Microsoft®
Project
2007 Bible

Author
Elaine Marmel

Microsoft® Project 2007 Bible
Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
10475 Crosspoint Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46256
www.wiley.com
Copyright © 2007 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
Library of Congress Control Number: 2006936837
ISBN-13: 978-0-470-00992-5
ISBN-10: 0-470-00992-6
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
1O/SX/RS/QW/IN
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of
the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through
payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978)
750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Legal Department,
Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, (317) 572-3447, fax (317) 572-4355, or online at
http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.
LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO
REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE
CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT
LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED OR
EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN
MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT
THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL
SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL
PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR
DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS
WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT
THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY
PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT INTERNET
WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK
WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ.
For general information on our other products and services or to obtain technical support, please contact our Customer
Care Department within the U.S. at (800) 762-2974, outside the U.S. at (317) 572-3993 or fax (317) 572-4002.
Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley logo, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons,
Inc. and/or its affiliates, in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission.
Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other
trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or
vendor mentioned in this book.
Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in
electronic books.
01_009926 ffirs.qxp 12/5/06 9:56 PM Page ivTo my brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Mariann Marmel, who always believe in me,
and to the memories of my mother, Susan Marmel (1914-2003) and my father
Harry Marmel (1914-1985), who always made me feel loved and cherished.
01_009926 ffirs.qxp 12/5/06 9:56 PM Page vAbout the Author
Elaine Marmel is President of Marmel Enterprises, LLC, an organization that specializes in technical
writing and software training. Elaine has an MBA from Cornell University and worked on projects to
build financial management systems for New York City and Washington, D.C. This prior experience
provided the foundation for Marmel Enterprises, LLC to help small businesses implement computerized accounting systems.
Elaine left her native Chicago for the warmer climes of Arizona (by way of Cincinnati, OH; Jerusalem,
Israel; Ithaca, NY; Washington, D.C., and Tampa, FL) where she basks in the sun with her PC and
her dog Josh and her cats, Cato, Watson, and Buddy, and sings barbershop harmony with the 2006
International Championship Scottsdale Chorus.
Elaine spends most of her time writing; she has authored and co-authored more than 30 books about
Microsoft Project, QuickBooks, Peachtree, Quicken for Windows, Quicken for DOS, Microsoft Excel,
Microsoft Word for Windows, Microsoft Word for the Mac, Windows 98, 1-2-3 for Windows, and
Lotus Notes. From 1994 to 2006, she also was the contributing editor to monthly publications
Peachtree Extra and QuickBooks Extra.
01_009926 ffirs.qxp 12/5/06 9:56 PM Page viCredits
Acquisitions Editor
Kyle Looper
Project Editor
Susan Christophersen
Technical Editors
Jim Peters, Brian Kennemer, Thuy Le,
T.R. Sloan
Copy Editor
Susan Christophersen
Editorial Manager
Jodi Jensen
Vice President & Executive Group Publisher
Richard Swadley
Vice President and Publisher
Andy Cummings
Editorial Director
Mary C. Corder
Project Coordinator
Kristie Rees
Graphics and Production Specialists
Carrie A. Foster
Joyce Haughey
Jennifer Mayberry
Barbara Moore
Heather Pope
Rashell Smith
Alicia South
Quality Control Technician
Brian Walls
Media Development Project Supervisor
Laura Moss
Media Development Specialist
Kate Jenkins
Proofreading and Indexing
Techbooks
01_009926 ffirs.qxp 12/5/06 9:56 PM Page viiPreface……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….xxix
Acknowledgments ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..xxxv
Part I: Project Management Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Chapter 1: The Nature of Projects ……………………………………………………………………………………..3
Chapter 2: Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment ……………………………………………………..21
Part II: Getting Your Project Going . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Chapter 3: Creating a New Project ……………………………………………………………………………………43
Chapter 4: Building Tasks ………………………………………………………………………………………………83
Chapter 5: Creating Resources and Assigning Costs …………………………………………………………..123
Part III: Refining Your Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Chapter 6: Understanding the Basics of Views ………………………………………………………………….161
Chapter 7: Using Views to Gain Perspective……………………………………………………………………..215
Chapter 8: Modifying the Appearance of Your Project ……………………………………………………….255
Chapter 9: Resolving Scheduling Problems ……………………………………………………………………..299
Chapter 10: Resolving Resource Problems ……………………………………………………………………….321
Part IV: Tracking Your Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Chapter 11: Understanding Tracking ………………………………………………………………………………349
Chapter 12: Recording Actuals……………………………………………………………………………………….367
Chapter 13: Reporting on Progress………………………………………………………………………………….397
Chapter 14: Analyzing Financial Progress ……………………………………………………………………….451
Part V: Working in Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477
Chapter 15: Coordinating Multiple Projects Outside Project Server ……………………………………..479
Chapter 16: Preparing to Use Project Server……………………………………………………………………..507
Chapter 17: Installing and Configuring Project Server ……………………………………………………….521
Chapter 18: Project Server and the Administrator …………………………………………………………….543
Chapter 19: Project Server and the Project/Resource Manager …………………………………………….611
Chapter 20: Project Server and the Day-to-Day User …………………………………………………………655
Chapter 21: Project Server and the Executive……………………………………………………………………685
viii
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page viiiPart VI: Advanced Microsoft Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 695
Chapter 22: Customizing Microsoft Project ……………………………………………………………………..697
Chapter 23: Using Macros to Speed Your Work ………………………………………………………………..729
Chapter 24: Customizing Microsoft Project Using VBA and Active Scripting …………………………747
Chapter 25: Importing and Exporting Project Information………………………………………………….785
Chapter 26: Project Case Studies ……………………………………………………………………………………815
Part VII: Appendixes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 829
Appendix A: What’s on the CD-ROM………………………………………………………………………………831
Appendix B: Project Management Worksheet……………………………………………………………………839
Appendix C: Available Fields and Functions for Custom Field Formulas ………………………………849
Appendix D: Project Management Resources ……………………………………………………………………865
Glossary……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..875
Index …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………881
End-User License Agreement …………………………………………………………………………………………923
ix
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page ix02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxix
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxv
Part I: Project Management Basics 1
Chapter 1: The Nature of Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Understanding Projects …………………………………………………………………………………………..3
Exploring project management…………………………………………………………………………4
Critical path and slack …………………………………………………………………………..4
Durations and milestones ……………………………………………………………………….7
Resource-driven schedules and fixed-duration tasks ……………………………………8
Diagrams that aid project management ……………………………………………………..8
Dependencies ……………………………………………………………………………………..11
Managing projects with project management software ……………………………………….11
What’s required of you …………………………………………………………………………12
What Microsoft Project can do to help ……………………………………………………13
The Life Cycle of a Project ……………………………………………………………………………………..14
Identifying your goal and the project’s scope ……………………………………………………14
Planning ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..15
Revising ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..16
Tracking ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..17
Learning from your mistakes …………………………………………………………………………18
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19
Chapter 2: Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Taking a First Look at Project ………………………………………………………………………………….21
Starting Project …………………………………………………………………………………………….22
Working with the Project Guide …………………………………………………………….23
Examining the Gantt Chart view…………………………………………………………….29
Using Project menus …………………………………………………………………………….31
Examining the toolbars…………………………………………………………………………35
Entering information ……………………………………………………………………………………36
Changing views …………………………………………………………………………………………..38
What’s New in Project 2007 ……………………………………………………………………………………39
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….40
xi
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xiPart II: Getting Your Project Going 41
Chapter 3: Creating a New Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Gathering Information …………………………………………………………………………………………..43
Determining detail tasks ………………………………………………………………………………..44
Establishing time limits ………………………………………………………………………………..45
Lining up your resources ………………………………………………………………………………45
Looking at dependencies ………………………………………………………………………………45
Opening a Project File …………………………………………………………………………………………..46
Opening a project file — the usual way …………………………………………………………..46
Other ways to open or start projects ………………………………………………………………..46
Establishing Basic Project Information ……………………………………………………………………..49
Looking at Project Calendars ………………………………………………………………………………….52
Setting calendar options ………………………………………………………………………………..53
Setting schedule options………………………………………………………………………………..54
Creating a new calendar ………………………………………………………………………………..54
Adjusting the calendar ………………………………………………………………………………….57
Entering Tasks ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..61
Adding Subtasks……………………………………………………………………………………………………64
Saving Project Files………………………………………………………………………………………………..67
Saving files ………………………………………………………………………………………………….68
Saving files as templates ………………………………………………………………………………..69
Protecting files …………………………………………………………………………………………….69
Closing Project …………………………………………………………………………………………….70
Working with a Project Outline ………………………………………………………………………………70
Adjusting tasks in an outline …………………………………………………………………………70
Copying tasks………………………………………………………………………………………………73
Displaying and hiding tasks …………………………………………………………………………..75
Getting Help…………………………………………………………………………………………………………78
Using the Help system ………………………………………………………………………………….78
Finding online help ……………………………………………………………………………………..81
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….82
Chapter 4: Building Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Establishing Timing for Tasks………………………………………………………………………………….83
Fixed-unit tasks …………………………………………………………………………………………..84
Fixed-duration tasks……………………………………………………………………………………..84
Fixed-work tasks …………………………………………………………………………………………85
Effort-driven tasks ……………………………………………………………………………………….86
Assigning Task Timing …………………………………………………………………………………………..86
Using the Gantt table ……………………………………………………………………………………86
Using the Task Information dialog box …………………………………………………………….88
Using your mouse and the task bar………………………………………………………………….90
xii
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xiiSetting scheduling options …………………………………………………………………………….91
Assigning a calendar to a task …………………………………………………………………………92
Creating milestones ……………………………………………………………………………………..93
Timing for summary tasks …………………………………………………………………………….94
Using Recurring Tasks …………………………………………………………………………………………..95
Establishing Constraints and Deadline Dates …………………………………………………………….99
Understanding constraints …………………………………………………………………………….99
Using deadline dates……………………………………………………………………………………..99
Setting constraints and deadline dates …………………………………………………………..100
Manipulating the Gantt Chart to View Timing …………………………………………………………102
Entering Task Notes …………………………………………………………………………………………….105
Establishing Dependencies Among Tasks ………………………………………………………………..108
Understanding dependencies ……………………………………………………………………….108
Understanding the interactions between constraints and dependencies ………………108
Allowing for delays and overlap ……………………………………………………………………110
Dependency types ……………………………………………………………………………………..112
Finish-to-Start (FS)…………………………………………………………………………….112
Start-to-Finish (SF)…………………………………………………………………………….113
Start-to-Start (SS) ………………………………………………………………………………115
Finish-to-Finish (FF) …………………………………………………………………………116
Establishing dependencies …………………………………………………………………………..117
Setting finish-to-start dependencies ……………………………………………………..117
Setting other types of dependencies ……………………………………………………..118
Viewing Dependencies …………………………………………………………………………………………120
Deleting Dependencies…………………………………………………………………………………………122
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..122
Chapter 5: Creating Resources and Assigning Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Understanding Resources ……………………………………………………………………………………..123
How resources work……………………………………………………………………………………124
How Project uses resource information to affect the schedule …………………………….125
How Project gathers cost information …………………………………………………………….125
Creating a Resource List ……………………………………………………………………………………….126
Modifying Resource Information …………………………………………………………………………..129
Assigning a communication method………………………………………………………………130
Specifying resource availability ……………………………………………………………………..130
Specifying a booking type…………………………………………………………………………….130
Creating a generic resource and assigning custom fields ……………………………………133
Creating a budget resource …………………………………………………………………………..134
Adding notes to a resource …………………………………………………………………………..135
Calendars and resources ………………………………………………………………………………137
Modifying a resource’s working hours……………………………………………………137
Blocking off vacation time……………………………………………………………………139
xiii
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xiiiUsing Resources and Tasks ……………………………………………………………………………………141
Assigning resources to tasks …………………………………………………………………………141
Assigning a budget resource …………………………………………………………………………143
Getting help while selecting resources to assign ………………………………………………145
Some tips about resource assignments …………………………………………………………..148
Removing or replacing a resource assignment………………………………………………….150
Handling Unusual Cost Situations …………………………………………………………………………151
Looking at the project’s cost …………………………………………………………………………151
Assigning fixed costs……………………………………………………………………………………152
Assigning a fixed cost to a task …………………………………………………………….152
Assigning a fixed resource cost to a task ………………………………………………..153
Accounting for resource rate changes …………………………………………………………….155
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..158
Part III: Refining Your Project 159
Chapter 6: Understanding the Basics of Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
What Is a View? ………………………………………………………………………………………………….161
Changing a table…………………………………………………………………………………………162
Changing a Details section …………………………………………………………………………..164
Examining Indicators …………………………………………………………………………………………..165
Admiring the Views …………………………………………………………………………………………….166
Calendar……………………………………………………………………………………………………167
Detail Gantt ………………………………………………………………………………………………168
Gantt Chart ………………………………………………………………………………………………169
Leveling Gantt …………………………………………………………………………………………..170
Tracking Gantt …………………………………………………………………………………………..172
Multiple Baselines Gantt ………………………………………………………………………………174
Network Diagram……………………………………………………………………………………….175
Descriptive Network Diagram……………………………………………………………………….180
Relationship Diagram ………………………………………………………………………………….181
PERT analysis views ……………………………………………………………………………………182
PERT Entry Sheet ………………………………………………………………………………183
Optimistic Gantt………………………………………………………………………………..184
Expected Gantt ………………………………………………………………………………….185
Pessimistic Gantt ………………………………………………………………………………186
PERT Weights ……………………………………………………………………………………186
Resource Allocation ……………………………………………………………………………………188
Resource Form …………………………………………………………………………………………..189
Resource Graph …………………………………………………………………………………………190
Resource Name Form ………………………………………………………………………………….191
Resource Sheet …………………………………………………………………………………………..192
Resource Usage…………………………………………………………………………………………..194
xiv
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xivRollup views………………………………………………………………………………………………195
Using the summary task bar ………………………………………………………………..196
Using the Rollup_Formatting macro ……………………………………………………..198
Switching rollup views ……………………………………………………………………….201
Task Details Form……………………………………………………………………………………….203
Task Entry ………………………………………………………………………………………………..204
Task Form ………………………………………………………………………………………………..205
Task Name Form ……………………………………………………………………………………….206
Task Sheet ………………………………………………………………………………………………..207
Task Usage ………………………………………………………………………………………………..208
Printing Your Project …………………………………………………………………………………………..209
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..213
Chapter 7: Using Views to Gain Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
Customizing Views………………………………………………………………………………………………215
Changing tables …………………………………………………………………………………………215
Changing row height and column width………………………………………………..215
Hiding and inserting columns………………………………………………………………217
Adding fields to a usage view ………………………………………………………………218
Switching tables ………………………………………………………………………………..220
Creating new tables or editing existing tables …………………………………………221
Working with views ……………………………………………………………………………………224
Adding views ……………………………………………………………………………………225
Creating a combination view………………………………………………………………..227
Ordering Tasks in a View ……………………………………………………………………………………..229
Sorting tasks………………………………………………………………………………………………229
Creating WBS codes ……………………………………………………………………………………232
Renumbering WBS codes …………………………………………………………………………….235
Defining outline numbers…………………………………………………………………………….238
Filtering Views to Gain Perspective ……………………………………………………………………….242
Applying a filter to a view…………………………………………………………………………….246
Creating custom filters ………………………………………………………………………………..247
Using AutoFilters ……………………………………………………………………………………….248
Using grouping…………………………………………………………………………………………..249
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..253
Chapter 8: Modifying the Appearance of Your Project . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Changing Project’s Looks ……………………………………………………………………………………..255
Using the Gantt Chart Wizard ………………………………………………………………………………257
Formatting Elements One by One …………………………………………………………………………261
Working with text……………………………………………………………………………………….261
Formatting selected text ……………………………………………………………………..261
Applying formatting to categories of text ………………………………………………263
xv
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xvChanging taskbars ……………………………………………………………………………………..265
Formatting taskbars …………………………………………………………………………..265
Changing the layout of the Gantt Chart ………………………………………………..270
Changing gridlines …………………………………………………………………………….272
Changing network diagrams…………………………………………………………………………273
Formatting network diagram nodes ……………………………………………………..273
Modifying node box styles ………………………………………………………………….274
Formatting fields that appear on nodes………………………………………………….275
Changing the layout of the network diagram …………………………………………278
Formatting the Calendar view……………………………………………………………………….280
Formatting the Calendar entries …………………………………………………………..281
Changing the Calendar layout………………………………………………………………282
Inserting Drawings and Objects …………………………………………………………………………….284
Copying pictures ……………………………………………………………………………………….284
Using visuals in schedules …………………………………………………………………………..291
Inserting visual objects ………………………………………………………………………………..291
Using the Drawing toolbar …………………………………………………………………………..294
Modifying graphics and drawings………………………………………………………………….297
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..298
Chapter 9: Resolving Scheduling Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299
Resolving Scheduling Conflicts………………………………………………………………………………299
Adding resources to tasks …………………………………………………………………………….300
Using overtime …………………………………………………………………………………………..301
Adding time to tasks……………………………………………………………………………………302
Adjusting slack …………………………………………………………………………………………..303
Changing task constraints…………………………………………………………………………….304
Adjusting dependencies ………………………………………………………………………………307
Splitting a task …………………………………………………………………………………………..309
Using the Critical Path to Shorten a Project …………………………………………………………….311
Identifying the critical path…………………………………………………………………………..312
Shortening the critical path…………………………………………………………………………..315
Using Multiple Critical Paths ………………………………………………………………………………..317
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..320
Chapter 10: Resolving Resource Problems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Understanding How Resource Conflicts Occur…………………………………………………………321
Spotting Resource Conflicts ………………………………………………………………………………….322
Using views to spot resource conflicts…………………………………………………………….323
Using filters to spot resource conflicts…………………………………………………………….325
Resolving Conflicts………………………………………………………………………………………………327
Changing resource allocations ……………………………………………………………………..327
Switching resources …………………………………………………………………………..328
Adding a task assignment to a resource………………………………………………….330
Adding or deleting a resource assignment………………………………………………330
xvi
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xviScheduling overtime……………………………………………………………………………………331
Redefining a resource’s calendar ……………………………………………………………………332
Assigning part-time work …………………………………………………………………………….334
Controlling when resources start working on a task …………………………………………336
Delaying tasks by leveling resource workloads ………………………………………………..337
Letting Project level resource loads ……………………………………………………….337
Making adjustments to leveling…………………………………………………………….340
Contouring resources ………………………………………………………………………………….342
Setting a contour pattern ……………………………………………………………………343
Contouring a resource’s availability ……………………………………………………….345
Pooling resources ……………………………………………………………………………………….346
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..346
Part IV: Tracking Your Progress 347
Chapter 11: Understanding Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
Understanding the Principles of Tracking………………………………………………………………..349
Estimates versus actuals ………………………………………………………………………………350
Making adjustments as you go ……………………………………………………………………..350
Using Baselines……………………………………………………………………………………………………352
What is a baseline? ……………………………………………………………………………………..352
Setting a baseline ……………………………………………………………………………………….353
Changing the Baseline …………………………………………………………………………………………356
Adding a task to a baseline …………………………………………………………………………..356
Using interim plans ……………………………………………………………………………………357
Clearing a baseline or interim plan ………………………………………………………………..359
Viewing Progress with the Tracking Gantt View ……………………………………………………….359
Interpreting the Tracking Gantt view …………………………………………………………….360
The Task Variance table ………………………………………………………………………………362
The Task Cost table ……………………………………………………………………………………363
The Task Work table……………………………………………………………………………………364
Understanding Tracking Strategies …………………………………………………………………………365
Tackling the work of tracking ……………………………………………………………………….365
Keeping track of tracking …………………………………………………………………………….366
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..366
Chapter 12: Recording Actuals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Organizing the Updating Process …………………………………………………………………………..367
Understanding Calculation Options ……………………………………………………………………….368
Updating Tasks to Reflect Actual Information…………………………………………………………..371
Setting actual start and finish dates………………………………………………………………..372
Recording actual durations …………………………………………………………………………..373
Setting the Percent Complete value………………………………………………………………..374
Setting work completed ………………………………………………………………………………376
Setting remaining durations …………………………………………………………………………377
xvii
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xviiUsing Actuals and Costs ……………………………………………………………………………………….379
Using the Cost table for tasks ……………………………………………………………………….380
Using the Cost table for resources………………………………………………………………….381
Overriding resource cost valuations ………………………………………………………………381
Techniques and Tips for Updating …………………………………………………………………………384
Tracking work or costs regularly……………………………………………………………………384
Accelerating the updating process………………………………………………………………….387
Letting Project reschedule uncompleted work ………………………………………………..389
Reviewing Progress………………………………………………………………………………………………390
Using the Tracking Gantt view ……………………………………………………………………..391
Using the Work table for tasks ……………………………………………………………………..392
Using the Work table for resources ………………………………………………………………..393
Viewing progress lines ………………………………………………………………………………..393
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..395
Chapter 13: Reporting on Progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
Creating Text Reports …………………………………………………………………………………………..398
Looking at the big picture…………………………………………………………………………….401
Project Summary ………………………………………………………………………………401
Top Level Tasks………………………………………………………………………………….401
Critical Tasks ……………………………………………………………………………………401
Milestones…………………………………………………………………………………………403
Working Days ……………………………………………………………………………………404
Generating reports on costs …………………………………………………………………………404
Cash Flow…………………………………………………………………………………………405
Earned Value……………………………………………………………………………………..406
Budget …………………………………………………………………………………………….408
Overbudget reports…………………………………………………………………………….408
Producing reports on time …………………………………………………………………………..410
Unstarted Tasks ………………………………………………………………………………..410
Tasks Starting Soon…………………………………………………………………………….410
Tasks in Progress………………………………………………………………………………..413
Completed Tasks ………………………………………………………………………………413
Should Have Started Tasks ………………………………………………………………….414
Slipping Tasks……………………………………………………………………………………414
Preparing reports on work assignments …………………………………………………………415
Who Does What ………………………………………………………………………………..415
Who Does What When……………………………………………………………………….415
To Do List …………………………………………………………………………………………418
Overallocated Resources ……………………………………………………………………..418
Reporting on workloads ………………………………………………………………………………419
Task Usage ……………………………………………………………………………………….420
Resource Usage………………………………………………………………………………….420
xviii
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xviiiCustomizing reports ……………………………………………………………………………………423
Custom reports………………………………………………………………………………….423
Customizing an existing report …………………………………………………………….425
Visual Reporting………………………………………………………………………………………………….429
Task Usage reports ……………………………………………………………………………………..430
Cash Flow Report ………………………………………………………………………………431
Earned Value Over Time Report …………………………………………………………..431
Resource usage reports ………………………………………………………………………………..432
Cash Flow Report ………………………………………………………………………………432
Resource Availability Report ………………………………………………………………..433
Resource Cost Summary Report …………………………………………………………..434
Resource Work Availability Report ……………………………………………………….435
Resource Work Summary Report …………………………………………………………436
Assignment Usage reports…………………………………………………………………………….437
Baseline Cost Report …………………………………………………………………………..437
Baseline Report ………………………………………………………………………………….438
Baseline Work Report …………………………………………………………………………439
Budget Cost Report…………………………………………………………………………….440
Budget Work Report …………………………………………………………………………..441
Summary reports ……………………………………………………………………………………….442
Critical Tasks Status Report………………………………………………………………….442
Task Status Report …………………………………………………………………………….443
Resource Remaining Work Report…………………………………………………………444
Resource Status Report ……………………………………………………………………….445
Customizing visual report templates………………………………………………………………446
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..449
Chapter 14: Analyzing Financial Progress. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
Understanding Earned Value ………………………………………………………………………………..451
Understanding earned value fields ………………………………………………………………..452
Using the Physical % Complete method to calculate earned value …………….454
Setting the date for earned-value calculations …………………………………………455
Using earned value tables …………………………………………………………………………….457
Using the Earned Value table for tasks ………………………………………………….457
Using the Earned Value table for resources …………………………………………….458
Using the Earned Value Cost Indicators and Earned
Value Schedule Indicators tables ……………………………………………………..459
Evaluating Cost Information………………………………………………………………………………….461
Charting earned value ………………………………………………………………………………..462
Using PivotTables for analysis……………………………………………………………………….469
Making Adjustments During the Project………………………………………………………………….474
Changing the schedule ………………………………………………………………………………..475
Modifying resource assignments ……………………………………………………………………475
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..476
xix
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xixPart V: Working in Groups 477
Chapter 15: Coordinating Multiple Projects Outside Project Server . . . . 479
Consolidating Projects …………………………………………………………………………………………479
Setting up to use consolidation……………………………………………………………………..480
Inserting a project……………………………………………………………………………………….482
Using inserted projects and their source files ………………………………………………….488
Consolidating all open projects: A shortcut ……………………………………………………489
Moving subprojects within a consolidated project …………………………………………..490
Understanding Consolidated Projects and Dependencies …………………………………………..491
Linking tasks across projects…………………………………………………………………………491
Changing links across projects ……………………………………………………………………..493
Consolidated projects — to save or not to save………………………………………………..494
Viewing Multiple Projects……………………………………………………………………………………..496
Viewing the Critical Path across Projects ………………………………………………………………..497
Sharing Resources Among Projects …………………………………………………………………………500
Creating a resource pool and sharing the resources…………………………………………..501
Opening a project that uses a resource pool ……………………………………………………502
Updating information in the resource pool ……………………………………………………..503
Quit sharing resources ………………………………………………………………………………..504
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..506
Chapter 16: Preparing to Use Project Server . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507
Understanding Project Server and Project Web Access ………………………………………………507
What’s New in Project Server 2007…………………………………………………………………………510
Planning the Project …………………………………………………………………………………………….512
Assessing requirements………………………………………………………………………………..512
Identify the people who will approve the Project Server design………………….512
Identify staff members to interview……………………………………………………….512
Create a requirements definition questionnaire ……………………………………….513
Conduct interviews…………………………………………………………………………….513
Calculate ROI ……………………………………………………………………………………514
Designing the system ………………………………………………………………………………….514
Assessing the technology environment ………………………………………………….514
Addressing special needs ……………………………………………………………………514
Establishing and enforcing organizational standards ………………………………..514
Training …………………………………………………………………………………………..517
Developing a strategy for implementation and configuration …………………………….517
Avoiding the Pitfalls …………………………………………………………………………………………….518
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..519
xx
Contents
02_009926 ftoc.qxp 12/5/06 9:57 PM Page xxChapter 17: Installing and Configuring Project Server . . . . . . . . . . . . 521
Reviewing Requirements ……………………………………………………………………………………..521
Meeting software requirements……………………………………………………………………..522
Software requirements for servers …………………………………………………………522
Software requirements for client computers …………………………………………..522
Meeting hardware requirements ……………………………………………………………………522
Hardware requirements for servers ……………………………………………………….523
Hardware requirements for client computers …………………………………………523
Assessing the network environment ………………………………………………………………523
Considering software/hardware scenarios ……………………………………………………….524
The Small Server Farm ……………………………………………………………………….525
The Medium Server Farm ……………………………………………………………………525
The Large Server Farm ……………………………………………………………………….525
Installing Peripheral Software………………………………………………………………………………..525
SQL Server and Analysis Services ………………………………………………………………….526
Checking the SQL version …………………………………………………………………………..526
Internet Information Services (IIS) ………………………………………………………………..527
Enabling IIS ……………………………………………………………………………………..527
Checking the IIS mode ……………………………………………………………………….529
Installing .NET Framework 3.0 ……………………………………………………………………530
Setting Up Windows Security Accounts ………………………………………………………………….530
Windows SharePoint Services Service account ………………………………………………..531
The Application Pool security account …………………………………………………………..531
Site Collection Owner account ……………………………………………………………………..531
Shared Service Provider Administrator account ………………………………………………532
Project Server Instance Administrator account ………………………………………………..532
Creating an account ……………………………………………………………………………………532
Installing Project Server and Windows SharePoint Services ……………………………………….534
Connecting to Project Server through Project Web Access …………………………………………540
Troubleshooting Your Installation…………………………………………………………………………..541
Summary …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..541
Chapter 18: Project Server and the Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 543
Double-Checking Settings ……………………………………………………………………………………544
Specifying Project Server features for your organization ……………………………………546
Managing Windows SharePoint Services…………………………………………………………548
Managing Security Settings…………………………………………………………………………..550
Managing security templates………………………………………………………………..550
Managing groups ………………………………………………………………………………552
Working with categories ……………………………………………………………………..55

