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MS Project: Dumbing Down Microsoft Project
Posted on Sunday, April 20 @ 08:03:53 CDT by webadmin

PMConnection Articles
Creating a Checklist or To-Do List in Microsoft Project


Ok…so you’ve got a VERY small project, or simply a collection of tasks that you need to complete. Call it a checklist or a To-Do list if you will. You know MS Project is a powerful tool and can be used to manage very complex projects. But you don’t really need a full blown dynamic schedule, so you are thinking of creating your list in Excel…WAIT!!!

This article will show you how to “dumb down” Microsoft Project for the purposes of creating a simple To-Do list. You’ll learn some easy, yet powerful features that will make creating and maintaining a To-Do list easier in Microsoft Project than Excel.



Building the List
1.    Open Microsoft Project and save your file with a meaningful name
2.    Modify the Gantt Chart View
       a.    Hide the Indicator column
       b.    Hide the Duration column
       c.    Hide the Start column
       d.    Hide the Predecessor column
       e.    Insert % Work Complete
       f.    Insert Notes column
      g.    Slide the vertical divider for the Gantt Chart all the way to the right

Checklist1


3.    Add Data
      a.    Input task within Name column
      b.    Input targeted finish date within Finish column
      c.    Input the name of the person or people responsible for the task in the Resource Names column

Checklist2


4.    Save a Baseline
       Click on >Tools, >Tracking, >Save Baseline

Checklist3



Managing the List

5.    Input Updates
       a.    Modify Finish date as necessary
       b.    Update % Work Complete
       c.    Add Notes to tasks as needed

Checklist4 



Reporting from the List
6.    Print the list in its entirety
7.    Filter the list
       Click on >Project, >Filter and you can quickly filter for:
       a.    Incomplete tasks

Checklist5

Result:

Checklist6
      

       b.    Complete tasks

Checklist7

Result:

Checklist8
      

       c.    By Resource

Checklist9

Checklist10

Result shows any task assigned to Sam:

Checklist11


       d.    By Date Range

Checklist12

Checklist13

Checklist14

Result:

Checklist15

8.    Autofilter
You can enable the Autofilter for all columns.

Checklist16    

You can now click on the auto filter dropdown for any column and leverage it to filter the list. A good example is you could click on the dropdown for Name, use the custom option and filter for only the tasks that contain the name “furniture”.

Checklist17

Result:

Checklist18

9.    Compare to Baseline
By inserting the Baseline Finish and the Finish Variance columns, we can see our original targeted finish dates and how far tasks have slipped.

Checklist19

10.    Insert Project Summary task to get overall % Work Complete
Click on >Tools, >Options, >View tab and check “Show project summary task”

Checklist20

Result:

Checklist21

11.    View as Calendar
Click on >View, >Calendar

Checklist22

Question:  Now…can you do all that in Excel?
Answer:  Yes, but not near as easily!!!

CAUTION:  Using this approach removes the dynamic scheduling capabilities of Microsoft Project.  In other words, if the tasks on your To-Do list must be done sequentially, and you experience a delay in one of the “upstream” tasks, you will need to manually change the dates of all the downstream tasks.  This is not the best approach when working with Microsoft Project.  However, as the article started, if you currently create and maintain To-Do lists in Excel, you may find using this approach in Microsoft Project to be more beneficial.







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