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.