I have a feeling that most of the users of Microsoft Project only use the Tracking Gantt Chart to schedule projects and allocate resources to tasks as required. Microsoft Project does so much more than simply showing tasks on a Gantt Chart with some random resource allocations!
It provides many predefined views that allow you to simply view any aspects of your project quickly and easily. In addition, you can also quickly and easily customise existing views or create your own, allowing you to view critical information about your projects in your own preferred format. And what’s event better, you don’t need to start from scratch, you can start by copying any of the existing views.
Did you know that there are 27 default views in Microsoft Project?
- Bar Rollup – is a way of viewing summarised task information. It is especially useful when the project dates are far apart.
- Calendar – is pretty similar to a calendar fount in Microsoft Outlook. It presents the tasks across the days in either a in Month and Week view with the current day highlighted.
- Descriptive Network Diagram – is based on the Network Diagram with a focus on the general flow of work, the relationships between tasks, and task progress information.
- Detail Gantt – shows a list of tasks and their related information in both the list view and the Gantt view with thin lines showing the individual task slippage. You will need at least one baseline to be able to see task slippage.
- Gantt Chart – is one of the most commonly used views in Microsoft Project. It is used to view tasks, create dependencies between tasks through links, and see how your project is project is progressing over time.
- Gantt with Timeline – is identical to the Gantt Chart with the addition of the new Timeline view above the Gantt Chart.
- Levelling Gantt – is used when levelling resources. It focuses on delayed tasks and provides information in both a detailed and a graphical view and includes the before and after effects of the resource levelling process.
- Milestone Date Rollup – is a way of viewing summarised Date information. It is especially useful when the project dates are far apart.
- Milestone Rollup – is a way of viewing summarised Milestone information. It is especially useful when the project dates are far apart.
- Multiple Baselines Gantt – is based on the Gantt Chart view with the addition of allowing you to see the first three baselines saved for the project. Each of the baselines are represented by a different colour.
- Network Diagram – is used to access the relationships and flow of work in your project, with the critical path highlighted in red. Non critical tasks are shaded in blue and manually scheduled tasks are textured.
- Relationship Diagram – is based on the Network Diagram with the current task in the centre pane, its predecessors to the left and successors to the right.
- Resource Allocation – is used to manage task resource allocations. It is not the only way to manage resources, it is a cleaner, simpler, more focussed way to do so.
- Resource Form – displays detailed information about individual resources. You can navigate through the resources by using the Next and Previous buttons.
- Resource Graph – is a graphical view that allows you to assess how a resource is being used on a project and to easily spot inappropriate allocations. Over allocations are highlighted making them easier to spot.
- Resource Name Form – is a simplified version of the Resource Form.
- Resource Sheet – allows you to manage your project resources including their types and cost information.
- Resource Usage – displays each resource and allocated tasks. It is useful when checking for over allocations and examining the number of hours or percentage of capacity at which a resource is assigned to work. The list of tasks are grouped by the resource name.
- Task Details Form – is similar to both the Task Form View and the Task Name Form. It enables you to view and edit tracking information about one task at a time. You can navigate through the tasks by using the Next and Previous buttons.
- Task Entry – is a combination of the Gantt Chart and the Task Form.
- Task Form – appears at the bottom of the Task Entry view.
- Task Name Form – is a simplified version of the Task Form.
- Task Sheet – is the counterpart to the resource sheet in that the Task Sheet view displays task information in a spread sheet style. You can create, edit and link tasks and allocate resources in this view.
- Task Usage – is used to focus on how resources affect the task by showing resource assignments for each task.
- Team Planner – is only available in the professional edition of Microsoft Project. It is particularly useful when assessing resources, tasks and resource allocations. It has 4 quadrants that display tasks in particular statuses. The quadrants are: resources, assigned and scheduled, unassigned and scheduled and unassigned and unscheduled. What’s really nice here is that tasks can be reassigned and moved by simply dragging them around.
- Timeline – is a new 2010 feature that allows you to add key tasks to a timeline that can be used to graphically communicate high level schedules to project stakeholders.
- Tracking Gantt – is based on the Gantt view and provides a great visual way to evaluate the progress of individual tasks, the project as a whole, or any level in between. It presents additional information about tasks such as planned vs. actual progress and slippage visually, allowing you to plan necessary corrective action.You will need at least one baseline to be able to see planned vs. actual progress.
Most of the views have filtering options, allowing you to filter based on the type of task, it’s level in the work breakdown structure, a date range, or type of resource.
If your preferred view is not available on any of the ribbon tabs, drop down the View option from the Task or Resource Tabs and select More Views. This will present you with a complete list of views that are available in the current project for Tasks or Resources.
Did you know you can change the details area of most views?
Most views contain a detail or sheet entry are, referred to as a table, with predefined columns. What most people do not realise is that there are actually multiple tables to chose from.
To change the table in a view, right click on the select all area – the top left hand block of the table – and select your desired table. If you are unable to locate the table that you would like to use, select the More Tables option.
Did you know you can customise the Quick Access Toolbar?
The Quick Access Toolbar in the upper left hand corner of Project 2010 is completely customisable. You can add the options that you use most frequently to this toolbar within seconds!
To add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar, simply click on the downward arrow on the right hand edge of the toolbar.
Select the commands that you would like to add to the toolbar, and if the ones that you would like to add are not available, select More Commands option, and then continue with your customisations.
Did you know the 4 most common views are available from the lower status bar?
The Gantt Chart, Task Usage, Team Planner and Resource Sheet are all available as quick links in the lower right hand corner of Project 2010 Professional?