No man (or woman) is an island, and this book is the product of the efforts of several people. Thank you, Kyle Looper, for your support and for making things smooth and easy
and for having faith in me. Thank you, Robin Drake, for starting this project with me and
keeping me on track while you could. I’m sorry we couldn’t finish together, but I hope there will
be projects in our future. Thank you, Susan Christophersen, for the wonderful job you did of picking up where Robin left off and keeping me sane, and for keeping the manuscript readable. My
thanks also go to the CD team at Wiley for producing the Web page on the CD and handling the
details of compiling the CD.
Thank you, Jim Peters, for keeping me technically accurate and for the wonderful insights you
added. As always, it was a delight to work with you and I look forward to our next venture
together. Jim is a PMP and president of SoftwareMatters.com, Inc., a Microsoft Project Partner
focused on integrating project management and software development methods with Microsoft’s
Enterprise Project Management solutions and tools. Jim has extensive experience designing and
implementing enterprise project management software solutions, delivering project management
training, and developing project management reporting systems. He can be reached by phone at
(877) 257-1982 or by e-mail at [email protected] For more information
about SoftwareMatters.com, Inc., see its Web site, www.softwarematters.com. Many thanks
also to the additional technical reviewers who helped out in a time crunch and contributed their
expertise to this project: Brian Kennemer, Thuy Le, and T.R. Sloan.
Thanks to Ira Brown and Roger Butler of Project Assistants, who co-authored Chapter 24. Ira is the
Executive Vice President, CTO, and co-founder of Project Assistants, Inc., a Premier Microsoft
Project Partner and Solution Provider specializing in implementation services, integration, training,
and custom software development for Microsoft Project. He has extensive project management and
application development experience and is recognized as a leading authority in developing custom
solutions for Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project Server. Roger is a Senior Solution Architect
with Project Assistants who specializes in custom software development for Microsoft Project and
Microsoft Project Web Access and is an integration expert to a variety of third-party project management–related applications. Ira can be contacted by phone at (800) 642-9259 or e-mail at
[email protected] Roger can be contacted by phone at (610) 305-4572 or
e-mail at [email protected] For more information about Project Assistants,
visit their Web site at www.projectassistants.com.
You all helped me make the Project 2007 Bible a better book than I could have produced by myself.
xxxv
04_009926 flast.qxp 12/5/06 9:59 PM Page xxxv04_009926 flast.qxp 12/5/06 9:59 PM Page xxxviProject Management
Basics
IN THIS PART
Chapter 1
The Nature of Projects
Chapter 2
Exploring the Microsoft Project
Environment
05_009926 pt01.qxp 12/5/06 10:00 PM Page 105_009926 pt01.qxp 12/5/06 10:00 PM Page 2Everybody does projects. Building a tree house is a project; so is putting a man on the moon. From the simplest home improvement to
the most complex business or scientific venture, projects are a part
of most of our lives. But exactly what is a project, and what can you do to
manage all its facets?
Some projects are defined by their randomness. Missed deadlines, unpleasant surprises, and unexpected problems seem to be as unavoidable as the
weekly staff meeting. Other projects have few problems. Nevertheless, the
project that goes smoothly from beginning to end is rare. Good planning and
communication can go a long way toward avoiding disaster. And although
no amount of planning can prevent all possible problems, good project management enables you to deal with those inevitable twists and turns in the
most efficient manner possible.
In this chapter, you begin exploring tools and acquiring skills that can help
you become a more efficient and productive project manager. The goal of
this chapter is to provide a survey of what a project is, what project management is, and how Microsoft Project 2007 fits into the picture.
Understanding Projects
When you look up the word project in the dictionary, you see definitions such
as “plan” and “concerted effort.” A project in the truest sense isn’t a simple
one-person endeavor to perform a task. By this definition, getting yourself
dressed — difficult though that task may seem on a Monday morning — isn’t
a project.
3
IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding projects
The life cycle of a project
The Nature of Projects
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 3A project is a series of steps that are typically performed by more than one person. In addition, a
project has the following characteristics:
n A project has a specific and measurable goal. You know you have finished the project
when you have successfully met your project goal.
n Projects have a specific time frame. The success of a project is often measured by how
successfully the project has been completed within the amount of time allotted to it.
n Projects use resources. Resources aren’t just people; resources can include money,
machinery, materials, and more. How well these resources are allocated and orchestrated
is another key measure of a project’s success or failure.
n All projects consist of interdependent, yet individual, steps called tasks. No piece of
a project exists in a vacuum. If one task runs late or over budget, it typically affects other
tasks, the overall schedule, and the total cost of the project.
Projects can last for months or even years. By their nature, projects are dynamic; they tend to grow,
change, and behave in ways that you can’t always predict. Consequently, you, as a project manager,
have to remain alert to the progress and vagaries of your projects or you will never reach your
goals. Documentation and communication are your two key tools for staying on top of a project
throughout its life.
Exploring project management
Project management is a discipline that examines the nature of

their progress. Project management attempts to organize and systematize the tasks in a project to
minimize the number of surprises that you may encounter.
Project management and project managers concern themselves with the following key areas:
n Scheduling
n Budgeting
n Managing resources
n Tracking and reporting progress
To manage these aspects of projects, certain tools have evolved over the years. Some of these are
conceptual, such as the critical path; others involve specific formats for charting progress, such as
a Gantt Chart. The following sections introduce some key project management concepts and tools.
Critical path and slack
The critical path marks the series of tasks in a project that must be completed on time for the overall project to stay on schedule. For example, suppose that you are planning a going-away party at
your office. You have three days to plan the party. The following table lists some of the tasks that
are involved and indicates their time frames.
4
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 4Task Duration
Signing the good-bye card Three days
Ordering food One day
Reserving a room One hour
Buying a good-bye gift One day
The shortest task, reserving a room, takes only one hour. Assuming that plenty of rooms are available for holding the party, you can delay reserving the room until the last hour of the third day.
Delaying this task doesn’t cause any delay in holding the party — as long as you accomplish this
task by the end of the longest task, which is getting everyone to sign the good-bye card. Therefore,
the task of reserving a room isn’t on the critical path. However, you can’t delay the task of signing
the good-bye card, which is projected to take three days to accomplish, without delaying the party.
Therefore, the card-signing task is on the critical path. (Of course, this example is very simple; typically, a whole series of tasks that can’t afford delay form an entire critical path.)
The following points further define and clarify these concepts:
n The critical path changes as the project progresses. Remember that a critical path is a
means of identifying tasks that have no leeway in their timing to ensure that they don’t
run late and affect your overall schedule. Knowing where your critical path tasks are at
any point during the project is crucial to staying on track. Figures 1.1 and 1.2 show the
same schedule — first with all tasks displayed and then filtered to show only the tasks
that are on the critical path.
See Chapter 7 to find out how to filter for only critical tasks and to see more information about changing the view of your project.
n Slack, also called float, is the amount of time that you can delay a task before that
task moves onto the critical path. In the preceding example, the one-hour-long task —
reserving a room — has slack. This task can slip a few hours, even a couple of days,
and the party will still happen on time. However, if you wait until the last half-hour of
the third day to reserve a room, that task will have used up its slack and it then moves
onto the critical path.
CROSS-REF
5
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 5FIGURE 1.1
Tasks with slack displayed alongside those on the critical path.
6
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 6FIGURE 1.2
When you apply the appropriate filter, only the tasks that can’t afford delay appear in your schedule.
Durations and milestones
Most tasks in a project take a specific amount of time to accomplish. Tasks can take anywhere from
five minutes to five months. The length of time needed to complete a task is called the task’s duration. You should always try to break the long tasks in a project into smaller tasks of shorter duration
so that you can track their progress more accurately. For example, break a five-month-long task into
five one-month tasks. Checking off the completion of the smaller tasks each month reduces the
odds of a serious surprise five months down the road — and makes you feel as though you’re getting
something done.
7
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 7Some tasks, called milestones, have no (0) duration. Milestones are merely points in time that mark
the start or completion of some phase of a project. For example, if your project involves designing
a new brochure, the approval of the initial design may be considered a milestone. You can assign a
duration to the process of routing the design to various people for review, but assigning a length of
time to the moment when you have everyone’s final approval is probably impossible. Therefore,
this task has a duration of 0 — that is, approval of the design is a milestone that simply marks a
key moment in the project.
Resource-driven schedules and fixed-duration tasks
Some tasks take the same amount of time — no matter how many people or other resources you
devote to them. Flying from San Francisco to New York is likely to take about five hours, regardless of how many pilots or flight attendants you add. You can’t speed up a test on a mixture of two
solvents that must sit for six hours to react by adding more solvent or by hiring more scientists to
work in the laboratory. These tasks have a fixed duration, meaning that their timing is set by the
nature of the task.
On the other hand, the number of available resources can affect the duration of some tasks. For
example, if one person needs two hours to dig a ditch, adding a second person will likely cut the
time in half. The project still requires two hours of effort, but two resources can perform the task
simultaneously. Tasks whose durations are affected by the addition or subtraction of resources are
called resource-driven tasks.
In real-world projects, this calculation is seldom so exact. Because people have different
skill levels and perform work at different speeds, two people don’t always cut the time
of a task exactly in half. In addition, the more people you add to a task, the more communication,
cooperation, and training may be involved. Microsoft Project handles additional assignments of
resources strictly as a mathematical calculation, but you can still use your judgment of the resources
that are involved to modify this calculation (see Chapter 10).
Diagrams that aid project management
Gantt Charts, network diagrams, and work breakdown structures (WBSs) are tools of project management that have evolved over many years. These tools are simply charts that you can use to track
different aspects of your project. Figure 1.3 shows a Microsoft Project Gantt Chart, and Figure 1.4
shows a Microsoft Project network diagram. Figure 1.5 shows a typical WBS, although Microsoft

