ImageAs organizations work to improve their project management maturity level, they often develop methodologies that include standard processes and best practices. However, ensuring project managers consistently initiate new projects according to these standards and processes often proves challenging.

In a previous article I shared some tips for initiating a new project schedule easily and consistently with Project across an organization. In this article, I introduce some additional methods for initiating a new project.


Project Widgets CEO Ira Brown dives deeper into this topic in his MPUG webinar, “Best Practices for Initiating a New Project Schedule with Microsoft Project, Part 2,” available, on-demand.


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When creating a new project based on an existing one, Microsoft Project treats the new project as if it were a template. And just as when initiating a project based on a template, there are several ways to update the project to reflect the requirements of the new project. Here are a few notes to keep in mind:

  • Adjust the values in the project’s Duration and Work fields for specific tasks, to reflect the new project’s focus.
  • When initiating a new project based on an existing in-progress or completed project, the new project won’t automatically reschedule because the tasks will frequently have Actual Start and Actual Finish dates. You must first remove the progress values from those tasks by setting % Complete for each task to “0”.
  • If the project contains any hard date constraints associated with any of the tasks (Must Start On, Must Finish On, etc.), you can clear the hard date constraints by setting them to As Soon as Possible or As Late as Possible

Additional Project Initiation Techniques

Some of the other techniques that can be used when initiating projects that align with organizational methodologies include the following:

  • Using the Import Project Wizard to transform a standalone MPP file into an enterprise project;
  • Replacing generic resources with named resources; and
  • Replacing generic resources with multiple named resources that will be fulfilling the same role.

Beyond these intrinsic Microsoft Project capabilities, the Project Initiation Widget add-on application from Project Widgets, takes this process to a new level. This software automates the new project creation process, leveraging existing project templates and metadata and providing project initiation flexibility through a dynamic user interface.