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5 Things You Must Do to Manage Projects with Microsoft Project

5 things you must DO to manage projects successfully with Microsoft Project. From the expert that helped build it and wrote the book.

1. Do organize the project logically. Use summary tasks to outline your project for logical reporting.

1 Letters

1.1 A
1.2 B

2 Numbers

2.1 One
2.2 Two
2.3 C

1.1 and 1.2 roll their letter information up to 1.
2.1 through 2.3 roll their information up to 2, but the data is mixed numbers and letters. Reporting will therefore be incorrect. 2.3 should be a sub component of 1 as it is a letter.

2. Do not include summary tasks in sequencing. Doing so can artificially extend the project schedule.

3. Do not assign resources to summary tasks. If assigned to summary and other tasks in the same time period, the work can’t be rescheduled in Project’s leveling engine.

4. Do not use elapsed durations for team schedules. Duration is in Working Time; Elapsed duration is in sequential or calendar time. By default, one work day is 8 hours. One elapsed day is 24 hours. In the example below Carly is assigned to 2 tasks. One is a normal task, the other uses elapsed duration. Note the difference in the amount of work assigned. Elapsed duration tasks are not designed for humans.

5. Do remember that Constraints are honored before other schedule calculations, so they should be the exception and not the rule. Constraints such as “Must Start On” can undermine a schedule to the point of unrealistic to impossible finish dates.


Do get the Microsoft Project Do’s and Don’ts to quickly and easily have success with Microsoft Project!

Not sure? Try before you buy, download a free preview of Chapter 4: Enter Task Durations.


Written by Sam Huffman

Sam Huffman first gained insight into Microsoft Project while working as a member of the MS Project development and support team. He has maintained his depth of knowledge of MS Project with each release and is a leading authority in the use and features of MS Project, Project Server and Project Online. Since the early 1990’s Sam has honed his instruction skills by delivering training programs to thousands every year. Sam is a frequent content contributor to the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG) and speaks to groups often about MS Project, Enterprise Project Management and the discipline of Project Management. He was awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional from 2010-2017. Check out his blog on MS Project.

The softcover version of my newest book Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts is now available for purchase! It is portable, brief and to the point so you can find help when you need it. Through tips, best practices and examples it will help you jumpstart your project!

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