Webinar Recap: Mastering Microsoft Project Visualization Part 1 – View and Table Creation Best Practices

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Erik van Hurck’s Mastering MS Project Visualization Part 1 webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.


Kyle: Hello everyone and welcome to part one of MPUG’s training series, Mastering Microsoft Project Visualization. Today’s one-hour session will cover View and Table Creation Best Practices. My name is Kyle and I’ll be the moderator today. The session is eligible for one PMI PDU in the technical category and the MPUG activity code for claiming this session is on the screen now and that’s mpugwebnlearn100919. If you have any questions during today’s presentation, please send those over at any time using the chat question box on the Go to Webinar control panel. We do plan to answer those for you at the end of the session today. All right, and we’ll go ahead and get started.

We’re very happy to welcome back Erik van Hurck today. Erik is a Senior PPM consultant for Projectum, a European Microsoft partner with offices in Denmark and The Netherlands. He’s also a Microsoft MVP and as such, Erik assists enterprise customers to adopt a new project online cloud solution for PPM. Erik has a personal blog at TheProjectCornerBlog.com and is also a very popular writer for MPUG and a contributor to the latest version of Microsoft Project Do’s and Don’ts book, which is available now on Amazon. With that said, I’d like to welcome you back Erik and, at this time, I’ll hand it over to you to get us started with today’s session.

Erik van Hurck: Thank you very much for that nice introduction. Let’s see if I can start sharing my screen.

Kyle: Looks great, Erik.

Erik van Hurck: This is the second screen, so this is an introduction to Microsoft Project, but let me start sharing my presentation. As Kyle mentioned, this is the Views and Table Creation Best Practices session and it is part one of a three-part series. When I was talking with MPUG about this series, we wanted to get a clear message out in three parts on visualization within Microsoft Project because working with a tool is so much more easy if you have the right screens in front of you, if you have the right reports and if you’re able to actually use the print button for once.

That is part three, the printing, and today we’re going to deep dive into views and tables and how you create those and what is actually in the tool. Part two is going to be about bending project reports to you will. Microsoft Project has a lot of powerful reports in there and we’re going to deep dive that and that’s going to be a longer session than today. Today is going to be one hour and yeah, let’s get started.

I already got an introduction from Kyle on who am I. Just filling in a bit of the gaps, I have worked with the tool for now roughly 10 years, maybe 10 and 11 years. I’m a frequent speaker in Europe mostly and I’ve done roughly 25, maybe 30 in all, implementations, doing training courses, helping out users with working with Microsoft Project. I do have a blog, I help MPUG people with blogging there, and I do webinars like this. With that done, let’s have a look at the agenda for today.

We’re going to take a high-level overview on what actually is a view for Microsoft Project. It contains certain components, obviously. We’re going to take them apart and we’re going to look at each of those components. Then, we’re going to talk about grouping and filtering, and we’re going to have a look at how we would share a view. For instance, if we had a very good view for our project schedule, but our colleagues don’t have that similar view, you might want to share that and you might want to do that the right way because there’s multiple ways, obviously. At the end of the session, there will be time for a wrap up and we will have time for questions and answers. That will be it for today.

What in Microsoft Project is actually considered being a view? Looking at the picture on the screen now, we have a typical way of visualizing Microsoft Project. We see on the left side, it says Gantt Chart, it says timeline, and we have the menu structure above, but do we consider this to be a view? Well, most people will say yes, this is a Gantt Chart view, but actually this is what Microsoft calls the Gantt Chart view and the section before is actually only the screen visualization of the schedule. We’ll dive deeper into what the screen visualization means and what we can manipulate on that section.

With the table on the left side, we actually have our first view as Microsoft Project considers it. It is a combination of a table, the left side where it has data, and it has a visualization on the right side and these visualizations can even change. Then, we have the top section where we have actually a combination between different views. We have the timeline view and we have a Gantt Chart view. With that, the bottom line is called a view within Microsoft Project, and the top level is also called a view, and the combination is another view.

