Cheat Sheet

Project 2013 For Dummies

From Project 2013 For Dummies by Cynthia Snyder

Project 2013, Microsoft's popular project management software, offers a tremendous wealth of functionality but is probably unlike any other software you've used. Mastering it can seem a daunting process, but an overview of the project's schedule along with time-saving techniques and keyboard shortcuts can help you keep your project on track and on time. Third-party templates, add-ins, and online resources can also help you develop your project management expertise.

Microsoft Project 2013 Project Schedule Outline

Need help organizing and prioritizing a project's schedule in Microsoft Project 2013? This overview shows you the basics of getting started with your project's resources, tasks, and timelines.

  1. Enter the project information, such as the project name and start date.

  2. Develop a work breakdown structure (WBS) to organize your work.

  3. Enter the tasks needed to create the WBS deliverables.

    Don't forget to indicate whether you want manual or auto-scheduled tasks, and the task type.

  4. Link your tasks to show dependencies and create a network diagram.

  5. Enter the resources who will work on your project, their cost/rate and the time they have available.

  6. Estimate the effort or duration for each task.

  7. Assign resources to each task.

  8. Resolve any resource conflicts.

  9. Balance schedule, cost, resource and performance constraints to meet stakeholder expectations.

  10. Baseline your schedule.

Time-Saving Techniques in Microsoft Project 2013

Project management is all about saving time. But even with management tools like Microsoft Project 2013, your project might run longer than you expected. In that case, try the following methods to tighten the timing:

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

  • Create overlapping dependencies when appropriate using leads and lags.

  • 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.

  • Break larger tasks into smaller chunks and do some of the work in parallel.

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

  • Outsource some of the work when in-house resources can't complete it because they're busy with other tasks.

Microsoft Project 2013 Shortcut Keys

Microsoft Project 2013 maximizes efficiency as you manage projects, but Project 2013 keyboard shortcuts also save you time. Here are some shortcut keys you'll use frequently when building and working with a Project schedule.

Keystroke Result
Ctrl+N Opens a new blank Project
Alt+Home Move to the beginning of the project
Alt+End Moves the end of a project
Insert Inserts new task
F7 Begins spell check
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+Z Undoes the previous action
Ctrl+P Displays the Print preview in the Backstage
Ctrl+S Saves the file

Helpful Project Management Websites

Microsoft Project 2013 helps you manage projects better, but you also want to enhance your project management expertise. Visit these websites that offer templates and third-party add-ins for Microsoft Project, as well as other project management information:

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