Project does not include a WBS chart as one of its standard views.
NOTE
8
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 8FIGURE 1.3
The Gantt Chart bars represent timing of the tasks in a project.
You can purchase an add-on product (WBS Chart Pro) to create a WBS chart from a
Microsoft Project file. The CD-ROM that is included with this book features a sample
of the program.
Before people used computers to manage their projects, managers drew these charts by hand. Any
self-respecting project war room had a 10-foot network diagram, WBS, or Gantt Chart tacked to
the wall. By the end of the project, this chart was as marked up and out of date as last year’s
appointment calendar. Thankfully, project management software makes these charts easier to generate, update, and customize.
A Gantt Chart represents the tasks in a project with bars that reflect the duration of individual
tasks. Milestones are shown as diamond-shaped objects.
ON the the CD-ROM
9
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 9FIGURE 1.4
The network diagram resembles a flow chart for work in a project.
FIGURE 1.5
The work breakdown structure chart reminds you of a typical company’s organization chart.
First Design Phase
Start Milestone
Design Task 1
Second Design Phase
Design Task 2
Design Task 3
Design Task 4
End Design Milestone
Testing Phase
Test Task 1
Test Task 2
Test Task 3
End Milestone
Program Task 1
Program Task 2
End Program Milestone
Design Phase Programming Phase
Project Summary
10
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 10You can find out more about the various elements of the Gantt Chart in Chapter 2. For
this chapter’s purposes, you simply need to know that a Gantt Chart enables you to
visualize and track the timing of a project.
Network diagrams, on the other hand, don’t accurately detail the timing of a project. Instead, a
network diagram shows the flow of tasks in a project and the relationships of tasks to each other.
Each task is contained in a box called a node, and lines that flow among the nodes indicate the flow
of tasks.
In Project 98 and prior versions of Project, network diagrams were called PERT charts.
PERT stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique. The Special Projects Office
of the U.S. Navy devised this method for tracking the flow of tasks in a project when it was designing
the Polaris submarine in the late 1950s.
The U.S. defense establishment uses the WBS as its primary tool for managing projects and
describes the WBS in Military Standard (MIL-STD) 881B (25 Mar 93) as follows: “A work breakdown structure is a product-oriented family tree composed of hardware, software, services, data
and facilities . . . [It] displays and defines the product(s) to be developed and/or produced and
relates the elements of work to be accomplished to each other and to the end product(s).”
MIL-STD 881B was superseded by MIL-HDBK 881A, 30 July 2005. The foreword of the
newer documents states that there were “no substantive changes in work breakdown
structure definition.” The full text is available on many DOD sites (for example, http://dcarc
.pae.osd.mil/881handbook/881a.pdf).
Project doesn’t contain a PERT chart view. However, on the enclosed CD-ROM, you can
find a sample version of PERT Chart EXPERT, a program that converts the information in
any Project file to a PERT view.
Dependencies
The final project management concept that you should understand is dependencies. The overall
timing of a project isn’t simply the sum of the durations of all tasks, because all tasks in a project
don’t usually happen simultaneously. For example, in a construction project, you must pour the
foundation of a building before you can build the structure. You also have to enclose the building
with walls and windows before you lay carpeting. In other words, project managers anticipate and
establish relationships among the tasks in a project. These relationships are called dependencies.
Only after you have created tasks, assigned durations to them, and established dependencies can
you see the overall timing of your project.
Chapter 4 covers several kinds of dependencies.
Managing projects with project management
software
Many people manage projects with stacks of outdated to-do lists and colorful hand-drawn wall
charts. They scribble notes on calendars in pencil, knowing — more often than not — that dates
CROSS-REF
ON the the CD-ROM
NOTE
NOTE
CROSS-REF
11
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 11and tasks will change over time. They hold numerous meetings to keep everyone in the project
informed. People have developed these simple organizational tools because projects typically have
so many bits and pieces that no one can possibly remember them all.
To manage a project, you need a set of procedures. Project management software automates many
of these procedures. With project management software, you can do the following:
n Plan upfront: By preplanning the various elements of your project, you can more accurately estimate the time and resources that are required to complete the project.
n View your progress: By examining your progress on an ongoing basis from various
perspectives, you can see whether you are likely to meet your goal.
n Recognize conflicts: By identifying time and resource conflicts early, you can try out
various what-if scenarios to resolve them before the project gets out of hand.
n Make adjustments: You can make adjustments to task timing and costs, and automatically update all other tasks in the project to reflect the impact of your changes.
n Generate professional-looking reports: You can create reports on the status of your project to help team members prioritize and to help management make informed decisions.
To effectively manage projects with many participants, often based in many locations,
consider using Project 2007 in conjunction with its companion server product, Project
Server. Using Project Server and Project 2007, you can manage projects in a Web-based environment,
simplifying collaboration. For more details, see Chapters 16 through 21.
What’s required of you
Many people contemplate using project management software with about as much relish as they
contemplate having surgery. They anticipate hours of data-entry time before they can get anything
out of the software. To some extent, that vision is true. You have to provide a certain amount of
information about your project for any software to estimate schedules and generate reports, just as
you have to enter numbers for a spreadsheet to calculate a budget or a loan payback schedule.
On the other hand, after you enter your basic project information into Microsoft Project, the ongoing
maintenance of that data is far easier than generating handwritten to-do lists that become obsolete
almost immediately. In addition, the accuracy and professionalism of reports that you generate with
Project can make the difference between a poorly managed project and a successful one. As with a
quarterly budget that you create with spreadsheet software, after you enter the data, Project performs
its calculations automatically. And, using Project makes it easy for you to quickly spot potential problems and to test alternative solutions.
So, exactly what do you have to do to manage your project with Microsoft Project? To create a
schedule in Microsoft Project, you must enter the following information about your tasks:
n Individual task names
n Task durations
n Task dependencies
CROSS-REF
12
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 12To track the costs of these tasks, you add certain information about resources, including the
following:
n The list of human and material resources and their costs for both standard and overtime
hours
n The assignment of resources to specific tasks
To track a project over its lifetime, you need to enter the following information:
n Progress on tasks
n Changes in task timing or dependencies
n Changes in resources — that is, resources that are added to or removed from the project
n Changes in resource time commitments and costs
What Microsoft Project can do to help
Even though you still must enter a great deal of information into your project schedule, Microsoft
Project has ways to make the job easier:
n Project templates: If you often do similar types of projects, you can create project templates with typical project tasks already in place; you can then modify the templates for
individual projects. Project comes with templates to help you get started.
You can take advantage of sample project templates, which can be found on this book’s
companion CD-ROM. These templates represent a cross section of typical industries and
project types.
n Automate repeated tasks: If you have tasks that repeat throughout the life of a project,
such as weekly meetings or regular reviews, you can create a single repeating task, and
Project duplicates it for you.
n Import existing task lists: You can create projects from tasks that you’ve set up in
Outlook, or you can use Excel to start your project and then easily import the spreadsheet into Project.
n Exchange task information with Outlook: You can download project tasks into Outlook
from Project Web Access, work on them, record the work in Outlook, and then upload the
updated information to Project Web Access.
See Chapter 25 for more information about starting projects in Outlook and Excel and
then moving them into Project 2007.
n Advanced reporting and analytical capabilities: In addition to the reports Project provides, you can easily use Project data to prepare reports in Visio and Excel, providing you
with additional analytical capabilities.
n Consolidate projects: You can break projects into smaller pieces that team members can
use to enter and track progress. By tracking with this method, no individual person has
CROSS-REF
ON the the CD-ROM
13
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 13to enter an overwhelming amount of data. Also, team members feel more accountable
and involved in the project.
See Part V of this book, “Working in Groups,” for detailed information about working in
groups in Project 2007 alone or in conjunction with Project Server.
n Macros: You can take advantage of Microsoft Visual Basic to build macros that automate
repetitive tasks, such as generating weekly reports.
See Chapter 23 for more information about using macros to speed your work.
The Life Cycle of a Project
Projects typically consist of several phases. Understanding the nature of each phase can help you
relate the features of Microsoft Project to your own projects.
Identifying your goal and the project’s scope
Before you can begin to plan a project, you have to identify the goal, which isn’t always as obvious
as it sounds. Various participants may define a project’s goal differently. In fact, many projects fail
because the team members are unwittingly working toward different goals. For example, is the
team’s goal to perform a productivity study or to actually improve productivity? Is the outcome for
your project to agree on the final building design, or is it to complete the actual construction of the
building? As you analyze your goal and factor in the perspectives of other team members, make
sure that your project isn’t just one step in a series of projects to reach a larger, longer-term goal.
To identify your goal, you can communicate in various ways, such as meetings, e-mail, and conference calls. Most important, you should conduct a dialogue at various levels (from management
through front-line personnel) that gets ideas on the table and answers questions. Take the time to
write a goal statement and circulate it among the team members to make sure that everyone understands the common focus of the project.
Be careful not to set a long-range goal that is likely to change before the project ends.
Smaller projects or projects that have been broken into various phases are more manageable and more flexible.
See Chapter 16 for tips on avoiding pitfalls during project planning.
After you understand your goal, you should also gather the information that you need to define
the project’s scope. This endeavor may take some research on your part. The scope of a project is
a statement of more specific parameters or constraints for its completion. The constraints of a project usually fall within the areas of time, quality, and cost, and they often relate directly to project
deliverables.
CROSS-REF
NOTE
CROSS-REF
CROSS-REF
14
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 14The following are some sample goal and scope statements:
Project A:
n Goal: To locate a facility for our warehouse.
n Scope: By October 15, to find a modern warehouse facility of approximately 5,200
square feet, with a lease cost of no more than $3,000 per month, in a location that is convenient to our main office.
Project B:
n Goal: To launch a new cleaning product.
n Scope: Includes test-marketing the product, designing packaging, and creating and
launching an advertising campaign. The launch must be completed before the end of the
third quarter of 2007 and can cost no more than $750,000.
Notice that the second scope statement designates major phases of the project (conducting test
marketing, designing packaging, and creating an ad campaign). This statement provides a starting
point for planning the tasks in the project. In fact, you may eventually decide to break this project
into smaller projects of conducting test marketing, designing packaging, and launching an advertising campaign. Writing the scope of the project may encourage you to redefine both the goal and
the scope to make the project more manageable.
Keep your goal and scope statements brief. If you can’t explain your goal or scope in a
sentence or two, your project may be overly ambitious and complex. Consider breaking
the project into smaller projects.
Writing a simple goal and scope statement ensures that you’ve gathered key data — such as deliverables, timing, and budget — and that you and your team agree on the focus of everyone’s efforts.
These activities are likely to occur before you ever open a Microsoft Project file.
Planning
When you understand the goal and scope of a project, you can begin to work backward to determine the steps that you need to take to reach the goal. Look for major phases first, and then break
each phase into a logical sequence of steps.
Planning for resources is one aspect of planning the entire project. Resources can include equipment of limited availability, materials, individual workers, and groups of workers. Don’t forget to
take into account various schedules issues, such as overtime, vacations, and resources that are
shared among projects. Time, money, and resources are closely related: You may be able to save
time with more resources, but resources typically cost money. You need to understand the order of
priority among time, quality, and money.
TIP
15
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 15There’s truth to the old joke: Time, budget, or quality — pick two. Devoting resources
(which usually become costs) to a project schedule can decrease the time but can also
cause loss of quality control. Extending the time can improve quality but usually causes resource conflicts and added costs. Microsoft Project helps you see the trade-offs among these three important criteria throughout the life of your project.
Planning is the point at which you begin to enter data in Microsoft Project and see your project
take shape. Figure 1.6 shows an initial Microsoft Project schedule.
Revising
Most of the time, you send an initial project schedule to various managers or coworkers for
approval or input so that you can refine the schedule based on different factors. You can use the
reporting features of Microsoft Project to generate several drafts of your plan.
Chapter 13 explains more about the reports that are available in Project.
FIGURE 1.6
The outline format of a Project schedule clearly shows the various phases of your project. Dependencies
among tasks have not yet been established; every task starts at the same time, which isn’t always possible.
CROSS-REF
NOTE
16
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 16Be prepared to revise your plan after everyone has a chance to review it. You may want to create
and save multiple Project files to generate what-if scenarios based on the input that you receive.
Seeing your plans from various perspectives is a great way to take advantage of Project’s power.
Find out more about what-if analysis in Chapter 6.
Finding resolutions to conflicts in timing and resource allocation is another aspect of planning and
revising. Project helps you pinpoint these conflicts, which may include the following:
n A team member or resource that is booked on several projects at one time
n A task that begins before another task that must precede it
n An unusually high use of expensive equipment in one phase that is upsetting your budget
This book contains many tips and techniques for resolving conflicts. In particular,
Chapters 9 and 10 focus on using Microsoft Project features to resolve scheduling and
resource problems.
When your project plan seems solid, you can take a picture of it, called a baseline, against which
you can track actual progress.
Chapter 11 explains how to set (and, if necessary, clear) baselines.
Tracking
You should try to solidify your tracking methods before your project begins. Ask yourself the following questions:
n Do you want to track your progress once a week or once a month?
n Do project participants track their own work or merely report their progress to you?
n Do you want to roll those smaller reports into a single, less-detailed report for
management?
The answers to these questions can also help you determine whether you need to use
Project Standard, Project Professional, or Project Server. See Chapter 2 for more information on choosing the Project product that best suits your needs.
Knowing how you are going to track your project’s progress, and who needs to know what and
when, helps your team establish efficient tracking mechanisms from the outset; this reduces
frustration.
The Microsoft Project schedule shown in Figure 1.7 uses the Tracking Gantt view to show the original baseline (the bottom bar of each task) tracked against actual progress (the top bar of each task).
TIP
CROSS-REF
CROSS-REF
CROSS-REF
17
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 17FIGURE 1.7
The darker portion of each upper taskbar and the percentage figure to the right of each upper taskbar indicate the percentage of each task that is complete.
You can save interim baselines of a schedule at various points during your project. This
approach helps you see where major shifts occurred and shows how you accommodated those shifts. See Chapter 11 for more information on baselines.
Learning from your mistakes
Learning project management software isn’t like learning to use a word processor because project
management as a discipline entails conceptual layers that transcend the tools and features of the
software. Having the experience and wisdom to use these features effectively comes from repeated
use. You probably won’t be a proficient Microsoft Project user right away. You have to work
through one or more projects before you really know the most effective way to enter information
about your project. You can expect to develop efficient tracking methods over time. Don’t worry —
it took you time to learn all you know about managing projects. If you pay attention to what goes
on during your projects when you first implement Microsoft Project schedules, you can learn from
your mistakes.
TIP
18
Part I Project Management Basics
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 18Microsoft Project enables you to review your projects and to clearly see where you estimated incorrectly, made adjustments too slowly, or didn’t break phases into manageable chunks. Project keeps
your original schedule’s baseline in a single file, along with interim baselines and your final tracked
schedule. When planning future projects, you can use these older baselines to help gauge the duration of tasks and the cost of certain items and to know how many resources are enough resources.
In the end, you’ll be a more successful and efficient project manager. You can easily show your boss
the specific actions that you’ve taken to avoid problems and provide solutions. In addition, you’ll
have the tools that you need to help you and your manager understand the issues that you face and
to get the support that you need.
Summary
This chapter presented a survey of the discipline known as project management and explained the
role that project management software can play to help you manage projects. The following topics
were covered:
n Projects involve a stated goal, a specific time frame, and multiple resources (which can
include people, equipment, and materials).
n Project management seeks to control issues of time, quality, and money.
n Critical path, slack, task durations, milestones, fixed tasks, resource-driven tasks, and
dependencies are project management elements that help you build and monitor a project.
n Project management software can assist you in planning, tracking, and communicating
with team members and in reporting on projects with tools such as Gantt Charts and network diagrams.
n Although using Project takes some effort on your part, this effort pays off in increased
productivity and efficiency.
n Projects typically have five activities: Setting the goal and defining the scope, planning,
revising, tracking, and reviewing to learn from your mistakes.
Chapter 2 takes a closer look at the Project environment and provides information about some of
the tools that you can use to manage a project.
19
The Nature of Projects 1
06_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 1906_009926 ch01.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 20This chapter introduces Project’s environment as well as the powerful
tools that Project places at your disposal. You practice moving among
different views, and you work with some of the tools and on-screen
elements that you can use to create schedules.
Although Microsoft considers Project to be part of the Microsoft Office family,
you will notice that Project does not sport the new interface found in Word,
Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office products. Many of the changes to Project
2007 are “under the hood” changes.
Taking a First Look at Project
Two versions of Microsoft Project 2007 are available. You can purchase
Project 2007 Standard or Project 2007 Professional. These products differ
only in the way that they support Project Server, which is Project’s tool to
manage projects on the Web.
The functionality of Project Server has again been expanded. As with Project
2003, you can’t use Project Server with Project Standard. Instead, to use
Project Server 2007, you must also use Project Professional 2007. In this
book, I assume that you’re using Project Professional.
See Part V for more information on using Project Server.
If you are not connected to Project Server, you’ll see no difference in functionality between Project 2007 Standard and Project
2007 Professional. You see commands in Project 2007 Professional that you
don’t see in Project 2007 Standard, but the commands aren’t available for use.
So, if you’re using Project Standard, most of this book also applies to you.
NOTE
CROSS-REF
21
IN THIS CHAPTER
Taking a first look at Project
The basics of entering
information in Project
Exploring the Microsoft
Project Environment
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 21See Part V for more information about Project Server and Project Web Access.
Project uses the menu and toolbar structure found in Office 2003 and earlier products.
Project contains a View bar that functions similarly to the one in Outlook, Microsoft’s
organizer, e-mail, and calendar program. The View bar enables you to switch among
views and functions in the software. You can choose to hide or display the View bar. Open the View
menu; if a check appears next to View Bar, Project displays the View bar. Click View Bar to remove
the check and hide the View bar.
The figures throughout this book don’t show the View bar.
Starting Project
When you open Microsoft Project from the Programs folder of the Windows Start menu, Project
initially displays the main screen for Project 2007, as shown in Figure 2.1. On the left, you see the
Project Guide pane. The Project Guide pane helps users set up and work with a project.
NOTE
TIP
CROSS-REF
22
Part I Project Management Basics
What Is Project Server?
Project Server enables you to manage projects on your company’s intranet or on the Internet —
and only the manager installs and uses Microsoft Project Professional. Everyone else on the project uses Project Web Access, the Web-based product that connects to the Project Server database
that contains your project data. You open Project Web Access by typing the URL to the Project Server
database into Internet Explorer version 6 (or later). Using Project Web Access instead of Microsoft
Project, resources can, among other things, do the following:
n View a project’s Gantt Chart
n Receive, refuse, and delegate work assignments
n Update assignments with progress and completion information
n Attach supporting documentation, such as budget estimates or feasibility studies, to a project
n Receive notices about task status
n Send status reports to the project manager
Project managers can do even more than resources. For example, by using Project Server, project
managers have access to a company-wide resource pool (called the Enterprise Resource Pool) that
tracks resource allocations across projects. If a project manager finds that a specific resource is
unavailable, he or she can define the requirements for the job and let Project Server tools search the
Enterprise Resource Pool to find another resource with the same skills.
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 22FIGURE 2.1
The first screen that you see when you start Project shows the Project Guide pane, which can help you set
up a project.
You also can open Project by double-clicking any Project file. Project files are saved
with the extension .mpp.
Working with the Project Guide
The Project Guide is a goal-based user interface that helps you build projects. In addition to the
Project Guide pane on the left side of the screen, you also can display the Project Guide toolbar,
which appears just above the Project Guide pane. To display the Project Guide toolbar, right-click
anywhere in the toolbar area at the top of the screen and choose Project Guide (see Figure 2.2).
Using the buttons on the Project Guide toolbar, you can limit the choices that appear in the Project
Guide pane.
At this point, you can use the Project Guide toolbar and the Project Guide pane to begin building
your project. Click a button on the Project Guide toolbar to start working in the associated area.
The choices listed in the Project Guide pane change, based on the Project Guide toolbar button
that you click.
TIP
23
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 23FIGURE 2.2
The buttons on the Project Guide toolbar control the information that appears in the Project Guide pane.
When you click a link in the Project Guide, a wizard starts and walks you through the process
that’s suggested by the link. For example, if you click the Tasks button on the Project Guide toolbar
and then click the Define the project link, a three-step wizard walks you through starting a project.
The first step helps you to establish the starting date for your project. After setting the date, click
the right arrow at the top of the pane or click Save and go to Step 2 at the bottom of the Project
Guide pane to continue (see Figure 2.3). In Step 2 of the Define the Project Wizard, you identify
whether you intend to use Project Server. In Step 3, you return to the Project Guide.
Project Guide toolbar
24
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 24FIGURE 2.3
The Define the Project Wizard walks you through a three-step process to begin a project.
If you click the Resources button on the Project Guide taskbar and then click Specify people
and equipment for the project, the Project Guide helps you set up resources for your project (see
Figure 2.4).
25
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment

