MS project software is basically used for the management of projects. This software can be used by a business as well as home users to manage their projects efficiently without any error. After going through this tutorial, you will build up your MS project skills and will learn to perform different functions using MS project.
Project management is a process to initiate, plan, execute, control, and close the project in order to meet the specific requirements and achieve the desired goals. Project management allows us to organize and manage the resources that are important for completing any project.
MS Project is a Project management software that allows the users to manage the project, budget, and resources. This software is very popular for personal and professional use. The latest version of MS Project software supports features like portfolio management, advanced analytics, web access, and reporting functions. These features make the management task simpler and easier.
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Here, we will discuss the MS Project User-Interface in more detail:
Once you have followed all the steps with respect to your Windows version, the below given Project Start Screen will display on your PC. Here, you will get the different options to open the new plan, plan template, or the other plans as shown in the image displayed below.
On Project Start Screen, when a user will click the ‘Blank Project’ tab, the following screen will appear on your PC. The below-mentioned screen is displaying the interface of MS Project.
The main components included in MS Project Interface are discussed below:
When a user works on an MS project, he or she is required to provide one of the dates from the start and end date. It is necessary to provide this information as, when a user enters the dates with other project constraints such as tasks, dependencies, the MS project start calculating the other date.
MS project includes the list of options mentioned below in the Project Information. When you open the MS Project, from the available templates, you need to click on the Blank Project as shown below.
The project sets the start date of the plan to the current date. This date is indicated by the green thin vertical line in the chart part of the Gantt Chart View as shown in the picture below.
Let’s get more information about the project:
Step 1: Start Date
Step 2: Set up Calendar
As mentioned in the picture above, you have to choose the Standard Calendar as a Calender for your project. Tap on ‘Ok’ or ‘Cancel’ for closing the dialog box. Now, you have to add the exceptions.
Step 3 - Adding the Exceptions to the Calendar
Exceptions are used for modifying the Project Calendar to have a non-working day or non-standard workday. A user can also fix unique work hours for an individual resource.
Example of creating a non-working day for any office celebrations or holiday:
Click Project tab>> Properties Group>> Change Working Time.
The Change Working Time Dialog box will get displayed on your screen. Under the Exception Tab, click ‘Name Field’, enter the event as ‘ Company Anniversary’. Enter ‘11/22/15’ in the Start field and then enter the same in the finish field. This day will be scheduled as the project’s non-working day as shown below in the picture.
Step 4 - Setup Resource Calendar
You can modify the Standard Base Calendar, in the same manner, you can also modify the working and non-working time of every resource. A user can make the modifications in the resource calendar to accommodate vacation time, flex time, training time, etc.
Resource Calendar can be set only for work resources not cost or material resources.
Step 5 - Change the working time for resource
Step 6 - Create Non-Working days
After following these steps, you will be able to see the below-mentioned screen on your PC for setting up nonworking days.
Just like you can manage the file properties in your MS office, you can also manage all the information in your MS Project file through the following ways:
Launch MS Project
Save the Properties
Click on the ‘File tab’. In ‘Info’, select the option ‘Project Information’. Click on the arrow to present nearby Project information and then click on the Advanced Properties. A dialog box will appear on your screen. Here, you can type in the modification as needed. Tap on ‘OK’ and click ‘Save’ to save the changes as shown in the picture below...
Build Task List
To accomplish the project goals, the (WBS) Work Breakdown structure is developed. In WBS, work refers to the deliverables. WBS identifies the lowest level of deliverables as a work package. The decomposition of the work package is done in tasks and activities. The task is action-oriented whereas the work package is the result or deliverable of tasks being performed.
Below the simple Gantt Chart View is displayed.
A user can click directly on Cell present below the ‘Task Name Column’.
The following screen is displaying 5 distinct tasks.
Enter the Duration: Task duration is the time estimation in which the task will get completed. The task duration time is estimated by the project manager by using the previous information, expert, and other important parameters.
A user can enter the task duration in weeks, hours, weeks, days, and months as shown in the given table.
Change Default Time Dimensions: Click on the Project Tab>> Properties Group>> Change working time>> options.
A user can change the default time dimensions for all the projects or the project in which a user is currently working as displayed in the image below.
Enter Task Duration" In the Gantt chart, a user can click on the cell present below the Duration column heading and enter the task duration.
A user can enter the Start and End date for the project and then the MS project itself calculates the duration as shown on the screen below.
In the above-mentioned screenshot, Task 6 has been scheduled for Sunday which is not comes on a working day and the task will end on Wednesday. Here is important to note that duration will not be calculated as 3 days, it will be 4 days.
Elapsed Duration: Elapsed duration is the time duration that elapses during the event execution which is not using any resource. A normal workday includes 8 hours, elapsed workday includes 24 hours as mentioned below in the image.
A user can enter this time duration by preceding any duration with an ‘e’ abbreviation. Thus, 1ew is 24 hours 7 days.
Create Milestone: Milestones are particular points in the timeline of the project. Milestones are used as the main progress points for managing the project success and expectations of stakeholders. These are basically used for budget, input, and reviews.
As per the Mathematics, Milestone is a task of 0 duration. A user can insert a milestone in two different ways:
Method 1 - Insert Milestone
MS Project will name the new task as the ‘New Milestone’ having a 0-day duration.
