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iLab 1 of 7: Basics of Project Scheduling

Submit your assignment to the Dropbox located on the silver tab at the top of this page.

(See the Syllabus section "Due Dates for Assignments & Exams" for due dates.)
General Comments about the Microsoft Project Exercises

A project plan and schedule are extremely important for managing projects. Applications are available as tools to assist defining, managing, controlling, and reporting on project plans and to evaluate how the project is progressing. Microsoft Project is one application that is commonly used for this purpose and will be the application used in this course. It will help you put together a plan of action, define and organize details, track progress, analyze costs and schedule, assess the quality of your project, and report numerous details to interested parties.

iLab Lesson 1A Requirements:

    Complete Lesson 1A.
    Print Project Summary Report.
    Print Unstarted Tasks Report.

iLab Lesson 1B Requirements:

    Complete Lesson 1B.
    Print Entry Table and Gantt Chart (show only columns up to and including the Duration Column.) Printout should be no more than two pages wide.
    Print Project Summary Report.
    Print Unstarted Tasks Report (fit to one page).


All of the following deliverables are required (in a zip file) in order to receive full credit:

    Completed MyLab1B_XXX.mpp
    Completed Review Questions
    Printouts/Screenshots contained in Week_1_Printouts_XXX.docx

When submitting required printouts, if you are not bringing them to class, from the Print Preview Page, take a screen shot (in Windows ) of the report and paste the screen shot to an MS Word document. Make sure to crop the screen to show only the report. After cropping, resize the image appropriately. If the printout is on more than one page, paste each page individually.

Save the Word document containing printouts as Week_1_Printouts_XXX.docx and submit this file to the Week 1 iLab Dropbox in a zip file, along with the MyLab1B_XXX.mpp file and the completed Review Questions at the end of Lesson 1B. Remember to replace "XXX" in the file names with your initials, and ensure that all of your files are all clearly labeled and include your initials in the file name.
Grading Rubric

Each week, you will be using Microsoft Project to build and manage a project plan similar to what you would use or see outside of the classroom, in your workplace. As noted in the Syllabus, these MS Project files are worth 40 points each week. Remember that from the file you submit each week, points will be deducted for incorrect answers.
Criteria 	Points 	%
All required components are accurately completed. MS Project file is accurate, Review Questions are correct, and printouts are acceptable for management communication (all columns are wide enough to be read, headers are correct to the requirements stated in Week 7 iLab).
	40 	100%
The assignment file contains all of the required components. The work is mostly accurate and the printouts are completed. Printouts are readable, but the formatting is not acceptable for management communication.
	30-39 	75-97%
The assignment file contains most of the required components. The work is completed with a fair degree of accuracy.
	20-29 	50-72%
The assignment file contains some of the work. Accuracy is lacking.
	1-20 	1-50%
No iLab work is submitted.
	0 	0%
STEP 1: Download iLab Instructions
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Click the links below to access this week's iLab instructions.

    MS Project Lesson1A.docx (There are no Review Questions for Lesson 1A.)
    MS Project Lesson1B.docx (Review Questions to be completed and submitted for Lesson 1B are located at the end of this document.) 

STEP 2: Complete the iLab Assignment
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Complete the iLab assignment for Week 1 based on the Guidelines section and Lesson documents above.
STEP 3: Submit iLab Deliverables
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    Create a folder called MGMT404_YourLastName_Lab1.
    Place copies of each required deliverable into this folder.
    Right-click on the folder and select Send To ? Compressed (zipped) Folder. You can also use other tools to compress the files into a single zip folder, (for example, 7-zip).
    Upload the zip file to the weekly iLab Dropbox in eCollege.

For instructions on how to use the Dropbox, read these step-by-step instructions or watch this Dropbox Tutorial.

See the Syllabus section "Due Dates for Assignments & Exams" for due date information.

Objectives - MS Project 2010

q Understanding Project Scheduling

q Introduction to Microsoft Project

q Working with Project Tasks

q Basic views, time scales and reports

Whether you are a project manager or not, project management techniques are extremely helpful in meeting goals and objects. Project management techniques define a path to a specified goal and then supervise the implementation.

MS Project can help you establish your initial plan as well as monitor progress. MS Project can quickly produce reports and other information that will help keep management, customers, and your project team informed. To get the most from MS Project, not only do you need to understand project management terminology, you also need to be familiar with the software itself. Therefore, do not attempt to quickly finish the lab, but take your time and read all instructions carefully.

Understanding Project Scheduling

A typical project is composed of tasks and resources. After tasks are identified, you organize the tasks in a logical hierarchy, also called a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Eventually, this sequence will show the interdependencies of each task. Then each task is given a duration. In MS Project, this can be in weeks, days, hours or minutes. You can also specify a milestone, which will represent an event that marks the completion of a group of related tasks.