FIGURE 2.3
The Define the Project Wizard walks you through a three-step process to begin a project.
If you click the Resources button on the Project Guide taskbar and then click Specify people
and equipment for the project, the Project Guide helps you set up resources for your project (see
Figure 2.4).
25
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 25FIGURE 2.4
The Project Guide can help you set up resources for your project.
When you click the Track button on the Project Guide toolbar, you can perform a variety of tasks
that are associated with tracking your project, including setting a baseline (see Figure 2.5).
26
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 26FIGURE 2.5
You can use the Project Guide to help you track project information.
Read about using Project to track your project in Part IV.
If you click the Report button on the Project Guide toolbar, you find links that help you report on
your project, including a link that enables you to print what you see — the Print current view as a
report link (see Figure 2.6). The four-step process helps you do the following:
n Determine the number of pages for the report
n Change the size of the report by modifying elements such as the timescale or the columns
n Set up the header, footer, and legend
n Set other options to change the margins, print notes, configure manual page breaks,
and more
CROSS-REF
27
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 27FIGURE 2.6
The Print current view as a report link walks you through a four-step process to print what you see onscreen.
You also can preview the report on-screen before you print.
You can customize the Project Guide so that it offers you options to work the way that
your organization works. See Chapter 24 for some examples on customizing the Project
Guide.
If you decide that you don’t want to use the Project Guide (perhaps it eats up too much screen real
estate for your taste), you can hide the pane and the toolbar. To temporarily hide the pane, click
the X in the upper-right corner of the pane. You can redisplay the Project Guide by clicking the
leftmost button on the Project Guide toolbar. To temporarily hide the toolbar, right-click any toolbar and click Project Guide to remove the check mark that appears next to it.
To turn off the Project Guide feature entirely, open the Options dialog box (choose Tools ➪
Options) and click the Interface tab. Then, remove the check mark from the Display Project
Guide box.
CROSS-REF
28
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 28Examining the Gantt Chart view
See Chapter 22 for more information on setting options in Project.
After you’ve hidden the pane, you see the blank Project screen in the Gantt Chart view, as shown in
Figure 2.7.
By default, Project opens a new project in the Gantt Chart view. You see other views throughout
this book, but you’re likely to spend a great deal of your time in the Gantt Chart view. This view
offers a wealth of information about your project in a single snapshot. In most table views, you find
a fill handle, which you can use to populate columns, just as you use a fill handle in Excel.
For details about the other views that are available in Project, see Chapter 6.
FIGURE 2.7
A blank project contains no project information. When you enter information in the Gantt Chart view, the
split pane displays the data both textually and graphically.
CROSS-REF
CROSS-REF
29
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 29The Gantt Chart view has two main sections: the Gantt table and the Gantt Chart. After you enter
task information, the Gantt table (in the left pane) holds columns of information about your project, such as the task name, duration, start date, and more. The Gantt Chart (in the right pane) is a
graphic representation that helps you see the timing and relationships among tasks, as shown in
Figure 2.8.
The timescale along the top of the Gantt Chart acts like a horizontal calendar. Think of it as a ruler
against which you draw the tasks in your project. Instead of marking off inches, however, this ruler
marks off the hours, days, weeks, and months of your project. Project enables you to display up to
three timescales along the top of the Gantt Chart — a top, middle, and bottom timescale. In Figure
2.8, you see two timescales. The top timescale shows months; the bottom timescale shows weeks.
Multiple timescales help you to see the multiple levels of timing simultaneously, such as the day
and hour or the month, week, and day.
FIGURE 2.8
A sample project with task details in the Gantt table and bars representing tasks in the Gantt Chart.
30
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 30You can customize your timescale to increase or reduce the amount of information that
appears on the right side of the Gantt Chart or to show unusual time increments, such
as thirds of months. In Figure 2.8, I customized the timescale to show week increments. Double-click
the timescale itself to display the Timescale dialog box. You can adjust settings for all three timescales
in the Timescale dialog box. Also, note that Project uses default settings for the number of hours in a
workday, days in a week, and so on. To adjust these settings to display or hide nonworking days, you
can use the settings on the Non-working Time tab in the Timescale dialog box.
In Chapter 3, I explain how to modify the calendars that control a project, and in
Chapter 4, I explain how to set the timescale.
You can modify what you see on-screen in the Gantt Chart view, and Project carries those modifications to other views. After you practice moving among these views, you can see information about
timing, budget, or resource assignments in detail, or you can just look at the big picture. You also
can customize what each view shows you. For example, you can use the divider that runs between
the Gantt table and Gantt Chart to adjust the amount of space that each pane occupies. Dragging
this divider to the right reveals more columns of project data in the Gantt table. Dragging the divider
to the left displays more of the project’s taskbars in the Gantt Chart.
In addition to modifying how much of each pane you display on-screen, you can zoom in or out to
view larger or smaller time increments for different perspectives of your project’s schedule. You can
show smaller time increments in the Gantt Chart by clicking the Zoom In button, or you can show
larger increments of time by clicking the Zoom Out button. A daily perspective on a three-year
project enables you to manage day-to-day tasks, whereas a quarterly representation of your project
may be more useful when you’re discussing larger issues with your management team.
Notice that the two panes of the Gantt Chart view have their own sets of scroll bars at the bottom
of the window. To make changes, you must use the appropriate scroll bar and select objects in the
appropriate pane.
Using Project menus
The menus in Project 2007 appear at the top of the screen and work like the menus in Office XP
and Office 2003; by default, commands are available “on demand.” That is, when you open a menu,
you see a small subset of commands that Microsoft believes you’ll use most often. In addition, at the
bottom of the menu, you see a pair of downward-pointing arrows, as shown in Figure 2.9. If you
highlight the pair of arrows (or pause the mouse over them for a few moments), Project displays the
other commands that usually appear on the menu, as shown in Figure 2.10. After you select a command, that command appears on the menu as soon as you open the menu.
CROSS-REF
NOTE
31
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 31FIGURE 2.9
Initially, only a subset of commands appears on a menu.
32
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 32FIGURE 2.10
When you pause the mouse over or click the downward-pointing arrows at the bottom of the menu, the
rest of the menu commands appear.
You can change this menu behavior so that all commands appear on a menu when you open it. To
do this, use the Customize dialog box.
The Customize dialog box is described in detail in Chapter 22.
Several of the menus in Project offer commands that are probably quite familiar to you, such a

Menu Types of Functions Available
File Open and close new and existing files; save and print files; adjust page setup and
document properties; and route files to e-mail recipients.
Edit Cut, copy, and paste text or objects; manipulate data with Fill, Clear, and Delete
commands; link and unlink task relationships; and locate information with Find,
Replace, and Go To commands.
View Select various default views of your project; access standard report formats; choose to
display or hide various toolbars; use the Zoom feature; and enter header and footer
information.
Insert Insert new tasks, another Project file, or columns in various views and insert various
objects into your schedule, including drawings, Excel charts, Word documents, media
clips, and even hyperlinks to Web sites.
Format Adjust the appearance of text, taskbars, and the Timescale display and change the
overall appearance of a view’s layout.
Tools Run or modify Spelling and AutoCorrect functions to proofread your schedule; access
workgroup features; establish links between projects; and modify your working
calendar or resources. You can also customize standard views and functions with the
Organizer, Options, or Customize commands; record macros; and initiate tracking
functions. If you’re using Project 2007 Professional, you can set Enterprise options.
Project Display task or project information or notes, and use commands to sort or filter tasks
to see specific details. You can also control outlining features of your project tasks.
Collaborate Publish project information to Project Server, request or update progress information,
view the Project Center and Resource Center, analyze or model a portfolio, discuss
risks and issues, view documents posted by other users, and set Collaboration options.
If you’re using Project Standard, you don’t see this menu.
The remaining two menus, Window and Help, contain commands to arrange windows on-screen
and to access Help features, respectively.
See Chapter 3 for more information on the Help system in Project.
Microsoft has placed corresponding tool symbols and keyboard shortcuts (such as Delete or
Ctrl+F) next to the menu commands, as shown in Figure 2.11. This display helps you to get things
done more quickly in Project. Notice also that the main menus sometimes open submenus (also
called side menus or cascading menus). A black arrow to the right of a command indicates the presence of a submenu. Finally, if you choose a menu command followed by an ellipsis (. . .), such as
Find . . . or Replace . . ., Project displays a dialog box.
CROSS-REF
34
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 34FIGURE 2.11
Tool symbols appear to the left and keyboard shortcuts appear to the right of commands on Project menus.
Submenus offer more choices, and dialog boxes appear if you click a menu command that is followed by
an ellipsis.
Examining the toolbars
You’re probably already familiar with tools in Windows programs and the way in which they
appear by category on toolbars. When you open Project, two default toolbars are visible: the
Standard toolbar and the Formatting toolbar. These appear in Figure 2.12.
FIGURE 2.12
The Standard toolbar and the Formatting toolbar are the default toolbars in Project.
You may see both toolbars appear on one row when you open Project. In this case, you also don’t
see all the tools that appear in Figure 2.12. You can change the appearance so that the toolbars
appear on two rows, as I’ve done throughout this book. If you choose to keep both toolbars on one
row, you can access the buttons that don’t appear by clicking the Toolbar Options down arrow,
which appears at the end of each toolbar, and then clicking the button that you want to use.
If you move your mouse over the Toolbar Options down arrow and pause, a ScreenTip TIP appears to help you identify it. TIP
35
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 35To change the appearance of the toolbars in Project, use the Customize dialog box,
which is discussed in Chapter 22.
In some software programs, the available tools are context sensitive, that is, they change according
to the function that you’re performing. In Project, the default toolbars are fairly consistent. Some
tools become unavailable when you perform certain functions or change views. In these cases, the
tools appear grayed out, and nothing happens when you click them.
If you insert an object into your project from another Microsoft application, such as
Excel or PowerPoint, the other program’s environment replaces the toolbars and menus
in Project when you select that object. Therefore, you can use the other program’s tools to modify the
object without leaving Project. The toolbars and menus in Project reappear when you click outside
the inserted object.
In addition to the Standard and Formatting toolbars, Project contains several other toolbars, some
of which appear automatically when you’re performing certain types of activities. However, you
can also display any of these toolbars at any time by choosing View ➪ Toolbars and selecting from
the toolbar submenu that appears.
These toolbars appear anchored at the top of the Project window with the Standard
and Formatting toolbars, but you can float any toolbar — including the Standard and
Formatting toolbars — anywhere on your screen by positioning the mouse pointer over the leftmost
edge of the toolbar; when the pointer changes to a four-headed arrow, drag the toolbar and it will
float on-screen. When floating, each toolbar displays a title bar, and you can move floating toolbars by
dragging their title bars. To anchor a floating toolbar in the area where the Standard and Formatting
toolbars appear, simply drag the floating toolbar (using its title bar) to the top of the screen.
Entering information
Several views or portions of views in Project, such as the Gantt table, use a familiar spreadsheetstyle interface. Information appears in columns and rows. The intersection of a column and a

Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 36As you enter information into a cell, the information also appears in the Entry bar, which runs
along the top of the screen directly under the Formatting toolbar. The Entry bar in Project serves
the same purpose as the Entry bar in Excel. You can type new text or edit existing text by clicking
anywhere within the text in the Entry bar. Two buttons on the left of the bar (an X and a check
mark) enable you to cancel or accept an entry, as shown in Figure 2.13.
Chapter 4 covers entering and editing text in greater detail.
Project 2007 introduces the Change Highlighting feature; when you make a change to
timing information in a project, Project highlights all tasks in your project that are
affected by the change you made. If you don’t like the effects, you can click the Undo button on the
Standard toolbar. In fact, beginning with Project 2007, you can click the Undo button an unlimited
number of times to “go back” to the state of your project before you made any changes. See Chapters
3 and 4 for more details on both of these features.
FIGURE 2.13
You can enter or edit text in individual cells or in the Entry bar.
NEW FEATURE NEW FEATURE
CROSS-REF
37
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 37Changing views
Project offers multiple views in which you can display project information. A single view can’t possibly show all the information that you need to see regarding timing, relationships among tasks,
resource allocations, and project progress. In fact, to interpret each type of information accurately,
you need special kinds of graphical and textual displays. Think of a project as a small business. As
in any business, different people attend to various aspects of the work. The accounting department
thinks mainly of the costs of doing business. The plant supervisor focuses on operations and having
enough machinery and manpower to get the job done. Your human resources department thinks of
people — their salaries, hours, benefits, and so on. As the owner of your project, you are likely to
wear all these hats (and more) during the project. With Project, switching to another view to see
your work from a different perspective is the equivalent of changing hats as you move from one
responsibility to another. Each view helps you to focus on a different aspect of your project. The
View bar or the View menu enables you to jump from view to view, as shown in Figure 2.14.
FIGURE 2.14
The View bar and View menu offer several predefined views of your project.
3The View bar contains icons for eight views; you can display any of the views by clicking them in
the View bar. Similarly, the View menu contains commands for the same eight views; you can display any of the views that are listed on the View menu by clicking the command.
At the bottom of the View bar and on the View menu, you can see an item called More Views.
Click More Views to open the More Views window, shown in Figure 2.15.
FIGURE 2.15
The More Views dialog box lists 24 built-in views; you can add your own as well.
In Chapter 6, you find out more about all of Project’s views and how you can use them
to gain perspective on your project. In Chapter 7, you discover how to create custom
views by clicking New in the More Views dialog box.
What’s New in Project 2007
Most of the new features in Project 2007 revolve around Project Server, with improvements both to
the interface and under the hood. For example, in Project Server, you can now update the OLAP
cube process incrementally instead of needing to build an entirely new cube to update the cube’s
information.
But there also are a few fairly powerful new features in Project Standard Professional that users
have anxiously awaited.
For example, Project 2007 introduces a multilevel Undo capability — a long-awaited feature. And,
the Gantt Chart view and the Calendar views have been enhanced.
The new Change Highlighting feature helps you see the effects that changes to one task’s timing has
on other tasks.
The Task Driver feature helps you identify, quickly and easily, the scheduling factors that drive
individual tasks.
Rather than describe all the new features in Project 2007 at this point in the book, I’ve provided
Table 2.2, which shows you where you can find more information in this book on new features.
CROSS-REF
39
Exploring the Microsoft Project Environment 2
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 39You can easily find the new features in the chapters in which I discuss them in detail.
Simply look for the New Feature icon that appears next to the discussion of a new feature in Project.
The features for which you find descriptions in Chapters 16–21 are not available in
Project Standard.
TABLE 2.2
New Features in Project 2003
Feature Chapter
Create named calendar exceptions 3
Define recurring calendar exceptions 3
Task Driver 4
Multilevel Undo 3 and 4
Change Highlighting 3 and 4
Cost resources 5
Budgeting using cost resources 5
Gantt Chart view enhancements 6
Calendar view enhancements 6
Visual reporting 13
Active cache to improve the offline experience for Project 2007 16
users connected to Project Server.
Import tasks from a Windows SharePoint Services Version 3 19
Project Tracking List
Improvements to resource substitution 19
Commitments 19
Summary
This chapter introduced the Project 2007 environment and the many ways in which you can display project information. This chapter also described the following techniques:
n Understanding the Project screen
n Using Project menus and toolbars
n Entering information in your project
Chapter 3 covers how to get help in Project and how to save Project files.
NOTE
NEW FEATURE NEW FEATURE
40
Part I Project Management Basics
07_009926 ch02.qxp 12/5/06 10:01 PM Page 40Getting Your
Project Going
IN THIS PART
Chapter 3
Creating a New Project
Chapter 4
Building Tasks
Chapter 5
Creating Resources and
Assigning Costs
08_009926 pt02.qxp 12/5/06 10:02 PM Page 4108_009926 pt02.qxp 12/5/06 10:02 PM Page 42Now that you have some project management concepts under your
belt and you’ve taken a stroll around Project’s environment, you are
ready to create your first schedule. Before you type any information
into a Project schedule, however, you should first assemble the relevant
information about your project. Then you can open a new Project file and
begin to build your project tasks by using a simple outline structure.
In this chapter, you begin to build your first Project schedule and find out
how to save your project. At the end of the chapter, you read about how to
take advantage of Project’s various Help features.
Gathering Information
As you read in Chapter 1, several elements must be in place before you can begin
to build a project schedule. First, you must understand the overall goal and
scope of the project so that you can clearly see the steps that lie between you and
that goal. You’ll find delineating the major steps of the project a good place to
start. Don’t worry about the order of the tasks at this point — just brainstorm all
the major areas of activity. Suppose that you’ve been given the project of organizing an annual meeting for your company. You may take the following steps:
n Book the meeting space
n Schedule speakers
n Arrange for audiovisual equipment
n Order food
n Send out invitations
n Mail out annual reports
43
IN THIS CHAPTER
Gathering information
Opening a Project file
Looking at Project calendars
Entering tasks
Adding subtasks
Saving Project files
Getting help
Creating a New Project
09_009926 ch03.qxp 12/5/06 10:03 PM Page 43The last item on that list raises the question of scope: Is it within the scope of your project to create
the annual report, or are you simply supposed to obtain copies of a report from the marketing
department, for example, and mail them to stockholders before the meeting? In some corporations,
the person who is responsible for organizing the annual meeting is also responsible for overseeing
the production of the annual report. Be sure to answer questions of scope and responsibility at this
stage of your planning.
For this example, you can assume that another department is creating the annual report. You simply need to make sure that someone mails copies of the report to all stockholders before the annual
meeting.
Determining detail tasks
After you have prepared a list of major tasks, break them into more detailed tasks. Take one of the
items on the list — Order food, for example — and consider how you can break down this task.
How detailed should you get? The following is one possible breakdown of the Order food task:
n Create a budget.
n Determine a menu.
n Select a caterer.
n Send out requests for bids.
n Receive all estimates.
n Review estimates and award contract.
n Give final head count to caterer.
n Confirm menu one week before the meeting.
Could you do without the detailed tasks under Select a caterer? Do you need more details under
Create a budget? Those decisions are up to you, based on your knowledge of your project and procedures. However, keep the following points in mind:
n Create tasks that remind you of major action items, but don’t overburden yourself with
items of such detail that keeping track of your schedule becomes a full-time job. That’

