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Microsoft Project 2010 70-178

Customize Options Settings

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What is Project Management?

Create a New Project

Create and Maintain Calendars

Create Custom Fields

Customize Options Settings

00:00:00 - And our final nugget in the 1.0 Initializing Project segment
00:00:04 - is 1.4, Customized Optional Settings or option settings.
00:00:09 - A very critical, very important
00:00:13 - nugget because if we don't understand the settings
00:00:18 - within Microsoft Project. Microsoft Project will do very different
00:00:23 - things and may appear to not be working correctly.
00:00:28 - Rest assured, Microsoft Project works correctly, but it may
00:00:32 - not do what you expect purely because some of the option
00:00:37 - settings aren't exactly what you expected them to be and as a
00:00:42 - result, Microsoft Project is behaving in a fashion somewhat
00:00:46 - different than you would expect it to be, and it literally is that
00:00:50 - significant. One option, in particular, that we'll spend significant
00:00:54 - time on in this nugget, is setting of the task type.
00:00:58 - Depending on how you set the task type, Microsoft Project will
00:01:02 - literally behave totally different. So let's look at what
00:01:06 - the options settings within Microsoft Project are.
00:01:10 - We get to our options settings from the backstage, so we go file
00:01:14 - options, now again; for those you you who have been using Microsoft Project
00:01:17 - in the past, this is in a different place. It used to be tools,
00:01:21 - options. Now we go to the backstage. We get to the backstage from
00:01:25 - file and we go to options.
00:01:29 - Now, you can see there are significant number of options that we
00:01:35 - need to set within Microsoft Project. The good news is, most
00:01:39 - of the options we're going to set within Microsoft Project are
00:01:42 - personal preferences only, and we're not going to spend a lot
00:01:45 - of time on personal preferences within this nugget. Microsoft
00:01:49 - Project has excellent help and excellent help is available
00:01:53 - to you throughout Microsoft Project, and in particular, in the options
00:01:57 - settings. So for a lot of the personal preferences,
00:02:01 - I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it, but on the aspects
00:02:05 - to Microsoft Project that's going to change the operational
00:02:08 - functionality of Microsoft Project, I'm going to spend significant
00:02:11 - time on. So, in the general area user interface options, again, this
00:02:17 - is your own look and feel, what color scheme do you want, how
00:02:21 - do you want it to deal with screen tips, et cetera, et, cetera,
00:02:25 - purely personal options.
00:02:28 - Project view, I'm going to spend just a second on this because it doesn't
00:02:32 - change the results from Microsoft Project, but literally will
00:02:36 - change your experience for using Microsoft Project somewhat.
00:02:39 - Default view, gantt with timeline, you can see there are many,
00:02:44 - many, many
00:02:46 - optional views available to you. The gantt with timeline is the
00:02:49 - one that that comes out of the shrink wrap. I personally prefer just the pure
00:02:53 - gantt chart as my default view. So I'm going to make that change,
00:03:00 - personal preference only, but you will see me using Microsoft
00:03:04 - Project with the gantt chart view as my default throughout
00:03:10 - the rest of this nugget series, so, just so that you can understand
00:03:14 - why your view may look slightly different than mine when you
00:03:17 - start up Microsoft Project, it's because of the default view. Again,
00:03:21 - date format, personal preferences, organizational preferences,
00:03:25 - but will somewhat change the viewpoint within Microsoft Project
00:03:29 - depending on how you set your your date format and that's it
00:03:33 - for the general tab.
00:03:36 - The next area of options we're going to look at is display, and
00:03:40 - as the name suggests, this is very much a personal options
00:03:43 - setting, so we're not going to spend a lot of time on this particular
00:03:46 - area. The calendar type, most of us I'm assuming will use the
00:03:50 - Gregorian calendar, but there's two other calendar types available
00:03:53 - to us in Microsoft Project. How we want currency to show, what
00:03:58 - the currency symbol is. In North America we use the dollar
00:04:01 - sign, in Europe obviously you use the Euro. Where do you want
00:04:05 - the currency symbol to be, how many digits, et cetera, et cetera.
00:04:08 - You can see I am a Canadian, so I use Canadian currency. A lot
00:04:12 - of you may be changing it to U.S. Dollars and so on. Whether
00:04:16 - you want the indicators and options to show for resource
00:04:20 - assignments and edits and deletions. I'm gonna leave all of these ticked. Over
00:04:24 - time I would expect you will want to personal preferences,
00:04:28 - turn some of these off to customize Microsoft Project to be
00:04:31 - more consistent with your look and feel.
00:04:34 - Down here, show these elements entry bar, this is what I will
00:04:38 - call to your attention, probably more for
00:04:42 - old users of Microsoft Project moving to ten. It took me
00:04:46 - some time to find how to turn the entry bar on in
00:04:51 - ten because I wasn't looking in the right place, I will admit it,
00:04:54 - but basically, the entry bar is consistent with tools like
