Microsoft Project has many useful features to help you to plan projects, manage and update project information, and communicate the status once the project is under way:
- The Gantt chart can show the project schedule graphically on a time scale, with scaling ‘zoomed in’ down to units of ¼ hour, or ‘zoomed out’ up to yearly intervals.
- You can ‘outline’ your project into phases of summary tasks and sub tasks and collapse the view to print only the top level tasks.
- You can create different working times for each group of resources and for each individual resource if required.
- Filters, sorts and grouping can be applied to view selected information meeting your defined criteria.
- There are views and reports to help you quickly identify resource availability and costs.
- You can attach documents to tasks (for example Visio diagrams, or Excel spreadsheets) so that your project plan is a complete database of your project.
- Saving Baseline plans allows you to track actual progress and view date and cost variances.
- You can create custom fields so you can track additional information unique to your project.
Learning to use Microsoft Project has never been particularly straight forward. The interface has a tendency to lure the unwary into a number of traps which can lead to users not getting the best from the software. A good skills based training course will considerably shorten the time taken to learn this complex application. If you are based in one of the major cities you might consider a public classroom course. Paul Brown Training offer Microsoft Project training courses in London at a number of venues. Alternatively you could arrange an onsite course at your own offices anywhere in the UK.