Microsoft Project Training

Written by Shirley Parker
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All projects benefit from planning and monitoring as things progress or fall behind. In fact, keeping track is the only way to stay halfway sane. But most projects are at least intended to be short, even when deadlines slip, employees quit or request transfers, the bean counters reprioritize the budget, or someone remembers a critical step long past the time it should have been done.

Projects and people are all different, and in the case of the latter, they frequently labor under highly stressful conditions that make keeping to a project timeline unreasonable and even impossible. But a project management system of some kind is absolutely needed, even if it is sketched on a yellow tablet--where the best ideas are born anyway.

In most cases, a multi-featured program like Microsoft Project is overkill. It isn't necessarily difficult to learn or work with; it simply isn't needed for small projects. For complex projects that might be termed mid-sized or those with a longer timeframe, MS Project can manage and track tasks, people and money, and produce reports. The Project Manager does need to let his or her team members know what everyone else will be working on and where each one is status-wise.

Project can be self-taught, as with most other Microsoft programs, but a couple of group classes with an instructor will speed up the process. You'll need to learn to create a project, and then manage it. Some resources are still teaching earlier versions of Project to accommodate new employees coming on board at an existing client location. You may learn to the Expert level.

Don't Waste Your Time on Project Busy Work

Beware the temptation to print every report on every conceivable phase of the project, whether it's pricing, people or whatever. You can micromanage a project down to every last sub-task of a sub-task and drive everyone crazy, including yourself. You will also waste a great deal of your own time, unless your boss is one who needs to see pretty pictures every week.

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