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Dale Howard

@dale-howard-3

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Dale Howard is the Director of Education for Sensei Project Solutions.  He is in his 15th year of serving as a Microsoft Project MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and is currently one of only 39 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world. Dale is the co-author of 21 books on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He works out of his home in Ellisville, Missouri (a west suburb of St. Louis).

Analyze Minor Variance in Microsoft Project

Background Information Before you can analyze variance in a Microsoft Project schedule, you must save a baseline in the project. When you save a baseline, the software captures the current values for ...

Microsoft Project Quick Tip – Ad Hoc Grouping

Microsoft Project includes a number of built-in groups for both tasks and resources. You can use groups to organize tasks or resources into groups with similar attributes or characteristics. To apply ...

Remove the Timeline View from the Project Center Page in PWA

Background Some time ago in the Project Server user forum, a user asked how to remove the Timeline view at the top of the Project Center page in Project Web App (PWA). Although one of my fellow Projec...

Webinar Recap: Best Practices for Baselining and Variance Analysis

Please find a transcription of the audio portion of Dale Howard’s Best Practices for Baselining and Variance Analysis webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may w...

Creating a Program Roadmap Using the Roadmap Application

The Problem Two of my Sensei colleagues recently shared a blog post article that provided a nice overview of the capabilities of Microsoft’s new Roadmap application, as well as how to create a new roa...

Understanding the Impact of Progress on Expense Cost Resources

Background Information A user in the Microsoft Project user forum recently asked a question about problems he was experiencing with using Expense Cost resources in his project. The user stated that wh...

Set the Tracking Method for Each Enterprise Project

Background Does your organization need to specify a unique method of tracking progress for each type of Enterprise project in Project Online? Many years ago I worked with an electrical utility company...

Schedule Tasks to Occur on the First Working Day of Each Month

Background Information Several months back, a user posted an interesting question in my company’s Microsoft Project user forum. The user was managing a project in which there were tasks that needed to...

Determine If a Filter is applied to Your Project

Every once in a while, I will see a question like this in one of the Microsoft Project user forums: “Why can’t I see all of the tasks in my project?” Inevitably, the source of the missing tasks is tha...

Display the WBS in the Resource Usage View

In this brief article, I would like to show you the easy way to display the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in the Resource Usage view. This view is a really wonderful way to see all of your project re...

Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Project

Background Information Each of the applications in Microsoft Office includes a Quick Access Toolbar, displayed by default in the upper left corner of the application window. In Figure 1, you can see t...

Taking Over an Enterprise Project for a Fellow Project Manager

Scenario Connie Campaign is a fellow project manager who will be taking paid time off for three weeks beginning next week. During the time she is out, you will take over and manage her Collateral for ...

About Those Pesky Question Marks in the Duration Column

When working within a new project, have you ever noticed those question marks in the Duration column for every task that has the default duration of 1 day? If memory serves me correctly, Microsoft int...

Best Practices for Baselining and Variance Analysis

  Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1.5 PMI® PDUs in the Technical category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description: In Mic...

Do You Know Enough About Baselining?

In Microsoft Project, a baseline is like a “snapshot” of your project before you begin entering actual progress. Following best practices for baselining is essential to the success of any project, but...

A Project Server Class Turned into Sports Fans

Many years ago, I was teaching a Project Server class to a group of project managers in New Orleans. The class was held in the fall during the football season, and they told me they were all big LSU T...

Create a Monthly Cash Flow Report in Microsoft Project 2016

One of the useful new features introduced in Microsoft Project 2013, and continued in the 2016 version of the software, is the Dashboard Reports feature. This feature replaces the old paper-based repo...

Analyzing Progress Slippage on Fixed Duration Tasks

Background Information Many years ago, it was my privilege to work for seven months with a group of schedulers at a large company in New Orleans. At the time, the schedulers were using the new Microso...

Warm Yourself Up with 4 Sizzling Pointers for Project Online Application Administrators

Introduction Serving as a Project Online Application Administrator for your organization can be an overwhelming experience. There are many features to set up in the system, and the right way to set th...

Using the Locked Column to Prevent Task Updates

Problem One of the challenges facing project managers who use the Microsoft PPM solution (Project Online or Project Server) is how to prevent team members from entering additional time on completed ta...

Task Splits in the Future – A Scheduling Mystery

Some time ago, one of our clients experienced an unusual situation with an enterprise project in Project Online. The client is using the Timesheet feature in Project Online to capture task progress en...

