Master Microsoft Project 2016 - 6 PDUs from a PMI REP

Microsoft Project 2016: Building an Effective Project Management Plan
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  • Lectures 89
  • Length 6 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 11/2015 English

Course Description

We are a PMI Registered Education Provider:

  • Instructingcom, LLC #4082
  • Mastering Microsoft Project 2016; Activity ID MSPRO2016
  • 6 PDU hours

Effective project managers know that project management is about getting things done. No piece of software can replace the project manager, but Microsoft Project 2016 assists the project manager in effective management of the project endeavors.

  • In this course you will:
  • Explore Microsoft Project 2016
  • Build a new project from scratch
  • Open new Microsoft Project templates
  • Manage and control project resources
  • Create Gantt charts, project network diagrams, views, reports, and much, much more

Project management is the orchestration of the correct processes at the correct time to achieved the desired result while balancing time, cost, scope, quality, and risk. In this course you will learn how Microsoft Project 2016 can help you be a better project manager.

This course is a hands-on course; you can watch the exercises, pause the videos, and learn Microsoft Project 2016 by experiencing Microsoft Project 2016. All of the files that I use in the lectures are included as resources for you to follow along and experiment with throughout the course - and after the course.

My company, Instructingcom, LLC, is a Project Management Institute Registered Education Provider (PMI REP #4082) and this course qualifies for 6 Professional Development Units for certification maintenance.

Let’s get started today learning all that you can, all that you need to, about Microsoft Project 2016.

What are the requirements?

  • Participants should download MS Project 2016 prior to starting the course
  • Participants should have a good foundation in project management

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Navigate Microsoft Project 2016
  • Create a Microsoft Project plan
  • Utilize Gantt charts, views, and tables
  • Manage resources for ultimate project effectiveness
  • Track project and task progress through the project
  • Establish baselines and identify variances
  • Communicate project status with reports
  • Create custom reports
  • Print out project details for analysis and communication
  • Ramp-up on Microsoft Project 2016

What is the target audience?

  • Ideal for project managers currently using MS Project
  • Solid foundation for people new to Microsoft Project
  • Project managers who want to quickly grasp MS Project
  • PMP candidates seeking Professional Development Units (PDUs)

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Microsoft Project 2016: Building the Foundation
02:00

Effective project managers know that project management is about getting things done. No piece of software can replace the project manager, but Microsoft Project 2016 assists the project manager in effective management of the project endeavors. In this course you will:

  • Explore Microsoft Project 2016
  • Build a new project from scratch
  • Open new Microsoft Project templates
  • Manage and control project resources
  • Create Gantt charts, project network diagrams, views, reports, and much, much more
01:20

Microsoft Project 2016 isn’t a replacement for the project manager. Microsoft Project 2016 doesn’t ensure a successful project if a person doesn’t understand project management. However, Microsoft Project 2016 can assist a project manager in becoming more effective as a decision maker, a leader, and a project manager.

Article

Participants should have a copy of Microsoft Project 2016 to follow along with the course lectures. Microsoft provides a trial version of the software that participants may download for free to learn and experiment. This lecture provides a link to the Microsoft Project 2016 product page where the download is offered.

In this lecture, click the "View Resource" tab to download a zipped file with all of the files used in this course. These files are specifically for Microsoft Project 2016, Windows version. If you prefer to no download these resources you can still follow along by using the "Software Development Template" in Microsoft Project 2016.

06:30

In this lecture we’ll walk through the Microsoft Project 2016 interface. We’ll navigate the software Tabs, the Ribbon, Groups, and Commands. We’ll examine how a project manager will move to different components in Microsoft Project 2016 depending on what the project manager wants to accomplish. In this lecture you’ll learn how to:

  • Start a new project
  • Access templates for new projects
  • Access the program tabs
  • Switch views in Microsoft Project 2016
04:06

In Microsoft Project 2016 there's a special area of the program called "the backstage." It's where the gears and options of Microsoft Project 2016 can be fine-tuned for making Project operate the way you want. This is also where you can:

  • Find information about your Project file
  • Access the Microsoft Project Organizer
  • Create new Project files
  • Open existing Project files
  • Save the Project file
  • Print the Project file
  • Share the Project file

This is also where you can "hook" your Microsoft Project file into a web-service. You'll also access the program options through this Backstage view.

06:32

Project information is part of the Backstage of Microsoft Project 2016. You’ll need to access this information to see the project’s start date, projected finish date, the project calendar being applied, and other basic information. You can also access Advanced Properties about your project to see a summation of your project’s costs, statistics, and a history of project changes.

Project information will also allow you to build a custom tab of information, such as work completed, costs, variances, and a host of other factors about your project.

00:39

Great job completing this first section on Microsoft Project 2016! You've started a course that will help you become a more effective project manager using Microsoft Project 2016. This video will quickly review what you've accomplished so far - and encourage you to keep going through the material.

Section 2: Building a Microsoft Project 2016 Project Plan
01:34

In project management, a project plan communicates your intention for the project. It shows the project team, the project sponsors, vendors, and other stakeholders what you and the project team intend to do in the project. It’s a roadmap of how you’ll move from the start of the project to the finish of the project.

