Microsoft Project 2019 is a project management software designed for project managers so they can control their projects. It lets you plan projects, assign tasks, manage resources, make reports and it offers a full services.
Almost 98% of desktop planning software used worldwide is Microsoft Project. It is the de facto standard project scheduling tool, yet so many people receive limited or no training. It has a familiar Microsoft Office look and feels, although it is not formally part of the Office suite.
Keeping projects on track can be too challenging for project managers, significantly when changing additions and demands continuously. If project managers fail to implement correct strategies and expectations for their clients, team, and senior management before beginning the project, deadlines can decline.
The majority of users make limited inroads into the proper functionality of Microsoft Project, and I would strongly encourage anyone to go on a formal course to really understand how powerful the tool can be and how this tool helps improving modern businesses nowadays.
The biggest weakness of so many project professionals is building and using a reliable, practical, and fully functional project schedule software. Most people use Microsoft Project to build a schedule and project planning documents. And it’s a wise decision since Microsoft Project is one of the leading software for this function.
Its features are for general project planning purposes, but you can find tons of them online if you need special software or a certain niche or industry.
What is Microsoft Project?
Microsoft Project 2019 is a software application that can help you manage and monitor your tasks. It’s a cloud-based solution that you’ll learn from versatile features that make it easier to get started. Work reliably and productively by making use of it. Create sound progress notes and forward project information effectively to the team and everyone else interested in the project.
Microsoft Project has all the features you already know for simple task management, as well as some updates and additional features. It combines Project Management, Portfolio Management, and Resource Management to ensure that you are able to monitor your projects effectively.
Though it’s already a big advantage for you to have this software, we’ve provided a few more tips on leveraging it in your project planning game.
What are the Planning Tips?
Plan the Project Structure and Member Roles
Create a high-level plan using team members’ post-it notes, and convert it into a Microsoft Project schedule. Using a hierarchical structure of steps and levels separated into activities. Add milestones to the start and end of each process or stage.
Can you keep it simple?
Plan the Project Details
Do you need to monitor what Bob is doing at 3 p.m. next Tuesday? If your project is a one-week shutdown, so it’s definitely yes; otherwise, no. Don’t try to mirror any single individual of the task team. For example, a six-month project should consist of activities lasting from 1 to 10 working days, not a few hours or a few weeks.
Agree with how long a task should be finished. The actual hours worked on that task is a different thing to consider.
To measure productivity, you should evaluate the assigned time with the real-time spent on the tasks. But of course, the allotted time should be fair, depending on how many hours the members have been completing a certain task in the past or conducting any analysis to figure out the average time spent by other teams doing similar tasks.
The majority of users should commit to auto-scheduling. Manual scheduling is more helpful if the tasks are not yet finalized, settled upon, or still expanded, and you would like to have a placeholder. Stick to auto-scheduling for a real project with approved scope.
Link Tasks and Milestones
Where possible, do not use constraints. Link tasks and accomplishments together and avoid linking them to various levels of hierarchy. For instance, do not link a summary to a comprehensive task. Links should be at the lowest level of the job hierarchy (or WBS or work breakdown summary).
This is a nice little feature. Double click the task name to open the ‘Task Information’ window. Select on the ‘Advanced’ tab where the ‘Deadline’ option would appear. This date will then appear as a tiny green arrow on the Gantt chart (there is nothing important about it being colored green), hopefully on a date after the mission is supposed to be done.
If tasks are pushed out of the agreed schedule, a red warning will appear in the first ‘Indicators’ column to demonstrate this problem. This helps you track any dates you might have agreed to and the actual dates you’re working on.
Resources (people) may be assigned using the following three methods: fixed duration, fixed work, or fixed units. Then there’s an effort-driven checkbox option, so in total, there are five different ways to set up how Microsoft Project manages the resource assignments.
Why is this important? As some of you might have experienced, working hours are changed if you adjust the duration. When you add more people, the duration will be reduced, and then we get confused, and you end up with tasks that last 3.18 days, and you can’t understand why.
Once you’ve assigned people and updated their hours of work, you frequently find that the time of the task may vary, but the total hours of work don’t. For example, Member A requires 10 hours to complete a task, but it can be done sooner or later. This date of completion is the most important.
You will need to update the schedule for this revised date, but you don’t want this to mess with A to immediately start the total hours of work. If this sounds fair, then select ‘Fixed Work’ in the ‘Advanced’ tab of the ‘Task Information’ window.
Your project plan may not be completely perfect, but it acts as a benchmark that you can use later to equate with the actual progress of your work. You need to save this benchmark – this is the basic functionality. Save the baseline. In our latest annual State of Project Management report, more than 1/3 of all project schedules are not focus. This is poor handling of the project schedule.
Progress the Plan
Enter the progress of the task on the schedule. You can do this easily as 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, so this can be part of a weekly or even a fortnightly review of progress. The schedule should lead the next progress cycle agenda, not be an afterthought for the PM to refresh and keep up with the project. The schedule should drive the progress meeting discussions.
Leveraging project planning tools on your team will offer a lot of benefits to you and your members. It makes the work well structured and minimizes the chances of unfinished tasks. The productivity rate is also improving. Other advantages, such as project success and client retention, come next.
So if you have a project coming up, start using project planning tools like Microsoft Project Pro to help you in your projects and handle the whole team.