Scheduling the Shortest Duration Possible

A user posed an interesting question recently in the Microsoft Project Standard and Professional TechCenter forum on the Internet. He asked how to assign resources to a task to generate the shortest D...

When a Fixed Duration Task is Truly Not “Fixed Duration”

Oh, the misery! If you’ve ever used Fixed Duration tasks in your enterprise projects running in Microsoft Project Online or Project Server and your organization uses the Timesheet page in Projec...

The Secret Life of Calendars in Microsoft Project

In September, I celebrate my 20th anniversary of using Microsoft Project for the first time, beginning with version 4.0 for Windows 95. Twenty years later, I’m still amazed at how well the softw...

Using Protected Baselines

I received an interesting question from one of our new clients recently, and I thought you might be interested in the answer. The client wanted to know how to prevent project managers from saving a ba...

Manually Entering Task Costs — How Is This Even Possible?

I recently learned something new about Microsoft Project. This new knowledge is an extension of how Project calculates the Cost value for each task. As most of us already know, the software calculates...

Eliminate the Confusion – Deep Dive into Task Types and Effort Driven

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description: Task Types and E...

Quickly and Easily Create Cross-Project Dependencies

A question asked occasionally in the Microsoft Project and Project Online user forums is this: “How can I link a task in one project with a task in another project?” The heart of this ques...

Closing Out a Project Schedule in PWA

A proactive project portfolio management (PPM) system includes proper governance to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data. An essential element of this governance is addressing projects that a...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 7

Sharpen the Saw No doubt you know the story of the man in the forest who is too busy sawing to stop and sharpen the saw. Every day we come across project managers who are too busy updating their sched...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 6

Synergize What is synergy? Stephen Covey defines it this way: “It means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a par...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 5

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood In just about any situation, it’s much more important to listen and understand than it is to be immediately understood. When faced with a problem ...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 4

Think Win-Win While the project schedule is an important tool for many project managers, it is often misunderstood (or not understood at all) by project team members. When building the work breakdown ...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 3

Put First Things First Once you have built a solid work breakdown structure (WBS), it’s time to walk the talk and put first things first. Building a complete and accurate dependency network is w...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 2

Begin with the End in Mind The most successful projects have a deliverable-focused work breakdown structure (WBS) to represent the true scope of the project. Build your schedules with the end in mind ...

The 7 Habits of Proactive Microsoft PPM Users: Habit 1

The great Stephen Covey has inspired so many of us. His teachings are integrated into every aspect of my personal and professional life. I recently took some time to pause and reflect on how the ̶...

Insert a Manual Page Break

One of the questions that comes up occasionally in the Microsoft Answers user forum for Microsoft Project is, “How can I insert a manual page break for printing in a Microsoft Project file?̶...

Microsoft Project Reporting Using Integration with the Microsoft Office

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description: Project reportin...

Extracting Data from the Black Hole: Creating Custom Views in Microsoft Project 2010, 2013, and 2016

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description: Sometimes Micros...

A Hidden Feature in Microsoft Project 2016

Three years ago, Microsoft introduced a new feature in the 2013 version of Microsoft Project called Lync integration (now known as Skype integration), which displays a “presence” indicator...

Email Alerts and Reminders Arrive for Project Online

The “email alerts and reminders” feature has been available in Project Server 2010 and 2013 on-premise. Now, I’m happy to report, it has also been added to all Project Online tenants...

Using Microsoft Project’s “Add New Column” Virtual Column

Microsoft introduced a new feature in Microsoft Project 2010 known as the Add New Column virtual column and continued this feature in the 2013 version of the software. You can find the Add New Column ...

The Septic Slip-up

  Early in my career, I was teaching an “Intro to Microsoft Project” class for a large corporate client in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had been there to teach classes for them a number of ...

Webinar: Tips and Tricks for More Accurate Scheduling Using Microsoft Project

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Project Management talent triangle category. If you are claiming thi...

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11 New Filters in Microsoft Project 2013

Since its initial release over two years ago, users of Microsoft Project 2013 have probably been using several powerful new features in the software, including the new Dashboard Reports feature and th...

Microsoft Project Tips – Learn From MVP Dale Howard

MPUG has partnered with Microsoft Project MVP Dale Howard to provide you with quick and helpful Microsoft Project tips. We’ve gathered all of these tips and put them in one place for your conven...

Microsoft Project Quick Tip: Display a Status Date Gridline in the Gantt Chart

By default, Microsoft Project displays a Current date gridline in the Gantt Chart view. You can see a green Current date gridline displayed on 02-18-15 in the Gantt Chart view shown in the following f...