Building a plan in Microsoft Project 2016 takes time, but it challenges your assumptions about how things will operate, who’ll do what task, and the ordering of your project activities. In this section we’ll examine how a project manager can add and edit project activities and project characteristics.

03:45

Microsoft Project 2016 provides templates that come pre-populated with activities, links, and general direction for a project. In this lecture we’ll examine how to start a new project using a Microsoft Project 2016 template. You can follow along with this lecture, or come back to the lecture post-course.

04:22

In this lecture we'll dig into a project plan that's been created in Microsoft Project 2016. We'll examine the existing tasks and how we can edit these tasks. In this lecture you will learn:

  • How to navigate through a task list
  • Identify a task's predecessor
  • Examine activities in a Gantt chart
  • Inspect Indicators in a Microsoft Project 2016 plan
  • Quickly identify notes, calendars, and overallocated resources


04:42

A keystone of project management planning is to build the project’s scope statement. The project’s scope statement is decomposed into the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The WBS is then mapped to the activity list. The activity list clearly identifies the actions you and the project team must take in order to build the WBS and consequently the project scope.

In this lecture, we’ll go through the steps to enter the activity list in Microsoft Project 2016. You’ll learn how to add new tasks to an existing project and the relationship of tasks to the overall project duration.

06:14

Microsoft Project 2016 can quickly become cumbersome with a long, long list of activities. In fact, it can be detrimental to your project management approach to try to manage one long list of project activities. It’s better to segment your project – often by phases or common deliverables - and group tasks accordingly. It’s just easier to manage phases of a project than a smattering of project activities.

In this lecture we’ll examine how to create a summary task, sometimes called a “rolled-up” task and then group activities accordingly. Let’s go!

08:26

Now that you know how to create summary tasks, it’s time to move into adding new tasks that you’d like to be subtasks. A subtask is a task, or set of tasks, that are part of a summary task. Some project managers like to call this a parent-child relationship among activities. You might also hear this approach called a “bucket of activities.”

In this lecture we’ll create and insert new activities, move activities, and create the subtasks to better organize our Microsoft Project 2016 plan.

03:50

Projects are a temporary endeavor: they have a definite beginning and a definite ending. Projects do not, thankfully, go on forever and ever – though they can feel that way sometimes. The start date of your project is often attached to the project charter or a contract with your project customer. In either case, you’ll need to provide this information to Microsoft Project 2016 to establish the official start of your project work.

Based on the provided start date, Microsoft Project 2016 will plan your project work accordingly. This is called the “As Soon As Possible” scheduling approach and it’s the default in Microsoft Project 2016. You can override and even change the project start date, but it’s best to establish this early in the project as it’ll affect the entire project schedule.

07:08

Projects in your organization may follow a typical schedule: Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM, for example. But how will you accommodate busy times in your organization? How will pause the project for events when no project work is allowed to happen?

Exceptions are breaks in the project work based on external factors to the project: training days, company events, busy times in the organization, and more. In this lecture we’ll create some exceptions for the project schedule and Microsoft Project 2016 will accommodate these exceptions into the project calendar.

00:45

At some point in the project you’ll have to move from project planning and go into project execution. In other words, there’s a limited amount of time you can plan before the project team needs to get to work executing the project plan. This isn’t to say that you won’t return to project planning – in fact, you’ll return to project planning over and over throughout the project as your project warrants more planning.

In this section, we discussed how to take your planning elements and enter these elements into Microsoft Project 2016. Throughout the remainder of the course we’ll return to the concept of planning, just as you do in actual project management.

Section 3: Configuring Your Microsoft Project 2016 Plan
03:13

In order to effectively use Microsoft Project 2016, you need to have a firm grasp in project management. While this course focuses on Microsoft Project 2016, there’s an assumption that all of the participants are project managers who understand the philosophies and principles of effective project management.

So much of Microsoft Project 2016 also makes that assumption. If you’re new to project management, or a seasoned project management veteran, it’s important to acknowledge that Microsoft Project 2016 is a tool to help you better manage a project, but it doesn’t guarantee project management success.

05:18

While Microsoft Project 2016 does comes with some pre-defined project plans, you may want to take more control over the working hours in a day. For example, your organization may allow individuals to work anytime between 6AM and 8PM on a project, but for a maximum of 8 hours per day. Microsoft Project 2016 allows you to configure working hours for your project.

The working hours describe the time when the project work can take place. Your organization may have rules that you need to follow that can restrict when the project work can actually take place. This lecture will guide you through the process of editing the working hours for your projects.

04:21

Milestones, in traditional project management, are markers that show progress. Milestones are usually attached to key project events, such as the end of a project phase or the successful completion of an important project activity. Milestones can also be used for:

  • Marking project progress in the project plan
  • Linked to contractual payment terms for vendors
  • Attached to phases and phase-gate reviews
  • Used to establish segments of the project
  • Communication prompts on project progress and performance

In this lecture we’ll create milestones for project activities and end of phases. We'll also examine how Microsoft Project 2016 identifies a milestone in the Gantt chart.

