Microsoft Project Tutorial

MS Project software tutorial with theory and examples

How to create a microsoft project schedule

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In this tutorial you will be learning how to create a project schedule by entering estimated duration of tasks and enter predecessor information.

Entering estimated duration

MS Project Tutorial - Estimated DurationEstimates entered in the project are based upon experience, talking to experts and the people performing the tasks. For this example we will assume we have done that and are ready to enter the information. We will go to the duration column and to the lowest specific task such as “Interview Users” which will take 7 days or “Define Requirements” which will only take one day and so on. We only enter estimated duration for the tasks and not the deliverables. Ms Project will fill these in for you giving the times of the tasks below that deliverable.  The duration will not be counted up at the deliverable only the longest task is reflected, this will cause all the tasks start on the same date. Also notice the duration default is days. You can change this with shortkeys to:

  • m: minutes
  • h: hours
  • d: days
  • w: weeks
  • mo: months
  • y: years

Entering predecessor information

MS Project Tutorial - PredecessorNext we will enter the predecessor  information for the tasks. You might need to expand the task view and so increase the calendar view to see the predecessor column. Our first task is “Interview Users” which doesn’t have a predecessor. For the next task we will enter the number 3 as predecessor. This number comes from the row association with “Interview Users”.

We will fill this out for all the tasks. Task “Code A” and  task “Code B” can have the same predecessor, this means they will start at the same time. “Integration” and “Integrate SW/HW” have multiple predecessors, this means all of the predecessors have to be finished before this task can start. On the calendar view you will notice the bars have extend out as they represent the schedule and too the start and finish dates have changed as they reflect the predecessors. Only fill in predecessor information under tasks at the lowest level and not under summary tasks.

Inserting lag

MS Project Tutorial - LagWhen we look closer at our projects we notice that the 7 days for purchasing hardware isn’t accurate. It only takes 1 day to order it and 7 days to deliver it. There is a lag relationship between purchasing and assembling hardware. We need to double click the assembling hardware task for its property window to open. We will fill in the lag under the predecessor box. We will be changing the lag from 0 to 6 for the shipping to take place. You also notice a predecessor has a type for when to start.

  • Finished-toStart (FS)—Task (B) cannot start until another task (A) finishes.
  • Start-to-start (SS)—Task (B) cannot start until another task (A) starts.
  • Finish-to-finish (FF)—Task (B) cannot finish until another task (A) finishes.
  • Start-to-finish (SF)—Task (B) cannot finishe until another task (A) starts.

Change schedule time scale

MS Project Tutorial - TimescaleWhen projects turn into months or even years the schedule view might not be so easy in the eye when it is set for days. To change this you will have to go to format and then timescale. At this menu you can change the middle tier to quarters and the bottom tier to months to get a better view.

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Ms Project Tutorial created by Frederik van Everbroeck.