Get a detailed real-world insight into Microsoft Project from accredited PM experts to help you plan and manage better projects.

Course overview
A general introduction into task and resource management using Microsoft Project for project managers and their teams.  Step-by-step tutorials teach core skills, backed up by end of section exercises and multiple-choice questions to consolidate topics learned.
Delivery method
Virtual Classroom: 2 x 3 hours, Physical Classroom: 1 day.  Available both In-Company and on our Public Course Schedule.
Learning outcomes
After completing this course, delegates will be able to create common-sense project plans that model real-world project environments. They will:

  • Understand the core components of a project; tasks, time, resources and scope and how these factors interact.
  • Be able to break down a project into its constituent deliverables, tasks and milestones and then scope these deliverables, adding structure and sequence.
  • Understand how a project is scheduled and be able to make effective decisions based upon schedule data.
  • Be able to create concise reports for all levels of project stakeholder.
  • Understand the fundamentals of resource assignments and the impact that resources have on the project’s schedule and the meeting of its deadlines.
  • Be able to manipulate the schedule, both in terms of calendar constraints but also constraints against the tasks themselves.
  • Understand why resource demand and supply can be in conflict and how levelling is a tool to overcome conflicts.
  • Be able to create project baselines, set status dates and apply project versioning.
  • Efficiently perform project updating, progress analysis and replanning; throughout the entire project lifecycle.
Audience
Project Manager, Project Office Member, Resource Manager.
Course detail
What to do and how to do it

This initial section introduces the user to Microsoft Project, what it can (and cannot) do and why people use it.  Smart ways to navigate the tool are introduced, together with how views and tables help keep all the project’s data organised.  The overall scope of a project is then broken down into the tasks that will define it.  These tasks are then managed within a hierarchical structure and linked to each other to create a schedule.  This schedule is then reviewed to ensure that it accurately models the scope of the project and the benefits that the project is set to deliver.

  • Microsoft Project. What it is and how best to use it
  • How you communicate with Microsoft Project and how it communicates with you
  • How to create a project and what a project comprises
  • Creating summary tasks, subtasks and milestones
  • When to use manually-scheduled and automatically-scheduled tasks
  • Matching tasks durations with a project’s scope
  • Creating a sequence of linked tasks
  • Reviewing a project’s structure, its sequence, and its schedule
Who does what and when

Section two looks firstly at how a project’s schedule of tasks and dates can be analysed to ensure that the project’s scope can be completed within a timely manner.  Tools including views, tables and filters are employed to enhance and simplify this analysis process.  With a workable project schedule determined, this section then explains how the project’s scope of work can be achieved by utilising resource effort.  With resources realistically defined, assignments are then created to match tasks with the people to work against them.  These assignments are then reviewed to ensure that all work planned has been allocated to resources best capable of carrying it out.

  • Reviewing the schedule of tasks, milestones and summaries, plus how this information can be shared with others
  • Finding critical tasks and tasks with free time
  • How to intelligently use filters, views and tables to analyse what happens when and why it does so
  • Why a project needs resources and how they can be accurately defined
  • Performing tasks using individual resources or the effort of multiple resources
  • Modifying resource assignments to accurately reflect the work being performed
  • Applying cost values against work or to tasks themselves
  • Reviewing who is doing what and when they are doing it
Optimising the project

This third section looks at how a project is influenced by the outside world and how it can be optimised to accurately measure reality.  Working and non-working time is defined and its influence upon the project’s schedule is clearly seen.  Tasks are constrained not only to each other, but also to dates determined by various project stakeholders.  Resource utilisation options are examined to help determine supply vs. demand issues.  Where resource conflicts exist, these are levelled to match work requirements with resource capacity.  The impact of resource optimisation against the project’s schedule is investigated.

  • Setting working and non-working time within project calendars and matching these with project-wide settings
  • Applying date-based and relationship-based constraints against tasks
  • Finding and managing task constraints
  • Comparing resource supply with demand
  • Using levelling to resolve resource problems
  • Reviewing the effects of resource optimisation
Progressing the project

This final section closes the loop by applying progress to the project and then determining the impact upon the project’s objectives as a result of this progress.  A project is baselined to provide a reference point and version control is discussed to ensure accurate record keeping.  Tasks are updated around a status date with start and finish dates and in-progress indications.  Incomplete work is not overlooked and this is scheduled into the future.  Variance analysis is performed to compare planned work with actual progress.  The project is subsequently replanned to ensure that it remains on track.

  • Having structured updates using update cycles and version control techniques
  • Establishing and viewing baselines to compare progress against
  • Using the status date as a past/future boundary
  • How to update progress against tasks and their assignments
  • Rescheduling work still to be done
  • Reviewing and understanding project variances
  • Using replanning techniques to get projects back on track

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