03:02

How do you measure time in a project? Some project managers use days to predict the duration of an activity, but hours to record actual labor. Other project managers work in weeks rather than days or hours. Still, some project managers can be so granular that they’ll schedule work in hours and minutes (doesn’t that sound painful?).

Microsoft Project 2016 allows you to configure these and other units of measurements for project planning and controlling. In this lecture we’ll examine how we configure Microsoft Project 2016 for units of measurement and how we enter time in activity estimating and record actual performance.

04:35

The linkage between activities is called a relationship. Relationships affect the flow of the project work, the resource availability in your project, and risk for project performance. In this lecture we’ll examine the relationship types and how each type can affect your project planning.

Relationships in Microsoft Project 2016 are one of four types:

  • Finish-to-Start
  • Start-to-Start
  • Finish-to-Finish
  • Start-to-Finish

The most common relationship type is the finish-to-start, but we’ll examine all of these relationship types in this lecture.

05:38

Now that we’ve discussed the relationship types among activities, let’s start building relationships in Microsoft Project 2016. In this lecture we’ll examine different methods to create relationships, or links, between activities. We’ll create successors and predecessors by linking activities together in our project plan.

Creating links between activities will begin to build our project network diagram, which we’ll see in the Gantt Chart. The Gantt Chart, first embraced by Henry Gantt in the 1910s, is a way to illustrate a schedule and the flow of work against a calendar.

05:00

Many times in project management you and the project team may be identifying tasks in a sequential ordering, but sometimes the ordering of tasks aren’t sequential in the activities list. In this lecture we’ll review how to link tasks that are not contiguous in the project activities list.

This approach is how you can link multiple chains of activities together, such as different paths in the project execution or summary tasks.

06:10

In this lecture we’ll examine multiple methods to links tasks in Microsoft Project 2016. Which way is correct? Which way is the best? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish in the software and in the project. As a general rule in Microsoft Project 2016 there’s always more than one way to accomplish the same goal. It’s the nuances of the methodology that will guide you to determine which method, big or small, is the one you should use.

02:45

It’s not difficult to link, or to unlink tasks, in Microsoft Project 2016. Unlink tasks? Why would you ever do that? There are many instances of when you’ll need to unlink tasks in Microsoft Project 2016:

  • A resource can’t be on two tasks that are happening at the same time
  • A project change request affects the ordering of the project events
  • Risks are affecting the ordering of the project events
  • A project team member leaves the project team
  • You need to reorder the linking of several activities for time or cost savings

And there are countless other scenarios why you may need to unlink activities that have previously been linked together. In this lecture we’ll walk through the process of unlinking activities are see what effect that has on our project plan.

07:13

Your project plan is a fluid concept in project management. You’ll continue to edit, review, and revise the project plan until the project moves into closing. Use Microsoft Project 2016 to help you make the best decisions. In this final lecture in this section we’ll examine how a project manager can link summary tasks together to round out the project planning.

Section 4: Managing Project Resources in Microsoft Project 2016
02:15

Management is about key results. Leadership is about aligning, motivating, and inspiring people. In project management, you need both management and leadership to manage and complete the project work. While Microsoft Project 2016 can’t really help you with leadership, it can help you plan and configure the resources within your project.

In this lecture we’ll discuss the concept of resources and how resources can directly affect the success of a project.

07:27

As you begin to add and assign resources you need to consider how Microsoft Project 2016 is scheduling the project work. The work is the defined amount of time it will likely take to complete and activity. The resources apply labor, that is the effort to complete a task, to the work. The longer the resources take to complete an activity the longer the project will take and the more expensive the project will become.

Auto scheduling in Microsoft Project 2016 allows Microsoft Project 2016 to predict when activities can happen based on the work and effort applied to a task. Manual scheduling, a more tedious approach, allows the project manager to predict start dates for activities. We’ll look at both approaches in this lecture.

04:39

I can’t remember everything. I either have too much to remember or my brain isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Let’s assume that I have too much to remember. Microsoft Project 2016 makes that assumption too and allows us to enter notes on activities. It’s an easy thing to do it free up brain power for more important topics. In this lecture we’ll examine how to quickly add, review, and removes notes.

08:05

Resources are people, materials, and facilities that the project requires in order to meet the project objectives. The most common resource is the individual on the project team. In this lecture we’ll examine how to add new resources to the project and then configure that resource.

Microsoft Project 2016 uses resources to predict costs, task completion, and communication demands. Resource utilization is also tracked in Microsoft Project 2016 so we can quickly see who’s contributing how much and when in the project. In this lecture we’ll add new resources and see how Microsoft Project 2016 accommodates the newly added people.

03:48

Throughout a project you may need to edit the project resources. In this lecture we’ll examine several things you will likely need to edit with your project resources in Microsoft Project 2016:

  • Adding notes to resources for communications and management
  • Accessing Resource Information in the Resource Sheet
  • Adding a hyperlink for a project resource for reference
  • How to remove notes and hyperlinks for project resources
04:38

In many organizations people are working on multiple projects, have day-to-day operational duties, and have commitments to a life outside of the office. Microsoft Project 2016 acknowledges this and allows us to create exceptions for our resources to control how and when the project team member may be allowed to work on the project.