To accomplish any task, you need resources. Resources can include people, equipment, material or special facilities necessary to complete a task. Resource availability and scheduling are important constraints to completing a task.

Once you establish a plan, complete with tasks and resources, you will often need to refine the plan before saving it as a baseline. The baseline is your guideline to help manage the project.

MS Project Basics

When you first start MS Project, a blank project file is displayed in Gantt Chart View. (If you need to open an existing MS Project file, the file extension is .mpp.) Let's take a look at the main window:

The above image is the default screen for MS Project 2010. The right side of the screen consists of the area for the Gantt Chart. The left side of the screen is the Entry table where tasks, durations, and other task information is entered. The Entry Table and Gantt Chart are separated by a moveable Divider

Pay particular attention to this layout. The Entry table is where we enter our tasks and durations. The Gantt chart will eventually show our tasks and durations in a graphical bar chart. The other part of significance is the divider. This allows you to show more or less of the Entry table/Gantt chart.

In Project 2010 the menu bar is set up into Ribbons. To access the various ribbons, Tabs are selected across the top of the menu bar. Within the ribbon the various sections are divided into groups:




The above image displays the Microsoft Ribbon in the top of the window. The ribbon is navigated via Tabs. Within each tab are Groups and within each of the Groups are individual commands.

The first step in creating a project is establishing the project information.


Select Project Information from the Project taband the Properties group


The Project Information is used for information that is critical to the scheduling of tasks and resources. It contains the start date and finish date of the overall project, the current date (taken from the computer), and which calendar you will be using. You must always enter this information when creating a new project.

2. Enter the starting date of this project as October 9, 2013. (Note: you can only enter the start date or the finish date, but not both!).

3. Leave the other information as is and Press OK.

4. Next we are going to define other project information. Select File on the Project Tab. Next select, Info. On the right hand side of the screen select Project Information and then Advanced Properties.

5. The Project Properties screen appears and the Summary tab should be selected.

6. In the Title box, type Maynard Furniture Company Project.

7. In the Subject box, type New System.

8. In the Author's and the Manager's box, type in your name. This information will be displayed on reports. In the Company box, enter MGMT404followed by your professor’s name. Click OK.

9. Save the project as MyLab1a_XXX.mpp (where XXX are your initials).
Basic Setup

1. Before we start entering data there are a few setup tasks we need to do.

2. The first is to change how MS Project calculates the schedule. (We will explain this in week 5)

3. Go File, then Options. The Project Options window opens.

4. Select Schedule. The Project Options window now should be visible.


5. Under Scheduling options for this project check the box labeled "New tasks are effort driven"

6. Click OK to close the window.

7. Next, select the Gantt Chart Tools Formattab from the ribbon. Click the check box to show the tasks that will be on the Critical Path.

8. Select the Task tab. With these settings we are ready to start entering data

Entering tasks

1. Click in the first field in the Task Name column. Type Inventory current equipment.

2. Press the tab key. The information is entered and the selection moves to the Duration column for task 1. (You may need to slide the divider to the right to see the column). Also notice the task is represented on the Gantt chart.

3. Change the duration to 3 days by typing 3 and press enter. Notice the duration "days" or the letter "d" is automatically assumed. If different, you would enter m for minutes, h for hours, d for days or w for weeks after the number, such as 3w would be three weeks).

4. By default, MS Project 2010 enters tasks as Manually Scheduled. This allows the user to schedule individual dates for the tasks. We however, want MS Project to schedule the tasks for us.

5. For task 1, In the Task Mode column, select Auto Schedule. This will enable MS Project to automatically assign the start and end dates for each task.

6. To change this as the default mode, at the bottom left of the screen there is a button where you can change this default setting. Click on this and change the setting so all new tasks are set to be Auto Scheduled. You can also do this from the Task tab, Tasks group and selecting the Mode button, or from the Options screen we looked at earlier.

7. Enter the following tasks and durations for this project:

Assess current department needs 2 days

Design and diagram new system 5 days

Proposal to accounting 3 days

Research products and services 7 days

Issue RFPs 7 days

Evaluate bids 5 days

Award contract 1 day

Meet with vendor 1 day

Purchase equipment 4 days

Install wiring 3 days

Install hardware 2 days

Install software 2 days

(Note: it is very important that you make any changes to these durations prior to assigning resources. If you need to change duration after assigning resources, you should unassign all resources, change the duration and then re-assign the resources!)

8. When you enter tasks, note that “1 Day?” is the automatic default for duration. (You may need to slide the divider to the right to see the column). Also notice the task is represented on the Gantt chart. For durations that are only 1 day, make sure to manually type 1 and then the  key to remove the “?”.

