For users who are accustomed to working with Gantt charts or have used Project previously, the interface is fairly straightforward. Double-clicking on a task brings up the Task Information dialog box, which provides the opportunity to modify details such as Resources and Predecessors. I do wish the Info box would dynamically update to reflect a different task when a new task is clicked on, similar to the way the dialog works in Process Model, but most users will not even expect that to be an option.
For new users and those unfamiliar with Gantt charts and the in's and out's of project tracking, expect to work through a learning curve. The attempt to find appropriate help and information when getting started may be confusing and the Help section is not organized in a user-friendly way. A large amount of material is lumped together in a way that does not seem very helpful, with videos, articles as well as humorous versions of tutorials, all combined by high-level categories. For what it's worth, I do enjoy the "Crabby Office Lady's" articles, which are humorous versions of articles for those who prefer to be entertained while they learn rather than reading dry copy.
The videos in the Help section launch a web browser, and unfortunately they would not play in Firefox. The troubleshooting options providing no useful information for solving the problem, so copying the URL and pasting into Internet Explorer was the only option. The set of 8 "Up to speed" videos were helpful for covering the basics such as tasks, resources, and using the Project interface.
Project now has a multi-level undo feature, which is a huge improvement in usability. It also has a Task Drivers view, which shows constraints that drive the start date for a specific task. This will be especially helpful for situations where a Black Belt is being asked why some part of a project has not happened yet, by the project Sponsor or the Quality Leader.
Also new is Change Highlighting, which allows the user to see what other elements are changed by a modification to one specific element such as a task end date or a resource assignment.
Users can easily switch among views using the View menu, with options including resource graphs and sheets, a calendar view, a network diagram, and of course the default Gantt chart. Turning on the Project Guide feature via the View menu displays a basic explanation of what you can do in a certain view, with links to how-to details for specific options.
The most time-consuming part of using Project is of course entering the vast amounts of information required to properly manage a Six Sigma project, including all the tasks in each phase of a project, all the resources and allocations, and all the task dependencies and relationships. An excellent template for a DMAIC project is available for free through iSixSigma. The Gantt chart incorporates the full DMAIC methodology within an overall Plan-Execute-Close project management framework, which includes the actions that typically occur before the chartered project is initiated by a Black Belt. Each of the phases is broken down into detailed steps.
For instance, the Measure phase includes steps for collecting baseline data, plotting and analyzing defects, calculating process sigma, and creating a process map. Also included in each phase are steps for tasks such as updating stakeholders, updating financial measurements, and a go/no-go decision. Within the step for plotting and analyzing defects, substeps include creating Pareto charts and creating and analyzing process variation using control charts.
Most Six Sigma project managers will find the template quite useful in getting started using Project for managing a DMAIC project.