An exception, what we’ll create in this lecture, is a way to define when a project team will not work on the project. Exceptions are ideal for vacations or planned time away from the project. Resource exceptions only affect the individual resource calendar in Microsoft Project 2016. Resource calendars affect when the resource can work on the project and this will directly affect the project duration.

03:52

Resources aren’t just people, but can also be facilities and equipment. In Microsoft Project 2016 these two types of resources are called Cost and Materials. Cost resources cost the project as they are used; consider these cost resources:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels
  • Meals
  • Training events

Materials are resources that are needed as part of the project work. Consider these material resources:

  • Concrete
  • Network cables
  • Software licenses
  • Paint

In this lecture we’ll examine how to add cost resources and material resources in your project plan.

05:43

Once you have the tasks identified and the resources added to your Microsoft Project 2016 plan, you can begin assigning resources to the activities. Assigning resources to tasks causes several things to happen in Microsoft Project 2016:

  • The cost of the activity based on the cost of the resource
  • The duration of the activity based on how resources are assigned
  • The availability of resources based on what assignments they will complete

In this lecture we’ll examine how resources are assigned and what effect that has on the project as a whole.

05:02

After adding materials and cost resources to your project plan you’ll need to apply these resources to activities. You can add material, costs, and people resources to a single task, if needed.

In Microsoft Project 2016 Material resources use a parameter to predict the total costs for the resources, such as cost per square foot or cost per unit. Cost resources are identified each time they are used; for example, the cost of travel will fluctuate so the actual cost is entered each time you may use a travel cost resource.

08:25

Resource utilization describes the amount of labor a resource applies to a project. It defines the capacity of a resource and how much of that capacity is consumed by the project work. Resource utilization helps you, the project manager, to load balance the project work, and to communicate who’s doing what in the project.

In this lecture we’ll discuss:

  • Accessing Task Information for resource assignments
  • Manually examining resource utilization on a task
  • Identifying resources that are overallocated
  • Access the Task Inspector for resource utilization and management
  • Examine the Resource Usage sheet
08:12

Some project activities can be completed faster if more resources are applied to the task. For example, the more project team members that can help clean out a garage the faster the garage cleanout task can happen. Activities that can be reduced in duration by adding labor are called effort-driven activities.

Other activities, such as software installation, won’t decrease in duration simply by adding more labor to the task. These activities are called fixed duration and remain constant in duration regardless of the labor applied to the task. In this lecture we’ll discuss how to add more resources to activities that are effort-driven.

00:58

Resource management happens throughout the project. Early in the project you’ll likely need to add, tweak, edit, and configure resources frequently. Once the project is in motion, that is, once the project is in project execution, you’ll likely have to edit the resources as often.

Also bear in mind that if you’re working with the same group and type of resources in your projects you can create a project template in Microsoft Project 2016 that has these resources and cost pre-configured. Resource management and leadership happens throughout the project, but working smart can make this tedious activity easier to complete.

Section 5: Microsoft Project 2016: Accessing Project Views
01:00

One of the least-celebrated features of Microsoft Project 2016 is the ability to quickly and accurately access information. Sure, you can do some fancy stuff in Microsoft Project 2016, but it’s quick access to information that’s really the secret weapon in successful project management.

In this lecture we’ll discuss what views are, why you should embrace views, and how effective project managers use views to better manage the project. To be clear, a Microsoft Project 2016 View is a way to look into specific project information.

07:10

There are many, many views that you can use in Microsoft Project 2016. The most common views, and the topics I’ll discuss in this lecture, are:

  • Gantt chart view
  • Working with a split view
  • Manipulating a view
  • Working through the View tab
  • Editing the Project Timeline view

Of course, all of these views are dependent on the project manager entering accurate and current information. Outdated information will only result in outdated views – something that won’t help the project manager be effective in communications, management, or leadership.

04:42

The most common view in Microsoft Project 2016 is the Gantt chart. A Gantt chart is a method to display the flow of the project work against a calendar. It’s an approach to scheduling that’s been utilized by management since the early 1900s. Gantt charts help communicate what task will happen when in the project.

In this lecture we’ll examine how a Gantt chart works in Microsoft Project 2016 and how you can edit and format the Gantt chart. Formatting the Gantt chart is way to dress up (or dress down) the Gantt chart to more effectively manage the task and project work.

08:42

In this lecture we’ll take a deeper look at how the project manager can format the Gantt chart, but also the activities list in the project. Formatting is more than just making the Activities List and the Gantt chart look pretty, it’s a tool that can quickly identify key activities or resources, important events in the project, or call attention to tasks that need more work.

05:12

As a project manager it’s important to quickly and accurately access project information. You don’t want to be digging through project plans, paper, and even Microsoft Project 2016 to find the info you need. Tables are like a filter through all of the noise that’s often associated with project management. A table filters out non-related information and shows specific information for data in your project. For example, you can have tables about costs, activities, resources, variances, and much more.

