Microsoft Project as a Planning and Scheduling tool

Microsoft Project is a tool that can be very helpful in a rolling out a project. I have interned with a software company where I ended up teaching my boss, a project manager for the business, how to use Project. Before that she was just using an excel spreadsheet to lay out all of the different tasks associated with our software deliveries and their current standing. Project can be tedious on the front end getting a project started, but in the long run it can automate a lot of the work you do and make changes for you. I also think there is value in learning Project because it is a similar system to many project management types of softwares you may run into in work such as JIRA or ServiceNow. Once you’ve learned one of these systems you can pick up others more quickly. While at Western Michigan I took some things from class that helped me very much in getting a project started on MS Project. I am going to lay out these few steps that put you at a great starting point before inputting any tasks into your project.

MS Project Startup (2016 version):

  1. On the bottom of your screen is a green toolbar. On the left side of the toolbar it says New Tasks: MANUALLY SCHHEDULED. Click that and select AUTO SCHEDULED. This will make it so that when you input tasks and their duration or mark tasks complete the overall schedule will automatically make adjustments accordingly.
  2. Then, go to Project > Project Information and set the start date of your project.
  3. Select the first task line so that it’s highlighted, then Format > (in the Show/Hide section of the toolbar) check the Project Summary Task box. This will create a Project Summary Task where you can name your project and the entirety of the project Start to Finish will be calculated.

Again, these three steps could just help to organize your project schedule a lot on the front end. Hope this is helpful to some!

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