Delaying tasks by leveling resource workloads
If you have scheduled several tasks to run concurrently and you now find resource conflicts in
your project, you can delay some of these tasks to level — or, spread out — the demands that you’re
making on your resources. Leveling is the process of resolving resource conflicts by delaying or
splitting tasks to accommodate the schedules of assigned resources. You can ask Project to select
the tasks to delay or split by using its leveling feature, or you can control the process manually by
examining the project to identify tasks that you are willing to delay or split.
Letting Project level resource loads
When Project does the leveling for you, it redistributes a resource’s assignments and reschedules
them according to the resource’s working capacity, assignment units, and calendar. Project also
considers the task’s duration, constraints, and priority.
What is a task’s priority? Well, leveling typically results in Project’s delaying some tasks, and you
can use the task’s priority to control the order in which Project levels tasks to try to avoid delaying
certain tasks. By default, Project assigns all tasks a priority of 500. When you assign different priorities to tasks, Project considers the priorities of each task when you level and attempts to avoid
delaying tasks in order of their priority, from highest to lowest — the higher the number, the higher
the priority. Effectively, Project delays tasks with lower priorities before delaying tasks with higher
priorities; if everything else is equal, Project will delay a task with a priority of 5 before it will delay
a task with a priority of 15. So, before you start to use the automatic-leveling feature, consider how
you want to prioritize tasks.
The priority of 1000 is treated in a special way; Project will not consider delaying any
task to which you assign a priority of 1000.
To set a priority, follow these steps:
1. Choose View ➪ Gantt Chart.
2. Double-click the task for which you want to set a priority, or select the task and click the
Task Information button on the Standard toolbar. Project displays the Task Information
dialog box.
3. Use the General tab to set a priority (see Figure 10.15).
You might prefer to set priorities from the table portion of the Gantt Chart view or the
Task Usage, where you can easily see the priorities of neighboring tasks.
After you prioritize tasks — but before you level — you can sort tasks by priority to view TIP the tasks that Project is most likely to level. TIP
TIP
TIP
337
Resolving Resource Problems 10
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 337FIGURE 10.15
Set a priority for the task.
To level tasks automatically, follow these steps:
1. Choose Tools ➪ Level Resources to open the Resource Leveling dialog box (see
Figure 10.16).
FIGURE 10.16
From the Resource Leveling dialog box, you can set resource leveling options.
338
Part III Refining Your Project
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 3382. Select the Automatic option button to have Project automatically level resources, if necessary, whenever you make a change to your schedule. Select Manual to perform leveling
only when you click the Level Now button in this dialog box.
3. Use the Look for Overallocations on a . . . Basis list box to select a basis. The basis is a
time frame, such as Day by Day or Week by Week. (The Indicator box in the Resource
Usage view may contain a note that suggests the appropriate basis.)
4. Select the Clear Leveling Values before Leveling check box to make Project 2007 reset all
leveling delay values to 0 before leveling. If you don’t check this box, Project 2007 does
not reset leveling values but builds upon the values. During leveling, the scheduling for
previously leveled tasks will probably not change.
5. In the Leveling Range For panel, select either to level the entire project or to level only for
specified dates.
6. In the Leveling Order list box, select the order that you want Project to consider when
leveling your project. If you choose ID Only, Project delays or splits the task with the
highest ID number. If you choose Standard, Project looks at predecessor dependencies,
slack, dates, and priorities when selecting the best task to split or delay. If you choose
Priority, Standard, Project looks first at task priority and then at all the items that are
listed for the Standard leveling order.
7. Select any of the following options:
n Level Only Within Available Slack: This avoids changing the end date of your project.
n Leveling Can Adjust Individual Assignments on a Task: In this case, leveling adjusts
one resource’s work schedule on a task independent of other resources that are working on the same task.
n Leveling Can Create Splits in Remaining Work: This allows leveling to split tasks to
resolve resource conflicts.
n Level Resources with the Proposed Booking Type: Check this box to have Project
include tasks containing proposed resources during the leveling process.
8. Click Level Now to apply leveling.
You can review the effects of leveling from the Leveling Gantt Chart view, as shown in Figure 10.17.
Choose Views ➪ More Views ➪ Leveling Gantt and then click Apply. Project adds green bars to
your Gantt Chart, which represent the duration of tasks before leveling. Depending on the nature
of your project, Project may build more slack into your tasks.
339
Resolving Resource Problems 10

3. Use the Look for Overallocations on a . . . Basis list box to select a basis. The basis is a
time frame, such as Day by Day or Week by Week. (The Indicator box in the Resource
Usage view may contain a note that suggests the appropriate basis.)