A split view is a way of splitting the current view into two views, such as a costs and activities. You’ve been working with a split view in the Gantt chart view, as it displays the Task Entry and the Gantt chart in one window. By applying tables and splitting views you can compare and contrast information, identify trends, and quickly find needed information. In this lecture we’ll discuss:

  • Removing a split view from Microsoft Project 2016
  • Adding split views and the project timeline
  • Accessing view shortcuts with and without split views
  • Selecting a table in the Gantt chart view
05:51

The Gantt chart is a pretty simplistic way of viewing the flow of activities against a project calendar. And that view is often exactly what’s needed in the project work. Sometimes, however, you’d like to add some notes, figures, and other information on top of the Gantt chart. In Microsoft Project 2016 you can continue to edit the Gantt chart to draw right atop the Gantt chart to communicate plans even more clearly.

In this lecture we’ll walk through how the Gantt chart works and how you can add elements to the Gantt chart.

03:21

The Project Timeline is a special feature in Microsoft Project 2016: it can be turned on or off, edited to show specific dates, and configured to display key activities that you can select as the project manager. The Project Timeline is quick view into the past, present, and future of the project. In this presentation we will discuss how you can:

  • Access the Project Timeline view
  • Customize the Project Timeline
  • Edit the Project Timeline
  • Access the Project Timeline tools feature
  • Add tasks to the Project Timeline
04:03

The Project Timeline is an excellent feature in Microsoft Project 2016 that can help you display, copy, and find information quickly. In this lecture we’ll discuss how you can configure and utilize the Project Timeline in more detail. Specifically, in this deeper-drive lecture we’ll discuss:

  • Viewing a time range in the Project Timeline
  • Moving the Project Timeline window
  • Editing the Project Timeline range of view
  • Copying the Project Timeline
  • Adding tasks to the Project Timeline
00:45

In this section we discussed much about the project views you can utilize to better manage your projects. Views are a way to peek into specific project information within Microsoft Project 2016. You can add views, split views, and even format views to work with Microsoft Project 2016 to best suit your project management approach.

We also discussed how you may edit the Gantt chart by adding elements to the Gantt chart for reference and communication. Finally, we took an in-depth look at how the Project Timeline can be accessed, configured, and edited for more effective project management.

Section 6: Microsoft Project 2016: Establishing Project Baselines for Performance
01:28

To effectively measure a project for performance you need a project baseline. The project baseline is a snapshot of where the project is currently, and what expectations there are for time, cost, and overall project performance. Microsoft Project 2016 establishes a baseline not only for the entire project, but also against each activity in the project.

As the project team begins to complete the project work you’ll capture actual hours worked against the predict labor and determine if there is a project variance. To be clear, a variance is the difference between what was planned and what was experienced.

05:41

A baseline is a snapshot of where the project currently is and where the project is aiming to progress. A baseline in Microsoft Project 2016 is comprised of the costs and duration of each activity. Baselines are used to measure actual project performance against what was planned. As the project team completes activities and Microsoft Project 2016 is updated to reflect the completion of the activities, the actual performance is measured against the baseline.

The difference between what was planned in the baseline and what was experienced in the actual performance is a variance. Variances happen in time and cost and in most organizations the project manager must explain, often in a variance report, what the variance is and how the variance will be managed. In this lecture we’ll examine the first step of establishing a project baseline.

06:35

Imagine that you’ve been working in your project, but you haven’t opened Microsoft Project 2016 for some time. Finally, weeks pass and you decide to open Microsoft Project 2016 to update the project plan. There are now hundreds of activities that have been completed or are in progress, by the project team and now you need to mark all of these activities as complete or as a percentage of complete.

Don’t fret. In Microsoft Project 2016 there’s a quick way to update large groups of activities and that’s what we’ll examine in this lecture.

04:39

Many project managers host a weekly status meeting with their project team. In this meeting the project manager can ask each team member three important questions:

  • What’s been done since last week?
  • What are you going to do this week?
  • Are there any delays or concerns with your assignments?

These three questions help the project manager track and record each activity in Microsoft Project 2016. Team members can proffer a percentage of completion for each activity and communicate they understand their assignments for the upcoming week. The project manager can then record that information in the project plan. In this lecture we’ll examine how tasks are marked with progress or total completion.

08:49

Time and cost estimates are predictions of what the project should cost and how long the project should last. Estimates come in all different shapes and sizes – some more reliable than others. The truth about project estimates is two-fold: whatever dollar amount you say first is the figure stakeholders will always remember. Second, you don’t really know how long a project will take or how much a project will cost until the project is completely done.

In this lecture we’ll examine how you can measure project performance by comparing what was planned in the project with what you’re experiencing. This comparison can help you better forecast where the project is moving and respond accordingly.

04:59

An activity that comes before the current activity is a predecessor. An activity that comes after the current activity is a successor. Yes, an activity can be both a predecessor and a successor. Consider a string of project activities to remodel a conference room. Your activities may be:

  • Activity A: Clear the room
  • Activity B: Take up the carpet
  • Activity C: Prime the walls
  • Activity D: Paint the walls
  • Activity E: Install the new furniture

In this scenario, Activity C, Prime the walls, is a predecessor to Activity D, Paint the walls. It is also a successor to Activity B, Take up the carpet. In this lecture we’ll examine the path of tasks to examine the relationship among project activities.