00:04:58 - Microsoft Excel where you have the ability to over type in
00:05:03 - the direct cell that you're operating within Microsoft Project
00:05:07 - slash Excel, but the entry bar is also going to appear in the
00:05:11 - entry bar area in a common area within your screen. What
00:05:15 - am I trying to say? Let me click okay, out of options
00:05:19 - and here is my entry bar. So if I was typing down here in my
00:05:23 - cell; this is a task. You can see that my entry bar is appearing
00:05:29 - up here and again, personal preferences only, when I first loaded
00:05:35 - project ten I missed my entry bar and it, as I said, it took me sometime to find that
00:05:40 - setting to allow me to get my entry bar back. Maybe making
00:05:43 - too much of a small issue, but again, trying to share with
00:05:48 - you my learning experience with project ten as we go through
00:05:51 - this nugget series. That said, let's go back to our options and move on to
00:05:56 - our next set of options which is schedule.
00:06:01 - And the schedule options is where we're going to spend the majority
00:06:05 - of our time in this nugget,
00:06:08 - and you should recognize these schedule options because we've
00:06:11 - already touched on it. The default start time, the default end
00:06:14 - time, the hours per day, the hours per week and the hours per
00:06:17 - month, we already discussed this when we where doing our intro to
00:06:21 - calendaring in a previous nugget.
00:06:23 - So we're not to spend time on those. We recognize that these
00:06:26 - are conversion factors that Microsoft Project is going to use
00:06:29 - to do the on the fly conversions, and I think the conversion
00:06:34 - factors will make more sense in just a moment when we start
00:06:36 - to talk down here, but let's go back up to the top. When does your
00:06:40 - week start, when does your fiscal year start, doesn't fundamentally
00:06:45 - change the operation of Microsoft Project in terms of scheduling.
00:06:49 - It knows what your work week is based on your calendar, but
00:06:52 - it fundamentally changes some reports that you may get out of
00:06:56 - Microsoft Project related to weeks and, it certainly will
00:06:59 - change some budget reports if you have projects that cross over your
00:07:04 - fiscal years. So again, just a little bit of attention to
00:07:07 - these settings upfront, will ensure that some of your reports
00:07:10 - will be more meaningful for you. The raw data will be fine and
00:07:14 - the good news is, if you forgot to set your fiscal year as starting
00:07:18 - in April,
00:07:19 - at the time of project start up, you were on your first budget
00:07:23 - report and saying, "That budget doesn't make sense," it's
00:07:26 - probably just because the setting was wrong, the good news is
00:07:29 - you can go back and set it.
00:07:32 - Schedule, show scheduling messages, I'm going to again, leave this
00:07:36 - turned on. Personal preferences I would turn this off as
00:07:39 - I'm operating Microsoft Project doing heads down project management
00:07:43 - because I find, and again, maybe it's because I've been using Microsoft
00:07:46 - Project for 10 plus years now, I find some of these pop up
00:07:50 - scheduling messages to be
00:07:55 - annoying. I was trying to find a better word but they're annoying. I find
00:07:58 - they interrupt my work flow, but certainly for first time users
00:08:02 - to Microsoft Project's having these scheduling messages pop
00:08:06 - up can be a good thing and as our mouse over says, it will give this
00:08:11 - information about scheduling inconsistency such as, such as, such as.
00:08:16 - New tasks will be created based on manually scheduled tasks
00:08:22 - or auto scheduled tasks. This is a new feature in project 10.
00:08:28 - Prior to project 10, all tasks were set to be auto scheduled,
00:08:33 - which means the Microsoft scheduling engine will automatically
00:08:37 - schedule the work based on resource availability, based on successors, based
00:08:41 - on predecessors, based on the assigned work, Microsoft Project
00:08:45 - will automatically schedule the work based on the resource
00:08:48 - availability. Traditionally I would assume most of the time
00:08:54 - we want Microsoft Project to do auto scheduling for us, that's
00:08:57 - why we're using a powerful tool like Microsoft Project to do
00:09:00 - the auto scheduling
00:09:02 - but, they introduce this new feature called manually scheduling
00:09:05 - in this release. I see the value in manually scheduling in two main
00:09:11 - areas. The first main area I might want to use manually scheduling
00:09:15 - is when I'm first creating my raw data entry into Microsoft
00:09:20 - Project. I'm simply doing all of the data entry to get my work
00:09:24 - breakdown structure or I'm doing all of the raw customization
00:09:28 - to take that template that I'm modeling off of and get it turned
00:09:32 - around and make it more specific to my project. I don't have
00:09:36 - resources, I don't have estimates, I don't have my dependencies
00:09:39 - set, I don't need Microsoft Project to do all of that automatic
00:09:43 - scheduling for me every time I make a change of a task name.
00:09:47 - So during the original project set up, I may want to set
00:09:51 - manually scheduling just to avoid the subtle delays while
00:09:55 - it's scheduling the tasks or so that I'm not distracted by
00:10:00 - having my schedule constantly changing on me.
00:10:03 - Another instance where I may want to use manually scheduling is
