project file, Microsoft Project will recalculate remaining task duration, by default. When calculating the work value of a task after updating either the work, duration, or unit values, Microsoft Project uses a formula called the scheduling formula, to recalculate the task’s remaining work value. The scheduling formula is: Work = Duration x Units. Note that “Units” refers to the resource assignment units, often entered as a percentage. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Many new users of Microsoft Project accidentally make the mistake of using of too many semi-flexible and inflexible constraints when creating tasks within a project file. This often comes from the urge to set “Must Finish On” constraints or actual “Finish” dates when creating their tasks, which often will produce an inflexible or semi-flexible constraint on the task. The problem that often occurs when creating tasks in this manner is that you severely limit the task rescheduling potential of Microsoft Project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Despite your best efforts in planning, there will inevitably be times when work on a task will be interrupted. This may be due to an unplanned event or even a task reprioritization. Either way, you can interrupt work on a task by using the split task function within Microsoft Project. This feature allows you to split, or interrupt, a task to accommodate planned and unplanned breaks in the work on the task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
In addition to interrupting tasks, you can also reschedule entire tasks within a project by simply moving them to a new date. If you are using “Auto Scheduled” tasks that are linked together, Project will ask you if you would like to move the related tasks, as well, when you move the initial task within the link tasks. Note that when you are moving tasks, you should always inspect the tasks after you move them to ensure that you haven’t broken any task dependencies or violated any task constraints, such as a “Start On” date constraint for a related task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You can inspect tasks to display information about the task as well as task assignment information in a pane at the left side of the application window. To inspect a task, select the task to inspect within the “Gantt Chart” view of the project file. Then click the “Inspect” button within the “Tasks” button group on the “Task” tab in the Ribbon. That will cause the “Task Inspector” pane to appear at the left side of the screen. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Some tasks in a project file are standard and repetitive- such as a weekly project coordination conference meeting. You can enter these types of tasks as recurring tasks within your project file so that you can create that task once and then have it recur on a regular basis without having to enter a separate task for each instance of the meeting. When you create a recurring task, the tasks that are created all contain a “Start No Earlier Than” constraint, no task links, and no effort-driven scheduling. Learn this and more during this lecture.
You may have fixed costs associated with a task in your project file. A fixed cost is usually a one-time charge that is needed to accomplish the task. For example, having to pay a permit fee for a construction project could be an example of a fixed cost. Learn this and more during this lecture.
As used within Microsoft Project, a critical path is the set of tasks that, if delayed, would extend the end date of a project file. The term “critical,” as used in this context, has nothing to do with the importance of the task to the overall completion of the project. Rather, it is called a critical task if its delay would extend the ending date of the project. Therefore, the critical path of a project is the path of tasks within a project file that cannot be delayed without delaying the entire project deadline. Learn this and more during this lecture.
The term WBS codes stands for Work Breakdown Structure codes. These codes are an outline numbering that is automatically applied to tasks when you create them by their task level. You can view the default WBS codes for tasks within the “Advanced” tab of the “Task Information” dialog box. In this lecture, we will examine how you can renumber WBS codes and even create your own WBS codes for the project files you create. Learn this and more during this lecture.
After you have created your work resources, you can designate various cost rates for the resources within the cost rate tables shown in the “Resource Information” dialog box on the “Costs” tab. Within a cost rate table, you can have multiple pay rates for overtime and standard pay and you can also specify the “Effective Dates” when the rates should be applied, if pay rates change mid-project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
For many project types, you can create work resources that fit a general type of work. For example, if creating a software development project file, you could have a “programmer” work resource as a general type of work resource. Now assume that the first week of the project you will have one programmer, then two programmers for the second week, and finally three programmers for the remainder of the project. Learn this and more during this lecture.
Within many types of tasks in many types of projects, the workload may not be evenly distributed throughout the task duration. Some tasks have more work involved in the beginning or towards the end of the task’s duration. These are often referred to as “front-loaded” or “back-loaded” tasks, respectively. While you can manually edit the assignment details directly to account for the actual work, you can also apply work contours to tasks with a fairly predictable workload to distribute the workload over the task duration. Learn this and more during this lecture.
When assigning material resources to tasks, you can specify two different types of resource consumption rates. You can either specify a fixed consumption rate for a task or you can specify a variable consumption rate. For example, if you set “paper” as a resource for a “writing” task, you could create it with a variable consumption rate so that the amount of paper used could vary based on the duration of the “writing” task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
At times, you can delay the start of work for an assigned work resource on a task when there are multiple work resources assigned to a task. For example, you could delay the start of one work resource on a task by 4 hours if the work resource was to inspect the work produced by two other work resources assigned to the same task. In this case, you can enter an actual “Start” date and time for the work resource when assigning it to the task. Learn this and more during this lecture.
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