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Cheat Sheet

Microsoft Project 2010 For Dummies

From Project 2010 For Dummies by Nancy C. Muir

Project 2010, the most recent incarnation of Microsoft's popular project management software, offers a tremendous wealth of functionality. Microsoft Project 2010, however, probably isn't like any other software you've ever used, so mastering it can seem a daunting process. This Cheat Sheet provides you with tips and tricks for doing what you do every day as a project manager.

How to Use Microsoft Project 2010 to Resolve Resource Conflicts

When a resource is overallocated, use Microsoft Project 2010 to ensure your project stays on track. With Microsoft Project 2010, you can resolve resource conflicts by modifying assignments, changing scheduling, and more. Consider the following tactics to resolve resource conflicts:

  • Revise the resource's availability to the project. For example, change the person's availability from 50 percent to 100 percent.

  • Modify assignments to take the resource off some tasks during the timeframe of the conflict. The new Team Planner view is great for this purpose.

  • Move a task to which the resource is assigned to a later date using the Move Task tool or modify the task's dependency relationships.

  • Add a second resource to a task for which the overallocated resource is busy. Change the task to auto scheduling and effort-driven, if needed, to allow the task to be completed sooner and free up the resource earlier.

  • Replace the resource with another on some tasks. Try the Resource Substitution Wizard for help with this if you're using Project Server.

  • Select a task and then click the Inspect button in the Tasks group of the Task tab. The factors driving the timing of the selected task are provided so you can take whatever steps are needed to address them: for example if a task dependency is driving timing and you can modify that dependency, it might solve your problem.

  • Make changes to the resource base calendar to allow the resource to work more time in a week.

Create a Project Schedule with Microsoft Project 2010

Creating a project schedule is easy with Microsoft Project 2010. Following are some handy steps to help you build a Microsoft Project schedule. After you complete the list, you're ready to start the project and track any progress on it. You can then report progress to management by using Microsoft Project reports, by simply printing your schedule, or by sharing it on the Web.

  • Enter project information (such as the start date).

  • Set up your work calendar.

  • Create tasks, choosing the scheduling method and task type settings and entering information about durations.

  • Create milestones (tasks with zero duration) in your project.

  • Organize your tasks into phases, using Project's outline structure.

  • Establish dependencies among tasks, adding constraints if appropriate.

  • Create resources, assigning cost/rate and resource calendar information.

  • Assign resources to tasks.

  • Resolve resource conflicts.

  • Review the total duration and cost of the project, making adjustments if necessary.

  • Set a baseline.

Helpful Web Sites to Hone Project Management Expertise

Whether you consider project management an art or skill, Microsoft Project 2010 helps you do it better. Enhance your Microsoft Project expertise by visiting Web sites that offer templates and third-party add-ins for Microsoft Project and other project management information:

Microsoft Project 2010 Shortcut Keys

Microsoft Project 2010 maximizes efficiency as you manage projects — but Project 2010 shortcuts also save you time at the keyboard: Here are some shortcut keys you'll use all the time when building and working with a Project plan.

Keystroke Result
Insert Inserts new task
Ctrl+K Inserts hyperlink
F7 Begins spell check
Alt+F10 Assigns resources
Shift+F2 Opens the Task Information dialog box
F1 Opens Microsoft Project Help
Ctrl+F Displays the Find dialog box
Ctrl+F2 Links selected tasks
Ctrl+G Displays the Go To dialog box
Ctrl+H Displays the Replace dialog box
Ctrl+Z Undoes the previous action
Ctrl+Y Redoes the undone action
Ctrl+P Displays the Print preview in the Backstage
Ctrl+N Opens a new blank Project
Ctrl+O Opens the Open dialog box
Ctrl+S Saves the file

Project Management Time-Saving Techniques

Project management is all about saving time. But even with management tools like Microsoft Project 2010, your project might run longer than you expected. In that case, try the following methods to tighten the timing:

  • Increase the number of auto-scheduled tasks in your project plan so Project can reschedule them automatically.

  • Modify dependencies so that tasks can start sooner, if possible.

  • Create overlapping dependencies when appropriate.

  • Reduce the amount of slack (but never get rid of it all!) on individual tasks.

  • Add resources to auto-scheduled effort-driven tasks to have them finish earlier.

  • Consider whether your project can do without certain tasks (for example, a second QA testing phase or a management review of a package design).

  • Outsource a phase of your project when in-house human resources can't complete it because they're busy with other tasks.

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