As you can imagine, there’s a whole list of views that you can visualize in Microsoft Project and I’m going to share some of those views with you right now, so I’ll switch to a live presentation of Microsoft Project and as you can see, this is an actual project schedule. What we’re seeing is that this is a view of the Gantt Chart, which is actually a screen of a Gantt Chart. Then, we have on the left side, we have our table and our table contains certain columns, which we also call fields. If when we move the split bar in the middle, we actually see that we can add more data here.

Currently, we have a table that contains basic information of Microsoft Project’s schedule. We can add new columns, such as a deadline column and by default we will say that there’s no deadline. Well, that is true and if we want to add a deadline, we just simply add a date here and we will see a deadline visualized on the right side. On the screen visualization, we now have our little deadline showing up with some more information if you hover over it and on the left side in a table, we have now visualized an additional column. I can hide this column again and I can double click on the middle section to actually show me only the currently active columns. This is a basic view that everyone starts at, so you might already be familiar with this view.

There’s a whole list of views waiting for you in the back and we can navigate to these views using multiple routes. One of these routes is the task section on the ribbon and it has a view button here. Now, this view button is categorized basically on tasks being on top, so these are the tasks. Then you have your resources and then you have detail forms and we’re going to look into those in a bit. Then there is the resource tab in the ribbon where it is mainly focused on resources and resources here again. Then we have the tasks as we saw that in the previous section. There’s a whole section specifically devoted for views and we’re going to deep dive this section for the rest of our presentation.

Then, there’s the final situation where you have the Gantt Chart tools and you can format the right side, so the screen that we have visualized here. You can change the default colors, which I would highly contest being a best practice because everyone working with Microsoft Project will be familiar with the blue bars being the normal tasks. For instance, the red buttons being part of the critical path. This is an easy way for you to visualize that critical path right from the Gantt Chart view that you already have here.

There’s also a way to visualize direct dependencies, so if I select this task, there’s no direct dependency within this schedule, within this section, but if I click on the evaluate task and I navigate back to the format and I go back to the task path, I will see that these tasks light up, which is a nice way of visualizing direct dependencies within Microsoft Project. If I click on the confirm decision, I will be shown that this path actually is the direct dependency here. Let me do that right now. As you can see, the colors change depending on where you are within this schedule. Those are easy ways to visualize and change the right side of this view.

Now, for the view itself, we have options to go to different views. For instance, we have a Gantt Chart, which is the current view that we’re looking at, but we also have the Tracking Gantt for instance. Now, the Tracking Gantt actually changes the right side and the left side because we have the option… well, currently it doesn’t, live demos. Well, you have the option in view to change the tables to be looking into the tracking table data. For instance, we have the actual start, the actual finish, the percentage complete. Physical percentage complete is something completely different. Actual duration, remaining duration, actual cost, actual work, so here you have a tracking table that is useful to visualize together with the Tracking Gantt view.

Let me get back to the table called entry, which is the default and the basic value that you would look into most of the time. There is a couple of other views that we need to address here. For instance, currently we’ve looked into task information, but there is also the resource information. The default item that you would normally start off with when you were starting off with a new project and you do want to have resources in that project, you would navigate to the resource sheet, which is a sheet view that doesn’t have a visualization on the right side because it is just a summary of all the resources currently active in that schedule.

There’s a different section that is also useful where we have task usage and in task usage, we’re actually looking at the activity and who does that activity work for, so who is assigned to that activity. Currently, if I zoom in a bit here, we see the business advisor has eight hours to do on the Monday and we have the business advisor doing multiple items during the week. We see that it actually shows you the amount of hours that we work on this activity, which could be very useful in a task perspective. You also have the resource usage, which is flipping the side where it doesn’t focus on the task, but it focuses on the resource and below it will show you on which activities that resource does.

Now, one of the things that I do want to address here as well is that we have a split screen situation where we have the Gantt Chart being the main focus and we have on top, we have a timeline. Well, a timeline is a very useful tool to share common data on the project without diving deep into a Gantt Chart because management might be happy to just seeing this part of the section, so adding a task to the timeline is as easy as right clicking and clicking on the add to timeline button. What you see is that it notices that it is a milestone and it will visualize it as a milestone here on the top section.