00:10:06 - when I have a very large complex project, possibly with multiple
00:10:10 - phases. I may want to have manually scheduling turned on for my
00:10:15 - outbound, my later projects and my current phase of my project, I
00:10:19 - would probably have all of my tasks in my current phase, set
00:10:23 - as auto schedule, that's what I'm actively managing, my current
00:10:26 - phases for the next three months, I'm actively managing all the tasks
00:10:30 - for the next three months. I absolutely would want to have those
00:10:33 - auto scheduled, but then the next phase and the next four phases
00:10:37 - of my project, which are from three months to six months and
00:10:39 - six months to twelve months and twelve months to eighteen months,
00:10:42 - it may make more sense to have those manually scheduled because
00:10:45 - again, I probably only have a raw work breakdown structure entered
00:10:50 - into those and I probably don't have all of my resource dependencies,
00:10:54 - et cetera, et cetera. So, additional features and functionality
00:10:58 - in 10, I'm going to set my default to auto scheduled because for the purpose
00:11:04 - of this nugget series, we're going to be focused on the actual
00:11:07 - activity of Microsoft Project and how it works for me.
00:11:11 - The next component is when do you want Microsoft Project to auto
00:11:16 - schedule these tasks. From the start date, the project start
00:11:20 - date or from today's date. I typically change my settings for this
00:11:25 - particular option. When I start my project, when I'm doing my
00:11:29 - initial project planning, I think that the fairest statement is I
00:11:33 - always want my project's tasks to be scheduled from the start
00:11:36 - date, and then moved out by Microsoft Project automatically based
00:11:40 - on resource availability, et cetera, et cetera, but when I'm six months,
00:11:44 - 12 months into a large project, having Microsoft Project
00:11:47 - going back and saying oh, Steve is entering a new task, I bet he
00:11:51 - wanted to do this task a year ago when the project started.
00:11:55 - No. If I'm entering a new task 12 months into the project, I'm
00:11:59 - going to want that task scheduled based on, at least today's date,
00:12:03 - or maybe some point in the future from today's date, so again, initial
00:12:07 - set up, I would let Microsoft Project automatically calculate
00:12:10 - all of my tasks from my project start date, which is probably
00:12:14 - set to be a future date, as we discussed in our
00:12:17 - project startup nugget, and then as I'm in active execution,
00:12:22 - I would probably have my tasks auto scheduled for my current date.
00:12:27 - Does it truly change the operation and functionality of Microsoft
00:12:31 - Project? No. Does it make it a little easier for me when
00:12:36 - I work in the project plan? Yes. So it's absolutely a personal
00:12:39 - preferences thing, doesn't change the operations of the tool.
00:12:46 - These next two options, duration is entered in days, work is entered
00:12:51 - in hours, is absolutely a personal preference. You can tell
00:12:55 - Microsoft Project, by default, duration is going to be entered
00:12:58 - in minutes, in hours, in days, in weeks, in months.
00:13:03 - What's the right answer? The right answer is, how are you thinking,
00:13:07 - how are you getting your raw data, where are your estimates
00:13:10 - coming from your team members, from your Estimators. If all of
00:13:14 - your Estimators are saying, "Steve, this task is going to be three
00:13:18 - days long."
00:13:20 - Days is the way you're going to want your duration to be defaulted.
00:13:24 - If all of your Estimators are giving you the estimates in hours,
00:13:28 - "Steve, this is a 32 hour task,"
00:13:32 - then you're going to want to have your default in hours. Again,
00:13:37 - personal preference or probably more appropriately, where
00:13:42 - the raw data for your project is coming from and the same
00:13:45 - applies for
00:13:47 - hours. "Steve, the work estimate, the amount of work that has
00:13:51 - to be done on this particular task, is two days," then you're going to
00:13:56 - want it to be days or, conversely, "Steve, I've estimated this task.
00:14:01 - I believe there is 24 hours of work required to get
00:14:06 - this task completed," in which case it's going to be done in hours.
00:14:10 - Now, this is where the conversion factors come in.
00:14:15 - If the duration is coming in in days, "Steve, this task is going to
00:14:20 - take five days of length duration to complete."
00:14:25 - Then, that's assuming each day has eight hours in it or conversely,
00:14:31 - "Steve, this task is going to take 32 hours."
00:14:36 - If it's a 32 hour and my day has eight hours, then it's
00:14:42 - a four day task and that's where Microsoft Project does all of
00:14:46 - the conversion. As a matter of fact, when Microsoft stores this
00:14:50 - raw data in it's data file, it's not storing it as days or hours,
00:14:54 - it's actually storing it, I believe, as seconds, and then it knows
00:14:59 - that there's 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes
00:15:02 - in an hour and so on and so on and so on. This is where it does
00:15:06 - the automatic conversion. That's why it's easy to say I'm going to enter
00:15:10 - my duration in days, and I'm going to enter my work in hours because
00:15:14 - the fact is, it's all stored in the same base and Microsoft
00:15:18 - Project is simply applying the appropriate conversion factors
