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Project 2007: Using Microsoft Project to Manage Projects

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/6/2011

This article discusses how to use Microsoft Project to manage projects.

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    Proper project management software can boost a project manager’s ability to manage projects successfully. Microsoft Project 2007 is one of the most easy to learn and use software options available. By using Project 2007 to manage your projects, you can help ensure the projects progress smoothly.

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    Planning your Project with Project 2007

    By taking the time to thoroughly plan and schedule the project, potential pitfalls can be avoided. In my article, Project 2007: How to set up a Microsoft Project 2007 Plan, I discuss the importance of taking the time to be clear about objectives, milestones, and primary resources before entering any information into the program. Deanna’s two-part article, Project 2007: Outlining the Project Plan goes into further detail about this vital first-step in project management.

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    Using Project 2007 to Allocate Resources

    Picture courtesy of Stock.xchng One of the most useful features of Project 2007 is the ability to allocate tasks to resources in an accessible manner. In the Gantt Chart view, there are seven columns. The last of these columns is the resource column. Once tasks and task dependencies have been entered into Project, tasks can then be allocated to resources.

    First, enter in the resources available for the project. To do this, open the View menu and click on “Resource Sheet." Here you can enter in all resource information pertaining to the project – including the standard rate and base calendars for the resources. Once the resources have been entered in, you can then return to the Gantt chart view and allocate resources to tasks by clicking on the resource box in the row you wish to edit. For more information on using the resource functions in Microsoft Project 2007, see Deanna’s two part article, Project 2007’s Resource Histogram View, and see Deanna’s article, Project 2007: Creating Resource Calendars.

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    Using Project 2007 to Monitor Project Status

    Using project management software greatly enables the project manager to monitor project progress. In Project 2007, there are many options for monitoring progress. By utilizing the Gantt chart, the project manager can see, at a glance what tasks have been completed, and how much work has been completed on each task. For more information on using Gantt charts to monitor project progress, see twhatley’s article, Project 2007: Using the Gantt Chart.

    Gantt Charts are not the only way to monitor project progress in Project 2007. You can monitor the budget and cash flow of the project by utilizing Project’s create reports tool. While Project 2007 comes with default report templates, you can also create your own default reports depending upon what you need to monitor. For more information on using Project for reports, see twhatley’s article, Project 2007: Printing Reports.

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    Use Project 2007 to Collaborate on Projects

    A further reason project management software makes project managers’ lives easier is that it allows for ease in collaboration between team members. Collaboration functions include:

    • requesting and giving progress updates
    • risk and issue management
    • status reports
    • sharing documents
    • managing deliverables.

    By using a program that facilitates communication, the chances for project success are heightened. For further information and tips on using Project 2007 in project management, see Microsoft's Project 2007 Blog.