I’m not sure how to answer this. All project management packages use something akin to Critical Path Analysis or Network Analysis as their root technique to schedule a project. If you only want manual scheduling, then use Excel, Word or even a pencil and paper! Microsoft Project’s sole purpose is to use it’s programming to calculate a schedule for the tasks and the data you enter. Project has zero intelligence and it can’t think, so someone has to do all the thinking and decision making. There’s no point in spending money on Project if you don’t use is prime scheduling ability.
So the first best practice it to let Project tell you want you can do with the data you enter so that you can apply the mind to re-thinking what you hope to do.
You might like to see (and perhaps your colleagues also) my introduction to Project, including the principles of Network Analysis, to get an impression of what Project can do and what it cannot. You can find this in the TechTrax ezine, particularly #1, at this site: http://tinyurl.com/2xbhc or this: http://pubs.logicalexpressions.com/Pub0009/LPMFrame.asp?CMD=ArticleSearch&AUTH=23
(Perhaps you’d care to rate the article before leaving the site, 🙂 Thanks.)
FAQs, companion products and other useful Project information can be seen at this web address: <http://www.mvps.org/project/>
Hope this helps – please let us know how you get on 🙂
MS Project MVP (97-11)