00:15:21 - of your hours per day, your hours per week, et cetera, et cetera,
00:15:26 - to allow you to do the conversion. You can have one view in
00:15:29 - Microsoft Project that's showing you all of your information
00:15:32 - in hours, and you can have another view in Microsoft Project
00:15:35 - that's showing all of your information in days, and you can have
00:15:38 - another management view in Microsoft Project that's showing
00:15:40 - all of your information in weeks or months or quarters. Microsoft
00:15:45 - Project is simply doing the dynamic conversion of the raw
00:15:49 - data, seconds since midnight and allowing it to be managed appropriately.
00:15:54 - So fundamentally to this point we've discussed some, they're
00:15:59 - all usability, they're all personal preferences, but depending
00:16:03 - on things like the duration, things like the hours per, it
00:16:08 - will change the data that Microsoft Project is going to present.
00:16:12 - The most fundamental component to making Microsoft Project operate
00:16:17 - the way you want, is this field called task type.
00:16:21 - Are my task types fixed units, fixed duration, fixed work. Now
00:16:27 - we need to slow down and we need to go back to the white board,
00:16:31 - and we need to truly do a definition of what task type
00:16:36 - and these three terms, fixed units, fixed duration and fixed
00:16:40 - work are, to allow you to truly understand how Microsoft Project operates.
00:16:44 - So fundamentally, Microsoft Project will behave very
00:16:49 - differently based on our task types. As briefly discussed
00:16:55 - there are three tasks types available inside Microsoft Project:
00:16:58 - fixed work, fixed duration, fixed units, and before we get
00:17:04 - into the specifics of the task types, I have to share a very
00:17:08 - simple formula with you. Work
00:17:12 - as in fixed work, equals units, as in fixed units, times
00:17:18 - duration. So what does this funny little formula mean? Work is
00:17:23 - the effort
00:17:27 - to complete the task.
00:17:32 - So it's going to take 32 hours, four days, of effort
00:17:40 - to complete the task. How is that going to get done? It could
00:17:45 - get done with one unit, one resource, one resource,
00:17:51 - one person, times four days or 32 hours.
00:18:00 - Recognizing that Microsoft Project doesn't care what our units is.
00:18:03 - Now, "Steve, that's pretty straightforward. Why are you
00:18:07 - bothering, I know this kind of stuff." Because Microsoft Project
00:18:11 - will behave differently. Let's just expand on that. Let's say
00:18:15 - again, my effort is 32 hours, but in this case, I
00:18:20 - have two resources.
00:18:24 - So, effort,
00:18:27 - work equals units. Now my units is two, so my duration is going
00:18:32 - to be two days. Pretty straightforward. Again, I hope this makes sense.
00:18:38 - If I have half a resource,
00:18:45 - it's going to be times eight days. Again, I think we can all
00:18:51 - do the basic math, but this is a fundamental principle,
00:18:55 - not the basic math, but this formula that work equals units,
00:19:00 - times duration. Once you recognize that fundamentally,
00:19:06 - and I'm using the word fundamentally a lot in this nugget and I appreciate
00:19:09 - that, but once you understand that everything Microsoft Project
00:19:13 - does is really around work equals units, times duration,
00:19:19 - you'll begin to appreciate and understand why Microsoft Project
00:19:23 - does, I'm going to say, some of the weird and wonky
00:19:26 - things that it does, is because of how it interacts with this
00:19:31 - formula.
00:19:33 - Now, with that formula in hand, we have three ways Microsoft Project
00:19:38 - is going to apply the formula.
00:19:42 - I've applied it in my discussion to this point in time, based
00:19:48 - on that my tasks are all fixed work. So I am supplying
00:19:54 - the W side to the formula. This task is going to take thirty
00:19:59 - 32 hours of effort and then I will also have to
00:20:04 - supply, as the Project Manager; I have to supply Microsoft
00:20:09 - Project with two of the values in the formula, and again,
00:20:13 - that's basic math.
00:20:16 - Because it's a fixed work task, I literally have to supply
00:20:20 - the effort, the work,
00:20:22 - and I'm going to supply it with one of the other values, which is
00:20:27 - what I did. I said I have one resource, I played Microsoft Project
00:20:32 - and I determined that it's going to take four days for this
00:20:36 - work to get completed.
00:20:38 - Microsoft Project calculates the third value based on
00:20:43 - the two that I provide.
00:20:46 - The task type dictates how it's going to apply it's changes.
00:20:52 - If the task is fixed work,
00:20:56 - Microsoft Project will always, consider, always
00:21:03 - ensure, that that 32 number never changes.
00:21:08 - And you are going to say, "But Steve, I entered it." Right. When you are doing
00:21:13 - the original set up in Microsoft Project, you're going to enter
00:21:16 - the 32.
00:21:18 - As the project changes, you're now six months into the project
00:21:24 - and we assumed, let's say to keep it simple, let's assume
00:21:30 - that I had a single resource working on the task and therefore
00:21:34 - Microsoft Project told me that it's going to be a four day
00:21:37 - duration. Halfway through the project I discovered that I'm
00:21:43 - running late and I want to accelerate my project. So I have a
00:21:47 - a fixed work task.
00:21:51 - I do exactly what I discussed down here, I said I'm going to accelerate my
