Recommendations for Rookies – Microsoft Project Professional 2010
These past couple of months I have been working with my fellow project manager, Dan, to configure and figure out Project Server. After playing with a lot of the settings, I found that the backbone of Project Server’s web application is really Microsoft Project Professional. So far, to us, Server is an interactive platform to do resource allocation and update projects via timesheets. In order for Project Server to behave the way we want, we need project plans that are properly constructed. You can create a basic project plan in the project web app but it is not going to have a lot of the features that our in-depth project plans need.
Through my tests and trials I noticed there is a specific order each column should be filled in that works best. I start with the task name and fill in every task and sub task in the project. Then I build my team and assign the resources required to complete each task. Next I set the order the tasks are to be completed in by noting the predecessors. The last thing I do is determine task type and enter my variables.
Project uses three variables to determine the timeline of a project-Duration, Units and Work. Duration is the overall amount of time it will take to accomplish a task, which is usually measured in days. Units depend on the resource and is the percentage of available time the resource gives to the task. The third, Work, is the amount of time in hours it actually takes to do the task. The underlying concept is that you tell project 2 of the variables, one of which is fixed as the task type, and the program populates the third. For example, if you enter a task with Work = 8 hours and Duration = 2 Days, project will calculate that 50% of the resource’s effort will go to that task on each day. People often overlook that the default task type in Project is Fixed Units. So given the scenario above, if you keep the task type set to Fixed Units and then you change duration, project will recalculate the amount of work. This can be a bit confusing so here is my recommendation for rookies:
The task type should be set to the variable that does not change. Enter that variable for each task in its associated column. Then enter the variable you would like to control in its column. Finally, hit “Calculate Project” and let the program determine the values for the third variable.