When you understand the goal and scope of a project, you can begin to work backward to determine the steps that you need to take to reach the goal. Look for major phases first, and then break each phase into a logical sequence of steps.

Planning for resources is one aspect of planning the entire project. Resources can include equipment of limited availability, materials, individual workers, and groups of workers. Take into account various schedules and issues, such as overtime, vacations, and resources that are shared among projects. Time, money, and resources are closely related: You may be able to save time with more resources, but resources typically cost money. You need to understand the order of priority among time, quality, and money

Note There's truth to the old joke: Time, budget, or quality — pick two. Devoting resources (which usually become costs) to a schedule can decrease the time but can also cause loss of quality control. Extending the time can improve quality but usually causes resource conflicts and added costs. Microsoft Project helps you see the trade-offs among these three important criteria throughout the life of your project.

Planning is the point at which you begin to enter data in Microsoft Project and see your project take shape. Figure 1-6 shows an initial Microsoft Project schedule.

Figure 1-6: The outline format of a Project schedule clearly shows the various phases of your project. Dependencies among tasks have not yet been established; every task starts at the same time, which isn't always possible.

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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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