00:21:55 - task, my project. I'm going to add another resource to this
00:21:59 - work, and
00:22:02 - the task is now going to get done in two days. Hallelujah. That's
00:22:06 - exactly what I wanted to do.
00:22:09 - So why are you telling me that Microsoft Project does weird
00:22:12 - and wonky things? Well, let's look at the next option.
00:22:16 - It's a fixed duration task. Now I could turn the formula around
00:22:22 - so that duration equals, you know, work over units, but let's
00:22:26 - keep the formula as is. It's a fixed duration task. What you're
00:22:31 - doing is you're telling Microsoft Project, no matter what happens,
00:22:38 - the duration is going to be consistent. So let's start
00:22:42 - over again. Work equals units, times duration and let's deal
00:22:47 - with the same basic set up. It's 32 hours of work, equals
00:22:51 - one unit, times four days. I'm sorry for mixing the modes but
00:22:56 - for whatever reason, when Steve thinks work, he always thinks
00:23:00 - hours, and when Steve thinks duration, he always thinks days,
00:23:03 - but I know I can multiply four by eight, et cetera.
00:23:07 - This is a fixed duration task. During set up I entered two,
00:23:11 - Microsoft Project calculated the third and when I did
00:23:16 - my data entry, because it's a fixed duration task, I would typically
00:23:21 - always tell Microsoft Project, this task is going to take four
00:23:24 - days, and I would typically, Steve's method of work, tell it
00:23:29 - that I'm going to have a single resource working on it, so Microsoft
00:23:32 - Project is going to tell me it's going to be done, it's going
00:23:36 - to require 32 hours of work to get the job done.
00:23:39 - Now again, I'm halfway through my project. I want this task. I
00:23:44 - want my project to be faster. I apply the same logic. I'm going to
00:23:48 - increase my number of units to be two,
00:23:52 - and I'm going to expect my duration to cut in half, just like
00:23:56 - it did in the example I gave you over here. Not going to happen.
00:24:00 - This is where you begin to think, well what kind of, what kind
00:24:03 - of stuff is Microsoft Project doing? This is an accurate tool? I
00:24:07 - told Microsoft Project this is a fixed duration task, so no
00:24:12 - matter what, Microsoft Project is going to ensure that this
00:24:16 - task takes four days to complete and therefore, it's going to
00:24:20 - double the amount of work that it expects to be done in those
00:24:24 - four days. So if you have a fixed duration task
00:24:30 - and you change the number of units, you change the number
00:24:34 - of resources, Microsoft Project isn't going to change the duration,
00:24:38 - it's going to change the work.
00:24:42 - So again, if that's not what you're expecting to see happen, chances
00:24:45 - are, you have a task type set inconsistent with what you think
00:24:51 - Microsoft Project should be doing, but in fact Microsoft Project
00:24:55 - is doing exactly what you want it. Duration is fixed. This number
00:25:00 - will not be changed by Microsoft Project. Yes I can go into
00:25:04 - the data field and I, as the all knowing, all powerful, Project Manager,
00:25:08 - can change that duration. I can always change any value, but
00:25:13 - depending on whether it's fixed work, fixed duration or fixed units,
00:25:16 - Microsoft Project will not automatically change that value.
00:25:20 - Based on me giving it one piece of information, it will automatically
00:25:26 - calculate the third. Same thing applies with fixed units, work
00:25:30 - equals units, times duration.
00:25:33 - Initial set up, 32 equals one times four, pretty straightforward.
00:25:39 - Steve, why are you repeating this? Again, I want to get the task done faster.
00:25:45 - It's now a fixed units. I'm telling Microsoft Project that
00:25:51 - I'm going to
00:25:52 - change the duration. Let's get this task done in two days. My
00:25:58 - units is fixed,
00:26:01 - unless I deliberately override this. So if I have fixed units, I change
00:26:06 - the duration by two days.
00:26:09 - Microsoft Project is going to half the amount of work that
00:26:13 - is going to be required to get the job done.
00:26:17 - Very substantial, very different execution of changes within the
00:26:25 - tool set based on which task type you have defined. Fixed work,
00:26:31 - fixed duration, fixed units, all based on this formula.
00:26:37 - Key to understand how Microsoft Project works with task types
00:26:41 - for your own sanity, as an active Project Manager using Microsoft
00:26:46 - Project, day in, day out, and absolutely key to passing your certification
00:26:51 - exam, because I can guarantee you there will be questions based
00:26:55 - on this is a fixed duration task,
00:26:59 - I'm going to change the number of units, what is the result?
00:27:03 - This is a fixed work task and I'm going to change the duration. What
00:27:08 - is the result? This is a, this is a.
00:27:12 - The good news is it's pretty straightforward. You look at
00:27:17 - which type of task it's going to be
00:27:20 - and you say that's locked. If its fixed work, Microsoft Project
00:27:24 - will never change that value. If it's fixed duration, Microsoft
00:27:29 - Project will never change that value. The question is going
00:27:33 - to say, it's a fixed work, I want to change the number of units,
00:27:37 - well pretty simple math is going to tell you how Microsoft
00:27:40 - Project is going to change the duration, or if it's a fixed