Click on the New Milestone option to change the name.
Method 2 - Convert a Task to Milestone
Method 3 - Convert a Task to Milestone
A user can roll up the different tasks in the project schedule into a Summary Task. This will help the users to manage the plan in a better way as a user can organize the plan into phases.
For example- if a user wants to group Task 4 and Task 5 into the summary Task, a user can follow the given steps:
you have made the task list for accomplishing targeted goals, you are supposed to link tasks with task relationships known as dependencies. For example - After completion of task 1, task 2 will start, these dependencies are referred to as Links.
There are 4 types of task dependencies as mentioned below:
Select the tasks that you want to link. For example Task 1 and Task 2. Here is the process to link tasks
Important - The Start Date of Task 2 will be a day come after the finish date of Task 1as shown below.
You need to Double Click on the targeted successor task for linking.
For example - If you have clicked Task 4.
Here we will choose task 3.
Here, you need to choose the task group and link them to Finish to Start relationship.
Choose multiple tasks >>Task tab >>Schedule group>> Link the Selected Tasks.
If you are working in a Manual Schedule Mode then, if you make any changes in the Predecessor task, the changes won’t get reflected in the start date of Task 4. For example - If task 4 starts at the same that which is the next day as the Task 3 finish date. Then, the Task 3 duration will be changed from 5 to 7 days.
Task 4 start date will not be updated automatically.
|Related Article: Frequently Asked MS Project Interview Questions|
MS Project set all the new tasks to be scheduled manually by default. A user can control the scheduling in two different ways
Manual Scheduling -Manual Scheduling provides complete control to the user on task scheduling. With manual scheduling, a user can control the Start and finish date, duration. The program will not modify the dates of tasks that are manually scheduled.
Automatic Scheduling- Automatic Scheduling schedules the task automatically. It makes the calculation by considering the different values like duration, start, and end date automatically. They take all the links, calendars, and constraints into the account.
A task can be converted to an Automatic schedule by following the three different methods:
If a user wants to change a specific task mode, let’s say Task 5 then, the user needs then click on the Task Mode cell present in a similar row. After that, open the dropdown menu by clicking on the down arrow and select ‘Auto Scheduled’ as shown below.
The output will be:
If a user wants to change the default Scheduling Mode for all-new Project Plans then:
Go to the ‘File’ tab.
Image source - https://www.tutorialspoint.com/ms_project/ms_project_settings.htm
Every user has different Settings for their MS Project. To make sure that you get the expected outcomes without any hassle, you need to perform the following settings in your MS Project.
Important- All these are the Default Settings that come with MS Project installation.
Step 1: Go to File>> Options. Click on the General Tab, select the Project view >> Default View.
From the Dropdown menu, choose the ‘Gantt With Timeline’ option as mentioned below.
Step 2: Go to ‘Files’>>’ Options’>>’ Display Tab’>>’ Show Indicators and Option Button for’.
Check all the available options as shown on the given screen.
Step 3: Go to ‘File’>>’Optios’>>’ Scheduled tab’>> ‘Schedule’>>’ Show Assignment Units’.
From the drop-down menu, select the ‘Percentage’ option as given below in the picture.
Step 4: Go to ‘Files’>>’Options>>’ Schedule tab’>>’ Calculation’>>’Calculate Project after each Edit’.
Check the ‘ON’ button.
Step 5: Go to ‘Files’>>’Options>>’ Save Tab’>>’ Save Projects’>>’ Save Files In this format’.
Choose ‘ Project (*.mpp)’.
Step 6: Go to ‘File’>>’Options’>>’Advanced Tab’>>’Edit’.
Check All Options.
Step 7: Go to ‘File’>> ‘Options’>> ‘Advanced tab’>> ‘Display’>> ‘Show Status Bar’>> ‘Show Scroll Bar’.
Check the option ‘Scroll Bar’ and ‘Status Bar’ as shown in the picture.
Step 8: Go to ‘Resources’>> ‘Level’>> ‘Leveling Options’>>’ Leveling Calculations’.
Set it to the manual and you will see the following screen.
Step 9: Go to ‘Resources’>> ‘Level’>> ‘Leveling Options’>>’ Leveling Calculations’>> ‘Look for the Overallocations’.
From the drop-down menu, choose ‘Day-by-Day’ as shown below
To get additional information about the MS project, you can go through the following resources. These resources will help you to gain an in-depth knowledge of MS Project 2013.
Official website of MS Project 2013 - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/
Wikipedia Reference of MS Project 2013 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Project
Microsoft Project 2013 - The missing manual
-By Bonnie Biafore.
Microsoft Project 2013 - Plain and Simple
-By Howard B.
Microsoft Project 2013 Step by Step
MS Project 2013 allows the users to schedule the tasks, assign the resources, analyze workload, track progress, and manage the budget in an effective manner. This software comes with different features that let the user execute every task in a proper manner. There are different views supported by the MS project which let users divide the project into subtasks so that each task can be executed as per the scheduled date and time. A user can also have automatic as well as manual scheduling for task execution. Thus, with the help of MS Project software, a user can manage the project efficiently.
Ravindra Savaram is a Content Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.