There’s two types of split screens that can be added to a schedule and if we move to the task section… sorry, the view section, we get that split view here, so we have the timeline up above here right now or we can dive deep and we can see a visualization or a task form section for, for instance, where we see the resource or resources, plural, on the left side and the predecessor on the right side where we can also add more predecessors if we would like to or we can add more resources if we need to. For instance, we can say that the banker also works on this will immediately see differences happening here where we have the visualization that business advisor and the banker are currently active on this activity. If I double click the split screen, it will be removed and we can easily get that back by navigating to view and selecting detail pane or go for the timeline here.

These are all views and different views have different attributes. For instance, the Gantt Chart is your main focus, your main planning view. The tracking Gantt can be used once a project is active and you can see easy if there is slippage or not. Then there’s the resource sheet and task usage and resource usage to see a deep dive on how resources are performing on the specific task. Let’s head back to the presentation.

Now that we have a clear view of what a view actually is in Microsoft Project, let’s see the different components that actually comprise that view. There’s multiple components that you can visualize on a screen. We have the screen, which was the right side. We have a table, which was the left side. Within that table, we can group, filter, or split the data. For certain views, items might be grayed out because they are either not usable or not even available or accessible. For instance, on this side, you see the Gantt Chart, it has the Gantt Chart screen, it has a table called Entry, which is the default for any section. There’s no grouping going on and there’s no filtering going on here.

As an alternative, we also have the current sprint board and sprint boards and Agile functionality as Kyle mentioned, is discussed in the book that we currently have, but I’m also going to show this briefly in a moment. What I’m going to show you now is the different tables and how to use them in a Gantt Chart view. Let’s hop back over here and if we want to have a look at what components this view currently comprises of, we navigate to task and there’s a drill down here that’s a Gantt Chart drill down. There’s an option to go to more views. Within the more views option, we see all the different views that we have available within this schedule and as you can see, that’s quite a lot. In this visualization, we actually look at the Gantt Chart with timeline. If we click on edit here, I see that there’s a name and there’s a primary view, which is the bottom one, and there’s a detail pane called the timeline.

We can show this one in the menu, which will be the task menu for instance, and we can also look at the Gantt Chart and see the differences here where this is equal to the visualization that we had on the presentation just now and I can change items here. I can change, for instance, that I want to visualize the tracking table that we’ve previously mentioned. If I do that now, and I click on the K and I click on apply, then I see that the table changes. This is a great way to create views and save those views. If I want to save the current view, I would click on save view. Now, we’ll give it a new name, Tracking Gantt Webinar. If I click on okay now, it actually shows you that this a new kind of view. I can head back over to my normal Gantt Chart, that’s right… Can head back over to my normal Gantt Chart, which I currently can’t find, so let’s head over to the more views and here is that normal Gantt Chart. Currently, it retains the value of the table that we set, so if we do that, we can set it back to reset to default.

Once you’re creating new views, you might want to start in the more views, find the view that most suits you, change that one, save that as a new view, and reset the default for the first version. There’s a warning sign here and if I click on okay, we will actually see that it reverts to the default that we already had. If I go to more views now, navigate all the way down, we still see that webinar view available, so that work that you’ve done is still retained here, but the default for the Gantt Chart is actually pushed back to the original, which is exactly what you wanted to do.

We were looking at the different modes that you can enter within a view and they are actually visible in the view section in the ribbon. We have different tables, which is the left side, to visualize our views. There’s a default section we can navigate to these and we will see different columns showing up with costs and work. Maybe we’d like to be interested in variance and if we have a baseline in our organization, then we will see that there is variance in starting days, finish days, and we can append this by looking at, for instance, the cost variance as well, where we see that we’re actually roughly $11,000 more expensive than we originally intended. If we want to save this view, I would go back into our tasks and would save this view as being a specific view that we just created.

