Project management goal: Create a new project schedule

Chose the right view graphic

After you complete the initial thinking about your project’s objectives, it’s time to put together a schedule.

When you start a new schedule, you add tasks and organize them efficiently so that the project end date occurs as soon as possible.

For more articles in this series of project management instructional guides, see The Project Road Map

ShowProject management tips before you start . . .

  • Make sure you’re starting at the right place    If you’re early in the planning process, you might not want to use Project at all. Perhaps you have a simple list on a SharePoint site, or in Excel, or on a paper napkin. Share those ideas with other people first before you start Project and put a schedule together. Learn more about the early stages of project planning.
  • Make sure you know what a project is and what it isn’t    In the early phases of project creation, your project might lack clarity or be too broadly defined. Here a few examples to help you narrow down the objectives of your project.
Projects too broadly defined Projects defined with more clarity
Reduce cost overhead
  • Project to upgrade a manufacturing plant to increase efficiency.
  • Project to locate maintenance plant closer to manufacturing facilities.
Reduce risk from competition
  • Project to replace security software.
  • Project to recruit risk specialists from related industry.
  • OK, everybody has bought off on your great idea. Now what?    Start Microsoft Project and get going. Add tasks, organize them into an outline, and set up a project calendar so you know what the working hours are. You could also start adding people at this point, but this typically happens later. Learn more about adding people to your project.

Step 1: Create a new project

Create a new project from a template Base a new project on a template pre-populated with tasks from projects similar to yours. Many of these templates have been created by industry experts to help you get started.
Create a new project from scratch Start with a clean slate and then populate it with tasks, people, and other schedule information.
Open an existing project Open a project you already set up and base your current project on it.
Open a project from a previous version Open a project you made in an earlier version of Project, all the way back to Project 98.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 2: Add tasks

Add new tasks Add tasks to a schedule to break the work down into manageable pieces.
Set the length of task duration Set the time span (or calendar time) a task should take. You can enter a number or just type in a placeholder duration like “TBD” or “Talk to Sarah first”.
Set the amount of work that people perform on tasks. Set the amount of time (or person-hours) for a task to be completed. This is the amount of time regardless of the number of people on the task.
Add a milestone Mark the end of major portions or phases of your project with milestones to show progress toward major deliverables.

Import an Excel spreadsheet

Link to come

   
If your tasks are already in Excel, you can copy them from Excel into Project. Project will keep the formatting and organizational structure of the task list.
Inactivate a task, rather than delete it You can cancel a task but keep a record of it in the project plan. This is a useful way to test how changes could affect your project.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 3: Organize tasks

Link tasks in a project Link any two tasks in a project to show their relationship (also called a task dependency). Linked tasks reflect project realities. When one task changes, so does the other.
Outline tasks into subtasks and summary tasks Show task hierarchy by creating an outline with the Indent and Outdent buttons.
Split a task When there are interruptions in a task, you can split it into sections to show when it stops and starts.
Create WBS codes Use Work Breakdown Structure (or WBS) codes to outline tasks numerically so that work matches your business’s accounting practices.
Top-down planning Set up the major phases first and then break them down into individual tasks.
How Project schedules tasks: Behind the scenes Learn more about how Project works with tasks and their relationships to help calculate the schedule.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 4: Set up the project calendars

Set working days for everyone on the project Set the standard work days for everyone on your project, such as Monday through Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Add holidays and vacation days Change people’s work schedules by adding holidays and vacations.
Create a calendar for only one task Identify working and nonworking time for only one task, such as a computer process that runs by itself during a 24-hour schedule with one day off for maintenance.
How Project uses calendars: Behind the scenes Learn more about how resource and project calendars work together to help Project calculate the schedule.

Top of Page Top of Page

Step 5: Save and publish the schedule

Save a project Save a local copy of your project as an MPP file.
Save and publish a project to Project Web App Make your project work available online to other users on Project Web App
Save a project file as PDF Save a project to the PDF format that can be read with a PDF reader or on a web page.

Return to the Project Road Map

 
 
Applies to:
Project Professional 2013, Project Standard 2013