How to Enter Tasks in Microsoft Project 2016

How to Enter Tasks in Microsoft Project 2016


Hello again and welcome back to our course
on Project 2016. In this section I’m going to start work
on the project plan for a wedding. Now of course different people would have
very different opinions on what might be part of the arrangements for a wedding. So what I’m going to try to do is to come
up with a project plan for a wedding that has enough detail in it to be reasonably realistic
but which will also reflect the different styles of wedding that you may get in different
parts of the world, in different cultures and so on. Having said that the style of wedding that
I’m planning here is not one that’s associated with any particular religion, for example. Now what you’re going to be doing from very
soon onwards is planning the refit of a bathroom in a domestic house. So what I’m going to try to show you while
I’m doing this wedding plan is some of the ideas that I want you to incorporate into
building up the plan for the bathroom refit. You may well find when you’re looking at
either of these projects that they don’t really reflect how you would set about doing
them but really that’s not the point. You’re learning the tools in Microsoft Project
to do these things and you’re not actually learning how to either plan a wedding or refit
a bathroom. Another important point to make here is that
we’re building these things up in layers. I’m not going to go deep into the detail
straightaway. We will certainly get to the detail but we
will do it one layer at a time and I’ll explain the tools and techniques associated
with Project 2016 as we go. So first of all I’ve made a list of the
main aspects of this wedding plan. Let’s take a look at that first. Now I’m sure this isn’t going to be quite
right but I’ve made this list. It’s actually in the course file folder
if you want a copy of this list. And it’s planning attire, and by attire
I mean basically the clothes that people are going to wear but it’s probably a little
bit broader than that. Guests, venue, catering, flowers, memories,
details, the wedding day itself, and the honeymoon. So they’re going to be my main headings. And the first thing I’m going to do is to
start adding each of those to my project plan. So let’s take the first one, planning, and
set that one up first. So I’ve created a new blank project and
in the task name I enter Planning. Now a couple of things to point out here. I’m using Gantt Chart View. And I did show you briefly earlier on in the
course a couple of ways of switching to Gantt Chart View if you’ve not got Gantt Chart
View on already. One way is to use one of the buttons down
towards the right hand end of the Status Bar but you can also go to the View Tab and select
Gantt Chart View there. Another thing to bear in mind is that you
should have new tasks set at auto-scheduled or what I’m going to do next won’t work
for you. So having entered Planning as the task name
I press the Tab key and a number of fields are filled in for my first task. One of them is the duration. And by default a task has a duration of one
day with a question mark, normally. Now what the question mark means is that this
is an estimated duration. And what one normally does is to leave the
duration as an estimate until you have actually got a reasonably reliable duration for that
task. Now at this stage I’m not going to worry
about durations at all. I’m just going to get all of those tasks
in. But bear in mind those question marks are
a good way of reminding myself that that’s just an estimate of the duration. And believe me planning a wedding is a lot
longer than a one day task. Ignore work for the moment and let’s look
at start. And you can just about see that the start
date is Thursday, December the 17th. Now one thing that may already be annoying
you is being able to see the contents of all of these fields. So let’s deal with that first. If you need to make these columns wider or
narrower, if you hover over the header, the gray part here, and go to the vertical line
between two fields you’ll see the cursor change to a double arrow. If you click with the mouse at that point
and drag one way or the other you can make the columns wider and narrower. Now in that way you can make sure that you
can see the contents of any particular column at any particular time. We’ll do a little bit more work on how to
format Gantt Charts, how to lay them out more neatly later on. But for the moment that’s probably one of
the most important things you need to be able to do. So just practice making those columns narrower
and wider so that you can see things a little bit more conveniently. And also there is a bar, a vertical dividing
line between the table on the left and the chart on the right. If you hover over that anyway you get a slightly
different double arrow and you can change that divider so that you can see more or less
of the table, more or less of the chart. And again you need to get used to adjusting
those to suit your specific requirements. Now let’s go back to this start date, Thursday,
December 17th. Now by default new tasks are created either
on project start date or on the current date. Now in this case both of those are today. You can check which it’s set to by looking
at Project Options on the Schedule page. I suggest you have a quick look at that now. It’s immediately under where you said new
tasks are auto-scheduled. And you’ll see in this case that it says
Project start date. So what is the project start date? By default project start date is the date
I create the project. And I created this project today so it’s
today, Thursday, December the 17th. If you click on the Project Tab on the Ribbon
in the Properties Group normally the first button there is Project Information. Click on Project Information and one of the
basic pieces of project information is the start date. And that is the start date, Thursday, December
17, 2015. It will also tell you in this case what the
finish date is. Now of course I haven’t really got much
work scheduled on this project at the moment so it means that I can start planning this
wedding today and I can actually have the wedding today as well because I’ll be ready. Believe me that situation will not last much
longer. And going back to what I was just saying now
about Project Options, you can see here that we’re scheduling from project start date. Some projects might be scheduled from the
project finish date. Now it’s very conventional to start a project
and say when will I be ready, but it also pretty often happens that you know when you’ve
got to be finished by and what you really need to know is when should you start. You can do both of those types of scheduling
in Project 2016 but it’s very important to know at any time whether you’re scheduling
from the start date or to the finish date. The approach we’re taking now with planning
this wedding is that we are starting at a start date and when we’ve done all the planning
and got all the other activities in we’ll know when we can be ready by. So we haven’t got a date for the wedding
yet. We need to do a lot of work, to do a lot of
planning first, but we will find out when we would be ready to have the wedding by. So let me cancel this dialogue for now and
I’m going to put in a couple more of the tasks in my project. Okay I’ve got three tasks in there now. You may be slightly surprised by how my plan
looks but there are very good reasons for it. At the moment I have not told Project 2016
much about these tasks at all. I haven’t, for instance, said that Attire
must happen after Planning or that Guests must happen after Attire. So it has no reason to put these tasks in
sequence. A very important point here as well is that
you don’t actually have to enter the tasks of a project in chronological sequence. I could put all of these in any order that
I wanted to. But the convention is that the tasks you expect
to at least start first go first in the list. Now in the left hand column here you have
something called a Task ID. And as you’ll see later on in the course
Task IDs fulfill a very important purpose. But one way of looking at this is that generally
speaking the convention is that the task with the lower IDs correspond to the tasks that
are performed earliest in the project. Having said that and as you’ll see later
on with this wedding plan the individual elements that make up each of these tasks, and bear
in mind we’re going to break each of these tasks down as we go through, will overlap
some of the things that we thought were going to be earlier on will be later on and so on. And in any case as the project progresses
things will tend to change. So having the earliest tasks as the ones with
the lowest ID numbers is more of a sort of general guideline than any sort of specific
rule. The next thing I’m going to do is to put
in the rest of those tasks. And there we are. I have all of those headings in. All of them have an estimated duration of
one day which is clearly not the case. But we have a starting point for our plan. And having done that work the next most important
thing to do is to save this plan and that’s what we’re going to do first in the next
section. So I’ll see you then.