Establishing Basic Project Information

Use the Project Information dialog box, shown in Figure 3-3, to supply basic information about the new project that you want to set up. If this box doesn't automatically appear, choose ProjectOProject Information to display it.

Use the Project Information dialog box, shown in Figure 3-3, to supply basic information about the new project that you want to set up. If this box doesn't automatically appear, choose ProjectOProject Information to display it.

Figure 3-3: The Project Information dialog box tracks basic information about each project.

Tip You can make the Project Information dialog box appear automatically whenever you start a new project by checking the Prompt for project info for new projects * box on the General tab of the Options dialog box. Choose ToolsoOptions to open the dialog box.

You can enter the following eight pieces of information in the Project Information dialog box:

♦ Start date: If you set a start date for the project, all tasks begin on that date until you assign timing or dependencies to them.

♦ Finish date: If you know your project's deadline, you can enter it here and then work backward to schedule your project. You must change the setting in the Schedule from field to make this option available.

♦ Schedule from: You can build schedules from completion to start by setting this field to Project Finish Date. Alternatively, you can build your schedule from the start date forward by accepting the default setting, Project

Start Date.

♦ Current date: Project uses your computer's current date setting for the default entry in this field. To use a different date, change the date in this field. You can adjust this setting to generate reports that provide information on your project as of a certain date or to go back and track your project's progress from an earlier date.

♦ Status date: This field performs earned-value calculations and identifies the complete-through date in the Update Project dialog box. Status date also enables Project to place progress lines in your project. If you leave the status date set at NA, Project sets the status date as your computer's current date setting.

♦ Calendar: You can select the calendar on which to base your schedule. The Standard calendar is the default — it schedules work eight hours a day, five days a week.

♦ Priority: You can establish a priority for each project in addition to setting priorities for tasks — a numerical value between 1 and 1,000. The project level priority plays a role when you use shared resources across multiple projects. Setting a project priority helps you to better control how resource leveling adjusts tasks when you share resources across projects.

♦ Enterprise Custom Fields: If your organization uses Project Server, you may need to assign values to project-level custom fields or outline codes that are defined in the Project Server database. You see an asterisk (*) next to any required custom field or outline code. Enter either a start or finish date — only one is available to you, depending on the choice that you've made in the Schedule from field. If you schedule from the project start date, Project defaults the constraint type for all new tasks to As Soon As Possible (ASAP). And, as you would expect, if you schedule from the project finish date, Project defaults the constraint type for all new tasks to As Late As Possible (ALAP).

To enter one of these dates, click the down arrow next to the text box. (The arrow is not available if the Schedule from field isn't set for that choice.) Select a date from the pop-up calendar, as shown in Figure 3-4.

Project jlri-i.ït.ci far "Project"!'

5tart date: | Mon: QS/26/03 [7 Current däle: 05/26/Ü3 " -

Project jlri-i.ït.ci far "Project"!'

5tart date: | Mon: QS/26/03 [7 Current däle: 05/26/Ü3 " -

iinish date:

4 1 May, 2003 _►_]

Status date: |WA

Schedule fror Al

ïnterprise Ci

rL,n Ugfj fuc -pTllJ pj

12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 ! 9 20 21 22 23 24 25 ^D 27 28 29 30 31 ] 2 3 4 5 6 7 Cl} Today: 05/26/2003

Cätendar: Standard T Eriority: jiöö ¡rj

1

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Custom Fiela

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Figure 3-4: Use the arrow keys at the top of this calendar to choose other months.

If you decide to schedule backward from the finish date, Project can't use tools such as resource leveling to resolve conflicts in your schedule.

You can change the project's start date during the planning phase, trying out alternative what-if scenarios by modifying this field. As you build your tasks going forward, Project indicates the finish date as dictated by the length of your tasks and their timing relationships. When you're satisfied with the overall time frame, you can set the start date that works best when you're ready to begin.

Tip If you have already begun the project, you can set the start date to a date in the past to accurately reflect the real start date. Tasks on the Gantt Chart appear to * have occurred before the current date line.

If you know the date by which something must be completed (as with the annual meeting project, for example, or a Christmas party that must happen on December 25), you can schedule tasks by moving backward from the finish date. When you do this, Project builds the tasks going back in time. You may be surprised when Project generates a schedule telling you that you should have started three weeks earlier to finish on time. In that case, you can either add resources to get the work done faster or reduce the scope of the project.

- Cross- \ In Chapters 9 and 10, you read about techniques that you can use to help you : Reference resolve scheduling and resource problems.

When beginning a new schedule, you typically accept the default settings for Current date and Status date. After your project is under way, changing these default settings affects project tracking and the material that is generated in project reports.

For now, you can keep all the default settings (that is, scheduling from the start of the project, having the current date be today, and starting the project today, as well as basing your schedule on the standard calendar). Click OK to close the Project Information dialog box.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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