Since Microsoft Project's initial release in 1984 it has evolved into an incredibly powerful and sophisticated project management tool. One of those sophisticated features is calendars. As one of my heroes Spiderman says, "with great power comes great responsibility". As a project manager, you can exploit some of the cool capabilities with Microsoft Project calendars, but beware, you could really tie your shorts up in a knot if you start getting too fancy with project calendars. In addressing this topic, I want to start off by telling you what Microsoft Project help says about calendars then give you a few tips to help you avoid Project Manager hell when trying to develop a meaningful and realistic project schedule.
So okay, Microsoft Project is a super flexible tool in helping you as a project manager define your project tasks, dependencies, and resources. Quite frankly, though, the workplan you define in MS Project is only as good as the thought that goes into it. Too often I've seen savvy MS Project users completely bungle a project because, while the tool was being used appropriately, the workplan didn't make sense to the project team and didn't reflect what really needed to be done. The team consistently expressed confusion about what needed to be done by when because the project workplan wasn't reflective of the actual work which needed to be done. Great exercise in using MS Project, but poor execution of the project. Blech.
A pretty nifty feature in Microsoft Project is the ability to define a project through the use of the project guide. The project guide is a cool little wizard that walks you through setting up a project, assigning resources to the project, tracking progress, and reporting on progress. What I like about this wizard is not only the help it gives newbie project managers, but also is a great reminder of the cool MS Project capabilities for more seasoned MS Project project managers.
To get started with this cool project management software tool do the following:
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