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MS Project novice looking for help setting up simplified project plan

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  • #400386 Reply
    Chris Sherwood

    I’m hoping one of you may take pity on a new user to MS Project and can give me some basic pointers. I’m running a project that as 4 “Tracks” and an average of 6 “Tasks” under each Track. The most critical variables that I would like to include in MS Project are:

    Gantt chart with critical milestones.
    A method for illustrating how deliverables or milestones from a given task feed into other Tracks/Tasks.
    Assigning time/personnel (resources?) to the tasks.
    Assigning percent completion of each task

    I’ve started using the “Simple Project Plan” template.

    Is this the most appropriate template for my goals?
    Can you describe some MS Project tools that are a good fit for my goals?
    Any general tips?

    I appreciate the time and effort that anyone is willing to invest in a response.


    #400398 Reply
    Larry Christofaro

    Sorry Chris, your questions are wide, the heart of MS Project and hard to answer in a forum. Can you provide something a bit specific and I can try to help out. I might suggest some general training to work through these initial questions. Sorry but hope that helps…

    #400506 Reply
    Chris Sherwood

    Thanks for the response. I guess my primary question is, based on the variables I want to track, is Simple Project Plan the best template for me? If it is, then I’ll feel more confident putting effort into setting things up. I’m trying to avoid spending time on a template, only to learn later that I should have used something else.


    #400507 Reply
    Larry Christofaro

    Thanks Chris, and I apologize for the quick response. I didn’t put 2+2 together with the Simple Project Plan template question. From your goals and expertise in MS Project I would agree with the simple project plan, or no template at all. The template is pretty basic but most any other template is probably too much for what you are trying to do. The template is more like a training tool and starting point than a template to perform a type of project. It shows summary tasks and how tasks can be displayed on a timeline. Other than that it doesn’t really show you how to build a plan for a particular problem.

    But, I’m not sure any other template will help either. My assumption is that you are looking for a pretty simple project. I might also suggest starting from a blank project. Then just take a look at that and other templates to give you ideas.

    Build a schedule, assign predecessors, add and assign resources, and track % complete. The template won’t help as much as the knowledge to do just that. Hope that helps…

    #400509 Reply
    Chris Sherwood

    That does help. Any suggestions on some general training?


    #400511 Reply
    Larry Christofaro

    Sorry, but that’s also all over the board and depends on where you are now and how you learn. A day of formal training or a book if you need the basics, lots of free videos and blogs if you have the basics but want to know more about specific topics. A good book for someone who needs the basics is “Microsoft Project 2013 Plain and Simple” by Ben Howard. Small book, easy read, and doesn’t try to boil the ocean. Good luck…

    #400549 Reply
    John Houser

    Hi Chris,

    There are also some OK videos on MS Project you can find for free online (eg: YouTube or google search).

    If you are starting out, the basic functions between 2010, 2013, 2016 appears the same – so you can even look at older videos for that basic introduction.

    #400554 Reply
    Chris Sherwood

    Thanks everyone. Maybe I’ll be back when I have more specific knowledge (and questions).

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