Looking back at the views here, we spoke about the tables and I really do like the entry table as being the most simple way to describe a schedule. There’s an option to highlight, filter, and group and this is looking at your data in a different way. For instance, let’s have a look at the filter option and let’s have a look at only milestones. Currently, I only have the single summary task open, so I see just one milestone here, but if I go back to view and I go to the outline level, I can actually expand all the summary tasks and I will see that I am now presented with all the milestones that I have in the schedule. I can select these more easily now and I can add them, for instance, to the timeline. As you can see, they’re now visualized in the top section as well.

If I go back to the view and I click on… so this is another best practice here. If I have the timeline active, it will turn up green, if I have the Gantt Chart active, that will turn green and the timeline will turn gray. There’s a contextual menu happening here in Microsoft Project where currently I’m looking at the Gantt Chart tools and if I select the timeline, it will change to timeline tools. If I would look here at the view, there’s items that are grayed out and if we want to have those grayed out items not being grayed out, I would actually need to activate the Gantt Chart again. Here, you see the difference where this is not grayed out anymore and I can actually say that there’s no filter active for this schedule anymore and again, I could go into outline and I can set the outline to begin outline level one and just drop down the phase two or was it the phase one section? Here you go.

That is some basics about changing the view here. Let’s have a look, a further deep dive. Sorry, just forgot the different kinds of views that might have sections that are grayed out. Currently, I’m in the Gantt Chart view and if I click on edit here, I will see that everything apart from the Gantt Chart screen is editable, I can set defaults or filters, for instance, but if we navigate to, for instance, the calendar option, and I’ll show you the view in a moment, and I click on edit here, I can see that only a filter is applicable. Same goes for the board items, which is Agile, they are also grayed out and looking like only views on filters. Let’s click on cancel here and let’s navigate to, for instance, the calendar view, which is I believe a very difficult view to read if you’re a project manager, but it will visualize on a day to day basis what kind of activities need to be done in blue for actual projects.

You can, of course again here, change certain bar styles and ways to visualize. Then, there’s the current sprint board or we have the sprint planning board, which is actually more of an Agile way of working within Microsoft Project where you have the ability to move them to different sprints and, yeah, I would really like to refer you to other documentation such as the Do’s and Don’ts book that MPUG is releasing as I heard currently is released in Amazon already. Let’s head back to the Gantt Chart and let’s have a look at grouping and filtering and how to do this.

There is two ways of detailing the visuals within a view. Number one is grouping and this visualizes specific aspects apart from your standard WBS or product breakdown structure, apart from the summary tasks that we normally see, apart from the normal breakdown of your project. For instance, you could have a situation where certain tasks are critical and you want to have them grouped together and we’re going to create that in a moment. Then there is grouping, and then there’s filtering. Grouping visualizes everything in a certain way and filters actually gives you the option to remove items from sight or you can highlight items that are retained within that certain filter.

On the right side, you see an example of a highlight on summary tasks. Every summary task here is highlighted with a bright yellow. You can also have the situation where you remove it from sight all together. Let’s do that right now and let’s have a look at the different options with grouping and filtering and highlighting.

In my Gantt Chart, I’m going to go to the visual, the view in the ribbon, and we have three options in the middle where it says highlighting, filtering, and grouping. For the highlight situation, there is a set of defaults that we already have available to us. Because we already show the summary tasks and we’re now going to highlight the milestones. I click on highlight milestones, I will see that this actually is a milestone and if I open up the rest of the schedule, and I’ll do that with view, outline all sub tasks, I will see that there is a couple of tasks that will immediately show up as… oh, that’s not that many. I was actually expecting more. Oh, yeah. Sorry. If you highlight, you need to re-highlight if you open up the schedule, so let’s click on highlight again, and let’s highlight the menu now, and here you see that these actually do highlight as being milestones.