09:20

A constraint is anything that limits your options. In project management, you are always constrained by:

  • The time to complete the project work
  • The budget allowed to complete the project
  • The project scope requirements to satisfy the objectives

In this lecture we’ll specifically look at the constraints you can add to project tasks. Task constraints define when the project work must happen, must happen by, or must happen on. These constraints are more than just a deadline for a project as they offer varying levels of flexibility for the project manager and the resource on the task.

04:11

Occasionally you may be required to pause your project or a specific task in your project. Consider waiting for materials, busy times in the project, a sick project team member, or any number of other considerations for pausing a project or task.

In this lecture we’ll examine how you can create a “split task” to accommodate delays and pauses in activity work. A split task isn’t considered a late task, but the completion of the split task is measured against the project baseline and may cause delays in successors in the project timeline.

06:19

You can create a special calendar to define when activities can happen in your project. For example, you may want to define certain activities that must happen only on Fridays. Or you have a task that needs to happen only after a specific time.

In this lecture we’ll create a special base calendar to allow us to configure when specific activities can take place in the project time.

02:40

It’s so easy to create calendars, views, even templates in Microsoft Project 2016 that your base templates and files can become crowded with all of these experiments. In this lecture we’ll walk through how to use the Organizer in Microsoft Project 2016 to remove a calendar.

This is important for you to do if you’re completing this course on a version of Microsoft Project 2016 that you’ll use in production. You don’t want all of these tweaks and custom calendars affecting your actual live projects.

01:16

Baselines help the project manager track progress in the project. It’s important to set a baseline as soon as the initial project planning has been established – this includes the assignment of resources and the predicted duration of activities. The baseline will be what actual performance is measured against.


Baselines can be updated, especially when there are significant changes in the project scope. Changes to the project scope will affect the cost and duration of the project, so the baseline should reflect these updated (and approved) changes.

Section 7: Perfecting the Microsoft Project 2016 Project Plan
02:26

In project management there’s a relationship between the planning processes and the monitoring and controlling processes. This relationship allows the project manager to shift between monitoring and controlling the work and move back into planning the work. Planning in project management isn’t always predictive, but rather ongoing based on the conditions in the project.

So much of Microsoft Project 2016 is based on project planning and that’s what we’ll discuss in this lecture. Effective planning is precise enough to provide guidance and direction, but also flexible enough to not constraint the project team from completing the work.

05:25

Microsoft Project 2016 allows you to set deadlines for activities. A deadline is a due date for an activity – the activity must be completed by or before the deadline. It’s tempting, however, to set a deadline for each activity in Microsoft Project 2016, but that’s not really something you want to do. Deadlines can create bottlenecks and constraints for other activities in the project, so use deadlines with some restraint.

In this lecture we’ll examine how to establish a deadline and how Microsoft Project 2016 treats a deadline in the Gantt view.

04:12

Microsoft Project 2016 allows you to track costs for each resource based on what resource costs the project per hour. Some activities, however, may have a flat fee rather than an hourly cost that you’ll need to reflect in Microsoft Project 2016. These activities have a fixed cost, rather than a variable cost like an hourly rate.

In this lecture we’ll examine how to create an activity with a fixed cost and assign a flat fee to the task. We'll examine a cost table to review the fees, both those that are of a fixed cost and those with a variable cost.

01:52

A recurring task is an activity that will happen over and over in the project. Microsoft Project 2016 allows you to identify activities that will be recurring and then set a pattern of occurrence based on dates or frequency of events. Examples of recurring activities include:

  • Quality control activities throughout the project
  • Testing of software design and development
  • Iterations of planning, executing, and testing
  • Weekly meetings or other events
04:46

People often get nervous when project managers talk about the critical path. Let’s put those fears and anxieties to rest. Within a project there are usually multiple paths of activities that will lead to the project’s conclusion. While it’s true that all of the activities must be completed for the project to be considered done, there’s usually one path of activities in the project network diagram that will take the longest duration to complete. The path of activities that takes the longest to complete is the critical path.

The critical path means that no delays on any of these project activities can happen or else the project work will be delayed. The activities not on the critical path have an opportunity for delay, called float or slack, but this amount of delay is limited. If you delay non-critical path activities too much the project will also be late.

In this lecture we’ll examine how Microsoft Project 2016 identifies the critical path and identifies the slack available to non-critical path activities. (To be clear, float and slack are the same thing, but Microsoft Project 2016 uses the term slack while PMI uses the term float.)

05:01

Recall that a summary task is a roll-up task of constituent activities. In our example, we used a house project where each floor of the house was a roll-up activity and the individual rooms in the house were subtasks. Each subtask had a duration and the sum of the durations of the subtasks predicted the overall duration for the summary task.

In this lecture, we’ll examine the calculation of subtasks for summary tasks and look at how a project manager can edit the durations of summary tasks.

03:44

You may need to identify and edit resources that are available at different capacity of labor contributions. Microsoft Project 2016 allows us to edit the total capacity and availability for resources and groups of resources. This approach will also allow you determine dates when individuals can be available, or not available, to your project work.

This is a valuable feature if you’re sharing resources with different project managers, especially in an organization that is a matrix structure.

