Microsoft Project is a specialized database that stores and presents thousands of pieces of data related to your project. Examples of such data include tasks, durations, links, resource names, calendars, assignments, costs, deadlines, and milestones.
These pieces of information interrelate and affect each other in a multitude of ways. Underlying this project database is the scheduling engine, which crunches the raw project data you enter and presents the calculated results to you (see Figure 1-1). Examples of such calculated results include the start and finish dates of a task, the resource availability, the finish date of the entire project, and the total cost for a resource or for the project.
You can then manipulate and display this calculated data in various views to analyze the planning and progress of your project. This information helps you make decisions vital to the project's success.
Andy Ruth, architect
Kathie Flood, engineer
Complete structural design
Identify potential sites
3 drafters, full-time
Must finish on 4-30-04
Microsoft Project Scheduling Engine
Figure 1-1. Use Microsoft Project as your database of project management information.
You can also communicate your progress and provide the feedback necessary to keep your team and other stakeholders informed of essential project information, create and print reports for status meetings or distribution to stakeholders, and print or publish certain views or reports to your team's Web site.
Microsoft Project 2003 Editions
With Microsoft Project 2003, you have a choice of two editions: Microsoft Office Project Standard 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003.
Microsoft Project Standard 2003 is the basic desktop edition of Microsoft Project. It no longer connects in any way to Microsoft Project Server 2003 and strictly stands alone. Microsoft Project Standard consists of all the essential features for individual project management, including the following:
• Task scheduling
• Resource management
With this substantial tool set, you can start planning, managing, and reporting your project o information "straight out of the box"—that is, immediately upon installation (see Figure 1-2).
Microsoft Project Professional 2003 provides everything that Microsoft Project Standard does. In addition, Microsoft Project Professional provides for team collaboration with a Web interface (see Figure 1-3).
Figure 1-3. Using Microsoft Project Professional, Microsoft Project Server, and Microsoft Project Web Access, you and your team members can communicate and update project information electronically.
Microsoft Project Professional also provides enterprise capabilities for project standardization, resource management, and executive analysis. With Microsoft Project Professional, project management is fully scalable across multiple departments and divisions in an organization (see Figure 1-4).
Microsoft Project Professional includes the following features:
• Team collaboration through Microsoft Project Server 2003 and Microsoft Project Web Access 2003. From Microsoft Project Professional, the project manager can send assignments to Microsoft Project Server, and team members can view and update their assignments using Microsoft Project Web Access, the Web-based project management interface.
• Global templates, enterprise fields, and other elements, enabling your project administrator to standardize and customize the use of Microsoft Project for the way your enterprise manages projects.
• The ability to choose and manage resources from the pool of a specific group or the entire company. You can see resource availability across multiple projects and have Microsoft Project automatically find resources that will appropriately fill project team requirements.
• High-level overviews of all the projects taking place throughout the organization. With the enterprise capabilities of Microsoft Project Professional , all information is gathered, organized, and reported consistently throughout the organization, providing a complete and accurate picture of all projects.
For more information about the workgroup collaboration and enterprise project management features provided through Project Professional, see Chapter 20, "Understanding the Project Workgroup and Enterprise Model."
Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Project Web Access
Microsoft Project Server is the separately licensed companion program that accompanies Microsoft Project Professional. Microsoft Project Server provides for team collaboration among project managers, team members, and other stakeholders.
Project managers use Microsoft Project to enter, store, and update project information. They can then send project information, such as assignments or task updates, to specific team members through Microsoft Project Server.
For more information about setting up Project Server and Project Web Access, see Chapter 21, "Administering Project Server and Project Web Access for Your Enterprise." For project manager information on enterprise and collaboration features, see Chapter 22, "Managing with Project Professional and Project Server."
Team members and other associated stakeholders in the project can view and work with the information held in Project Server through the use of Project Web Access, the Web-based user interface for project team collaboration and messaging. Team members can review their assigned tasks and other project information in Project Web Access. In addition, they can add tasks, update progress information, and send status reports through Project Server, which ultimately updates the project plan being maintained by the project manager.
For more information about functions for team members and resource managers, see Chapter 23, "Participating on a Team Using Project Web Access." Upper management and other stakeholders should see Chapter 24, "Making Executive Decisions Using Project Web Access."
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.