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99 Tricks and Traps for Microsoft Office Project


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Table of Contents

1 IMPORTANT THINGS 1.1 The "Delete" Key 1.2 Typing a Date or Dragging a Task Sets a Constraint! 1.3 Indicators Column 1.4 Why Are Tasks Scheduled before the Predecessors? 1.4.1 Actual Start Date 1.4.2 Tasks Will Always Honor Their Constraint Dates 1.5 The Logic Keeps Changing! 1.6 Why Do New Tasks Have an Early Start Constraint? 1.7 Recommended Schedule Options 2 CALENDAR SURVIVAL GUIDE 2.1 Role of the Project Calendar 2.2 Guidelines for Creating Calendars 2.3 Display of Duration in Days 2.4 How to Assign Task Calendars 2.5 Other Things Task Calendars Affect 2.5.1 Float 2.5.2 Lags 2.6 Resource Calendars 2.7 Which Calendar is the Task Using? 2.8 Default Start and End Time 2.9 Finish Variance Calculation 3 TRICKY STUFF 3.1 Task Splitting 3.1.1 What is Splitting? 3.1.2 Splitting a Task Manually 3.1.3 Splitting In-progress Tasks 3.1.4 Hiding a Bar Split 3.1.5 Removing a Bar Split 3.2 Deadline Date 3.3 Negative and Free Float Bars 3.4 As Late As Possible Constraint 4 INTERESTING FEATURES 4.1 Wildcard Filters for Text Searching 4.2 Interactive Filters 4.3 Selecting Dates 4.4 Understanding Start and Finish Milestones 4.5 Converting a Finish Milestone into a Start Milestone 4.6 Elapsed Durations, Leads and Lags 4.6.1 Elapsed Durations 4.6.2 Float on Tasks with Elapsed Durations 4.6.3 Elapsed Leads and Lags 4.7 Establishing Two Relationships between Two Tasks 4.8 % Lags 4.9 Task Drivers 4.1 Tracing the Logic of a Schedule 4.11 Creating a Hammock or LEO Task 5 MAKING IT LOOK RIGHT 5.1 Date Format Dangers 5.2 Preventing the Date Format from Changing on Other Computers 5.3 The Smart Way to Create Views 5.4 Bar Formatting 5.4.1 Bar Date Format 5.4.2 Bar Heights 5.4.3 Always Roll Up Gantt Bars 5.4.4 Round Bars to Whole Days 5.4.5 Bar Text 5.5 Format Colors 5.6 Displaying an S-Curve 5.7 Displaying Cumulative Histogram 5.8 Displaying a Project Summary Task 5.9 Display Tasks without Successors as Critical 5.1 Preventing Descriptions from Indenting 5.11 Reducing Column Widths 5.12 How to Display a Task ID that Will Not Change 5.13 Hiding Task Information 5.13.1 Hiding Bars 5.13.2 Hiding Text 5.14 Anchor a Vertical Line to a Milestone 6 GETTING IT OUT - PRINTING 6.1 Printing to One Page Wide 6.2 Printing a Date Range 6.3 Printing a Gantt Chart and Resource Graph or Usage Table on One Page 6.4 Printing the Calendar 6.5 Hiding Some of the Bars in the Legend 7 RESOURCE BASICS 7.1 How Many Resources Should I Have? 7.2 The Balance Between the Number of Activities and Resources 7.3 Durations and Assignments Change as Resources are Assigned 7.3.1 Task Type - Fixed Duration, Fixed Units, Fixed Work 7.3.2 Effort-Driven or Non Effort-driven? 7.3.3 Task Type and Effort-Driven Options 7.4 Assigning Resources to Tasks 7.5 Resources and Summary Tasks 8 UPDATING ESSENTIALS 8.1 Baselines and Updating a Project 8.2 Which Baseline Should Be Used? 8.3 In-progress Task Finish Date Calculation 8.4 Current Date and Status Date 8.5 Auto Statusing Using Update Project 8.6 Moving Incomplete Work into the Future by Splitting 8.7 Tracking Toolbar 8.8 Why Do Calculation Options - Move end of completed parts Not Work? 8.9 Comparing Progress with Baseline 8.1 Progress Lines 8.11 Simple Procedure for Statusing a Schedule - Using Auto Status 8.12 Procedure for Detailed Statusing 8.13 Preparing to Update with Resources 8.14 Updating Resources 9 OTHER THINGS OF INTEREST 9.1 Standardizing Projects 9.2 Global.mpt 9.3 Templates 9.4 Copying Views, Tables and Filters 9.5 Right-Clicking with the Mouse 9.6 Always Displaying Full Menus 9.7 Dynamically Linking Cells 9.8 How Does Negative Float Calculate for Summary Activities? 9.9 Float and Constraints 9.1 Using Custom Fields 9.11 Custom Columns Formulas and Drop-Down List 9.12 Custom Outline Codes 9.12.1 Define a Custom Outline Code Structure 9.12.2 Assigning the Custom Codes 9.12.3 Grouping with Custom Data 9.13 Exporting to Excel 9.14 Turning Off Getting Started and Project Guide 9.15 Do I Have All the Scope? 9.15.1 Stakeholder Analysis 9.15.2 Risk Analysis 9.16 Preparing for Dispute Resolution 9.16.1 Keeping Electronic Copies of Each Update 9.16.2 Clearly Record the Effect of Each Change

About the Author

Paul Harris is the founder and director of Eastwood Harris Pty Ltd, a Melbourne Australia consulting firm that serves project management professionals, engineers and large organizations around the world. Eastwood Harris offers high level consulting and training on project management and controls. Harris is the author of more than a dozen books on project management software and is a Certified Cost Engineer, a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner, and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI). Visit his web site at http://www.eh.com.au.


99 Tricks and Traps for Microsoft Project is a Must Have book for all Microsoft Project users. From his first tip on "How the DELETE key removes data without warning", to "How to Use Calendars, Options Settings, Toolbars, and Constraints", to a boat-load of tips on "Updating/Statusing", Harris methodically, precisely, and clearly explains how to best use MS-Project and benefit from the experience. A bonus is that this one book addresses all of the most commonly used versions of MSP: 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Larry Aaron CCE, AVS, President, T&M Concepts, Las Vegas, NV, www.TandMConcepts.com As with any Microsoft Product, to get the maximum benefits from the product, understanding every click and the effects these have on the overall project is critical. Paul Harris, a MS Project guru has pulled together information needed to move up a notch in understanding and using MS Project. This guide takes the mystery out of critical MS Project Features. I recommend this new book for those wanting to move beyond the basics of MS Project. Bruce McNaughton, Director, Customer Driven Solutions Limited, UK, http://www.process-aide.com or http://www.processassets.com Paul Harris and others have spent many an hour researching how the tool behaves and he has presented here an explanation and recommendations on the tool's use. It should guarantee a saving for you of many hours and a lot of heartache as you bypass most of the painful experiences we had when learning how the tool behaves. It is a survival guide, a short cut for you to expand your knowledge and a collection of thoughts and ideas to help you become a better Project Manager. Martin Vaughan, Core Consulting Group, Melbourne, Australia, www.coreconsulting.com.au

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