number of interim plans during your project. You can show a wide variety of information about
your baseline(s), or you can choose not to display baseline information.
Some projects, particularly shorter ones that run only a few weeks or even a couple of months,
may have one baseline set at the outset and may proceed close enough to your estimates that they
can run their course against that single baseline. Other projects, especially longer ones, may
require you to set several baselines along the way, particularly if the original estimate is so out of
line with what has transpired in the project that the original is no longer useful. You can modify
352
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
How Much Have You Accomplished?
As I describe in Chapter 12, you record activity on a task by entering an estimate of the percentage of the task that’s complete, actual resource time spent on the task, or actual costs incurred
(such as fees or equipment rentals paid), or by entering the hours of work done per time period.
Estimating “the completeness” of a task is not an exact science, and different people use different
methods.
With something concrete, such as a building under construction, you can look at the actual building
and estimate fairly accurately how far along the project has progressed. Most projects aren’t so
straightforward, however. How do you estimate how far along you are in more creative tasks, such
as coming up with an advertising concept? You can sit in meetings for five weeks and still not find the
right concept. Is your project 50 percent complete? Completion is hard to gauge from other, similar
projects on which you’ve worked — perhaps on the last project, you came up with the perfect concept in your very first meeting.
Don’t fall into the trap of using money or time spent as a gauge. It’s (unfortunately) easy to spend
$10,000 on a task that is estimated to cost $8,000 and still be only 25 percent to completion. You
probably have to use the same gut instincts that put you in charge of this project to estimate the
progress of individual tasks. Hint: If your project has individual deliverables that you can track, document them and use them consistently when you make your estimate.
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 352the entire baseline if changes are drastic and occur early in the project, or you can modify the baseline estimates only going forward from a particular point in the project.
For example, if your project is put on hold shortly after you complete the schedule and you actually start work three months later than you had planned, you would be wise to set a new baseline
schedule before restarting. If, however, you’re six months into your project and it is put on hold for
three months, you may want to modify the timing of future tasks and reset the baseline only for
tasks going forward to help you retain the ability to accurately assess how well you estimated.
Costs can change a baseline, too. For example, what if you save a baseline that is set to fit within a
$50,000 budget and, before you start work, cost-cutting measures hit your company and your
budget is cut to $35,000? You would be wise to make the changes to your resources and costs, and
then reset your baseline. Setting interim baselines keeps your projects from varying wildly from
your estimates when mitigating circumstances come into play.
Setting a baseline
In most cases, you need to save the project file — without setting the baseline — several times during the planning phase.
When you’re ready, you can use the Set Baseline dialog box to save up to 11 baselines and 10 interim
plans for your project. Each baseline is a picture of your project at the time that you save it, and each
baseline that you set includes information about tasks, resources, and assignments. For tasks, Project
saves duration, start and finish dates, work, timephased work, cost, and timephased cost. For
resources, Project saves work, timephased work, cost, timephased cost, budget work, timephased
budget work, budget cost, and timephased budget cost information with the baseline. For assignments, Project saves start and finish dates, work, timephased work, costs, and timephased costs.
When you save interim plans, Project saves a set of task start and finish dates that you can compare
with another interim plan or with a baseline plan, thus helping you to keep an eye on progress or
slippage. Saving baselines and interim plans can help you compare current information (found in
the start and finish fields) with baseline information (found in the baseline fields). The distinction
between baselines and interim plans in Project is the amount and type of information that Project
saves.
To control the settings when you set a baseline, follow these steps:
1. Set up the baseline project that you want to save.
2. Choose Tools ➪ Tracking ➪ Set Baseline to open the Set Baseline dialog box, as shown in
Figure 11.2.
3. Open the Set baseline list box and select the baseline that you want to set.
4. Click OK.
353
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 353FIGURE 11.2
Use this dialog box to save a baseline or interim plan.
When you set baselines for selected tasks, you can choose to roll up baselines to all summary tasks
and from subtasks into their parent summary task(s) — thus helping to maintain accurate baseline
information, as shown in Figure 11.3. The relationship between the tasks in the project and the
task(s) that you select prior to opening the dialog box determine the effect of these check boxes.
FIGURE 11.3
You can control Project’s behavior when rolling up baseline information for selected tasks.
354
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 354For example, suppose that you have a project set up like the one shown in Figure 11.4. Furthermore,
suppose that you select Task 6, a child of Task 1 and the parent of Tasks 7 and 8, before you open
the Set Baseline dialog box. If you select only the From Subtasks into Selected Summary Task(S)
check box, Project rolls up the information from Tasks 7 and 8 to Task 6. If you select only the To
All Summary Tasks check box, Project rolls up baseline information from Task 6 without regard
to the baseline information that is stored for Tasks 7 and 8. If you select both check boxes, Project
rolls up baseline information from Tasks 7 and 8 to Task 6 and then rolls up that information to
Task 1.
Suppose that you want to update the baseline to reflect approved changes to the project, such as
added tasks, or changes to existing tasks that affect the cost or schedule of the tasks. Highlight the
added or changed tasks and the parent summary task and then set the baseline. In the Set Baseline
box (refer to Figure 11.3), choose the Selected Tasks option and check both boxes in the Roll Up
Baselines section. Project will update the baseline for the changed tasks and then change all the
summary levels to reflect the change.
FIGURE 11.4
Ancestry determines baseline information rollup behavior. In this sample project, Tasks 3 and 6 are children of Task 1, and Task 6 is the parent of Tasks 7 and 8.
355
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 355Changing the Baseline
Most of the time, you don’t want to make changes to a baseline. It’s a moment that’s frozen in time,
a record against which you can compare your progress. If you change a baseline on a regular basis,
you are defeating its purpose.
That said, you will encounter some circumstances in which, for strategic reasons, you need to modify
a baseline project and reset the baseline or set a second or third baseline to document major shifts in
the project. However, if you are overriding the original baseline, you must do so in a thoughtful and
efficient way. This section discusses some of the times when changes to a baseline are necessary and
explains how you can make those changes.
Adding a task to a baseline
It is fairly common to set your baseline plan and then realize that you left out a step, or then
decide to break one step into two steps. Perhaps your company institutes a new requirement or
process, and you have to modify a task to deal with the change. You don’t want to reset your whole
project baseline, but you want to save that one task along with the original baseline. You can make
this change after you set the original baseline.
To add a task to your baseline so that you can track its progress, follow these steps:
1. Do one of the following:
n To add a new task to the schedule and then incorporate it into the baseline, first add
the task in the Task Name column on your Gantt Chart and then select it.
n To save modifications to an existing task, first make the changes and then select
the task.
2. Choose Tools ➪ Tracking ➪ Save Baseline. The Save Baseline dialog box appears.
3. Select the baseline that you want to modify from the Save baseline list.
4. Choose the Selected tasks option button, as shown in Figure 11.5.
5. Choose the appropriate Roll Up Baselines settings (see the preceding section for details on
these options).
6. Click OK to save the baseline, which now includes the new task.
You can add tasks to the baseline by entering them in the Gantt table, using columns
such as Baseline Duration and Baseline Start or Finish. However, adding baseline data
this way does not enable all baseline calculations. For example, adding a task at the end of the project
with this method doesn’t affect a change in the baseline finish date.
NOTE
356
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 356FIGURE 11.5
Make modifications to tasks and save them in an already established baseline.
Using interim plans
You can use the baseline in different ways. You can refer to it as your original estimate and compare
it with actual results at the end of the project to see how well you guessed, and to learn to make
better guesses on future projects. But the baseline also has an important practical use during the
project: It alerts you to shifts so that you can make changes to accommodate them. The second
use may prompt you to save interim plans.
The initial baseline(s) may quickly take on more historical than practical interest. You should not
change the initial baseline(s) because that record of your original planning process is important to
retain. However, if timing shifts dramatically away from the baseline plan, all the little warning
signs that Project gives you about being off schedule become useless. A project that starts six
months later than expected will show every task as late and every task as critical. To continue generating useful project information, you need to revise the schedule to better reflect reality. Only by
setting interim plans can you see how well you’re meeting your revised goals.
Remember that interim plans contain a set of task start and finish dates that you can
compare with another interim plan or with a baseline plan, thus helping you to keep an
eye on progress or slippage. A baseline includes much more information — duration, start and finish
dates, work, and cost information about tasks, resources, and assignments. Setting baselines and
interim plans helps you to compare current information, found in the start and finish fields, with
baseline information, found in the baseline fields.
You can set interim plans for all the tasks in the project. However, you should usually set an
interim plan only for tasks going forward. For example, if a labor strike pushes out a manufacturing project by two months, you should keep the baseline intact for all the tasks that were completed at the time the strike started and save an interim plan for all the tasks that must still be
performed when the strike ends.
NOTE
357
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 357You also can use interim plans to copy baseline information from one baseline to
another.
You can set an interim plan by following these steps:
1. Select various tasks to include in the interim plan.
2. Choose Tools ➪ Tracking ➪ Set Baseline to open the Set Baseline dialog box.
3. Select the Set interim plan option button. Project makes the Copy and Into fields available.
4. Open the Copy list. In Figure 11.6, I’ve opened the Into list, which contains the same
choices as you’ll find in the Copy list.
FIGURE 11.6
The choices in the Copy and Into lists enable you to save several sets of start and finish
dates in interim plans.
5. Select Start/Finish from the Copy drop-down list to copy the current start and finish
dates.
6. Open the drop-down list for the Into field and select a numbered item, such as
Start1/Finish1, to copy the dates into new fields, thus creating an interim plan.
7. Select the Entire project option button to create an interim plan for the whole project, or
choose the Selected tasks option button to create an interim plan that retains the original
interim planor baseline information for any tasks that you didn’t select, yet saves new
baseline information for the tasks that you have selected.
8. Click OK to save the interim plan.
NOTE
358
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 358Remember that you can use the various numbered Start/Finish items to set up to 10 interim plans
plus the original, for a total of 11 interim plans over the life of your project.
Clearing a baseline or interim plan
Inevitably, you set a baseline or an interim baseline and then find a reason to clear it. Suppose, for
example, that you thought you finished the planning stage of the project. The project hasn’t yet
started, and you attend a meeting in which you inform everyone that you’re “good to go” for next
Monday. Naturally, your announcement triggers discussion and, by the time the discussion ends,
the scope of the project has expanded (or contracted) considerably. You now need to work again
on the planning phase of your schedule — and you really don’t want to adjust the baseline. Instead,
you want to get rid of it. After you make all your changes, you can set the correct baseline.
To clear a baseline, choose Tools ➪ Tracking ➪ Clear Baseline. Project displays the Clear Baseline
dialog box (see Figure 11.7). In this dialog box, you can choose to clear a baseline plan or an
interim plan for the entire project or for selected tasks.
FIGURE 11.7
Set the baseline too soon? Clear it from this dialog box so that you can make adjustments and set the baseline correctly.
Viewing Progress with the Tracking
Gantt View
Baselines help you to see how your estimates differ from actual activity in the project. Project
enables you to see this variance both graphically, with baseline and actual taskbars, and through
data that is displayed in tables in various views. The next section briefly explains how to display
baseline and actual data and how you can use this feature to understand the status of your project.
In Chapter 12, you find out how to enter tracking data. CROSS-REF
359
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 359Interpreting the Tracking Gantt view
The Tracking Gantt view is most useful in viewing progress against your baseline estimates. To display the Tracking Gantt view, click its icon in the View bar or choose View ➪ Tracking Gantt. This
view shows the Entry table by default. However, you can add or remove fields (columns), or you
can display other tables of information. In Figure 11.8, I chose to display the Tracking table, and I
added columns to include baseline information.
Review Chapter 7 for more information about changing and modifying tables.
Notice the Baseline Duration and Baseline Cost fields that I added to the table, as well as the Actual
Duration and the Actual Cost fields, which appear in the default Tracking table. These fields help
you to compare estimated versus actual timing and costs.
FIGURE 11.8
The Tracking Gantt table can display a wealth of information.
CROSS-REF
360
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 360The default Tracking table also contains the following information:
n % Complete: This field shows the progress of various tasks in the schedule. Figure 11.9
shows that one task is complete.
n Physical % Complete: A field that you can use to calculate BCWP (budgeted cost of
work performed). Project calculates the % Complete field for you based on Total
Duration or Actual Duration values you enter, but Project allows you to enter a value for
the Physical % Complete field. Use this field to calculate BCWP when the % Complete
value would not accurately represent the real work performed on a task.
n Remaining Duration: This field reflects the amount of time needed to complete an
unfinished task. You can enter a value into this field or you can allow Project to calculate
it for you by entering a value into either the Actual Duration field or the % Complete
field. If you enter a value for Remaining Duration, Project calculates a new % Complete
value and a new Duration value; Project changes the Duration value to equal the sum of
Actual Duration and Remaining Duration, leaving Actual Duration untouched.
n Actual Work: In the Actual Work field, you’ll see the amount of work that has been performed by resources. There are Actual Work fields for tasks, resources, and assignments,
as well as timephased Actual Work fields for tasks, resources, and assignments.
The Tracking Gantt view displays both a table and taskbars to give you a graphic view of progress
on the project. The bars on the Tracking Gantt vary in appearance slightly from the taskbars on the
standard Gantt Chart view; the Tracking Gantt bars indicate progress on tasks in the project. At the
top of the Tracking Gantt, you see the summary task for the project, and below it, you see a blackand-white hatched bar. That bar represents progress on the summary task. The noncritical tasks
appear in blue, and critical tasks appear in red.
On all tasks that aren’t summary tasks, you see two bars: The top bar represents expected duration;
the bottom bar represents baseline duration.
The percentage indicator at the edge of a task reflects the percentage complete for that task. The
top bars of completed tasks, such as the Dig the Hole task, are solid in color, whereas the top bars
of incomplete tasks, such as the Build the Deck task, are patterned and appear lighter in color. The
bars of partially completed tasks, such as the Pour the Pool task, are solid on the left and patterned
on the right; the solid part represents the completed part of the task whereas the patterned part
represents the incomplete part of the task.
361
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 361FIGURE 11.9
Various taskbar styles and color codes display the project’s progress and variances.
You also can tell at a glance whether a task completed earlier or later than estimated. Look at the
Dig the Hole task: The top bar (actual duration) is shorter than the bottom bar (baseline duration).
The Task Variance table
As you change the table displayed in the Tracking Gantt view, you see different information about
your progress in the project. The Variance table, for example, highlights the variance in task timing
between the baselines and actuals. To display this table, shown in Figure 11.10, right-click the
Select All button in the upper-left corner of the table where the row containing column headings
and the task number column meet. Choose Variance from the list of tables that appears.
Summary of progress Percent complete
Task in progress Baseline
362
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 362FIGURE 11.10
If you’re behind schedule, you can easily see the awful truth in the Variance table.
You can easily compare the Baseline Start and Baseline Finish and the actual Start and Finish
columns that show actual data for tasks on which you have tracked progress as well as baseline
data for tasks with no progress. This table also contains fields to show you the Start Variance (how
many days late or early the task started) and the Finish Variance (how many days late or early the
task ended).
The Task Cost table
The Task Cost table is most useful for pointing out variations in money spent on the project.
Figure 11.11 shows a Task Cost table for a project in progress, with some costs incurred and others
yet to be expended. At this point, the Pour the Pool task is exceeding its projected cost by $1,000.
Project takes the following factors into account when calculating cost variations:
n Actual resource time worked
n The estimate of days of resource time still to be expended to complete the task
n Actual costs (such as fees and permits) that have been tracked on the task
363
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 363FIGURE 11.11
The Task Cost table shows where you’ve spent too much and where you have a lot more money to spend.
Compared to a baseline estimate of $2,240.00, the Pour the Pool task is over budget.
The Task Work table
The Work table of the Tracking Gantt view, shown in Figure 11.12, focuses on the number of work
hours put in by resources that are working on tasks. For example, the Baseline work for the Pour
the Pool task was 64 hours. However, the task is only partially complete and has taken 94 hours.
Therefore, the Variance field (the difference between the baseline hours of work and the actual
hours spent) shows a loss of 30 hours. On the other hand, the Baseline estimate for the Dig the
Hole task was 32 hours, and the task was completed in 14 hours. The Variance column shows a
saving of 18 hours; the negative value indicates that fewer hours were used than were estimated
in the baseline.
You’ll see many of these tables and more tracking views as you work through the next few chapters. At this point, you should have a good idea of the types of information that you can get by
tracking progress on your project.
364
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 364FIGURE 11.12
To determine whether a task is taking much more effort than you estimated, check the Task Work table.
Understanding Tracking Strategies
As you use Microsoft Project on real projects, your tracking skills will improve. However, if you
follow certain basic principles of tracking from the start, you can save yourself a lot of aggravation
in your first few projects.
Tackling the work of tracking
First, update your project schedule frequently and at regular intervals. Many people see tracking as a
monumental task: All the details of each task’s progress and duration, as well as all the resources and
costs that are associated with each task, must be entered one by one. You have to gather that data
through resource timecards, reports from other project participants, and vendor invoices. You must
type in all the information that you gather. I won’t kid you: Tracking can be hard work. However, the
more often you track, the less the tracking data will pile up and the less likely it is to overwhelm you.
Help yourself with the tracking task by assigning pieces of the updating to various people in your
project. If a particular resource is in charge of one phase of the project, have him or her track the
365
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 365activity on just that phase. You can use various methods of compiling those smaller schedules into
a master schedule.
Part V of this book provides ideas for compiling several schedules and managing schedules with workgroups.
If you have a resource available, such as an administrative assistant who can handle the tracking
details, all the better. Make sure that you provide this assistant with appropriate training (and a
copy of this book) so that he or she understands the tracking process well enough to be accurate
and productive. However, this resource probably does not need to be a Project expert to take on
some of the work.
To help you remember to track, enter tracking as a recurring task, occurring once every
week or two, within your project file. And don’t forget to include required meetings
(such as progress meetings and performance reviews) in your schedule.
Keeping track of tracking
Using task notes to record progress and changes can be another good strategy for effective tracking.
If an important change occurs that doesn’t merit changing your baseline, use the task notes to
record it. When you reach the end of the project, these notes help you to document and justify
everything from missed deadlines to cost overruns.
Try to set some standards for tracking in your organization. For example, how do you
determine when a task is complete? How do you measure costs, and what is the source
of information on resource time spent on a task? Project becomes a much more effective management tool if each project manager uses identical methods of gauging progress and expenditures, just
as your company’s accounting department uses standards in tracking costs.
Setting multiple baselines is useful, but how do you decide when to save each iteration? You may
want to consider setting a different baseline for each major milestone in your project. Even long
projects usually have only four or five significant milestones, and they are likely to occur after you
have accomplished a sizeable chunk of work.
Summary
This chapter explored some of the fundamental concepts of tracking activity on a project. You
became familiar with the following:
n How to set, modify, and clear baselines
n How to view your baseline estimates against actual progress
Chapter 12 covers the mechanics of tracking, recording the actuals, and streamlining the entry of
this data.
TIP
TIP
CROSS-REF
366
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 366Actuals represent what has, in fact, occurred during your project. In
Microsoft Project, you can record actual information about the cost
of a task and about the time that was spent completing the task. By
recording actual information, you accomplish the following things:
n You let Project automatically reschedule the remainder of your
project.
n You provide management with a way to measure how well your
project is going.
n You provide yourself with valuable information on your estimating
skills — information that you can apply to the remainder of the
current project and to your next project.
Organizing the Updating Process
Before you launch into the mechanics of updating a project, you should take
a moment to examine the updating process. Updating a project can become
complicated, particularly for large projects with many resources assigned to
them. You need to establish efficient manual procedures for collecting information in a timely fashion, and then you need to determine the best ways to
enter that information into Project.
Individuals working on tasks should answer the following questions regularly:
n Is the task on schedule?
n How much is done?
367
IN THIS CHAPTER
Organizing the updating process
options
Updating tasks to reflect actual
information
Using actuals and costs
Techniques and tips for updating
Reviewing progress
Recording Actuals
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 367n Is a revised estimate available on the duration of the task?
n Is a revised estimate available on the work that is required to complete the task?
If your organization has forms and processes in place to capture actuals and status
information, use those forms and processes as much as possible. Although the organization’s forms and processes may not currently capture project information, sometimes it is easier to
ask for a little more information using current forms than it is to create new forms and processes.
You may want to create a form for participants to use for their regular reports. Their reports should
provide the information that you need to update your project plan in Project. You may be able to
use one of the reports in Project (or customize one of Project’s reports) to provide the necessary
information.
If you use Project Server, you can take advantage of electronic tracking and reporting
capabilities. See Chapters 19 and 20 for more information.
You also should decide how often you need to receive the collection forms. If you request the
reports too frequently, your staff may spend more time reporting than working. On the other hand,
if you don’t receive the reports often enough, you won’t be able to identify a trouble spot early
enough to resolve it before it becomes a major crisis. As the manager, you must decide on the correct frequency for collecting actual information for your project.
You can use the timephased fields in Project to track actual work and costs on a daily or
weekly basis. Read more about timephased cost tracking in the section “Tracking work
or costs regularly,” later in this chapter.
When you receive the reports, you should evaluate them to identify unfinished tasks for which you
need to adjust the planned duration, work, and costs. You’ll find that these adjustments are easiest
to make if you make them before you record a task’s actual dates or percentage of completion.
Also, remember that recording actual information enables you to compare estimates to actuals; this
comparison often proves to be quite valuable. To make this comparison, make sure that you set a
baseline for your project.
See Chapter 11 for more information on setting baselines.
Understanding Calculation Options
You need to understand the calculation options that you can set in Project; they affect the “bottom
line” of both the project’s cost and schedule. You can review and change calculation options on the
Calculation tab of the Options dialog box. Choose Tools ➪ Options to display the Options dialog
box and then click the Calculation tab (see Figure 12.1). In the paragraphs that follow, I describe
the various options that you see in this figure.
CROSS-REF
TIP
CROSS-REF
TIP
368
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 368FIGURE 12.1
Use this dialog box to set the options that Project will use to calculate your project’s schedule and cost.
Calculation Mode and Calculate options: You can control when Project calculates changes that
you make to the project; if you choose Automatic, Project updates your project as you make
changes. If you choose Manual, you must reopen the Options dialog box and you can click the
Calculate Now button to update your project. You also can choose to apply the calculation mode to
all open projects or only to the active project. Automatic calculation is the default, but if your project is very large, calculating can take quite a while; under these circumstances, you may want to
switch to manual calculation to save time. When your project is set to manual calculation and you
make a change that requires recalculation, you see Calculate in the status bar — a reminder to
calculate the project when you finish making changes.
Updating Task Status Updates Resource Status check box: Select this box to have Project
update resource status to correspond with any updated task status. (This option works in reverse,
too. If you update a resource’s status, Project also updates task status accordingly.) Suppose, for
example, that you update the percentage of completion for a task. When you select this box,
Project also updates the % Complete field for the resource and the assignment.
You can set calculation options that make Project change task start dates and adjust NOTE remaining portions of tasks when tasks begin early or late.
369
Recording Actuals 12
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 369Adjusting for late or early starts: By default, when tasks begin late or early, Project doesn’t
change the task start dates or adjust the remaining portions of tasks. The following four check
boxes were introduced in Project 2003 and enable you to change this default behavior so that
Project updates the tasks in relation to the Status Date:
n Move End of Completed Parts after Status Date Back to Status Date
n And Move Start of Remaining Parts Back to Status Date
n Move Start of Remaining Parts before Status Date Forward to Status Date
n And Move End of Completed Parts Forward to Status Date
You can find the project’s status date in the Project Information dialog box (choose
Project ➪ Project Information). If the status date isn’t set, Project uses the current date.
The check boxes work in pairs — that is, the first two check boxes work together and the second
two check boxes work together. To better understand Project’s behavior and the first pair of check
boxes, suppose that the Status Date is December 9 and you have a task with a Start Date of
December 14 and a duration of four days. Furthermore, suppose that the task actually starts on
December 7. If you select the first check box, Project moves the task start date to 12/7, sets the
percent complete to 50%, and schedules the start of the remaining work for 12/16 — thus creating
a split task. If you also select the second check box, Project makes the changes that I just described
and moves the start of the remaining work to 12/9.
Now consider the second pair of check boxes. Again, suppose that the Status Date is December 9
and you have a task with a Start Date of December 1 and a duration of four days. Furthermore,
suppose that the task actually starts on December 7. If you select the third check box, Project
leaves the task start date at 12/1, sets the percent complete to 50%, and schedules the start of the
remaining work for 12/9 — again creating a split task. If you also select the fourth check box,
Project makes the changes that I just described but also moves the task’s actual start date to 12/7.
Note that these options don’t apply when you record actual information on Summary tasks. These
options apply only when you make total actual value edits, including task total actual work, task
actual duration, total percent complete, and percent work complete. The settings of these check
boxes don’t apply if you use timesheet information from Project Server to update your project.
n Earned Value button: Click this button to set earned value options for the project.
See Chapter 14 for more information about earned value.
n Edits to Total Task % Complete Will Be Spread to the Status Date check box: By
default, this box is not selected, which makes Project distribute changes to the task percentage of completion to the end of the actual duration of the task. If you select this check box,
Project instead distributes the changes evenly across the schedule to the project status date.
n Inserted Projects Are Calculated Like Summary Tasks check box: When this box is
selected (as it is by default), Project treats inserted projects like summary tasks when calculating the project schedule, instead of treating them like a separate project.
CROSS-REF
TIP
370
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 370See Chapter 15 for more information about inserting projects.
n Actual Costs Are Always Calculated by Microsoft Office Project check box. When
you select this check box, Project calculates actual costs. You can’t enter actual costs until
a task is 100% complete; Project will overwrite any costs that you enter prior to 100%
completion as it recalculates costs. You also can’t import actual cost values.
n Default Fixed Costs Accrual list box: Use this list box to choose a method for Project to
accrue fixed costs for new tasks. You can have Project accrue fixed costs at the start of a task
or at the end of a task, or you can prorate the costs throughout the duration of the task.
n Calculate Multiple Critical Paths check box: When you select this check box, Project
calculates and displays separate critical paths in the project — and sets the late finish date
for tasks without successors or constraints to their early finish date. By changing the finish dates of these tasks, Project makes these tasks critical. When you deselect this box,
Project sets the late finish date for these tasks to the project finish date, which leaves
these tasks off the critical path.
n Tasks Are Critical If Slack Is Less Than or Equal to x Days list box: By default,
Project sets this value to 0; only tasks with no slack appear on the critical path. You can
force tasks in your project onto the critical path by increasing this value.
n Set as Default button: The calculation options listed at the top of the box apply to all
projects. Although all the other options shown in Figure 12.1 apply only to the project
you are currently viewing, you can make them apply to all projects by clicking the Set as
Default button.
Throughout the rest of this chapter, I use the default settings in Project to demonstrate the effects
of updating a project.
Updating Tasks to Reflect Actual
Information
You can record actual information for a project by filling in the following fields for each task that
tracks the progress of your project:
n Actual start date
n Actual finish date
n Actual duration
n Remaining duration
n Percentage complete
The fields mentioned above are one possible set of fields that you can use to record
actual information; there are other alternatives. For example, some people focus on
updating only Actual Work and Remaining Work; in this case, Project updates the fields listed above.
NOTE
CROSS-REF
371
Recording Actuals 12
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 371In some cases, when you enter information into one of these fields, Project calculates the values for
the other fields. For example, if you enter a percentage complete for a task, Project calculates and
supplies a start date, an actual duration, a remaining duration, and an actual work value.
Setting actual start and finish dates
The Gantt Chart view displays projected start and finish dates for tasks. In this section, you find
out how to enter and view actual start and finish dates (and compare current, baseline, and actual
dates) in the Task Details view, as shown in Figure 12.2.
Starting from the Gantt Chart view, follow these steps to set up your screen:
1. Choose Window ➪ Split to display the Task Form view.
2. Click the bottom pane.
3. Choose View ➪ More Views to open the More Views dialog box.
4. Select Task Details Form and click Apply.
5. In the top pane, select the task for which you want to record actuals.
FIGURE 12.2
Use the Task Details form to enter actual information.
372
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 3726. In the Dates section of the bottom pane, select the Actual option button to identify the
type of dates that you want to enter.
The three option buttons (Current, Baseline, and Actual) refer only to the dates that you
can view and set. In other words, you don’t see baseline assignments at the bottom of the
view if you click Baseline.
7. Record either a Start or a Finish date and click OK.
Project initially sets the Actual Start Date and Actual Finish Date fields to NA to indicate that you
have not yet entered a date. When you update your project to provide actual start and finish dates,
Project changes the projected start and finish dates to the actual dates that you enter. When you
enter an actual start date, Project changes only one other field — the projected start date. However,
when you enter an actual finish date, Project changes several other fields: the Percent Complete
field, the Actual Duration field, the Remaining Duration field, the Actual Work field, and the
Actual Cost field. If you didn’t set an actual start date, Project also changes that field.
Recording actual durations
The actual duration of a task is the amount of time that was needed to complete the task. To record
an actual duration, you can use the Update Tasks dialog box. Choose Tools ➪ Tracking ➪ Update
Tasks or click the Update Tasks button on the Tracking toolbar to display the Update Tasks dialog
box (see Figure 12.3).
FIGURE 12.3
Use the Update Tasks dialog box to set the actual duration for a task by filling in the Actual Dur field.
You can display the Tracking toolbar by choosing View ➪ Toolbars ➪ Tracking.
When you set an actual duration that is less than or equal to the planned duration, Project assumes
that the task is progressing on schedule. Therefore, when you click OK, Project sets the actual start
date to the planned start date — unless you previously set the actual start date. In that case, Project
leaves the actual start date alone. In either case, Project calculates the percentage complete and the
remaining duration for the task.
TIP
373
Recording Actuals 12
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 373To see the updated remaining duration, reopen the Update Tasks dialog box.
If you set an actual duration that is greater than the planned duration, Project assumes that the task
is finished but that it took longer than expected to complete. Project adjusts the planned duration
to match the actual duration and changes the Percent Complete field to 100% and the Remaining
Duration field to 0%.
You can use the Calculation tab in the Options dialog box (choose Tools ➪ Options) to set Project
to update the status of resources when you update a task’s status. If you set this option and then
supply an actual duration, Project also updates the work and cost figures for the resources.
You find out more about this option in the section “Overriding resource cost valuations,”
later in this chapter.
Don’t change the actual duration of a task if you use effort-driven scheduling. Instead,
change the number of resource units that are assigned or the amount of the resource
assignment. Remember that the duration of effort-driven tasks is affected by resource assignments.
Setting the Percent Complete value
Before I dive into a discussion of the Remaining Duration field, take a look at the Tracking table,
which contains, in table form, all the fields into which you can enter actual information. In the two
preceding sections, you saw that you can use the Task Form Details view and the Update Tasks dialog box to record and view actual information. The Task Form Details view provides a limited way
to update tasks. Although the Update Tasks dialog box provides a complete way to enter actual
information, I find that it’s easiest to enter all actual information into Project by using the Tracking
Table view (see Figure 12.4).
To display the Tracking Table view, start in the Gantt Chart view and follow these steps:
1. Click the top pane of the Gantt Chart.
2. Choose Window ➪ Remove Split to display the standard Gantt Chart.
3. Right-click the Select All button and choose Tracking from the menu that appears. Project
displays the Tracking Table view in the left portion of the Gantt Chart view.
To see all the columns that are available on the Tracking Table view, narrow the chart
portion of the window.
For information on creating custom fields, see Chapter 22.
On the CD, look for the Status Date Field and Current Date Field Example.mpp file. ON the the CD-ROM
CROSS-REF
TIP
NOTE
CROSS-REF
NOTE
374
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 374FIGURE 12.4
The Tracking Table view helps you view and enter actual values for tasks.
You can establish the progress of work performed on a task by assigning a Percent Complete value
to the task. Any value less than 100 indicates that the task is not complete. You can set Percent
Complete value from the Task Details form, from the Update Tasks dialog box, or from the
Tracking table. Or, you can select the task from any task view and use the percentage buttons on
the Tracking toolbar (see Figure 12.5). Right-click any toolbar and choose Tracking to display the
Tracking toolbar.
FIGURE 12.5
Use these buttons to set a task’s actual progress at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% complete.
Percentage buttons
375
Recording Actuals 12
20_009926 ch12.qxp 12/5/06 10:13 PM Page 375If you enter a Percent Complete value, Project assigns an Actual Start Date (unless you had entered
one previously). Project also calculates the Actual Duration and Remaining Duration values. If you
set your options to update resources when you update tasks, Project also calculates the Actual
Cost and Actual Work values. If you enter 100 in the Percent Complete column, Project assigns
the planned finish date to the Actual Finish Date column. If this value is not correct, don’t enter a
Percent Complete value; instead, enter an Actual Finish Date.
Setting work completed
Sometimes, you must schedule tasks based on the availability of certain resources. In these cases,
tracking progress on a task is easiest if you update the work completed. Updating this value also
updates the work that each resource is performing.
In the same way that Project calculates duration information when you fill in a duration field, Project
updates the work remaining by subtracting the work performed from the total work scheduled.
Use the Tracking Table view to enter information into the Act. Work (Actual Work) column, but
start in the Task Usage view so that you can enter actual work performed for specific resources.
Choose View ➪ Task Usage, right-click the Select All button, and choose Tracking from the shortcut menu that appears. Then, drag the divider bar almost completely to the right edge of the screen
to reveal the Act. Work column (see Figure 12.6).
376
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
Customize the Tracking Table
Project calculates some of the fields that store actuals when you enter information in other fields
that store actuals. For this reason, I recommend that you create your own version of the Tracking
table that displays the fields into which you will enter information in contiguous columns. Placing the
fields together on a customized Tracking table will make your data entry much easier — and provide
an easy way for someone other than you to enter the data. (See Chapter 6 for details on customizing
a table.) You might want to consider including the project’s status date and the current date on your
Tracking table to help you easily find any tasks not completed prior to the status date, identifying work
that needs to be rescheduled. To include this information, you need to create custom fields. This
book’s CD contains a file called Status Date Field and Current Date Field Example.mpp. In this file,
you’ll find a sample Tracking table that also contains the Status Date and Current Date fields and the
formulas you need to create these fields. To view and use the formulas, follow these steps:
1. On each field’s column heading, right-click and choose Customize Fields. Project displays
4. Select the Clear Leveling Values before Leveling check box to make Project 2007 reset all
leveling delay values to 0 before leveling. If you don’t check this box, Project 2007 does
not reset leveling values but builds upon the values. During leveling, the scheduling for
previously leveled tasks will probably not change.
5. In the Leveling Range For panel, select either to level the entire project or to level only for
specified dates.
6. In the Leveling Order list box, select the order that you want Project to consider when
leveling your project. If you choose ID Only, Project delays or splits the task with the
highest ID number. If you choose Standard, Project looks at predecessor dependencies,
slack, dates, and priorities when selecting the best task to split or delay. If you choose
Priority, Standard, Project looks first at task priority and then at all the items that are
listed for the Standard leveling order.
7. Select any of the following options:
n Level Only Within Available Slack: This avoids changing the end date of your project.
n Leveling Can Adjust Individual Assignments on a Task: In this case, leveling adjusts
one resource’s work schedule on a task independent of other resources that are working on the same task.
n Leveling Can Create Splits in Remaining Work: This allows leveling to split tasks to
resolve resource conflicts.
n Level Resources with the Proposed Booking Type: Check this box to have Project
include tasks containing proposed resources during the leveling process.
8. Click Level Now to apply leveling.
You can review the effects of leveling from the Leveling Gantt Chart view, as shown in Figure 10.17.
Choose Views ➪ More Views ➪ Leveling Gantt and then click Apply. Project adds green bars to
your Gantt Chart, which represent the duration of tasks before leveling. Depending on the nature
of your project, Project may build more slack into your tasks.
339
Resolving Resource Problems 10
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 339FIGURE 10.17
The Leveling Gantt Chart view shows how leveling affects your project.
To remove the effects of leveling, reopen the Resource Leveling dialog box (choose Tools ➪ Level
Resources) and click the Clear Leveling button. A subsequent dialog box enables you to clear leveling for the entire project or for selected tasks only.
If you are scheduling from a finish date, you still can level to resolve resource conflicts.
Project calculates the delay by subtracting it from a task’s or assignment’s finish date,
causing the finish date to occur earlier.
Making adjustments to leveling
You can adjust leveling when automatic leveling doesn’t provide acceptable results or when you
have just a few resource conflicts to resolve. To make leveling adjustments to resources in Project,
use the Resource Allocation view and follow these steps:
1. Choose View ➪ More Views. From the More Views dialog box, highlight Resource
Allocation and click Apply.
NOTE
340
Part III Refining Your Project
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 3402. Highlight the task that you want to delay in the top pane.
3. In the bottom pane, enter an amount in the Leveling Delay field. Project delays the task
accordingly and reduces the resource’s conflict.
Figures 10-18 and 10-19 show “before” and “after” pictures for manual leveling. I used a simple
situation to demonstrate the effects of manual leveling: I set up a project with only two tasks and
one resource, and I assigned the same resource full-time to both tasks. Notice that manually leveling the second task delays the second task so that it starts when the first task finishes.
FIGURE 10.18
The Resource Allocation view before manual leveling.
341
Resolving Resource Problems 10
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 341FIGURE 10.19
The Resource Allocation view after manually leveling the second task.
Contouring resources
Contour is the term that Project uses to refer to the shape of a resource’s work assignment over
time. Contours come in several flavors; the most common are Flat, Back Loaded, Front Loaded,
and Bell. The default contour is Flat, which means that a resource works on a task for the maximum number of hours that he or she is assigned to a task for the duration of the assignment. You
can use different contours to control how much a resource is scheduled to work on a task at a
given time — and possibly resolve a conflict.
Add the Peak Units field to the Resource Usage view to display the maximum effort —
as distributed over time — that a resource is expected to work. This field is particularly
useful when you have selected a contour other than the default (Flat).
The Flat contour assigns a resource to work the maximum number of hours per time period
throughout the duration of the task. By changing the contour, you can more accurately reflect the
actual work pattern for the resource while working on a task.
To better understand contours, think of dividing each task into 10 equal timeslots. By using the
various contours, Project assigns percentages of work to be done in each timeslot. Contours help
TIP
342
Part III Refining Your Project
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 342you to assign work to a task, based on when the task requires the effort. For example, if a task
requires less effort initially, consider using a Back Loaded contour. If a task requires most effort in
the middle of the task, consider using a Bell, Turtle, or even an Early Peak contour.
If you start changing contours from the default Flat contour, you may inadvertently
create a resource conflict. Therefore, viewing the contours that you set can help you
resolve resource conflicts.
Setting a contour pattern
To set a contour pattern, follow these steps:
1. Choose View ➪ Task Usage. In the sheet portion of the view, Project displays each task in
your project with the resources that are assigned to it listed below the task, showing the
number of hours per day that a resource is assigned to a task.
2. In the Task Name column, double-click the resource whose contour you want to change, or
select the resource and click the Assignment Information button on the Standard toolbar.
Then click the General tab of the Assignment Information dialog box (see Figure 10.20).
FIGURE 10.20
Use the General tab of the Assignment Information dialog box to select a contour.
3. Open the Work contour list box and select a contour.
4. Click OK.
To change the start and end dates for the resource’s work on the task, use the Start and
Finish list boxes.
When you select a contour other than Flat, an indicator showing the type of contour appears next
to the resource in the Indicator column. If you pass the mouse pointer over the indicator, Project
identifies the contour that was applied to the resource (see Figure 10.21).
TIP
CAUTION CAUTION
343
Resolving Resource Problems 10
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 343FIGURE 10.21
Project displays an icon in the Indicator column next to a resource for which you have chosen a contour
other than Flat.
The same icon appears in the Indicator column in the Resource Usage view.
Keep the following points in mind when working with contours:
n Suppose that you apply a contour other than the default Flat contour to a task, and later
you add new total work values to the task. Project automatically reapplies the contour
pattern to the task and the resources first by distributing the new task work values across
the affected time span and then by assigning new work values to the resources that are
working on the task.
n If you set a contour and then change the start date of the task or the start date of a
resource’s work on the task, Project automatically shifts the contour and reapplies it to
include the new date, thus preserving the pattern of the original contour.
n If you increase the duration of a task, Project stretches the contour to include the new
duration.
TIP
344
Part III Refining Your Project
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 344n Suppose that you apply a contour other than the default contour to a task. If you manually edit a work value on the portion of a view that displays the contour, Project no longer
applies the contour pattern automatically. However, you can reapply the contour to redistribute the new values.
n If you enter actual work and then change the task’s total work or total remaining work,
Project automatically redistributes the changes to the remaining work values and not to
the actual work.
Contouring a resource’s availability
You can contour a resource’s availability using the General tab of the Resource Information dialog
box (see Figure 10.22). In the Resource Availability list box, set Available From and Available To
dates for the selected resource. When would you use this feature? A particular resource may be
available to work on your project only part-time for a specified time frame. Or, suppose that you
have five computer programmers, but only three are available in August and one retires in September.
Use the Resource Availability section to specify the availability of your resources, which will influence
your project’s schedule.
FIGURE 10.22
Set dates that represent the resource’s availability so that you can assign the resource to a task by using
only the dates that the resource is available.
345
Resolving Resource Problems 10
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 345Pooling resources
Finally, you can try to solve resource conflicts by using a resource pool. A resource pool is a set of
resources that are available to any project. You can use resources exclusively on one project, or you
can share the resources among several projects.
Typically, resource pooling is useful only if you work with the same resources on multiple projects
and you don’t use Project Server. Different project managers can share the same resources. Because
resource pooling is so closely tied to the topic of managing multiple projects, I postpone further
discussion until Chapter 15; in that context, you’ll better understand the application of resource
pooling to resolving resource conflicts.
If you’re using Project Server, you don’t need to use resource pooling. Instead, you’ll be more interested in using Enterprise resources and the Resource Substitution Wizard to resolve resource conflicts. See Chapters 18 and 19 for more information.
Summary
This chapter explained how to identify and resolve resource conflicts that can delay a project. The
techniques involved include the following:
n Changing resource allocations
n Scheduling overtime
n Redefining a resource calendar
n Assigning part-time work
n Controlling resource start times
n Leveling resource workloads
n Contouring resources
In the next chapter, you discover the art of tracking your progress by comparing your project to its
baseline.
346
Part III Refining Your Project
17_009926 ch10.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 346Tracking Your
Progress
IN THIS PART
Chapter 11
Understanding Tracking
Chapter 12
Recording Actuals
Chapter 13
Reporting on Progress
Chapter 14
Analyzing Financial Progress
18_009926 pt04.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 34718_009926 pt04.qxp 12/5/06 10:11 PM Page 348This chapter marks something of a turning point in this book and in
your use of Project. Up to this point, you’ve been in the planning
phase: building a project schedule, entering tasks, adding resources,
and shifting things around so that resource assignments don’t conflict and so
that tasks have the proper relationships to each other. You’ve even tweaked
details such as text formatting and the appearance of taskbars. You now have
a workable, good-looking project in hand — and now you are ready to start
the project.
Tracking is the process of comparing what actually happens during your project to your estimates of what would happen. To track, you need to take a
picture of your project schedule at the moment your planning is complete;
this moment is called a baseline. But you also have to understand what steps
are involved in tracking and how to set up efficient procedures to handle
these steps.
You can store up to 11 baselines for any project.
Understanding the Principles of
Tracking
A good plan is only half the battle. How you execute that plan is the key.
Think of yourself as the quarterback in a football game. If you run straight
down the field toward the goalpost, never swerving to avoid an oncoming
opponent, you won’t get very far. Project tracking is similar: If you don’t
NOTE
349
IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding the principles
of tracking
Using baselines
Changing the baseline
Viewing progress with the
Tracking Gantt view
Understanding tracking
strategies
Understanding Tracking
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 349swerve and make adjustments for the changes in costs and timing that are virtually inevitable in
any human endeavor, you’re not playing the game correctly.
Project management software greatly enhances your ability to quickly see problems and revise the
plan to minimize any damage. Project enables you to compare what you thought would happen to
what actually happens over the course of the project.
Estimates versus actuals
The plan that you’ve been building is an estimate of what can occur. It’s your best guess (an educated
one, I hope) about how long tasks may take, how one task affects another, how many resources you
need to complete the work, and what costs you expect your project to incur. Good project managers
keep good records of their estimates and actuals to become better project managers. By comparing
these two sets of data, you can see where your estimates were off and then use this information to
make your next plan more realistic. You can also use data on actual costs and timing to make the
changes in your strategy that are necessary to keep you on track and meet your current project’s goals.
Tracking in Project consists of entering information about actuals, such as the actual start date,
the actual finish date, and the actual duration of a task. You enter actual time that is worked by
resources and actual costs that are incurred. When you enter information about actuals, Project
shows you a revised schedule with projections of how the rest of the schedule is likely to play out,
based on your actual activity.
Project managers usually track activity on a regular basis, such as once a week or every two weeks.
This tracking includes information about tasks in progress as well as about tasks that have been
completed.
This tracking activity also enables you to generate reports that show management where your efforts
stand at any given point in time. By showing managers the hard data on your project’s status —
rather than your best guess — you can make persuasive bids for more time, more resources, or a
shift in strategy if things aren’t going as you expected. Figure 11.1 shows a Tracking Gantt view
using the Tracking table.
Chapter 12 explains the specific steps for updating a project to reflect actual progress.
Making adjustments as you go
Tracking isn’t something that you leave to the end of the project, or even to the end of individual
tasks. Tracking tasks in progress on a regular basis helps you to detect any deviation from your
estimates. The earlier you spot a delay, the more time you have to make up for it.
If Project determines that you’re running late on a task, it automatically moves dependent TIP tasks into the future. TIP
CROSS-REF
350
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 350FIGURE 11.1
Use the Tracking Gantt view to display the progress of your project.
For example, suppose that you estimated that a task would take three days. However, you have
already put four days of effort into it, and it’s still not complete. Project not only tells you that
you’re running late but also moves future tasks that depend on this task farther out in the schedule. Project also shows any resource conflicts that result when resources have to put in more work
than you estimated in resource views, such as the Resource Sheet and Resource Graph view. Project
clearly shows how one delay ripples through your schedule.
Project adjusts your project’s cost as you track to reflect the effect of higher-thanexpected costs.
Project also shows the effect of unanticipated costs on the total budget. If the costs that you track
on early tasks are higher than anticipated, Project displays your projected total costs, based on a
combination of actual costs and the remaining estimates. Project shows you exactly how much of
your budget you have used and how much you have remaining, so you can revise your resource
allocations to stay within your overall budget.
TIP
351
Understanding Tracking 11
19_009926 ch11.qxp 12/5/06 10:12 PM Page 351Using Baselines
You complete the planning phase of your project by setting a baseline. You have seen this term in
previous chapters, but take a moment to grasp its significance in the tracking process.
What is a baseline?
A baseline is a snapshot of your project when you complete the planning phase, or sometimes at
the end of some other critical phase. The baseline is one set of data that is saved in the same file
where you track actual progress data. Project enables you to save up to 11 baselines and an equal
number of interim plans during your project. You can show a wide variety of information about
your baseline(s), or you can choose not to display baseline information.
Some projects, particularly shorter ones that run only a few weeks or even a couple of months,
may have one baseline set at the outset and may proceed close enough to your estimates that they
can run their course against that single baseline. Other projects, especially longer ones, may
require you to set several baselines along the way, particularly if the original estimate is so out of
line with what has transpired in the project that the original is no longer useful. You can modify
352
Part IV Tracking Your Progress
How Much Have You Accomplished?
As I describe in Chapter 12, you record activity on a task by entering an estimate of the percentage of the task that’s complete, actual resource time spent on the task, or actual costs incurred
(such as fees or equipment rentals paid), or by entering the hours of work done per time period.
Estimating “the completeness” of a task is not an exact science, and different people use different
methods.
With something concrete, such as a building under construction, you can look at the actual building
and estimate fairly accurately how far along the project has progressed. Most projects aren’t so
straightforward, however. How do you estimate how far along you are in more creative tasks, such
as coming up with an advertising concept? You can sit in meetings for five weeks and still not find the
right concept. Is your project 50 percent complete? Completion is hard to gauge from other, similar
projects on which you’ve worked — perhaps on the last project, you came up with the perfect concept in your very first meeting.
Don’t fall into the trap of using money or time spent as a gauge. It’s (unfortunately) easy to spend
$10,000 on a task that is estimated to cost $8,000 and still be only 25 percent to completion. You
probably have to use the same gut instincts that put you in charge of this project to estimate the
progress of individual tasks. Hint: If your project has individual deliverables that you can track, doc

