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Microsoft Project 2010 Tutorial

Defining the project

Start by defining the properties (found under Project > Move Project) of the project that you are going to manage. You need to know the start date, but you can move the start date at any time when creating the project

Activity: Create and define your project as above.

Activity: Look under the File > Options menus to ensure that your settings are as below. Examine the other menus as shown on the next page. Save your project

As soon as you start, Save and Name the Project

This will be used to calculate costs.
It can be left until later.

Activity: Break the whole project into individual tasks. You should have completed this by creating your work breakdown structure (you must complete this first). Remember about the granularity of the activities here – the lowest level should contain work packages.

This will draw on the experience of the project manager. Normally, a task involves one person or a small group of people over a span of time that can be measured in days. Spend some time reading the assignment brief, which will give you guidelines on days.

Activity: Add in your task/subtask activities.

*In MS Project, grouping is done from the top down with Final total at the very top, with Subtotals below and so on.

Here, the phases are added. Add a new Task between 11 and 12. Select the task, right click on the number 12 and left click on Insert Task     >

A Group bar will be added.

Select tasks, then use Indent button to show that they are grouped under the heading.

Totals and Subtotals work from the top down.
Insert a New Task at the top and Indent everything underneath to get Project Totals

Defining a Timeline

The next step is to define the duration of all the tasks. Again, you will draw upon the experience and knowledge of the project manager and the participants. A simple formula to establish a “practical realistic” value has been around for years:
find an optimistic value, D(o), a pessimistic value, D(p) and a realistic value, D(r) .
Then: Duration = (D(o) + D(p) + 4 x D(r)) / 6.

Duration can be days, weeks or hours. (Input d, w or h)

Since all tasks start on 26/11/09, duration of Project = duration of longest task for now.

You now have a duration for each of the tasks but they all start on the same day.
Obviously, you will have to specify the sequence of the tasks and the links between them.
In MS Project a task that must be completed before another task can start is called a predecessor.
The first task has no predecessor and each of the following tasks has to have at least one in the example in this tutorial. In some cases a task may have several predecessors meaning that several tasks have to be completed before that one can start. In other cases a task may be predecessor to several others – its completion can allow several other tasks to start.

Task 5 can start only when Task 3 is completed.
Once Task 5 is completed, Tasks 6 and 7 can start.
Both Tasks 11 & 12 must be completed before Task 14 can start.

Schedule is now accurate. Project Total is not just a  sum of the number of days.
Since many tasks are concurrent, it is the actual length of the Project.

Activity: Apply the predecessors to your assignment.
For over 40 years project manages have been using techniques to manage their projects effectively.
Some of these techniques were manual to begin with and were later computerized.
Two of those techniques were called Critical Path Management (CPM) and Program Evaluation and Review Techniques (PERT). They were similar and you will now often find the technique referred to as: CPM/PERT. The technique involves using network models to trace the links between tasks and to identify the tasks which are critical to meeting the deadlines.
When you have a large number of tasks overlapping you really have to use the right tool to show which tasks can be delayed and which must be on time. Once you’ve identified the critical path, any delay on any part of the critical path will cause a delay in the whole project. It is where managers must concentrate their efforts.

Note: Definition of relationships

Finish to Start – The successor activity cannot begin until the predecessor finishes. This is the most common relationship depicted in networks.
Start to Start – The successor activity cannot begin until the predecessor begins.
Finish to Finish – The successor activity cannot finish until the predecessor activity finishes.
Start to Finish – The successor activity cannot finish until the predecessor activity starts. This relationship is rarely used.

In MS Project, you use the View > Tracking Gantt diagram to show the critical path in red and you can see the PERT diagram by looking at the Network view.

Critical Path is in red.
All tasks on the critical path cannot be delayed without delaying the Project.
Tasks in blue have ‘slack’ built in and can be moved around.

This is called the ‘Network Diagram’ view. Also called a PERT diagram or CPM chart.

Finally for this section, you’ll want to track the degree of completion of each of the tasks. You could do that every day as you go along. As soon as something starts to go off track, you can react and adjust accordingly. It would be too long to go into the details of how to compensate for delays for this module.

At any point, right click on the Task to input Task info

Manage the Project Resources

You will need people to accomplish all those tasks that you’ve identified in the previous section. Those people are resources that you have to manage well in order to achieve the project’s objectives. You may also need some material resources – equipment, supplies, and specialised environments – that you will have to schedule and pay for. You can easily include the management of resources in MS Project along with the tasks because, after all, the resources are essential to the accomplishment of the tasks in the first place.
You must start by identifying the resources available along with their costs based on your project description. Resource costs will be multiplied by duration to calculate project costs.
As a project manager your primary task is to lead and manage Resources to predefine goal and objective. To be able to assign resources to tasks in Microsoft Project you need to define the resources first. You do this in the Resource Sheet and you will notice that you have three different types of resources to choose from; Work, Material and Cost.