00:27:43 - work and the question says I want to change the duration, then
00:27:46 - you automatically know the units is going to be recalculated
00:27:49 - by Microsoft Project. So, straightforward to answer the questions
00:27:53 - in the project certification exam itself, don't stress about that.
00:27:57 - Memorize this very simple formula and you'll be fine.
00:28:01 - To me, the key aspect to understanding these task types is how Microsoft
00:28:06 - Project is going to deal with the changes when we're six months
00:28:10 - into the project, and we're trying to get Microsoft Project to
00:28:13 - do things to help us accelerate our project, to help us out of project
00:28:18 - delivery challenges, and it's going to do those things. I know I'm a broken
00:28:23 - record, but this is fundamental to how Microsoft Project works,
00:28:27 - based on what task type we have defined,
00:28:30 - and which unit we change Microsoft Project will automatically
00:28:35 - change the only other option.
00:28:38 - The piece that's fixed, it will not change. We're telling it to
00:28:41 - change a different one, it will, it has no choice but to change
00:28:45 - the third, whichever the third is going to be.
00:28:49 - Okay? I think this is pretty straightforward. I hope you understand
00:28:53 - what I'm talking about. If you don't understand this in
00:28:57 - absolute fine detail, please rewind this nugget and replay it
00:29:03 - until you understand it. I am going to use that word fundamental
00:29:07 - one more time. This is fundamental to the way Microsoft Project
00:29:10 - works, and if you understand this, it will ease your frustration
00:29:15 - with this tool, and the tool will no longer be doing these
00:29:17 - weird and wonky things. The tool will be doing exactly what you asked
00:29:21 - it to do, may not be exactly what you wanted it to do, but if it's
00:29:25 - not doing what you wanted it to do, you can go back and look at
00:29:29 - it and say, "Oh yeah,
00:29:30 - I set this as a fixed work. I really wanted it to be a fixed
00:29:34 - units." Make the change. The good news is none of these are
00:29:38 - uncorrectable settings. We can always go in and fix this
00:29:43 - after the fact, if the project is not behaving the way we want it to.
00:29:47 - So with that very lengthy discussion of our task type, we
00:29:53 - simply will select which task type we want our default task
00:29:58 - type to be. Steve's personal preference is fixed work. As you become
00:30:02 - more experienced with Microsoft Project you may find the types
00:30:05 - of project you manage will require a different default, but
00:30:09 - again, that's a personal preference. As we already discussed, we can override that.
00:30:12 - Now, I have to add one additional complication to
00:30:17 - task type and that's this tick box right down here. New tasks
00:30:22 - are effort driven
00:30:24 - and as our pop up is going to tell us, specifying that
00:30:27 - new tasks are scheduled so that, such that the work on the
00:30:30 - task remains constant as you add or remove resources. So that's
00:30:35 - an extra
00:30:37 - piece of functionality that Microsoft Project has added
00:30:41 - into Microsoft Project on the assumption that most work will
00:30:46 - be; most tasks will be based on the amount of work required
00:30:50 - to get the job done. Now, why am I even talking about this? It's
00:30:53 - grayed out. If your default task type is fixed work, it will always
00:30:58 - be grayed out, you have no options, but if your default task type is
00:31:02 - fixed duration or fixed units,
00:31:04 - then you have the option of toggling this on or off, and as we get the
00:31:09 - tool tips, we will get the understanding of how Microsoft Project
00:31:13 - is going to differentiate it's processes based on whether
00:31:18 - the task is effort driven or not. And again, I will leave
00:31:22 - you to explore that more on your own.
00:31:26 - You're not as likely to get questions in the certification
00:31:30 - exam on the difference between a fixed duration effort driven
00:31:34 - versus a fixed units effort driven versus a fixed work, which
00:31:39 - is always effort driven, but it's also key that you understand
00:31:43 - the way Microsoft Project operates, and that we have this good
00:31:48 - help available to help us understand the operations.
00:31:51 - So, enough of that. Let's move on and look at the other options
00:31:56 - available to us on the schedule tab.
00:32:00 - Tasks will always honor their constraint dates. We'll talk about constraint
00:32:04 - dates as we get into a future nugget.
00:32:07 - This is simply the ability for us to tell Microsoft Project
00:32:11 - yes, I told you that this task must start on a specific date.
00:32:15 - Do your absolute
00:32:18 - best to ensure that the task will definitely start on that
00:32:21 - date or if we turn it off, Microsoft Project will say yes, I know he wanted
00:32:25 - to start on this date, but optionally, or optimally,
00:32:28 - I can move it ahead or move it back based on the other resources,
00:32:32 - so I want to give Steve that what if capabilities, and that's
00:32:37 - really what toggling this one on and off is all about, is providing
00:32:41 - me some what if functionalities within Microsoft Project to
00:32:45 - better tune and manage and optimize my schedule;
00:32:49 - recognizing that if we have this turned off and we're looking
00:32:53 - at a constraint up, but I said this must start on, but Microsoft
00:32:57 - Project has moved it to a different date, again, that's where you get
