Goal: Start a project plan

After the initial planning, you can start your project, enter your preliminary project data, and attach your planning documents to the project. This kind of preliminary effort is critical to the success of your project, whether your project has thousands of steps that span years and use standard project management methodologies, or a few steps that span a month and use agile project management methodologies.

Tip: This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project.

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See all goals on the Project Map

Initiate a project plan graphic

number 1  Decide if you need a project     Before you start a lengthy series of activities, you should ask yourself if what you are doing constitutes a project.

 More . . .

From the perspective of project management, a project exhibits most of the following attributes:

  • A project is temporary and unique     It is a one-time program, and not a series of ongoing activities. Designing a car manufacturing plant is a project because it is a one-time activity. The manufacturing of the car coming out of the plant, although it involves numerous linked steps, is an ongoing series of activities and therefore not a project.

  • A project has a life cycle with a beginning and an end     In the example above, the design of a car manufacturing plant has an end date, but the manufacturing of cars is ongoing. When the manufacturing plant is complete, the project ends.

  • Projects consume resources     Resources — either people or material resources like tools and textiles — need to be managed carefully, especially if they are shared across projects.

  • A project has funding limits as outlined in its budget     Project managers are typically concerned with the overall profitability of a project and whether the activities of the project fall within the costs allocated toward the project.

Some examples of projects include:

  • Developing a new product or service.

  • Designing a new business procedure or restructuring an organization.

  • Constructing a house or other structure.

  • Developing an environmental review policy.

  • Designing a type of vehicle with low emissions.

  • Designing a new addition to a house.

Number 2 Create a project     You can create a new project, which is the usual way to start. Or you can base your new file on an existing project or template that contains tasks or resources that are similar to those you need for the current project.

Click all of the following that apply:

  • Create a new project if you want to begin with a clean slate, choose a start or finish date for your project, and add the tasks and resources that you need.

  • Create a new project from a template if you want to jump-start the creation of a project. Browse through the templates that are included with Microsoft Office Project.

Number 3 Link or store project-related documents in Project      You can attach documents that are related to your project to the Microsoft Office Project 2007 file. For example, you may want to link a scope management plan or risk management plan to your project for easy access.

Click all of the following that apply:

  • Insert a document into a project, such as a Microsoft Office Word 2007 document, a Microsoft Office Visio 2007 workflow diagram, a Microsoft MapPoint map, a Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 slide, or a Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 page.

  • Add a note to a task, resource, or project to include a small amount of information directly in your project. You can also add a file to a note, which is an easy way to browse through the file for information relevant to a task, resource, or project.

  • View and upload documents that are related to your project by using Microsoft Office Project Server 2007.

Number 4 Set the working time for the project calendar      You may need to change the working days and hours for your project calendar. In Project, the default working times are 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. weekdays, with an hour off for lunch. You can change the working hours for all working days, specific days (such as every Tuesday), or certain dates such as holidays.

Number 5 Save a project     From time to time, you need to save your project to keep changes that you made, create a backup copy of your project, or create a template that you can use for another project. Project provides several ways to save a project.

Click all of the following that apply:

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See all goals on the Project Map

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