MS Project Best Practice

MS Project Best Practice 

Here are some Microsoft Project Best Practices to follow:

  • Always place the Project Summary task at line 0 of your Gantt Chart Entry Table, instead of placing it on line 1. You will need to enable the display of the Project Summary Task via a checkbox on the Format Tab, Show/Hide Group.
  • Link Tasks at the detail Task level rather than the Summary Task level.
  • Use Automating Task Scheduling as soon as possible to take full advantage of Project’s automatic scheduling engine.
  • Do not enter Dates for Start/Finish directly into the Entry Gantt Chart, let Project’s scheduling engine calculate them for you based on duration, linking, and resource availability.
  • Enter resources in the Resource Sheet as soon as possible,  you can then pick them from a menu on the Entry Gantt Chart or the Resource assignment, rather than entering them manually into the Entry Gantt Chart risking duplications or misspelled resources.
  • Edit the Project Calendar to include all of the company’s working days (such as Monday through Friday) and non-working days (such as weekends and company holidays), and edit individual resource calendars for vacation time specific to a particular resource.
  • On the Resource Sheet, use the Group column to enter in which department the resource belongs to assist with filtering and reporting.
  • Baseline your project to track Planned vs. Actual values, then use interim baselines to track multiple baselines.
  • Create custom filters, tables, views to report data to stakeholders in a custom formats that meet the needs of all stakeholders.
  • Use the Organizer tool to copy these custom filters, tables, views, and reports between projects.

MS Project 2016

MS Project Tips

Why you should avoid linking summary tasks.
Linking summary tasks in MS Project has some negative consequences for project planning. Though MS Project allows summary tasks to be linked as a predecessor or successor, you may want to avoid this altogether for some of the reasons listed below.

  • can produce errors in logic
  • can artificially extend the project plan
  • can cause circular logic warning messages
  • when you link a summary task and detail task you are defining a dependency between the deliverable and tasks required to produce that deliverable, which does not make sense. This alone is reason enough to deter one from inserting summary tasks dependencies.
  • makes the effort to check if the network of dependencies is complete more difficult
  • the critical path is also more difficult to map out
  • not recommended by the Project Management Institute’s PMBOK

Links between summaries are also not advisable according to MS best practice guidelines.