Microsoft Project 2010
The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group. Learn how to manage your work effectively

November, 2007

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Group By, It's Great!

    • 6 Comments

    We have something called SQM data that tells us how many clicks each feature in Project gets and in my opinion Group By is one of the most underused features in Project.  It only gets .1% of all clicks and is one of the most powerful features in Project  (think you know the top 5 features, check the end of this article to see if you are correct) 

    Why is Group By so powerful?  It lets you analyze data based on pretty much any field in Project - want to see how much remaining critical work you have compared to noncritical work, which tasks are starting each week, completed tasks versus incomplete tasks - use group by.  It's Project's version of pivotTables.

    How do you apply a group?  This command is located on the Project menu - Group by flyout.  It can also be found on the standard toolbar.

    What does it look like?

    Here is an ordinary project plan.

    image

    Say you want to see how much critical work you have versus non-critical work.  To do this just set Group By to Critical.

    image

    Not only now are your tasks grouped by whether or not they are critical (I collapsed the critical:No group so both groups would fit in the picture), you can also analyze data.  Looking at this you can see that there are 188 hours of critical work remaining.  You could insert other fields depending on what you're interested in - Cost if you want to see the total cost of critical work...

    Say your plan is like this plan and subtasks have kind of ambiguous names.  In that case you probably want to include summary tasks in the grouping.  To do this, go to Project - Group By - More Groups.  Select what you want to group on and click Edit or just click New to create a new one.  Set the innermost line that isn't being used to Outline Number as picture below.

    image

    Note that their is a checkbox at the bottom that says "Show summary tasks".  This means that summary tasks will be in the group but that they will be grouped based on their values.  For example, if you have Flag1 set to Yes for the summary task and No for it's subtasks.  The subtasks will be in one group and the summary task will be in another.  Adding Outline Number to your group is how you maintain hierarchy.

    Other Group By tips:

    • Status is a great field to group on.  This shows you which tasks are completed, on track, late, and in the future.

    image

    • You can add layers to a group the same way as you can to pivotTables in Excel.  One example is Status, then Resource Names.  This way you can see if the same resource has multiple late tasks, etc.
    • You can group on custom fields.
    • When a view is grouped, you can only add new tasks/resources at the bottom of the view.
    • Multi-value fields are grouped as a single unit.  If you have Bob assigned to T1 and Bob and Ann assigned to T2 and group by resource name, you'll get 2 groups.  One for Bob which will contain T1 and one for Bob and Ann which will contain T2.
    • When grouping on a field which can have a range of values, say a number or a date, you can set intervals to make the groups more meaningful.  For example, group by Start date on its own isn't that great since you have a different group for each day a task is starting on, but if you set the grouping interval to weeks you can now see which tasks are starting which week.

    image

    Which gives you:

    image

     

    And now, as I promised, the top 5 features used the most in Project are:

    1. Save
    2. Insert Task/Resource
    3. Indent
    4. Paste
    5. Apply View

    Surprised?

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Help with Help

    • 2 Comments

    It can sometimes be a bit challenging to find just the right spot among Microsoft's many web sites to find that solution to your Project question. Here is a quick list of the major sites that contain Project help content:

    Office online

    Office Online is the primary spot to find Help content about all Office products. You can specify where you want to search for Help, and you can restrict the scope of your search to online or offline or to a specific category within a program. You can search for up-to-date Help, templates, training, videos, or additional online content .

    Go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/FX100487771033.aspx

    Popular links:

    Project Roadmap--http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/ha102143771033.aspx?pid=ch102202741033        

    Available fields--http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/HA102369301033.aspx?pid=CH100788901033

    RSS feeds for Project-- http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/ha102127501033.aspx

    Community resources-- http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/HA011587371033.aspx?pid=CH010685781033

    Coming soon:

    Project Management Quick Reference Guide (downloadable Word template)

    MSDN

    If you are Developer, you want to go to MSDN. MSDN provides articles, whitepapers, interviews, and sample code for software developers using Microsoft products.

    Go to http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905469.aspx

              Popular links:

    Portfolio Server download materials--http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=18848D8B-6784-4E6A-B716-96D571EEB676&displaylang=en

    Project 2007 SDK--http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=2672f6f9-7028-4b30-99a2-18cb1eed1abe&displaylang=en

    Getting started with development for Project Server-- http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb456485.aspx

              Coming soon:

    Update to the Project 2007 SDK

    Technet

    If you are a Project IT Pro, you will want to go to Technet to learn everything you wanted to know about Installing and deploying Project and Project Server across your organization.