00:33:00 - this concept of weird and wonky.
00:33:04 - So, valuable for what if analysis, but remembering if you turn
00:33:08 - it off, Microsoft Project may appear to be doing that weird and wonky
00:33:11 - stuff, where fact it's doing exactly what you wanted.
00:33:14 - Auto insert.
00:33:18 - Auto link inserted or moved tasks. We'll talk about this when
00:33:22 - we get into our setting of dependencies. I'm going to turn
00:33:25 - it on for now so we'll see its operation when we move into
00:33:28 - dependencies. Absolutely a personal preference, does not change
00:33:31 - the operation of Microsoft Project. Show that scheduled tasks
00:33:35 - have estimated durations, simply controls whether Microsoft
00:33:39 - Project will display a question mark, depending whether
00:33:42 - or not we, the Project Manager, have entered the duration
00:33:47 - or we've let Microsoft Project calculate the duration force. Split
00:33:50 - in-progress tasks allows Microsoft Project to create a tighter
00:33:54 - schedule. Now if I let that pop up and let you read that while I'm typing,
00:33:58 - or talking. Split in-process tasks will absolutely create
00:34:04 - the tightest schedule possible within Microsoft Project. I personally, typically
00:34:08 - will not turn this on because I find it will create an overly
00:34:12 - aggressive schedule, and doesn't give me any slack or contingency
00:34:17 - in my plan to deal with other unexpected problems. So again,
00:34:21 - this is a personal preference. I will typically turn it off in
00:34:24 - real life, but I'm going to leave it on for the purpose of this nugget series.
00:34:28 - Update manually scheduled tasks when editing links, we talked
00:34:32 - about where, or why we would use manually scheduled tasks earlier
00:34:35 - in this nugget.
00:34:37 - Keep task on nearest working day, as opposed to moving
00:34:42 - it to
00:34:44 - a part work day. So the previous task finished on a Thursday afternoon
00:34:49 - at four o'clock in the afternoon.
00:34:53 - Is it realistic that a new task is going to start at four
00:34:56 - o'clock in an afternoon assuming that there's only half hour
00:34:59 - or an hour left in the workday versus, I'm going to leave that, again,
00:35:03 - as some schedule contingency for Steve and I'm going to assume the
00:35:07 - new task will start the next day. A personal preference will make
00:35:11 - a subtle change in the operations of Microsoft Project,
00:35:15 - but it's probably not a subtle change that you're really going
00:35:18 - to be able to visually notice. Pick the option that you think
00:35:21 - is going to work best.
00:35:23 - How aggressive do you want Microsoft Project to be with it's options
00:35:27 - and warnings and suggestions. Do you want Microsoft Project to automatically
00:35:31 - calculate the the project after every edit and with the power
00:35:34 - of today's PC's, I would suggest you typically want to leave
00:35:37 - that turned on otherwise you're to be making changes and oh,
00:35:40 - but nothing happened because you have the calculate project
00:35:44 - turned off.
00:35:45 - If you find your system is running very slowly or
00:35:49 - if you find that the automatic calculation of the project and
00:35:52 - the rolling up of changes is distracting, you can turn it off.
00:35:56 - Again, a personal preferences and the calculate options for
00:36:00 - Microsoft Project; how's Microsoft Project going to do the calculation,
00:36:03 - again, all personal preferences type options.
00:36:08 - So with that very lengthy discussion on the schedule options, we are
00:36:13 - really done discussing the options within Microsoft Project.
00:36:16 - So, proofing, absolutely personal preferences, how is it going to operate
00:36:21 - spelling and so on. Save, the only comment I would make in
00:36:25 - Microsoft Project is Microsoft Project has the ability to do
00:36:29 - auto save,
00:36:30 - and I would encourage you to probably turn it on and I deliberately
00:36:34 - use the word probably, because I personally
00:36:40 - don't use auto save only because in auto save in Microsoft Project,
00:36:46 - although it works 100 percent, may not be as much of a life saver
00:36:51 - as you think it's going to be, or maybe it's just not the life
00:36:54 - saver for Steve, the way he uses Microsoft Project. When I am
00:36:59 - working my project plan, and I'm trying to change my schedule
00:37:04 - and I'm changing my resource allocations and I'm changing my
00:37:08 - dependencies and I'm changing and I'm changing and I'm changing; I'm deep into
00:37:14 - a multi part change and maybe that multi part change is going to
00:37:19 - take me 25, 30 minutes to get through, adding resources,
00:37:24 - changing resources, changing dependencies, trying to fine tune
00:37:27 - Microsoft Project to the absolute point that I want it to be
00:37:30 - at, and something happened; I had a power failure and I lost
00:37:35 - my PC in the middle of that 25 minute change
00:37:39 - and oh, look at that, I had an auto save from about the last ten
00:37:44 - minutes or sometime in the last ten minutes my project plan
00:37:47 - has been saved for me. I can just go back to that and start
00:37:51 - from there. Yes, absolutely true. My problem is, because I'm in
00:37:56 - this large multipart, multifaceted change, I don't know
00:38:01 - really where I was in that multipart, multifaceted change
00:38:05 - because I don't control when the auto-save took place. So what I
