Recently I did a live video that showed some of the best practices for building a project plan when just getting started. Some of the most important features I covered were the best setttings to use whenever you start a new project plan. Below are the show notes:
note: I am still working on getting the video up on the site. Since this is a very new site, I want to make sure it works perfectly for you so please bear with me.
1) The very first time you start running MS Project, the menus and icons you need may be set to hide automatically. It is nice the Microsoft provides this feature to keep people from getting too overwhelmed with all the options but trust me, this is not a good feature for MS Project. Right-click anywhere on the icons at the top of the page and choose “Customize…”. In the Options tab, click Show Standard and Formatting toolbars on two rows and also click Always show full menus.
2) Whenever you create a project plan, there is a special task in your project. This task represents the beginning and end of the entire project. We call this Task 0 (zero) or the Project Summary Task. Turn this on by going to Tools->Options, go tot he View tab and choose Show Project Summary Task.
3) A major complaint new Project Managers have is that Microsoft Project changes the duration of their tasks. They also complain that adding resources reduces the overall time it takes to complete a task. While adding more resources to a task may actually reduce the time it takes, a Project Manager ususally wants to decide if that is the case for themselves. Something you may not know is Microsoft Project acutally does not always ‘do this for you’… they are settings! Go to Tools->Options and click on the Schedule tab. Set the Default Task Type to Fixed Duration and Uncheck New Tasks are Effort Driven.