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.