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Project management is rarely easy. But this guide helps you understand project management while you use Project. Each link below goes to a page exploring that aspect of project management with articles and short tutorials.

The Project Road map

Initiate a project plan

The more complicated a project gets, the more you need to plan before you start using Project. During the initiation phase of a project, use applications like Word, Excel, and SharePoint to help you with your thinking.

Project goal


Initiate a project plan

Projects often fail without enough early thinking during an initiation phase. At this point, think about who your stakeholders and sponsors are, while you draw up charter statements, early specifications, and perhaps a budget.

For smaller projects you can do much of this work in Microsoft Project. For bigger projects, use Word, Excel, SharePoint, or even your phone to capture your thinking.

Communicate plans with your stakeholders

Maintaining communication channels with stakeholders isn’t always easy. But it is critical to the success of a project.

Create and share project reports

To help with the time-consuming part of communicating, Project has numerous reports that are only a click away. Capture early plans, major project milestones, budgeting requirements, staff needs, and so on.

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Build a project schedule

Building a project schedule can take time. Project creation can happen more smoothly if you break the steps down into four categories:

  1. Add tasks

  2. Organize them

  3. Add people

  4. Communicate with your team

Project goal


Create a new project schedule

After you’ve completed your initial thinking, it’s time to start Project and create a new schedule. You can start with a blank project, or use templates that other project managers have created—some by experts in project management or in a business similar to yours.

Add tasks

Tasks are the activities that get done in a project. Learn how to add tasks, change their properties and estimate their durations.

Organize them

When you first add tasks, they might not be in the best order for managing them. Learn how to organize them by using summary tasks and subtasks, and by linking them.

Add people and assign them to tasks

After you’ve added tasks to your project, think about the people you want to work on them. Keep in mind, that adding people and assigning them to tasks are different activities in Project.

Share resources using resource pools and master projects

To help manage people across multiple projects, place all the people in your projects into a single project file. This file works as a resource pool. From the resource pool file, you can share resources across multiple projects (without Project Server).

Set up costs for your project

Handling project costs can be intimidating for any project manager. With Project, you may discover that this work isn’t so difficult at all. Learn tips to help you stay on budget.

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Manage your project

Your work doesn’t stop after you build a schedule. Managing your project takes more time than building it. For example, tasks change, people get added, the end date needs to move back in, and so forth. With Project, you have all the tools to monitor progress and make changes to ensure a successful outcome.



Choose the right view of your schedule

To cut through the complexity of your schedule, find the right view. The Gantt chart gives you one view of where your project is going. You can also use a Calendar view, network diagram, or timeline to help you see different levels of detail.

Track the progress of your schedule

After you've created your initial schedule, it’s time to start seeing how things are going. Creating a baseline and using the right views will help you keep track of your project's progress.

Track percent complete for tasks

Tracking progress can seem complicated, but here’s a quick way to show percent complete using progress bar on a Gantt chart.

Resolve resource allocation problems

To get the best performance and results from resources, you must manage resource workloads to avoid overallocations and underallocations.

Bring in the project end date

A project manager’s worst nightmare is the end date slips after you make changes to the schedule. Learn strategies to take control of the project’s end date.

Report on project status

Communication is often difficult, especially when you’re reporting bad news. To help you communicate with your stakeholders and executives, Project has attractive, professional reports that you can create and send in a few simple steps.

Manage project costs

Are you going over budget? Do you need to adjust costs? Find out how to solve cost problems in your schedule.

View earned value analysis reports

Earned value is an advanced tracking method. But it isn’t just for experts. You can use it, too, to help you monitor your project.

Manage risk

Risks are everywhere in your project. Identify the trouble spots early and respond to them before they get you into big trouble.

Work with multiple projects

Project provides tools to help you manage cross-project dependencies, even tasks in one project that are dependent on the completion of another project.

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