Logging on to Project Web
Access
To log on to Project Server by using Project Web Access, a resource needs to
know the URL for the Web database. The project manager should notify the
resource of the URL. To log on to Project Server, open Internet Explorer and,
in the Address box, enter the URL of the Web database.
655
IN THIS CHAPTER
Logging on to Project Web
Access
Reviewing the Home page
Customizing the Home Page
Viewing information for tasks
and timesheets
Project Web Access and Outlook
Viewing and uploading projectrelated documents
Reporting status
Project Server and the
Day-to-Day User
29_009926 ch20.qxp 12/5/06 10:18 PM Page 655Save the URL in your Favorites list, or if you use Project Web Access more than any
other Web page, set it up as your Home page so that Project Web Access appears when
you open Internet Explorer. To set Project Web Access as your Home page, enter the address into the
Address box. Then choose Tools ➪ Internet Options. On the first page, click the Use Current button
in the Home Page section and click OK.
The window that appears next depends on the method that you use to log on to Project Server. If
you aren’t using Windows user accounts, you see a page that you use to log on to Project Web
Access; supply your username and password. If your organization set up Project Server to use
Windows user account logons, you don’t see the logon page; instead, you bypass this page and see
your Project Web Access Home page.
Reviewing the Home Page
The Project Web Access Home page serves the same function as most home pages on the Web (see
Figure 20.1). It introduces you to Project Web Access; in the Reminders section, you’ll see summary information such as the number of new tasks that you have, the number of unsubmitted
timesheets you have, the number of overdue status reports you have, and the number of issues and
risks assigned to you.
You can use the Quick Launch pane that appears on the left side of the screen to navigate to other
areas of Project Web Access and to Windows SharePoint Services.
You can set the Quick Launch pane to display links related to Windows SharePoint
Services; throughout this chapter, I’ve hidden those links.
If your organization has set up Windows SharePoint Services workspaces for projects, you’ll se

NOTE
TIP
656
Part V Working in Groups
29_009926 ch20.qxp 12/5/06 10:18 PM Page 656FIGURE 20.1
A typical Project Web Access Home page, from which you can navigate to other areas of Project Web
Access.
Customizing the Home Page
You can customize the appearance of your Project Web Access Home page either temporarily or
permanently using the Web Part menu that appears on the Home page beside each part. Each Web
Part menu is a small, downward-pointing carat at the right edge of a section on the Home page; in
Figure 20.2, the mouse pointer is pointing at a Web Part menu.
You can temporarily close a section of the Home page; click the Web Part menu and choose
Minimize. In Figure 20.2, I’ve minimized the Project Workspaces section. To redisplay the information, click the Web Part menu and choose Restore.
657
Project Server and the Day-to-Day User 20
29_009926 ch20.qxp 12/5/06 10:18 PM Page 657FIGURE 20.2
You can minimize sections on the Home page to temporarily hide the information.
If you want to remove a section from the Home page on a more permanent basis, click the Web Part
menu and choose Close. Project Web Access removes the section from your Home page entirely.
You can add sections to the Home page; for example, suppose that you close the Project Workspaces
and then change your mind. You can add it back. Click any Web Part menu and choose Modify My
Web Part. Project Web Access displays the Home page in Edit mode (see Figure 20.3).
You also can click your name in the upper-right corner of the Project Web Access
screen and choose Personalize this Page to add, remove, or reorganize your Home page
information.
TIP
658
Part V Working in Groups
29_009926 ch20.qxp 12/5/06 10:18 PM Page 658FIGURE 20.3
The Home page in Edit mode after I closed the Project Workspaces section.
Click an Add a Web Part button (in Figure 20.3, I clicked the Middle Add a Web Part button) and
Project Web Access displays the Add Web Parts dialog box (see Figure 20.4).
Scroll down and place a check beside the element(s) you want to display on the Home page. Then,
click the Add button. Project Web Access redisplays the Home page

Modifying the Interface
In addition to using custom fields to customize data entry and make calculations, you can customize Project’s interface. For example, you can control the number of times you can click the
Undo button before Project stops undoing your actions or the number of icons that appear in the
Windows taskbar when you open multiple projects. Use Project’s Organizer to move tables and
views among project files. And you can modify toolbars and customize menus to make them work
the way that you work.
Setting levels of Undo
Project allows you to undo actions you take while working in a Project file. Prior to Project 2007,
you could undo only the last action you took. Starting in Project 2007, you can set the number of
times you can click Undo anywhere between 1 and 99.
707
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 707Starting in Project 2007, you can undo as many as the last 99 actions you took.
By default, Project lets you undo your last 20 actions, but you can change that number. Choose
Tools ➪ Options and click the General tab. Then, change the number in the Undo levels box (see
Figure 22.10).
Windows taskbar icons
In Project 98 and earlier versions of Project, you saw only one icon on the Windows taskbar
while Project was open — regardless of the number of Project files that you opened. Starting in
Project 2000, by default, you see an icon on the Windows taskbar for every open Project file (see
Figure 22.11).
FIGURE 22.10
Use this field to control the number of times the Undo button will work.
NEW FEATURE NEW FEATURE
708
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 708FIGURE 22.11
By default, you see multiple icons for Project on the Windows taskbar when you open multiple projects.
Depending on the number of open files, you may not necessarily be able to identify the file from
the icon on the Windows taskbar, but you can see a few letters of the filename on the icon. In addition, if you point the mouse at the icon, you see a ToolTip that shows the entire path and filename.
Suppose that you belong to the school of users who don’t want an icon on the Windows taskbar for
each open file; you believe that makes working harder, not easier. You can reinstate the behavior of
Project 98 and earlier versions by deselecting the Windows in Taskbar check box on the View tab
of the Options dialog box (see Figure 22.12).
709
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 709FIGURE 22.12
To reintroduce the behavior of Project 98 and earlier versions, deselect the Windows in Taskbar check box.
Regardless of the behavior that you choose in the Options dialog box, all open Project
files appear at the bottom of the Window menu. You can switch among Project files by
using the Windows menu in Project or the Windows taskbar.
Saving Project files
Using the Save tab of the Options dialog box (see Figure 22.13), you can set the following defaults:
n By opening the Save Microsoft Office Project Files As list box, you can specify the default