06:24

Most organizations have some type of governance to control how many hours per day, or per week, a resource may work on a project. This “cap” of hours creates a constraint for the project manager and affects the project duration. When a project manager schedules resources to go beyond this constraint of maximum hours per day or week, then the there is an overallocation issue that must be resolved.

In this lecture we’ll examine:

  • Accessing the Resource Usage sheet
  • Overallocated resources
  • Identifying when resources are overallocated
  • Manually editing resource over allocation
02:54

Within Microsoft Project 2016 there’s a special view of the Gantt chart called the Leveling Gantt. This version of the Gantt shows where resources are overallocated and what effect leveling the resource or adding more resources will have on the project duration.

In this lecture we’ll review overallocated resources and how we can level specific or all resources for a project. Resource leveling flattens the project schedule; flattening the project schedule will usually cause the project duration to increase because the flattened, or maximum hours per week, is extended in the project schedule.

01:17

Planning is an iterative activity throughout the project. As conditions change in the project, you discover risks and issues, or the project team reports lateness on project work, you’ll have to edit and re-plan the project work. In this section we talked about:

  • Creating deadlines for project activities
  • Working with fixed costs activities
  • Adding a recurring activity to our project plan
  • Viewing the critical path
  • Working with summary task durations
  • Managing overallocated resources
  • Accessing the Leveling Gantt
Section 8: Customizing Project Resources in Microsoft Project 2016
01:44

Project managers must be skilled in both management and in leadership. Management is about key results, while leadership is about aligning, directing, and motivating people. Within Microsoft Project 2016, you can edit, control, and customize individuals to track their contributions to the project. This customization of resources gives you more opportunities to lead and to manage.

In this overview lecture we’ll discuss how people are resources on your project, and how these resources often need to be customized to reflect how they’re serving on the project.

02:11

People can often play different roles on a project team. You may have a project team member that can be an application developer, a software tester, and a technical writer on your project. This one person can have three different roles in the project and you'll need to reflect their role and rate for accurate planning and project control.

In this lecture we’ll examine how we can create a variable rate for this one resource. When the individual acts in different roles in the project, we’ll adjust the rate for the resource.

02:39

Your organization may charge clients or other departments for people’s time on the project. That’s why Microsoft Project 2016 has an opportunity to provide an hourly rate for each resource. If the resource’s rate is expected to change in the project, such as a yearly raise, then you must anticipate the rate as part of the project’s budget.

You can’t simply edit the person’s cost per hour because this will affect the total costs of all activities the person has worked on in the project. You must establish a variable pay structure to reflect the change in the resource’s cost in the project based on a date. That’s exactly what we’ll do in this lecture.

03:15

In Microsoft Project 2016 when you assign more than one resource to a project activity, Microsoft Project 2016 assumes that both resources will start on the project work at the same time. Now while that may often be true, there are instances when you don’t want the resources to all start on the assignment at the same time.

In this lecture we’ll create a staggered start date for multiple resources on a project task. This is useful feature when you want one resource to be slightly ahead of the other resource(s) in the project work assignment.

04:39

Work contours are automatic distributions of project work based on pre-defined estimations of the work. A work contour is a curve that examines the project work and reduces, or increases, the project work accordingly throughout the project timeline.

For example, you may have a task where a resource will only work a few hours per day to start on the task, but over time, the resource will work full-time on the activity. That generic distribution of labor is a work contour.

In this lecture we’ll examine the pre-loaded work contours in Microsoft Project 2016, how you can apply a contour, and what a contour looks like for a project resource.

05:07

If you have resources that are serving in different roles on your project team, such as the individual who can be an application developer, a software tester, and a technical writer, then you’ll need to assign a cost table. A cost table is how you’ll apply the role-specific costs to a project event.

In this lecture we’ll walk through editing a project task and choosing a cost table for a resource and an activity. We’ll also see what effect the application of the cost rate table has on the overall project costs.

02:45

Depending on the size of your project and the size of your project team you may have concerns about resource utilization in the project. You not only need to balance the amount of hours per week you assign to the project team, but also ensure that all resources are contributing to the project work. In this lecture we’ll examine this approach and these topics:

  • What resources have capacity for more work
  • Who’s doing what in the project
  • Which tasks have you not assigned resources to
  • Filter tasks by resources
01:31

Setting a task as inactive is helpful when dealing with overallocated resources and leveling the project work. Rather than deleting a task, you can mark the task as inactive. This will keep the task as part of your project plan, but won’t affect the timing and the overallocation of resources.

In this lecture we’ll review how to make a task inactive, or active again, based on conditions within your project. It's easy to do!

03:18

When dealing with project team members, vendors, and cost resources it’s useful to sort, filter, and organize the cost of these resources. Within Microsoft Project 2016 you can use some built-in filters and tables to sort these costs. This table can help you identify the most expensive resource, the most utilized resource, and many other resource characteristics on project resources and their costs.

In this lecture, we’ll work in Microsoft Project 2016 Resource Sheet to examine and filter resource costs based on the type of resources and the utilization of resources. We’ll also examine how to filter resources by specific amounts and by dates.