    Go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/projectserver/default.aspx

               Popular links:

    Managing your timesheets in Project Server 2007--http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/3e36877a-657c-4299-8a3a-b259daabbc051033.mspx?mfr=true

    Project Server 2003 SP3-- http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=c5269419-034f-458d-9255-de6c9f2a6f28&displaylang=en

    Operations manual for Project Server 2007-- http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/91c0c38a-51e1-4aaa-a675-a8d56cd5f08a1033.mspx?mfr=true

              Coming soon:

              Administrative Role Guide for Project Server

              Troubleshooting guide for the Project Server Queuing Service

    Customer Service and Support team

    If you need to troubleshoot a problem with Project, search Microsoft's extensive Knowledge Base articles on our product support pages.

    Go to:

    http://support.microsoft.com/ph/11381 for Project client

    http://support.microsoft.com/ph/11388 for Project Server

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    2008 Microsoft Office Developer Conference

    • 2 Comments

    The 2008 Office Developer Conference promises to be a ground-breaking event as it's the first time it will be open to the public. The conference promises to be especially exciting as we are riding the momentum of the 2007 Microsoft® Office system launch, and there is tremendous interest in our Office Business Applications (OBA) strategy. Even BillG will be there, delivering a special keynote presentation!  www.odc2008.com

    Register by November 30th to get the early bird special.

    When: February 10-13, 2008

    Where: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA

    The final schedule is still to be determined but there will be a session on Enterprise Project Management. 

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    We're Back (and with instructions on creating a Burndown Report)!

    • 30 Comments

    Hi, I'm Heather O'Cull, another program manager on the Project team.  In case you're wondering what happened to Treb, he is still here but has decided to pass the blog on to give more variety to it.  Big thanks to Treb for all the great posts and hopefully he'll still be up for doing some guest posts.

    I work more on the client and client reporting so I'll be giving the blog more of a spin in that direction.  If there is anything you would like to see posts about, please let me know.

    At the Project Conference I presented on client reporting and promised to post instructions on creating a burndown report through Visual Reports.  Something like:

    image

    And here are the steps...

    How to Create a Burndown Report:

    1. Have the project you want to report on open.

    1. Go to Reports - Visual Reports

    2. Select New Template, Excel, Assignment Usage, and click OK.

    Your report is now being created in Excel.  Switch over to Excel.

    3. Add Time Weekly Calendar to the Row Labels section.

    4. Check Cumulative Work, Actual Work and Baseline Work.

    5. Move Values to the Column Labels box.  Your fields should be setup like this:

    image

    6. Expand the time dimension out to the weekly level (you can really choose to any time level you'd like).

    7. Make sure subtotals aren't showing (to remove in Excel 2007 go to the Design tab, Subtotals dropdown).

    8. In the cell to the right of Baseline Work, type Remaining Actual Work, to the right of that type Remaining Planned Work, then Cumulative Actual Work, and Cumulative Baseline Work so you have the picture below.  You now need to calculate all of these values.

    image

    10. For Cumulative Baseline Work, in J3 type =Sum($F$3:F3) and fill down the column for the number of weeks in your Project.  You nave now calculated Cumulative Baseline Work for your project.

    11. For Cumulative Actual Work, in I3 type =Sum($E$3:E3) and fill down the column like you did in the last step.

    12. For Remaining Planned Work, in H3 type =(x-J3) where x is the total for the Cumulative Baseline Work column.  Fill down the column.

    13. For Remaining Actual Work, in G3 type =(y-I3) where y is the total from the Cumulative Actual Work column.  Fill down the column.  You've now calculate all the data that you need.  If I switch to show formulas, you should have something that looks like this:

    image

    14.  You're almost there.  You now just need to graph your data.  To do this, insert a column to the left of remaining actual work.  This is the week column.  Now paste the week numbers there so you'll have them in your graph. 

    15.  Now just select the week column you just added, remaining actual work, remaining planned work, and choose to graph them as a line graph.  You should have something like the picture at the top of the entry.

    To make this look even better you can draw a status line to help demonstrate where you are in the plan.  I also prefer to delete the values in Remaining Actual Work that are in the future to make the graph more compelling.

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