Review: Microsoft Project Do’s and Don’ts

Microsoft Project Do’s and Don’ts: The definitive guide to jumpstart your project, by Sam Huffman

I’ve read several books on Microsoft Project and I even wrote one, but this is the first one I would recommend to a beginning project manager. Sam Huffman worked at Microsoft as a member of the Microsoft Project development and support team, so he’s widely considered to be one of the leading authorities on the product. He’s also a trainer, and this book reflects that experience.

Chapters One and Two describe the user interface, the hierarchy of calendars and how to configure and use them, and how to choose between manual and automatic scheduling. Chapter Three goes into best practices for organizing tasks and creating a task outline. Chapter Four explains task types and durations, followed by dependencies and sequencing tasks in Chapter Five. When working with junior project managers, I find that this is the place where they need the most guidance—Sam does a masterful job of explaining alternatives and best practices.

Chapter Six covers creating resources and assigning them to tasks. This is another place where MS Project can overwhelm the noob, and Sam’s guidance is excellent. Chapter Seven goes into the why and how of creating baselines, while Eight explains Tracking. This is an area where even experienced project managers don’t necessarily understand the alternatives or how to choose among them, and the level of detail is just right. Chapter Nine covers reporting, closing with three Appendices.  Appendix C is a simple checklist of steps to create and maintain a project file.

Highly recommended.

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Microsoft Project Do's and Don'ts: The definitive guide to jumpstart your project, by Sam Huffman
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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. He also holds the project management professional (PMP) designation, as well as professional designations in human resources and in benefits administration. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.

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