Many people contemplate using project management software with about as much relish as they contemplate their next visit to the dentist. They anticipate hours of data-entry time before they can get anything out of the software. To some extent, that vision is true. You have to provide a certain amount of information about your project for any software to estimate schedules and generate reports, just as you have to enter numbers for a spreadsheet to calculate a budget or a loan payback schedule.
On the other hand, after you enter your basic project information into Microsoft Project, the ongoing maintenance of that data is far easier than generating handwritten to-do lists that become obsolete almost immediately. In addition, the accuracy and professionalism of reports that you generate with Project can make the difference between a poorly managed project and a successful one. As with a quarterly budget that you create with spreadsheet software, after you enter the data, Project performs its calculations automatically. And, using Project makes it easy for you to quickly spot potential problems and to test alternative solutions.
So, exactly what do you have to do to manage your project with Microsoft Project? To create a schedule in Microsoft Project, you must enter the following information about your tasks:
♦ Individual task names
♦ Task durations
♦ Task dependencies
To track the costs of these tasks, you add certain information about resources, including the following:
♦ The list of human and material resources and their costs for both standard and overtime hours
♦ The assignment of resources to specific tasks
To track a project over its lifetime, you need to enter the following information:
♦ Progress on tasks
♦ Changes in task timing or dependencies
♦ Changes in resources—that is, resources that are added to or removed from the project
♦ Changes in resource time commitments and costs
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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.