From the outside, Microsoft Project does not seem like an inviting application compared to the rest of the office suite such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Microsoft Project does require a little guidance and understanding to make the most of, what is undoubtedly, one of the best software applications to manage everything from small to super-sized projects.
Regardless of it’s frightening demeanour, there are a few things you can do to make your experience with MS Project much more enriching and rewarding.
1.Plan your tasks and resources
Before jumping straight into Microsoft Project it’s a smart idea to first plan freehand how you want your project to develop, the resources you have versus the resources you are still yet to get and the tasks that will need to be completed. Although Microsoft Project allows you to do that, planning before entering data into your MS Project software will save you a lot of hassle and time later on when trying to manage the project.
2.Plan from Finish
More often than not the projects that we manage come with a deadline. In these cases, the best strategy to see a project through to completion is to set an end date of the project rather than a start date. By starting from an end date, you can manage and alter the start date as necessary and make changes when required so that your project can be completed on schedule.
3.Ordering of Capital Goods
In most capital-intensive projects like construction, there is a potential lead time when ordering capital goods and machinery to be used during the project. In such cases, it is a good idea to list each order of capital good as a task. These tasks can have a Start-to-Finish relationship in which the ordering of the goods coincides with its use in the project.
4.Fixed Unit, Fixed Duration, Fixed Work
In Microsoft Project, as a manager you can decide for each task if you want it to be a Fixed Unit, Fixed Duration or Fixed Work. However, it is easy to get muddled up especially when you can have hundreds of tasks in the Project. In designing your project, it is a good idea to choose one setting and stick to it. This will help when inevitably things change in the project and timelines move and shift.