all Project 2007 files in Project 2000 – 2003 format if you regularly share files with someone who uses one of those versions of Project.
If you save files that were created in Project 2007 in the format of Project 2000 – 2003,
you may lose information. For example, background cell formatting doesn’t exist in any
version of Project prior to Project 2007. If you apply background formatting to cells in a file and then
save the file in Project 2000 – 2003 format, you’ll lose the formatting.
CAUTION CAUTION
NOTE
Remove the check from this box.
710
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 710FIGURE 22.13
Project has several features that are associated with saving files.
By default, the projects you save use the Project 2007 format, which is not the same
format as any earlier version of Project. Project 2003, Project 2002, and Project 2000
share one file format, and you can no longer save a file in Project 98 format.
n You can set a default file location to save all files and user templates. By setting these locations, you don’t need to navigate to the correct folder each time that you want to save a
new file or template.
n Use the Auto Save feature to save project files on a regular basis. The Auto Save feature is
particularly valuable to people who tend to work extensively, forget to save regularly, and
become victims of power failures or server crashes. If you use Auto Save, you can open
your file as of the last automatic save.
n You can choose to expand timephased data in a database; this setting only applies when
you save Project data to a database such as SQL or Access. If you check this box, your
SQL programmer will be able to create a report directly from the database (without going
through Project) that analyzes timephased data. If you deselect this box (the default),
Project stores timephased data in binary format, which you can’t read (unless you’re a
computer guru or a VB programmer), but using binary format for this data speeds Project’s
reading and writing to the database.
NOTE
711
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 711Using the Organizer
Project uses the Organizer to help you share views, tables, forms, reports, and more among projects. To display the Organizer box shown in Figure 22.14, choose Tools ➪ Organizer. You also can
open the Organizer box from the More Views box shown in Figure 22.15.
FIGURE 22.14
All views in the Global template (Global.mpt) file are available to every file that is based on the
Global.mpt file.
FIGURE 22.15
You can display the Organizer by clicking the Organizer button in the More Views dialog box.
712
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 712Use the various tabs in the Organizer dialog box to copy elements from the Global template
(Global.mpt) to the current project. You also can copy elements from the current project to the
Global template or simply between projects. First, open the Project file that contains the element
you want to copy and the Project file into which you want to copy the information. Then, in the
Organizer box, use the list boxes at the bottom of each tab to select the file containing the information and the file that should receive the information.
When you copy an element to the Global template, that element becomes available to
all files that were created with your copy of Project.
Making changes to toolbars
Toolbars are to Windows software what remote controls are to television: effortless, high-tech ways
to take action. Toolbars are easy to use and always right at hand. However, you and Microsoft may
not agree on which tools you use most often.
You can easily modify the arrangement of tools in Project. You can add or remove tools from a toolbar, change the function of a tool, create your own set of tools, or even edit the look of tools.
You can make changes to your Project environment effective for your copy of Project
alone, for those in a group, or across your company. Project saves your changes to the
Global.mpt file and opens new projects based on this Global template file by default. To share
changes, share the Global.mpt; otherwise, your changes affect only your copy of Project.
Combining or separating toolbars
Throughout this book, you’ve seen the Standard toolbar on a separate row from the Formatting
toolbar — much as they appeared in Project 98 and earlier versions. If screen real estate is vital to
you, consider placing the toolbars on the same row, as they appear in Figure 22.16. When you use
this feature, Project initially displays the tools that Microsoft thinks users use most often. If you
need a tool that you don’t see, click the Toolbar Options button to display a hidden palette of additional available buttons. After you select a tool from the hidden palette, that tool appears on the
toolbar, replacing the least-used tool, if necessary. As you work, the toolbars become personalized
to your work habits, displaying the tools that you use most often.
NOTE
NOTE
713
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 713FIGURE 22.16
You can make the Standard and Formatting toolbars share a row on-screen and select a button that you
don’t see initially by opening the hidden palette.
In a similar fashion, you can personalize the menus in Project to display the commands that you use
most frequently. When you enable this behavior and open a menu, you see a limited set of commands. At the bottom of the menu, you see the expand arrows pointing down (see Figure 22.17).
When you click the expand arrows, the rest of the commands on the menu appear. The gray bar
that runs down the left side of the menu is lighter for hidden commands than for the more frequently used commands (see Figure 22.18). As with the tools that are on the toolbars, if you select a
hidden command, it becomes a frequently used command and appears on the abbreviated menu the
next time that you open the menu.
714
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 714FIGURE 22.17
Initially, only some commands appear on the menu.
You control this toolbar and menu behavior by using the first three check boxes on the Options tab
of the Customize dialog box, as shown in Figure 22.19.
By checking the Show Full Menus After a Short Delay check box, you tell Project to
automatically show all commands on the menu after a short delay so that you don’t
have to click the Expand arrows.
TIP
715
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 715FIGURE 22.18
Click the expand arrows to display the entire menu.
FIGURE 22.19
Use the Personalized Menus and Toolbars section to control the behavior of Project’s menus and toolbars.
716
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 716Adding and deleting tools from a toolbar
Although toolbars include many commonly used functions, they aren’t all-inclusive. For example,
the Formatting toolbar includes commands to change the font and font size; apply bold, italic, and
underline effects; and align tasks. But it doesn’t include any tools to add background formatting to
cells. If you apply background formatting often, you may want to add a button to the Formatting
toolbar to open the Text Styles dialog box so that you can quickly and easily apply background formatting to cells.
To add tools to any toolbar, locate the tool in the appropriate category and then drag it onto the
toolbar where you want it to appear. Follow these steps to add a tool to a toolbar:
1. Choose View ➪ Toolbars ➪ Customize to open the Customize dialog box and click the
Toolbars tab (see Figure 22.20).
FIGURE 22.20
The toolbars that have a check mark here are currently displayed on-screen.
2. Select the check box for the toolbar on which you want to place the tool so that Project
displays that toolbar. For example, if you want to add the Paste as Hyperlink button to
the Web toolbar, make sure that you display the Web toolbar.
3. Click the Commands tab (see Figure 22.21).
4. Click the category of command that contains the tool that you want to add to a toolbar.
For example, the Text Styles tool appears in the Format category.
If you don’t know the category to which a tool command belongs, use the scroll bar in
the Categories list and select All Commands at the bottom of the list. The Commands list
then displays every available command in predominantly alphabetical order.
TIP
717
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 717FIGURE 22.21
These categories of commands contain all the possible tools that are built into Project.
5. Click the item in the Commands list, drag it from the dialog box onto your screen, and
place it anywhere on the toolbar of your choice.
You also can easily remove a tool from a toolbar. With the Customize dialog box open, display the
toolbar that contains the tool that you want to remove and drag the tool off the toolbar.
To restore a toolbar’s original settings, open the Customize dialog box, select the
Toolbars tab, click the toolbar name in the list of toolbars, and click Reset. Project
restores the default tools.
Creating custom toolbars
Rather than modify some of Project’s toolbars, you may prefer to create a custom toolbar that contains all the tools that you use most often. You create custom toolbars from the Customize dialog
box by following these steps:
1. Display the Toolbars tab of the Customize dialog box.
2. Click the New button. The New Toolbar dialog box appears (see Figure 22.22).
FIGURE 22.22
Name your toolbar anything you like — perhaps after your spouse, your pet, or your
favorite movie star.
NOTE
718
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 7183. Type a toolbar name and click OK. A small toolbar, devoid of tools at the moment,
appears. You can drag this floating toolbar to any location on the screen that’s convenient
for you.
4. Click the Commands tab.
5. Click tools in any category and drag them onto the new toolbar. Figure 22.23 shows the
new toolbar that I created.
FIGURE 22.23
Place tools in any order that you like. To move a tool, drag it to its new position on the
toolbar.
6. You can add dividers (thin gray lines) to separate groups of tools on your new toolbar.
Select the tool that you want to place to the right of the divider and then click the Modify
Selection button on the Commands tab. The menu shown in Figure 22.24 appears.
7. Select the Begin a Group command from this menu to insert a divider in your toolbar (see
Figure 22.25).
719
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 719FIGURE 22.24
This menu offers options to work with button images as well as options to modify other
toolbar features.
FIGURE 22.25
Place a divider on a toolbar to make logical groupings of tools that perform certain types
of functions.
To delete a divider, select the tool to the divider’s right and, using the Modify Selection pop-up
menu, select Begin a Group again to deselect that command.
Changing and editing button images
Don’t like the little pictures that Microsoft assigned to its tools? No image appears for the tool
you added to your toolbar? Feeling creative? Project enables you to select from a whole set of other
button designs, from smiling faces to musical notes, or to edit a button image with picture and
color tools.
Divider
720
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 720If anyone else uses your copy of Project, be cautious about changing tool images. Someone who is accustomed
to Project’s standard tool images may press a button and, unaware of its true function, not be able to
function with your copy of Project.
To change the images that appear on tools, follow these steps:
1. Choose Views ➪ Toolbars ➪ Customize to open the Customize dialog box.
2. Click the Commands tab.
3. Click a tool on any toolbar that you have displayed. (To display a toolbar, select it on the
Toolbars tab of this dialog box.)
4. Click the Modify Selection button and select Change Button Image. The pop-up palette of
images appears (see Figure 22.26).
FIGURE 22.26
From an hourglass to an eight ball, these images are both clever and descriptive.
5. Click an image that you want to use.
To return an image to its original setting, choose Modify Selection ➪ Reset Button
Image.
6. Click Close to close the Customize dialog box after you finish.
ToolTips still work with modified buttons and are a great help in remembering what
function a button performs. Just pause your mouse pointer on any tool and its original
name appears.
Rather than replace the button image with a predefined picture, you can edit the existing picture
by modifying the pattern and colors on it. For example, if two tools seem similar to you, you can
differentiate them by applying a bright-red color to either one. Button images comprise many tiny
squares called pixels. By coloring in the pixels, you can form an image. You can use a color palette
and the individual pixels to modify button images or even draw an entirely new image.
TIP
NOTE
721
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 721To edit a button image, follow these steps, starting from the Customize dialog box Commands tab:
1. Click a tool on any displayed toolbar and then click Modify Selection.
2. Select the Edit Button Image command to open the Button Editor dialog box (see
Figure 22.27).
FIGURE 22.27
The small Preview window helps you see how changes to individual picture pixels will
appear on the button image.
3. Try the following techniques:
n To make changes to an image, click a color block in the Colors palette and then click
an individual pixel.
n To remove color from a pixel, click the Erase block in the Colors palette and then click
the pixel.
To color in or erase a large area of pixels, click a color in the palette or the Erase block,
click a pixel, and then drag your cursor in any direction to color or erase multiple pixels
in one motion. Release your cursor to stop painting or erasing the pixels.
n To see more of a large button that doesn’t fit in the Picture box, use the Move arrows
to move up and down or from side to side to display the image’s edges.
4. Click OK to save your changes and to return to the Customize dialog box. Click Close to
return to your Project screen.
TIP
722
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 722Customizing project menus
Toolbars aren’t the only way to get things done in Project, and toolbars aren’t the only elements in
Project that you can customize. You also can create new menus and modify existing menus to your
heart’s content. For example, you can add a command to the File menu that changes the current
view to the Network Diagram view and prints a report. You can add these functions because menu
commands are like macros in that recorded series of keystrokes or programming commands.
Macros are really a form of computer program. Visual Basic is the macro-programming
language that you use in Microsoft products. In a macro, you save a string of commands
that instruct the software to perform one or more actions. Project provides an easy method for selecting commands to associate with a macro and for saving the macro as a custom menu command. See
Chapter 23 for more on macros.
When you select a menu command, you are actually running a macro, telling Project to repeat the
sequence of events that copies a selected piece of text, causes a dialog box to appear, and so on.
You can use your own macros and Project’s built-in commands to customize Project by building
new menus and changing the function of existing commands. Or, you can delete menus or commands on menus that you don’t need.
Adding menus
To add a new menu to your Project menu bar, you follow a process that is similar to that used to
add a new toolbar. First, you drag a new, blank menu to the menu bar, then you assign it a name,
and finally you drag commands onto it.
As with toolbars, Project adds new menus to your Global template file, the default file
on which all project files are based. Therefore, changes that you make to menus or the
menu bar are, in effect, changes for all files that you create with this copy of Project.
Follow these steps to add a new menu to Project:
1. Choose View ➪ Toolbars ➪ Customize to open the Customize dialog box.
2. Make sure that the menu bar is showing on your screen. If it’s not, click the menu bar
item on the Toolbars tab of the Customize dialog box.
3. Click the Commands tab.
4. Scroll to the bottom of the list of Categories and click the New Menu category. The single
selection, New Menu, appears in the list of commands (see Figure 22.28).
NOTE
NOTE
723
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 723FIGURE 22.28
The New Menu category has only one command in it.
5. Click the New Menu item in the Commands list and drag it up to the menu bar. When
the dark vertical line of your mouse pointer appears where you want to place the new
menu, release the mouse button. Project places the New Menu on the menu bar.
6. Select the New Menu and then click the Modify Selection button. From the pop-up
menu, highlight New Menu and type a specific menu name (see Figure 22.29). Then
click outside the Modify Selection menu to close it.
7. Select a category of commands that you want to place on the new menu. If you have created a macro and want to place it on the menu, select the All Macros category, which
includes standard menu-command macros as well as macros that you’ve created.
8. Drag an item in the Commands list up to the New Menu on the menu bar. A small, blank
box appears under the menu heading.
9. Place the mouse pointer in that blank area and release the mouse button to place the
command on the menu.
10. Click Close to close the Customize dialog box.
724
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 724FIGURE 22.29
The menu name should help you remember the commands that the menu contains.
You can repeat Steps 7 through 9 to build the new menu. To divide the menu into groups of commands, you can choose Modify Selection ➪ Begin a Group to add dividing lines.
Assigning new commands
You may also want to modify the function of an existing menu command. For example, if you create
a macro that invokes the Print command and accepts all the Print dialog box defaults for you, you
can assign that macro to the Print command. That way, you don’t have the extra step of clicking OK
to accept print defaults every time you print. As always, be careful about replacing the function of
one command with another if other people will be using your copy of Project.
You can reinstate all the menu defaults by clicking the Toolbars tab in the Customize TIP dialog box, clicking the Menu Bar item, and clicking Reset. TIP
725
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 725To change the macro that is associated with a command, follow these steps:
1. Display the Customize dialog box (choose View ➪ Toolbars ➪ Customize).
2. Open the menu on which you want to edit a command.
3. Right-click the command that you want to change; the menu shown in Figure 22.30
appears.
FIGURE 22.30
You can use this menu to add a button image next to a menu command.
4. Select the Assign Macro command from this menu to open the Customize Tool dialog
box, as shown in Figure 22.31.
5. Click the Command drop-down list and select the command that you want to associate
with the menu item.
6. (Optional) Type a description of what this command does.
7. Click OK to return to the Customize dialog box and then click Close to save the new
command with the menu item.
726
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 726FIGURE 22.31
The Command entry in the Customize Tool dialog box is the name of the macro that
Project invokes.
Deleting commands and menus
Is your screen getting cluttered with custom commands and menus? To remove a particular command or a whole menu without resetting all the menu changes that you’ve made, follow these steps:
1. Open the Customize dialog box.
2. Click a menu name or open the menu and click a particular command.
3. Drag the item off the menu bar, and close the Customize dialog box.
That’s all there is to it!
Summary
In this chapter, you found out how to do the following:
n Work with custom fields to create data entry value lists and formulas
n Modify Project’s behavior to display only one icon on the Windows taskbar or to display
an icon for each open project
n Take advantage of the new features for saving your projects
n Display the Standard and Formatting toolbars on the same row or on separate rows
n Customize the features (toolbars and menus) that you use to get things done
In the next chapter, I discuss details about creating your own macros, which can form the basis
for new tools and menus and streamline the repetitive tasks that you perform to create and track a
schedule.
727
Customizing Microsoft Project 22
32_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 72732_009926 ch22.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 728Macros are small programs that carry out repetitive tasks that you
perform frequently. You may have used macros in a word processing program. Macros work the same way in Project as they do in
your word processor.
Don’t let the word program in the preceding paragraph deter you from getting
to know macros. Although you can work with the macro programming code,
Project provides an easier way for you to write a macro, which I present in
this chapter.
Using Macros
Macros are most useful when you need to perform any repetitive task. In
particular, you can use Project macros to do the following:
n Display or hide frequently used toolbars
n Display frequently used tables
n Display frequently used views
n Switch to a custom view
n Generate standard reports
As you become comfortable using Project, you’ll identify the steps that you
take over and over again; these tasks are excellent candidates for macros.
729
IN THIS CHAPTER
Using macros
Recording macros
Running macros
Using shortcuts to run macros
Using Macros to Speed
Your Work
33_009926 ch23.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 729Recording Macros
Project stores macros in the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming language. And if
you’re adept at programming, you can write your macro directly in the VBA programming language. Figure 23.1 shows a sample of the instructions that are stored in a macro in Visual Basic.
Most people prefer to record a macro. When you record a macro, you have Project memorize the
steps that you want to take and then store those steps. That is, you do whatever it is you want
Project to do. Project then converts those actions into Visual Basic statements and stores the statements in a macro. Later, when you want to take that action again, you run your macro, which I
discuss in the next section.
Before you record a macro, you should run through the steps that you want to take. You may even
want to write down the steps. That way, you are less likely to make (and record) mistakes.
FIGURE 23.1
A sample set of instructions that are stored in a macro.
730
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
33_009926 ch23.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 730Suppose that you find yourself often displaying a split view with the Gantt Chart on top and the
Task Details Form below. Because you do this often, it would make a useful macro. First, walk
through the process to create the view so that you know what steps you take:
1. Open the View menu and click Gantt Chart.
By selecting the view first, you force Project to start your macro from the Gantt Chart
view, regardless of the view that you were using before you ran your macro.
2. Choose Window ➪ Split to open the bottom pane that shows, by default, the Task
Form view.
3. Click the bottom pane and choose View ➪ More Views to open the More Views
dialog box.
4. Select the Task Details Form.
5. Click Apply.
Now that you know what you intend to record, use the following steps to record the macro:
1. Choose Tools ➪ Macro ➪ Record New Macro to open the Record Macro dialog box (see
Figure 23.2).
FIGURE 23.2
The Record Macro dialog box.
TIP
731
Using Macros to Speed Your Work 23
33_009926 ch23.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 7312. Enter a name for the macro in the Macro name box.
The first character of the macro name must be a letter, but the other characters can be
letters, numbers, or underscore characters. You can’t include a space in a macro name,
so try using an underscore character as a word separator, or capitalize the first letter of each word.
3. (Optional) To assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut, type a letter in the Shortcut key
box. The letter that you assign can be any letter key on your keyboard, but it can’t be a
number or a special character. You also can’t assign a key combination that is already
used by Microsoft Project. If you select a reserved letter, Project displays the warning
message that appears in Figure 23.3 when you click OK.
FIGURE 23.3
Project displays this warning message if you select a keyboard shortcut that’s already
in use.
Keyboard shortcuts are only one of the ways that you can run a macro. In the section
“Using Shortcuts to Run Macros,” later in this chapter, you discover other methods to play
back a macro as well as how to assign a keyboard shortcut after you’ve recorded and stored your macro.
4. In the Record Macro dialog box, open the Store Macro In list box and click the location
where you want to store the macro. You can store the macro in the Global File or in the
current project. To make a macro available to all projects, select Global File.
The Global File is also called the Global template file and it acts the same as the Normal
template in Word or the Book1 template in Excel. Any customized features (such as
macros, toolbars, or menus) that you store in the Global File are available to any project file. On
the other hand, customized features that you store in an individual project file are available only
to that file.
5. Type a description of the macro or the function that it performs in the Description box.
This description appears whenever you run the macro from the Macros dialog box.
6. Use the options that are in the Row references and Column references sections to control
the way that the macro selects rows and columns if you select cells while running a
macro. For rows, the macro always selects rows — regardless of the position of the active
cell — because it records relative references to rows. If you want a macro to always select
the same row, regardless of which cell is first selected, select Absolute (ID).
NOTE
NOTE
TIP
732
Part VI Advanced Microsoft Project
33_009926 ch23.qxp 12/5/06 10:20 PM Page 732For columns, the macro always selects the same column each time that you run the
macro — regardless of which cell is selected first — because the macro records absolute
references to columns. If you want a macro to select columns, regardless of the position of the active
cell when you run the macro, select Relative in the Column references section.
7. Click OK, and Project redisplays your project. You don’t notice any differences, but
Project is now recording each action that you take.
8. Take all the actions that you want to record.
9. Choose Tools ➪ Macro ➪ Stop Recorder (see Figure 23.4) to stop recording your macro.
FIGURE 23.4
When you’re finished recording a macro, use the Stop Recorder command