Microsoft Project (MPP) is a handy tool that has been used by large corporations for project management for well over a decade. Much like Microsoft itself, MPP has been evolving throughout the years and continues to be one of the best programs for helping your schedule appointments and get things done. Yet, not everyone has heard of Microsoft Project or is proficient in its use. To truly grasp the functionality of MPP, you need to know the ins and outs of the program. Today, we’re introducing the top tips for implementing Microsoft Project.
- Toolbar Icons
The quickest way to implementing MS Project is to introduce yourself and everyone else to the toolbar and listed icons. The Toolbar option is accessible via the View menu. You can then choose a number of options, like the Gantt chart, network diagrams, tracking, task usage, and more. Also in the Toolbar option are Standard and Formatting. You can change these to suit your preferences. Other icons include things like opening a New File, File Search, Spelling, Undo/Redo, Print Preview, and so on.
Getting in touch with this visual vocabulary ensures that everyone is able to use the program to maximum efficiency.
- Enterprise resources and projects
There are a number of solutions available from Microsoft that may or may not fit your company, especially if you don’t consider yourself an enterprise. First, you should know that there’s cloud-based options and on-premise solutions available. The cloud options range between Project Online Essentials, Project Online Professional, Project Online Premium and beyond. Depending on what services you want and the amount of features you require, one package might be a better deal than others. On-site options you might consider are Project Professional and Project Server.
- Useful tools
Once you have structured plans and filled in the details, the hierarchical structure, complete with phases, becomes visible. From there, you can auto schedule resources, or people, to work on these projects. Manual schedule is also available for when specific tasks have yet to be finalized.
- Assigning tasks, durations, and milestones
MS Project likes to default tasks to the same date, so you need to know how to change these. You can change these end dates by clicking on each Project item and selecting the Information tab in the dropdown menu. You can also manage task dependencies, meaning one task cannot be started until another is finished. You can then link specific tasks to ensure everything gets done in the correct sequence.
Milestones come handy when you want to track progress from one phase to the next. You can add these using the available Gantt chart. In the Advanced tab of Task Information, you can see a checkbox to the bottom left for designating milestones. On the Gantt chart, it will appear as a black diamond.
- Deadline features
Another nice feature presented in Microsoft Project would be deadlines. You can double click on a task name to open up “Task Information.” In this menu, you will see an Advanced tab that gives you access to assigning deadlines. You can choose the day and time from a chart, create warning lines in the Indicators column, and keep track of progress from this area.
Yes, learning the ins and outs Microsoft Project can seem like a huge undertaking, but the end result is more productivity and efficiency. This not only keeps everyone on the same page, it also allows for you to manage projects in a more streamlined manner, while getting visual representation of how well everything is moving along. If you use the above tips, MPP will become an essential part of your project management.