Quick Tip: Right Click on Select All Button To Change Tables

Last month I wrote an article about my old friend, the right-mouse button. In that article, I discussed the many locations in the Microsoft Project user interface where you can right-click and use a s...

The Power of Right-Clicking in Microsoft Project 2013

I recently taught a Microsoft Project 2013 Advanced class to a wonderful group of students. During the class, I suddenly realized how many times I had asked my students to right-click on something in ...

Using the Marked Field to Indicate Important Tasks

Background A user in the Project Online user forum recently asked if there is a visual method in Microsoft Project that he could use to highlight important tasks in the project. The user thought that ...

Manage Your Projects Using the “Nearly” Critical Path

Many project managers like to manage their projects by focusing on the Critical Path. Remember that the Critical Path consists of all tasks with a Total Slack value of 0 days. All tasks on the Critica...

Using Constraints

A short clip from MPUG’s webinar with Microsoft Project MVP Dale Howard. Dale explains constraints and demonstrates how to use them. Join MPUG to watch the remainder of this session and hundreds more ...

Digging Deeper into Task Types for Microsoft Project

A short clip from MPUG’s webinar with Microsoft Project MVP Dale Howard. Dale explains task types, their purpose and demonstrates how to set task type values. Join MPUG to watch the remainder of this ...

Webinar: Digging Deeper – Learning More about Task Types

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Presentation Description The Task T...

Microsoft Project Quick Tips: Using the Outline Button

In Microsoft Project 2010 and 2013, the Data section of the View ribbon includes a button that many people overlook: the Outline pick list button shown in Figure 1. Using this button can save you a lo...

Webinar: Digging Deeper – Learning More about Using Task Mode and Task Dependencies

  Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle.   Event Description: In...

Webinar: Digging Deeper – Learning More about Using Constraints

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description In the second of ...

Webinar: Digging Deeper – Learning More about Inactivating Tasks and Inserting a Repeatable Block of Tasks

  Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Presentation Description In ...

MPUG Tip – Even More Tips and Tricks Using Microsoft Project 2010 and 2013 – Using the Fastest Method to Create a Master Project

Dale shows us the fastest way to create a temporary master project in order to combine and analyze multiple projects on a bigger scale. The best part is that when you close out of your master project,...

MPUG Tip – Apply Conditional Cell Background Formatting for New Tasks Added through Change Control

“People ask if there’s any kind of conditional formatting in Microsoft Project the way there is in Excel and the reason that folks ask this question is because Microsoft Project behaves in many ways l...

MPUG Tip – Learn From the MVP – Add the Word Cancelled For a Cancelled Task

In this short video, Dale shows us how to indicate that a task is cancelled and why you should never delete a task when base-lining your project. Take a look at our other quick and easy MPUG tips from...

MPUG Tip – Learn From the MVP – Change the Duration of a Fixed Duration Task

Many companies exclusively use fixed duration tasks and Dale Howard knows one of the smallest but most useful tips to master this practice. He has a lot of experience and knows what changes Microsoft ...

Webinar: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices Using Microsoft Project 2010 and 2013

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1.5 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Speaker: Dale Howard Using his ty...

Tips for Taking the Microsoft Project 2010 Certification Exam

Pop quiz! What type of task should you create in Microsoft Project 2010 so that the Start date, Finish date, and Duration of the task don’t change automatically? A: Auto Scheduled B: Fixed Units...

Webinar: Learn from the MVP – Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Using Microsoft Project 2007 and 2010

  Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1.5 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description:  Learn ...

Webinar NY: Harnessing the Power of New Features of MS 2010

  Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1.5 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle.   Event Description: ...

Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Project 2007: Creating Useful Custom Views

With the exception of Combination Views that consist of two Views in a split-screen arrangement, remember that Microsoft Office Project 2007 defines a View as: View = Table + Filter + Group + Screen I...

4 Formulas for EPM Disaster

We have observed four classic impetuses for EPM implementations that lead to failure with such regularity that you should consider them avoidable if only because they’re recognizable. Does your ...

Webinar: Tips and Tricks for Real World Projects and Insights into Certification

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is not in the PMI® system. However, it is eligible for self-directed learning PMI® PDU credit. Speakers: Dale Ho...

Why Enterprise Project Management Initiatives Fail

Paul Strebel wrote in the Harvard Business Review (May-June 1996), “Corporate reengineering success rates in Fortune 1,000 companies are well below 50%; some say they are as low as 20%.” A...