Now, if instead I didn’t want to highlight them, but I wanted to filter them, I would click on no highlights and would click on the filter option. The filter option and looking only at milestones, we see the view that we already saw previously. Then, there’s the option to not highlight or filter, but group. If I do this, I also will get a standard set of built-in activities here and I could group on the milestones, for instance. What I do now is that I actually have a top section where it says milestones. This could be a nice visual where you would share this with your management having this all on the top screen and if that person needs the deep dive, they can have a look here. One downside with grouping is that if there’s a dependency, that dependency all of a sudden moves up, all the way up instead of moving down in a cascading waterfall kind of style that we’re so familiar with. If I want to deselect this grouping, I would go back into view, group by, and there is the milestones and there is the option to select no group.

How we create our own set of grouping or filtering or highlighting, what we first would need is a column that we would use for that grouping and filtering. Let’s do that right now where I say, okay, well, we’re going to add a custom field and that custom field is going to be a text field. I’m actually going to rename this as being High Priority, and I’m going to say, okay. Now, this column or this field will be visible or selectable from the section above where it is part of a table. Now, the custom attributes can be set to none. I actually do want to have it part of a lookup table, so high priority can be set to yes or it can be set to no or it can set to maybe. I don’t know. We do this, and we have the three values here and I can click on okay.

Adding this to the table is quite easy where we can say insert column and I can search for the high priority. I even see that in between brackets, the text one. If I select this, I now have the option to select items and say that these are high priority. There’s the filler here that we know and love from Excel and I can drop that down saying that whole phase one is a high priority and I can do the same for a couple of other items where I can say, okay, well this is not high priority, moving that down to phase three and phase three actually is going to be a maybe. Moving that down.

Having these values in here now makes it an option to group or create a new grouping here. Let’s head back to the view and let’s select group. There’s the option to create a new group. A new group by and there’s also the option to select more groups to see what Microsoft Project out of the box has to offer for you, but selecting a new group, selecting that here, I get the option to group by and it says the field name and I will select the field name being high priority. I start typing and it will navigate to the correct field. I can select the cell background being the bright yellow or I can also have that being bright green, for instance.

If I have a name for this, I would say high priority grouping and maybe grouping is a little bit too much, but I will like to show this in the menu. I have this ascending as being ascending in alphabetical order. That can also be descending if you would like that. Hold on, what happened here? I actually removed it, so let me share that again. We have group by, field name, high priority, field type is task and it’s ascending order. The background color is going to be bright green. I will like to show summary tasks here and I will like to show the maintain hierarchy.

I can save this now and it will not apply, but I can also click on apply directly and I see the results. Let me click on save now. If I click on save now, nothing seems to happen in my schedule, which is actually what I want to have here. If I have the grouping now set here, we have the section called custom and we have our high-priority grouping here. Let’s click on that now and what I see is I see the top section having no value, which is a shame. Then, we have our maybes with the structure of the organization actually intact. We have phases, we have our different actions within that phase as well, we have the no’s and then we have the maybes, then we have the yes.

I could say I would like to have it in a different ascension or descension. Let’s go back to view, let’s go back to the more groups, and let’s edit the current highlight priority. I can say up here, well, have this in a descending order. If I click okay now and I click apply, then I will see that yes, the priority is on top and you might want to have this one open and visualize this in the sections. That is it for having the grouping and you can do the same thing with filtering and highlighting.

Let me select no group and because a filter is actually the same as a highlight, there’s only one option here. We can select new filter and we can say, okay, well filter on high priority and here we would say, well, what field name? We will select the field name high priority and we will say that it should be equal to the value, yes. Because this is a lookup table value, where we set the parameters ourselves, we have them as a selection. If you have a free text, you will need to copy that free text yourself. Let’s select this as being equal to yes and we won’t show the related summary tasks… summary rows, sorry. Let’s click on save again, not doing the apply directly, and if I go in here and I click on view, I have the option to filter on the high priority, and this will also show up in the highlight.

Let’s do the highlight now on the high priority and we see the actual high priority activities here. As you can see, that doesn’t change any of the other values and as we’ve seen before, if I click on yes here, I do need to apply that filter once again where I set this to being high priority and it will update that filter. Making any changes to the view during that filtering will need to have a manual refresh of that filtering by navigating to view and then going into highlight, and then clicking on high priority. Currently, this is the high priority activities and they’re visualized as being a highlight for your schedule. As an alternative, we can say, okay, well this is not a highlight, we will not select it as a highlight, but we want to actually have it filtered.

