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Ask the Experts: Counting Task Occurrences with Microsoft Project

Angelo of Rochester, NY: When managing project schedules I need to produce a count of various tasks. For example, how many late tasks are in a schedule, how many critical tasks, how many milestones, etc. Typically, I have copied or exported data to Excel and used Excel to calculate the counts for me. Is there…

Ask the Experts: Similar Task Names

Delin, Harold, and Michael of Kalamazoo, MI, ask: In MS Project 2010 desktop, we will be managing several projects using a Master project. We noticed that since each project used some of the same task names, when we combined projects, it was hard to tell which task belonged to which project. Any suggestions? John of…

Ask the Experts: Tying Tasks and Assignments across Projects

Abhishek asks: I’m doing scheduling for multi-tower projects. Is there any way to see the resource usage for a particular tower? Ellen answers: The way you create and manage this project will determine the type of reporting you’ll be able to derive from your schedule. Here are a few suggestions for getting the information you’re…

Ask the Experts: Over-allocation with 2.5 Hours of Work?

JP-PM asks: I was wondering why Microsoft Project creates a conflict right off the bat in this example: Task 1: 2 hrs work assigned to Jack and Jane Task 2: 0.5 hrs work assigned to Jack It creates both tasks starting at 8:00 AM today (10/31/11) and right away Jack is overallocated. My question is,…

Ask the Experts: Selling your Message with the Project 2010 Timeline View

Julie from New York City asks: I am in the process of putting a proposal together for a prospective client. The client will have eight batches of work to be completed. I need to lay out what it will take to do one batch of work that includes building in hidden contingency time. I would…

Project Directions: Microsoft’s Arpan Shah Fields Questions

If, as the Standish Group’s 2009 CHAOS Report declares, 68 percent of projects truly failed, that could either be considered an indictment of current project management practices or a compelling reason for why it’s so vital. Arpan Shah prefers the latter interpretation, perhaps because it’ll help sell more copies of the most popular dedicated project…

Ask the Experts: Combining Resources across Projects

Gary of Muscatine, IL asks: We have multiple schedulers who create their own schedules using a customized template. After the schedules are created, we would like to combine them so we can see the total demand for resources over all schedules and then produce a schedule for each resource. We’re also looking for resource leveling…

Ask the Experts: Hammock Tasks

Danielle of McLeansboro, IL asks: I hire flat amount contractors to perform multiple tasks. What is the best way to keep track of the schedule and the contract costs? We know that the contract amount will increase during the life of the contract. Since the contracts are flat amounts, we’re not concerned with updating hours…

Ask the Experts: 15 Microsoft Project Tips for New Users

Steve in Phoenix, AZ asks: Do you have any tips and tricks to help new users with Microsoft Project? Ellen answers: Using Project can become a tricky endeavor at times. Knowing some of the tricks and hidden functions can save time and effort for users. Below I have listed some of my favorite tips and…

Ask the Experts: Is Microsoft Project Overkill? And the Task Inspector Equivalent

Question: In my federal government agency, some have considered Microsoft Project to manage planning and scheduling for service operations. I suspect that it’s not the right tool for non-project work like day-to-day operations. I suspect that managers, team leads, and supervisors would be better served by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, but, I’m not sure…

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