01:16

You’ll do planning throughout the life of your project. While planning is tedious, it’s necessary to do in order to have a successful project. Of course, in Microsoft Project 2016 you can take the current project and save it as a template so that you don’t have to do this project management work over and over in your role as a project manager.

When using historical information for a project template you may still have to edit the project, but you can save much time – especially if you’re doing the same type of projects over and over.

Section 9: Leveraging Microsoft Project 2016 to Communicate Effectively
01:12

It’s been said that 90 percent of project management is communicating, and I believe that to be true. As a project manager you have lots of stakeholders who no doubt have communication demands for your projects. Within Microsoft Project 2016 there are printing options, built-in reports, and the option to build and customize your reports.

In this section we’ll examine how you can report on project information and share that information by printing project information.

05:38

Now that you’ve recorded a baseline for the project you can record the actual information about each activity. The baseline represents what was planned and the actual work duration is how long the task actually took to complete. You need actual work information to have something to communicate to the project stakeholders.

In this lecture we’ll examine how a project manager can update the actual hours worked on a task by a resource. As we update activities, the actual cost of the project will be updated as well as the percentage of project completion.

02:56

While a project manager can run reports and use the Task Usage View to determine how tasks are performing, there’s another view of the Gantt chart that you can use once you have a baseline established: the Tracking Gantt.

The Tracking Gantt is a view that compares the planned duration for each activity and compares it to the actual duration the project team member has reported on the activity. In this lecture we’ll examine the Tracking Gantt view and how it can help you more effectively manage a project.

03:03

Reports in project management are formal communications about the project performance. Most project managers are required to do at least one report per week, the status report. The status report communicates:

  • How well the project is performing
  • What’s been accomplished in the project
  • What issues or risks may be in the project
  • News about the project

In this section, we’ll examine how you can use the built-in reporting feature in Microsoft Project 2016 to create a new report for your report.

03:03

You aren’t stuck with the pre-defined reports that Microsoft Project 2016 provides. You can take any of these reports and tweak them, edit them, and customize them to fit your needs as a project manager. You can even save your edits and configurations as a separate type of report that you can run each week.

In this lecture we’ll examine some reporting tools and edit a pre-defined report in Microsoft Project 2016.

04:48

If you really want to, you can ignore all of the built-in reports that Microsoft Project 2016 offers and create your own report from scratch. This can be useful if your organization has specific requirements for what must be reported about your projects.

In this lecture we’ll examine how to start with a blank report and then add project objectives and information to the report. You can create as many custom reports as you like and save these reports as part of your project.

06:10

Speaking direct, printing has always been a hassle in Microsoft Project. Reports and information don’t easily fit on one page, there’s lots of editing and configuring in the background, and often the information is too tiny to see. More and more project managers are sharing copies of their plans in hard copy, so this isn’t as delicate of an issue as it used to be, but it’s still a pain for many project managers.

Well, Microsoft Project 2016 does make some improvements over the printing process as we’ll see in this lecture.

05:16

A custom view is a way to build your own table and information to display at one time in Microsoft Project 2016. A custom view is a great way to build what’s shown on your screen, but also to control what you’re going to print as part of your project or report.

I love custom views and printing information with this approach. In this lecture I’ll walk you through the process of creating your own view and printing exactly what you need in your project.

00:57

In this section we talked all about project communications. Project communications is first planned and often directed by the rules and governance of your organization. Then you’ll execute communications by actually providing the information to your stakeholders. You’ll also control communications by ensuring that the right people, get the right information, at the right time.

In this lecture we discussed:

  • Recording information
  • Working with the Tracking Gantt view
  • Accessing the Project Reporting features
  • Editing and customizing a report
  • Creating a custom report

Great job completing this section on project communications with Microsoft Project 2016.

02:49

Congratulations on reaching the end of this course. This final presentation will conclude the seminar. Thank you for your time and for completing this course.

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Instructor Biography

Joseph Phillips, PMP, PMI-ACP, Project+, Certified Technical Trainer

Joseph Phillips has more than 15 years’ experience as a project management consultant, educator, technology consultant, business owner, and technical writer. He has consulted as a project manager for a range of businesses, including startups, hospitals, architectural firms, and manufacturers.  Joseph is passionate about helping students pass the PMP certification exam.  He has created and led both in-person and web-based seminars on project management, PMP certification, IT project management, program management, writing, business analysis, technical writing, and related topics.  Joseph has written, co-authored, or served as technical editor to more than 35 books on technology, careers, project management, and goal setting for MacMillan, McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, and AMA Press.

Certifications:

Project Management Professional (PMP)

PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

CompTIA Project+ Professional

CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer+

Author of:

PMP Project Management Professional Study Guide, McGraw-Hill

CAPM/PMP All-in-One Exam Guide, McGraw-Hill

PMP Project Management Lab Book, McGraw-Hill

The Certified Technical Trainer All-in-One Exam Guide, McGraw-Hill

IT Project Management: On Track from Start to Finish, McGraw-Hill

Project Management for Small Business, American Management Association 

Software Project Management for Dummies, For Dummies Publisher

The Lifelong Project, Amazon CreateSpace

Vampire ManagementWhy Your Job Sucks, Amazon CreateSpace

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