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Using Outlook 2007 Part 1: Task Management Features for Project Schedules

written by: Michele McDonough • edited by: Marlene Gundlach • updated: 10/23/2013

Still trying to decide on a software solution to handle task scheduling for your projects? Microsoft Outlook 2007 may be all you need.

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    Don't Overlook Outlook

    In the search to find that perfect project management software, a lot of people overlook a solution that may already be sitting on their desktop. While it may not suit every project manager’s needs, the task management functions available in Microsoft Outlook 2007 are a lot more powerful than is generally realized. In this series, we’ll explore how Outlook’s task system can be utilized to manage any project schedule.

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    Outlook’s Task Management System

    While Microsoft Outlook’s task management capabilities can be greatly enhanced if you’re connected to an Exchange Server, that isn’t necessary to realize many of the benefits offered by the software application. In fact, we’ll assume that you are operating without this advantage for the majority of this series so that the methods described can be as widely used as possible.

    We’ll concentrate on the following topics in our discussion on how Outlook can be used as a project scheduling tool.

    In Part 2 of this series, we’ll describe how to set up a special new folder in Outlook that will only contain information relating to your project management duties. You can still choose to skip this step if you don’t mind project tasks being lumped together with other items, but separating these out will make things a lot to easier to manage in the long run.

    Part 3 of this series is devoted to explaining how to define field categories for your task list. Setting these items up in advance, before ever entering any task information, will save a lot of time. Again, you can ignore this step if the default field assignments are enough for your project needs. However, this process only takes a few minutes and it’s well worth that time.

    Moving into Part 4 of the series, we’ll give some tips and tricks to use when adding new items to your task list. Along with this, we’ll discuss how these tasks can be assigned to other team members in Part 5.

    Finally, in Part 6, we’ll give instructions on how project status reports can be quickly developed from the task list in Outlook. This is a particularly useful function that allows team members to update others on their progress without having to go to the trouble of creating an entirely new report.

Project Management with Microsoft Outlook 2007

The task scheduling abilities of Microsoft Outlook 2007 can be used to either build a full project management system or to complement existing software. In this series, we’ll discuss how the Outlook task management system can be more fully utilized.
  1. Using Outlook 2007 Part 1: Task Management Features for Project Schedules
  2. Using Outlook 2007 Part 2: Manage Projects in a New Task Folder
  3. Using Outlook 2007 Part 3: Defining Project Task Fields
  4. Using Outlook 2007 Part 4: Adding Project Tasks
  5. Using Outlook 2007 Part 5: Assigning Project Tasks
  6. Using Outlook 2007 Part 6: Creating Status Reports