00:38:09 - tend to do is, I don't turn it on and I consciously do my own saves,
00:38:14 - and when I'm actively working a project plan, I probably have
00:38:17 - 25 or 30 versions of my project plan. This is Steve's
00:38:21 - project after resources loaded. This is Steve's project after
00:38:25 - Fred has been level. This is Steve's project after Sally has
00:38:29 - been level. This is Steve's project after dependencies have been
00:38:33 - adjusted, so I always have a known recovery point and believe
00:38:37 - me, as you're using Microsoft Project and trying to fine tune
00:38:41 - your schedule, you will probably go back to one of these known
00:38:44 - recovery points on a frequent basis. So whether or not you use
00:38:48 - your auto save or not, personal preferences, I would absolutely
00:38:52 - encourage you to do multiple saves with multiple names that
00:38:56 - have some meaning, so that you can go back to a known recovery
00:38:59 - point if after 15, 20, 25 minutes of trying
00:39:01 - to tweak the project you say, "Wow, that's really complicated
00:39:06 - and it's really no better, let me go back to the simpler version."
00:39:10 - Personal comment, personal preferences only. Language options
00:39:14 - available for your own personal preferences and the advanced
00:39:18 - really, again, all personal preferences. I would not necessarily
00:39:22 - talk, describe these as advanced, although Microsoft Project does.
00:39:26 - To me the most advanced feature, is where we spent all of the time
00:39:29 - in this nugget on the task type.
00:39:32 - Very much personal preferences. How do you want Microsoft Project
00:39:36 - to behave in terms of it's overall operations. None of this
00:39:41 - fundamentally changes the way Microsoft Project operates and
00:39:45 - that's our options. We've already discussed customizing the
00:39:48 - ribbon and the quick access tool bar in the previous nugget,
00:39:51 - and we've already discussed the trust center. The primary reason
00:39:55 - you're going to go to the trust center is to deal with your
00:39:57 - trust center settings, to deal with the legacy formats. The
00:40:02 - other components within the trust center, again, they are personal
00:40:05 - preferences, maybe even an organizational security preference.
00:40:09 - So, that's it for a very important aspect of getting Microsoft
00:40:14 - Project set up, is setting of our options.
00:40:19 - This concludes our series of nuggets on 1.0, initializing project.
00:40:24 - Making sure we have Microsoft Project set to behave the way we
00:40:28 - want it to do. In this series of nuggets we talked about how we set up
00:40:32 - a new project and create the setting specific to how our
00:40:36 - project is going to be delivered. We spent considerable time
00:40:40 - talking about maintaining and setting up the calendar so that
00:40:43 - it properly recognizes and supports our staff holidays, our work
00:40:46 - processes for our project, and any resource unique
00:40:51 - characteristics, such as personal vacations, to make sure we
00:40:55 - develop a realistic schedule. We talked about a very advanced feature
00:40:59 - called creating of custom fields. You may want to come back
00:41:03 - and review this particular nugget almost at the end of
00:41:07 - this series. I believe a lot of the principles we discussed
00:41:11 - in this nugget are of advanced features that, yes it's important
00:41:15 - to have these set up when you initialize your project, but it may
00:41:19 - make more sense how you will use these after you're more proficient
00:41:22 - using Microsoft Project, and finally in this nugget we talked some
00:41:26 - very important options settings, specifically the task type. If it's
00:41:34 - fixed work,
00:41:37 - fixed duration
00:41:43 - or fixed units. And in this nugget we explored how differently
00:41:51 - Microsoft Project is going to behave,
00:41:54 - how differently Microsoft Project is going to react to the
00:41:57 - information you give it, based on whether your task type is a fixed
00:42:01 - work, fixed duration or fixed unit. So be very, very aware of these
00:42:06 - task types and be very aware of how these task types will impact
00:42:10 - the operation of Microsoft Project, both for your certification
00:42:13 - exam and for your day to day sanity using Microsoft Project
00:42:18 - for the next 15, 20 years of your project management
00:42:21 - career. This concludes our nugget on customize option settings.
00:42:26 - I hope this module has been informative for you and thank you
00:42:29 - very much for viewing.

Setup Project Information & Create a Logical Project Structure

Create a Logical Schedule Module

Create a User Controlled Schedule

Manage Multiple Projects

Enter and Edit Resource Information

Assign Resources

Edit Assignments

Manage Resource Allocation

Manage Resource Allocation using Team Planner

Model Project Costs

Setting Project Baseline and Tracking Percentage Completion

Setting Project Baseline and Tracking Percentage Completion 2

Comparing Progress Against a Baseline

Comparing Progress Against a Baseline – Remedial Actions

Task Inspector, Critical Path and Earned Value Management

Using Views and Tables

Fine Tuning Views and Tables

Share Data with External Sources

Print Schedules and Reports

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Steve Caseley

Steve Caseley

CBT Nuggets Trainer


Area Of Expertise:
Project Management, MS Project, Development Methodologies, Agile Development

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