Hi Everyone… I am about to wrap up the final video series on adapting to the new Project 2010 UI and you will see more postings.
More importantly, please get ready to visit ProjectNation.net this Wednesday (5/26/2010) for a chance to win some really cool prizes! Don’t forget to check back here May 26!
In this sixth of a 10-part video series, I cover the new Resource Management capabilities of Project Professional 2010. The new Team Planner feature allows you to visually adjust resource allocations and assign tasks to resources.
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Before continuing, I wanted to mention that Today, May 12, Office 2010 formally Launches and will be readily available for any organization to download! Next month, Microsoft will launch Office for the general public.
In this fifth video in my 10-part Adapting series, you will learn about a very cool new feature called Inactive Tasks. The concept behind Inactive Tasks is essentially that you have a task which can basically be taken out of the plan but still exist in the schedule. It will
look like this when inactive and even if you have predecessor/successor links to it, Project will ignore it.
I bet some people will come up with real interesting uses for Inactive tasks, but here are the two popular ones I’m sure will be used commonly:
- Scope Management – Very often we delete tasks from our plan because we changed scope or any number of other reasons. Then, as often is the case, they suddenly need to be done again. Instead of deleting the tasks, you can leave them in your schedule and just “Inactivate” them.
- Risk Mitigation – If you are tracking risks that are likely to happen, why not plan for them in your schedule and keep them Inactive? If the risk occurs, you simple Activate these tasks and incorporate them into your current WBS structure. This could very likely be a nice fix for a common problem where Project Managers keep two completely separate project plans with and without more tasks to account for project risk.
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UPDATE: For some reason YouTube shrunk the screens on this video. Click on the video and watch it in full-screen directly from YouTube for best results.
Very rarely does someone use the word “Controversial” when referring to changes in a software product. Manual Scheduling in Microsoft Project 2010 might just be one of those features falling into that unique category.
Why would something called Manual Scheduling be considered controversial? Primarily because this feature allows you to turn off most of the scheduling engine for tasks marked as “Manually Scheduled”. For example, I could hand-entered a duration, start and finish for a task that could conflict with calendar settings and not require a critical path. Further, you can enter Durations and Start/Finish dates as pure text. For example, a task that is Manually Scheduled could look like this:
|Configure Software||Talk to team||Following installation of software||No later than Q4|
At first, I cringed and thought this is going to be a nightmare trying to manage tasks like this but the more I used it the more I liked the feature. Here’s why:
- For small 1-3 month projects with a small team, we often get carried away with creating a perfect critical path and implement resource plans that are too granular. This becomes a burden on new project managers so they switch to Excel or SharePoint and manage the project there. In Project 2010, you can just set the dates for tasks, assign the resources and manage the small project in a more simplistic way.
- For top-down planning, when you are not sure of dates and are trying to define the ultimate structure, this capability is perfect because you are trying to get alignment on dates and can use those Duration, Start and Finish dates almost as notes columns. I kind of like using the function for this reason.
- For large, multi-year projects we tend to know the “real” dates and commitments not more than 6-12 months out. The rest of the activities tend to be best-guesses and subject to change. Why not hand-enter some key dates we need to meet and then re-visit the plan every few month to add all the required detail and reset the tasks to an auto-scheduled mode?
The short video below covers the Manual Scheduling feature and talks about some of these scenarios. Whether you like the feature or not it is best to know how it works and consider how you might use it. This is the fourth video in a 10-part series called “Adapting to Project 2010”, which is designed for users of previous versions to get up to speed on Project’s new capabilities.
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If you are familiar with previous versions of Microsoft Project, setting most any default would be found under the Tools->Options menu. With the new version, you will find that menu option is gone and the Task Level 0 display option has been moved. This video will step you through finding all the default settings you might be familiar with in Project 2010. -Bill
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