9. Next make sure each task is "Auto Scheduled" when you are finished.

10. Notice as you enter each task and the duration, how the tasks are presented on the Gantt chart.

(Tip: By default MS Project 2010 automatically wraps the text on the task names. Some readers may find this not very clear. To see the entire task name on one line, position your cursor on the vertical line between the Task Name column header and the Duration column header. When the cursor turns to a double arrow, either drag the line to the right to increase the column width or double-click. Another method is to double click on the Task Name column header and select Best Fit. To see the Duration column, move the divider between the tasks and the Gantt chart. When you are done, then also adjust row height).

11. The text wrap can be toggled on and off from the Gantt Chart Tools Format tab, in the Columns group and the Wrap Text icon. Please turn this off now.

12. Change the duration of the task Award contract to 0 days. Notice the symbol on the Gantt chart. This is a milestone task, which has no duration but is used to mark progress in a project.

13. What if you need to insert a task later? Easy. For example, select task #13 Install software and Right click and select click Insert Task. A new task row will now be inserted above the current task.

14. Type Test system as your new task and duration of 1 day. (Remember next to select "Auto Scheduled".

15. Since “Test system” actually should be our last task, we need to move it. Therefore click(but do not hold down the mouse button) the task ID for task #13 - Test system. The entire row should be selected.

16. With the pointer still positioned on the task ID, drag down until a horizontal gray bar is displayed after task #14. Then release. Test system should now be your last task.

17. What if you want to delete a task? Click anywhere in the row for the task Meet with vendor. Right click and select click Delete Task.

Another type of task you may want to enter is a recurring task, such as a team meeting, etc. Generally recurring tasks are not included on a project, but it helps in resource scheduling.

18. Below the last task (task #13: Test System), click in the Task Name Column, but do not type anything.

19. From the Task tab in the Insert group, click Select the arrow under Task and choose Recurring Task.

20. The Recurring Task Information Box appears.

21. In the Name box, type Project Meeting.

22. Press the tab key and enter 2h for duration of 2 hours. Select Weekly for "Recurrence pattern" and check the box for Friday. Leave "Recur every" as is. We have scheduled a weekly 2-hour meeting every Friday for the duration of the project. Click OK. (Notice the circular arrows in the indicator column next to the task name).

19. Save the project before continuing.

Displaying Project Information in Views

Before closing out this project, we need to spend a little time with views. A view is a format in which you can enter and/or display information in MS Project. Your default view is known as the Gantt view: it is made up of the Entry table on the left, used to enter task information, and the Gantt chart on the right, which graphically represents the task information on a timescale.

Task and resource views in MS Project fall into three categories: sheet views, chart and graph views, and form views. Each view displays combinations of project information in different ways. Understanding what is your current view and changing views is critical in mastering MS Project.

Sheet views display task or resource information in a row and column format (similar to MS Excel). Chart and graph views provide a graphical representation of task or resource information. Form views display task or resource information in a format that displays a single task or single resource at a time. You use a form view when you want to focus on detailed information about a specific task or resource.

MS Project comes with 27 (MS Project 2010) predefined views.

1. From the Task tab and the View group, click Calendar. What do you see?

2. Now click on Task Usage. How is this different?

3. Finally, click on Network Diagram. Graphical view of tasks…

4. Return to the Gantt Chart view.

5. Another item to explore is the timescale for the Gantt chart.

On longer projects, you may not be able to see all the tasks on the Gantt chart. You can use the scroll bars to the right and on the bottom of the Gantt chart or you can adjust the timescale of the chart (shown above). The top line of the timescale is referred to as the Major timescale (Oct 6, ‘13, etc.) and the bottom line as the Minor timescale (SMTWTFS). To adjust the timescale, you can use the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons on the View toolbar under Zoom:

6. Click the Zoom In button (the one with the + sign). Notice the Major timescale changes to a day and the Minor timescale changes to 6-hour increments.

7. Now click on the Zoom Out button (the one with the - sign). The Major timescale returns to a week and the Minor timescale changes to day increments.

8. Click on the Zoom Out button again. Notice the Major timescale changes to a month and the Minor timescale changes to 3-day increments.

9. Click the Zoom In button again to return to the default of a week and one-day increments.

You can also specify your own timescale by selecting the Timescale dialog box on the View tab, Zoom group and the down arrow under "Timescale:" or by right clicking on the time scale on the Gantt chart.

Printing Project Schedules and Reports

To manage a project effectively, you will need to communicate project information to a variety of people, therefore it is important the reports printed are understandable by the readers.

You can print views and reports that meet the needs of a specific person or group. MS Project comes with 27 predefined views and 22 Visual reports and 29 standard reports. Before you print a view or report, it should be previewed to determine the number of pages that will be printed and if any additional information needs to be added.