Let’s click on high priority here and now we only have our high priority activities here. The dependencies are still intact as well as any other data here, but as you can see, the high priority column is still intact here without any change. Now, if I want to set any of these values to no or to maybe, again, just as in the highlight, we would need to have this being re-filtered. We see that changed everything.

This is for the part of having a better understanding on filters, highlights, and grouping. Now, with all of the components that we’ve currently seen, we know how to manipulate the right side using the format options, such as critical tasks, such as Slack, or maybe late tasks, which will show up every task that hasn’t been finished yet compared to the day of today, as well as the task path with driving predecessors, predecessors, successors and driving successors. We also can visualize the baseline without looking directly into the Tracking Gantt, which is also a nice feature where you see that the baseline is visualized as a grayish version of the schedule compared to the actual schedule that is currently in place.

Now that we know how to change the view and how we can change the table, let’s set aside some time to create an actual view that I would like to use and maybe even share it with my colleagues. Going into task and going into Gantt Chart, I have the option to click on more views, as we already know, and for instance, for now I want to have a copy of the Gantt Chart and I want to manipulate that to being a changed version of the Gantt Chart. I would click on edit or I could actually copy this. I will copy this now and I will click on webinar example view and I do want to keep my Gantt Chart intact as it currently is, but I do want to have the option to look into different tables here. That can be something that we might want to do, such as the tracking Gantt webinar table, and I want to have this grouped by… let me see. What was that name convention that I had? High priority grouping and… hold on, I don’t want to have the grouping, so I will select no group.

I actually want to have it filtered on the high priority, so let me find that high priority and instead of filtering it, actually, I want to highlight it. I want to have this new view being visible in the menu, so that it is easily selectable. Let’s click on okay and let’s actually click on apply from here, so that I can immediately see how that looks. It is loading, let’s hope it is not breaking. Actually, it did break. Live demos, don’t you love them? Let’s see if I can bring that back. Let’s see if it actually retained anything that we’ve done today. Let’s see. No, it didn’t retain any of the data, so live demos, that is how it happens. Right?

Briefly, recapping here, where we have different views and different filters and different tables, I have the option to create a table or a new view. I click on copy and I do want to share a little bit here, webinar, and I’m going to highlight milestones. Now I’m going to highlight critical tasks and I’m going to click on okay and I’m going to click on apply. Here you see that new view is actually visualized quite nicely. I also see the name of that new webinar.

Now, with that little setback, I want to continue to the last section within this webinar and that is sharing views the right way. There’s two items here. One is the organizer and the other is templates. The images below this is the image that you have as an icon within the Internet Explorer or the Explorer, File Explorer, and Microsoft recently, just last week published new icons. This might be the first time you see these. There’s a difference between a template and an actual file and we’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s have a look at the organizer. This is a very powerful menu that helps you sharing content between files.

For instance, let’s head back to our schedule and we have the new business plan open here. We click on file and we click on info and there we have the organizer. Click on the organizer here gives you a couple of tables and these are views, reports, modules, tables, filters, calendars, maps, fields and groups. Now, a couple of these we’ve already mentioned. Right? We have the views, we have the tables, we have the filters, we have fields, and we have groups. The thing here is that you can switch items between different files, so currently we have the webinar Gantt Chart view available in the new business plan webinar file. We can move this to any other file that we have open. Currently, there’s no files open, so it looks at the global template that we have as we open Microsoft, Microsoft Project. Here we have the default settings that we have always within Microsoft project.

If we want to have the webinar Gantt Chart being part of that default, we will move that to the Global MPT and it will show up here as being a webinar Gantt Chart. Be aware that the view has different components, so moving the view will actually not work because we actually need to have the table in there as well. There was a different table before Microsoft Project crashed, but we have upcoming milestones here, fields, groups. Let me see, we actually don’t have any big changes other than what we did in the view, but if you changed the table, you should also see the table here and you should move that, copy that to the enterprise Global MPT, as well as any new fields that you’ve created as, as well as any new groups that you’re using.

