Microsoft Project has been an integral tool for Project Managers for years.  Its complete tool set that enables the control and visibility of all aspects of any project makes it an invaluable assets – despite its flaws.

It is a powerful tool for managing all aspects of a project and the 2010 version improves visibility and the level of detail that can be delved into.  One of the noticeable improvements you will experience is that it is far more visual than previous versions which is useful for seeing things as a snapshot rather than having to spend time interpreting data or diagrams.

Here are 5 essential Microsoft Project 2010 tips and tricks that will make the management of a project smoother and the data more valuable.

1. Resolving resource conflicts

It is not uncommon for resources to be over allocated.  With Project 2010, these sorts of conflicts can be resolved by simply tweaking other aspects of the project.  The different views and monitoring options enable this to be done easily for example, the ‘monitoring slack’ on Gantt charts enables you to, amongst other things, balance out resources.

2. Deadline Dates

Typically tasks are assigned start and end dates which in Project, restricts flexibility when it comes to scheduling.  Now, you can set a ‘deadline date’ which, provides a visual aid for seeing deadlines but also, retains the flexibility of the schedule.  The visual aspect is made more effective with a green arrow marking the deadline date and a warning image appearing when the deadline has passed.

3. Team Planner

This new view tool in Project 2010 is a real value adding asset that any project manager will appreciate.  It delivers a graphical representation of activities per person across time.  It has nifty features like a red warning if you have over allocated anyone, and the intuitive layout lets you easily spot lag time in your project timeline.

4. Resource Name Form

Here is another new view in Project 2010 that enables managers to gain increased visibility over the running of their project.  The Resource Name Form is an additional dimension to the Team Planner where the user can see, in list form, all the tasks in the timeline per person.  Previously this required you to run a report.

This is another tool that helps with resource allocation, cost and time management, and increasing efficiency.

5. Collaborative Working

The secret to a project that runs like a well oiled machine is collaboration.  Successful projects have a strong team running and developing it and, often, require input from external influences too.  This is why the SharePoint list synchronization facility is so useful.

If using the Professional 2010 version of Project, you can export project files into a SharePoint list which enables you to share status and data with people outside the project.

Bio – Hollie Miller

Hollie provides Microsoft Project training for Acuity Training. In her spare time she loves to go to the gym and dress making.