Using the Page Setup dialog box, you can select page orientation, adjust scaling, change margins, and add or change the headers and footers. You can also add page breaks to control the flow of information. You can also create a legend at the bottom of the Gantt chart to explain the symbols used in the chart. (With the exception of the Project Summary report, you must do this for each report/printout; it is NOT a universal page setup!)

1. On the File tab, Print, then Page Setup.


The Page Setup dialog box appears:


2. Click the Header tag. The top box is the Preview box and the bottom box is the Text box.

3. Select the Left tab next to Alignment. In the Text box, type Lesson #1A on the first line. (The left corner will always be the lab number, so make sure you change it in future labs!)

4. Select the Center tab. Next to the General box displaying the text, "Page Number", click the down arrow and select Project Title. Click Add.

Note: the project title is displayed in the Preview box (based upon the information you entered in the Project Information earlier). The text box shows the “&” sign or the "place marker" for this information. The nice thing here is that if you ever change the Project Information, the changes will automatically appear on any reports that contain this information in the header.

5. Press Enter. (The cursor should now be on the second line for your center header information). From the same drop-down tab, add Manager Name. Press Enter and add File name as your third line and add Report Name as your fourth and final line.

6. Select the Right tab. Notice the seven icons below the text box. Select the middle (or fourth icon) to insert the current date in this section of your header.

7. On your own, make sure Page Number is in your footer and it is center aligned and then press OK. Review the Print Preview to view the changes. What is missing? Notice that there is nothing displayed in the fourth line of the header for report name? Why??? This is a view and not a defined report so there is nothing to display in this field. In order to see the view name, the parameter in the fourth line of the header would have to be changed to View Name – we will NOT do this at this time. The fourth line will display as a blank line when we are in a view format and not a report format.

8. Click the File tab to return to the Gantt chart view.

Previewing and Printing Views and Reports

When submitting required printouts, if you are not bringing them to class, from the Print Preview Page, take a screen shot (in Windows ) of the report and paste the screen shot to a MS Word Document. Make sure to crop the screen to show only the report. After cropping, resize the image appropriately. If the printout is on more than 1 page, paste each page individually.

Save the Word document containing printouts as Week_1_Printouts_XXX.docx. Remember to replace "XXX" in the file names with your initials and ensure that all of your files are all clearly labeled and include your initials in the file name. In the second part of this lesson, there will be more printouts to add to the Week_1_Printout_XXX.docx file.

9. On the File tab, click the Print button. Place the mouse pointer over the preview page. The pointer changes to a magnifying glass.

10. Click the lower-left corner of the preview page. The view is zoomed in so you can see the legend to the Gantt chart. If you ever want to change the contents of this legend, you can go to the same Page Setup in our previous steps and select Legend.

11. Click on the magnifying glass again to return to normal view. Make sure the task names column and the duration column can be seen in their entirety and the Gantt chart also appears in your window.

12. Click Print and print this view. We have just printed the Gantt chart view.

13. To view and print reports: From the Project tab, click Reports in the Reports group.

14. The Reports box opens. Each icon represents a category of reports. The first five (Overview, Current Activities, Costs, Assignments and Workload) represent 22 predefined reports. The last category, Custom, allows you to create your own report.

15. Select Overview and then select Project Summary. The Project Summary report now opens in Print Preview.

16. Select Page Setup for this report. Notice something interesting? The header and footer (and legend and view) tabs are grayed out. For some reason, only known to Microsoft, this is the only report that you cannot change the header and footer. To that end, it is imperative that you enter all appropriate project information and project properties as discussed in the lab!

17. Print the Project Summary. This is a very important report. It lists all relevant summary information as to project progress and achievement of your project objective.

18. On your own, find the report, Unstarted Tasks. Before you print this report, make sure your header and footer contain the appropriate information! Print the report when all is well.

19. Save your file and exit MS Project.

When submitting required printouts, if you are not bringing them to class, from the Print Preview Page, take a screen shot (in Windows ) of the report and paste the screen shot to a MS Word Document. Make sure to crop the screen to show only the report. After cropping, resize the image appropriately. If the printout is on more than 1 page, paste each page individually.

Save the Word document containing printouts as Week_1_Printouts_XXX.docx and submit this file to the Week 1 iLab Dropbox, along with the MyLab1B_XXX.mpp file and the completed Review Questions at the end of Lesson 1B. Remember to replace "XXX" in the file names with your initials and ensure that all of your files are all clearly labeled and include your initials in the file name.

In part 2 of this lesson we will continue working with task information by outline and linking these tasks and discussing interdependencies and constraints.

1. On the Project tab, click Project Information. In the Project Information dialog box, click Statistics. The following screen should appear. Use this to check your progress…