I already have the view in the Global MPT now. That means that any new project that I create from my desktop will be able to navigate to the webinar Gantt Chart. Let’s click on close and let’s see that in action where I would open up a new project and I will just pick any template. Opening this up gives me an error message, might be an old template. If I navigate to task and I navigate to here, to the Gantt Chart, I will see that webinar Gantt Chart view. That is now available to me right from the start. I didn’t create that, so this is very useful to me if I have a standard view that I want to share across all of my projects that I will ever open.

The same can be done for sharing with colleagues of yours, but you can also do that by creating a template. For instance, if we have this current schedule and it is the best schedule that you ever created, we can create a template from this and we do that by clicking save as and we go to, for instance, the… for instance, the desktop here and I would create a new template. Make sure that you have that file saved as a Microsoft Project template and we are good to go. We can set the values to not actually containing actual values, so we did have some progress there, but we’re moving away from that progress because we’re not interested in what was previously in there.

Currently, the file changed to being a type of .MPT and now we have created a template file that also contains that view that we’ve created previously. With that, I actually think that we’re ready for a wrap up as well as a questions and answers section. I really hope that you enjoyed the session today. I’m very sorry that Microsoft Project crashed on me. It happens to the best, as you see. What have we seen? We’ve seen how a view is comprised within Microsoft Project and that it is actually more than just a Gantt Chart or a visualization of the Gantt Chart. There’s ways to change any visualization and there’s ways to share that with our colleagues using, for instance, the organizer or the template. Yeah, and Kyle, let’s open up the floor for questions if there are any.

Kyle: Thanks, Erik. We do have a handful of questions and if anybody has any, feel free to chat those over and we’ll try to get to those as time permits. Starting from early on in the session, Paul was asking… he mentioned, “Sometimes a task collapse doesn’t work,” and he was curious how he can fix that in a Gantt entry.

Erik van Hurck: A task collapse? Let’s see, I’m not quite sure what we understand for a task collapse. Maybe Paul can answer what he means with a collapse. Is that this section? It can be related to the table or the filter that you have active that might block collapsing or expanding, but other than that, maybe Paul can elaborate on that a bit more.

Kyle: Sure, yeah. Paul, if you’re able to clarify, please chat that over to us. The next question we have here from [Coffee 00:52:02], I believe, is can we also use the task information tab to set priorities?

Erik van Hurck: The task information page. If we double click on an activity, we actually get a menu here, which sets a lot of things. We have a couple of tabs here and general is one of the tabs that has some main information, but as soon as you look at advanced, you actually get more detailed information that I tend to use most often where you have the deadline option, you have a constraint type where you can say, okay, well this task needs to finish no later than the 24th of May, for instance, next year.

You can even set task types, fixed units, fixed work, fixed duration, which is a whole different section, but there is also… let me… it’s not in here. It is in general. Sorry. We have the priority here. Now, default priority of Microsoft Project is 500 and priority is mainly used here as being part of resource leveling, which is a whole different topic and I’ve done a couple of articles about that. We can put those in the notes after the session, but yeah, you can set priority here as well where, for instance, you would say, okay, well this has a 800 priority with a thousand being the highest number that you would be able to select.

If this activity is a priority 1,000 and, for instance, where you set the priority here, you would see that this is a thousand and you can set that to 600 and you can set this to 400 and you can set this to all kinds of values. Within a view, you can then say, okay, well let me filter on any activity that has a priority 1,000 section here. Yes, there is an option to set that using the task information menu. If you have a custom field moving into priority, then it will show up here in the custom fields section where because of the Microsoft Project crash just now, I don’t have any custom fields here.

Let me briefly create one for you just to get that visualized better. Task, task one, custom field and let’s remove that part here. Let’s have that lookup table here again where we say yes and no and click on okay. I’ll say text one, choose a custom field and it has yes. Other values, so if I select, for instance, just to determine financial requirements here and I navigate to the custom fields here, I would see that custom field and I’m able to select the yes value here as well. Yes, there’s multiple ways of visualizing priority and accessing it. Yes.

