Microsoft Project  | Create your FIRST  MS project  with easy steps

 

Microsoft Project Professional is an emerging and robust software for project management used in all types of industries ranging from oil and gas to web development and marketing unlike Primavera P6 which is used mostly in the construction industry only. MS Project enhances productivity of the project. Scheduling, Critical Path Development, Resources Allocation, Project Monitoring, Cost Management Quality Control, in short it can handle all 10 Project Management Knowledge Areas.


As part of our Beginner to advanced MS Project Professional Course, you’d learn to create your first project with an easy and step by step process.

Some basic Settings before starting:

Before creating a schedule, you need to make two basic changes in Options:

Setting 1: Auto Schedule

Change the default Manual Scheduling to Auto Scheduling

Go to File => Options

As you can see in image below, it should look like this

What does Auto Scheduled do?

When selected, the Auto Scheduling option will keep scheduling activities with each change. You don’t have to schedule it, the start and finish dates of activities would be updated automatically. 

Click on OK and Close the window. At the bottom left corner, it would look like as image below

Ready? Let's schedule your First Project!

Remember we told you that MS Project deals with all kinds of industries? So, we’d create a project that any planning engineer or project manager can understand whether he’s from Marketing and Sales, Construction Industry, Oil and Gas, Plant Shutdown or even web development field. We assume that you’re starting your own business and we’d help you plan that in MS Project Professional.

Step 1: Create a new project

Click to create a Blank Project.

A blank project window will open.

 

Now create a Project Summary Task or activity. This task is the Highest level WBS in our project

Here’s what you would see apart from the dates:

Give your project a name:

Step 2: Project start date

In order to schedule the project, MS Project needs to know the project start date.

To input the project start date, click the Project tab and select Project Information:

In this window insert the project start date (in our case: 14 Sep 2020):

Step 3: Activities or Tasks

In our project, we need to perform these tasks:

  1. Develop business plan
  2. Acquiring business license
  3. Create bank account
  4. Secure funds
  5. Business location
  6. Office equipment and furniture
  7. Hire the team
  8. Marketing and promotion

Enter all these tasks in the activity window alongside Gantt Chart

Wonder why there are Question Marks in some fields or columns of MS Project Gantt Chart View? Because it needs values for these fields and we haven’t entered any yet. So we’d first enter durations then we’d link all these activities.

Step 4: Provide Task Durations

Now, we will tell MS Project how long each task is estimated to take. Duration is the total time in hours, days or weeks until a task is finished. Enter the estimated duration in the duration column just like you would in MS Excel Columns.

Step 5: Link tasks in the right sequence

Tasks should be executed in a specific order like you can’t get funding without having a business plan first. So, we’d link all these tasks or activities in MS Project in a logical sequence.

There are two methods we can do this:

  1. We can add a predecessors column and enter the tasks which should come before the task we’ve currently selected or similarly for successors column. Same can be achieved by activity details window below
  2. We can also use a link button in the Ribbon in Taskmenu.

We’d see both methods here

Consider the first two tasks: Develop a business plan and acquire a  business license.

To tell MSProject Professional that getting business license comes after creating a business plan, you can enter create business plan as a predecessor for the task Get business license (in the Predecessors field).

The tasks are listed and considered similarly as in Excel using row numbers. These row numbers are also ID numbers of tasks.

Follow these steps: Select task 2 and enter 1 in the predecessor column like below.

You’d see that MS Project automatically changes the arrangement of activities in gantt chart, or in other it auto scheduled the tasks based on relationships.

 

Now let’s look at other method for linking remaining activities.

For this quick and easy way to link all activities in MS Project, simply select all the tasks as in image below.

Select the Task tab and click the link button and Get ready to be surprised by what happens in the gantt chart.

All the tasks are now arranged in the order we linked them, and the Gantt chart is changed as per schedule:

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Waqas Ahmad

Waqas Ahmad

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