Three Questions to Ask Before Entering Data in Microsoft Project

Microsoft® Project for Windows has been available for nearly 30 years. Users still think that it’s like Excel and begin entering data immediately after opening a new file. This action is allowed in Project but I don’t recommend it as a standard practice. Here are three questions you should answer before entering data, and why getting the answer is so important:

  1. Do you know the project start date? If not, entering a date earlier will either generate error messages or skew the date calculations.
  2. Is your project calendar up to date? Using incorrect calendar dates may show erroneous schedule, work and cost distribution information in the project. It’s vital to understand cash flow!
  3. Do you understand the hierarchy of calendars? In your project, which calendar will win in a conflict? Not knowing the answer may affect work and cost distribution.

These and other set up questions are discussed in depth in my latest webinar session “Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts: Set Up for Success” now available on-demand.

Purchase the book & learn more Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts.


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Written by Sam Huffman
Sam Huffman first gained insight into Microsoft Project while working as a member of the MS Project development and support team. He has maintained his depth of knowledge of MS Project with each release and is a leading authority in the use and features of MS Project, Project Server and Project Online. Since the early 1990's Sam has honed his instruction skills by delivering training programs to thousands every year. Sam is a frequent content contributor to the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG) and speaks to groups often about MS Project, Enterprise Project Management and the discipline of Project Management. He was awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional from 2010-2017. Check out his blog on MS Project. The softcover version of my newest book Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts is now available for purchase! It is portable, brief and to the point so you can find help when you need it. Through tips, best practices and examples it will help you jumpstart your project!

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