Kyle: Excellent.

Erik van Hurck: I think that answers the question.

Kyle: Absolutely, yeah. Onto the next one here from Joan. Joan is curious in Project Server specifically, is it only the head administrator can add new custom views and fields, et cetera, to the Global MPT?

Erik van Hurck: That is a very specific question. Where if you’re working with Microsoft Project Server or, for instance, Project Online, there is an administrator taking views primarily, but you still have the Global MPT with your personal views there. For instance, if you’re looking at the Microsoft Project application, so this one, you still have the option to create your own views, just like you would do within any schedule. Such as we’ve seen me do two times now in this webinar. However, on the browser side, it is true that you do not have the ability to change any views and that is an administrator task. Yes.

Kyle: Thanks, Erik. Next one here. A quick one from [Darrell 00:57:08]. He was just curious, which version of Project was used in today’s session?

Erik van Hurck: I’m using the Office Insider version of Project Online Desktop Client. Let me share that with you. This is a subscription product that comes with Project Online and it is the latest version that is currently available. I use the Office Insider version because I do want to have the latest ins and outs of Microsoft, such as the new icons that just appear, started to appear last week. This is quite similar to the 2016 and 19 versions of Microsoft Project, but it has some nifty extras, such as the Agile boards and let me just briefly show that as a visualization here. This is one of the views that is only available from the subscription base version of the tool.

You have the option to move along tasks and we can even set a percentage complete here to be 50 or a hundred and if I move it to a hundred, it will take it off quite nicely here. New task and if I add that new task here and I set it to 50%, being in progress, and I go to the Gantt Chart, these two new tasks will show up here and this one will actually have a percentage complete of 50%.

That’s the latest version that I’m using. It’s the online subscription.

Kyle: Great. Thanks, Erik. Thanks for taking those questions and that takes us pretty close to the end of today’s session. I’ll hand it back to you to close out.

Erik van Hurck: Yeah, all right. I hope everyone enjoyed the session and Paul, please reach out to me if that question wasn’t answered sufficiently. I hope to see you back next week. Next week will be all about reports and Microsoft Project has some nifty secrets there that you can use to bend it to your will. With that, this is my contact details and I was assured by Kyle that there’s a screenshotting option in the webinar tool, so please reach out to me and there’s my email address as well as my Twitter handle. With that, I hope to see you again next week.

Kyle: Thank you for an excellent part one presentation of the series, Erik. That was a great session today. For those of you claiming the PDU code, I will get that information back on the screen for you. Today’s session is eligible for one technical PMI PDU and that code you’ll use to claim it is mpugwebnlearn100919. Like a lot of our sessions, a recording will be posted to MPUG.com shortly after this session wraps up and you’ll receive an email with a link to do that on demand, so if you miss anything or like to go back and review anything that Erik presented today, that will be available to you.

As Erik mentioned, part two and three will be presented in the next two coming Wednesdays at 12:00 Eastern. Next week’s sessions will cover reporting and that’s an hour and a half session where we’ll dive deeper into that. Then, the following week, on October 23rd, we’ll wrap up the series with printing Microsoft Project, so we’ll have a bit shorter session that day. That will be a half an hour session. I chatted over the link for you to check those sessions out, read the description, and you can also register for both of those sessions as well. We hope to see you there.

With that said, that wraps up today’s presentation. Once again, thank you Erik for presenting today and thank you to everyone who joined us live or is watching this on demand. We hope to see you next Wednesday for our part two. Thanks.

Erik van Hurck: Thank you. Again, thank you very much.


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Written by Erik van Hurck

Erik van Hurck is a Senior PPM consultant for Projectum, a western European Microsoft Partner with offices in Denmark and The Netherlands. On top of that Erik is a Microsoft MVP. As such, Erik assists enterprise customers to adopt the new Power Platform cloud solutions for Project and Portfolio Management. Erik has a personal blog (www.theprojectcornerblog.com) and is also a writer for the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG.com).

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