Work

You should use this type when you would like to define a human resource or equipment that consuming time when working on a task. This could be used when you have, for example, have a carpenter remodelling your house or rent equipment.

Material

This type is used for resources that are consumed over time, like petrol, nails, water or wood.

Cost

If you need to rent a house for a specific activity you should use this type or resource. You are able to connect a specific cost to an activity.
It is beneficial for you to define the resources in a good way because;

Microsoft Project will provide accurate information about the cost of each task and the project as a whole.
You are able to filter out which tasks that are performed by which resource.
You are able to identify over and under-utilized resources and in that way gain a higher efficiency in the project.

You enter your resources in the Resource sheet that you find by choosing View > Resource Sheet. I recommend you use the resource-sheet to enter your resources. You get a better overview of your resources allocated to the project and you also avoid mistakes.
As you see in the resource-sheet you have different columns with information;

Indicators. You are not able to enter information in this field but you will see icons here that, for example, indicate that you have over allocated the resource or if you have entered a note about the resource.
Resource Name. The name of the resource. In the example above I have chosen to enter Carpenter John.
Type. Choose the type of resource as mentioned above; Work, Material or Cost.
Material Label. If you have entered a Material-resource you can specify a Unit for the material. You can, for example, enter Kilometers or Miles if you have a Fuel as a Material resource.
Initials. Microsoft Project automatically chooses the first letter in the name of the resource but you are free modify in any way you would like to. It is wise to make sure that you have individual and specific initials for you resources when the initials will be displayed in any view that displays the Initials.
Group. A resource can be often belong to a line-organisation and you can, for example, choose to enter the home-organisation or company name if the resource is a consultant.
Max. Units. Here you enter the maximum amount of work the resource is able to perform in terms of percentage. 100% = One Unit or a Full Time Resource. 50 % = half a Unit or a Half Time Resource.
Std. Rate. This is the standard rate for the Resource, \$/hour.
Ovt. Rate.  This is the overtime rate for the Resource, \$/hour.
Cost/Use. Some resources will require a one time cost which you enter here. You might, for example, want to rent some kind of hardware which cost \$20 to rent and \$10/hour. Microsoft Project will calculate the total cost for renting this hardware to \$20+(\$10*number of hours).
Accrue At. This field specifies how and when Microsoft Project will calculate and charge the cost of a resource to a task. You are able to choose between Start, End and Prorated. If you choose Start Microsoft Project will calculate the cost as soon as the task begins. End will make Microsoft project to calculate the cost when the task is completed. Prorated will make Microsoft Project to accrue the cost of task when the task is completed. Think about the implications for scheduling your project activities.
Base. Defines which calendar to use for the resource. It is useful to specify different calendars if you, for example, have resources in different countries that have different holidays.
Code. In this field you can enter more or less what you would like to, for example a cost center code some other information that is valid to filter on.

Activity: Read the assignment brief and list the required information necessary for resources.

You have to open the Resource sheet to specify the project resources and costs.

Rate for material is rate per unit. Costs per use represents setup or teardown, etc.

This comes from View > Resource Sheet

A resource may be work or material

To track costs, return to the Gantt Chart view and you insert a Cost column next to the Resource Names (left click on Add New Column, scroll down to cost) column. When you assign the resources to each task, the costs will be calculated and displayed.

You assign resources, people or material, to each of the tasks. A task may have several resources (you can tick as many resources you need for a task). This will also calculate your costs for you.

Adding a One Off Cost

You must have the Resource Name and Cost column showing already to do this.

You may want to add a one off cost to your resources, for example, if you are hiring a venue, the cost may be £5000 in total and a one off payment.

When you need to add a one off cost, you can do this by:
Go into the resource sheet, write the task (this is cleaning cost in the example below).
Select the Type as Cost
Do not enter any figures for cost in this sheet.

Then go back to the Gantt chart View.

Press the drop down arrow in the resource names column next to the task you want to add the cost to.
Select Cleaning Cost.

Right click on the task and select Task Information.

Press the Resource tab.

Type your one off cost in the Cost box by left clicking once on the box and then typing in, for example, 500.
Press OK.

Your one off cost will now be in the Resource Names and Cost column.

Further Reading

There are many functions to help you deal with delays, cost overruns, etc. You can learn how to schedule overtime, split or overlap tasks and so on…….

Online tutorial for Project 2010:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project-help/getting-started-microsoft-project-basics-HA010355887.aspx?CTT=3

Online tutorial to deal with delays – Creating lead time and lag time:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project-help/how-scheduling-works-in-project-HA010373148.aspx?CTT=1

Read the Project Help Manual to find further information on:

Find slack in your schedule
Find costs that are over budget
Calculating overtime costs
Splitting tasks
Overlapping tasks
Linking projects in a portfolio

Some of this tutorial was adapted from http://www.profsr.com/ accessed 21/01/08.

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