Would you like to keep your projects on track and keep track of how time and resources are used?  Let’s take a look at Microsoft Project 2010 and how it can help you stay on top of your projects.

Microsoft Project 2010 is the latest version of Project, a companion project management application for Microsoft Office.  This version includes a wide range of changes, including the new ribbon interface.  Microsoft Project integrates with all the other Office application you regularly use,

Setting Up Project 2010

First, you’ll need to install Project 2010 on your computer.  If you haven’t purchased Project, you can try out a free 60 day trial from the link below.  The installer works just like the Office 2010 installer, so if you’ve already installed Office 2010 you’ll know what to expect.  Enter your product key to get started, then install as normal.

Microsoft Project will show up in your Start menu along with other Office applications you may have installed.

Now you’re ready to get started managing your projects in Microsoft Project 2010.

Manage Your Projects in Microsoft Project

When you first start Project, you’ll notice that it’s immediately ready for you to start entering tasks.  Simply enter a task name, duration, start and finish times, and any other details you need.  Your new tasks will show up automatically in the Gantt chart on the right, where you can drag the tasks to change the start and finish times.

You can make an existing tasks a sub-task easily.  Once you’ve entered the sub-task, simply hover over the task and your mouse will turn into an arrow.  Now drag the bar right or left to make the task a sub-task or remove it from being a sub-task.

It includes a wide variety of fields you can add to tasks so you can keep track of all important aspects.  Choose the things most important for this project.

Microsoft Project is designed to help you manage the whole team’s time, so you’ll want to add Resources, or the people involved in the project, to your new project.  You can quickly add new people to the project by entering their names in the Resource field.  Once you’ve entered different team members on various tasks, you’ll be able to select one from the drop-down menu.

Now, select the Resources tab on the top ribbon, and click the Details button.  This will open a details pane about your resources, where you can add the individual’s rate per hour, available time to work on the project, and more.

The Resource tab also lets you add resources, including material and cost resources.  You can also import people into your project from your Active Directory or Address Book.

Once you’ve added everyone’s rates and available times, you may notice some conflicts highlighted in red on your tasks.  Right-click on the task to see some solutions, or select Fix in Task Inspector to get more insight on how to solve the problems.

The Task Inspector helps you see what conflicts the employee or other resource may have, and will give you options to extend the deadline, add more people on the task, and more.  These features can help you manage your company without accidently overscheduling anyone.

As your projects grow more complex, you may find a different way to view your project would be helpful.  Simply click the chart button on the far left of the ribbon, and select from the wide range of built-in views, sheets, and reports you can use for your project.

Large projects can become unwieldy on their own, so at some point, you’ll need to decide to split tasks into new projects.  Microsoft Project lets you keep everything together, still, even if you need to move it into a new project file.  From the Project tab, you can link various projects together or create a subproject to keep everything in order.

You can also fully customize how your project looks from the ribbon, complete with various graphics styles for your Gantt charts.

Project offers a wide range of reports you can generate about your projects, including costs, workload, and more.  Note that you’ll have to enter all the available information in your tasks to make sure your reports are as accurate as possible.

Then, you can share your project details with your team in PDF format so everyone can use it whether they have Project or not.

Learning More About Project

Project can make it easier to manage your projects, but it can appear daunting at first.  Thankfully, Microsoft offers several resources that can help you get up to speed quickly and easily.  First, the built-in Help app contains some great information into how to put project management tools to use, including some basics of how project management itself works.

Then, you can download a quick reference guide (link below) that contains detailed steps to help you make useful Project files to make you and your team more efficient.

There are additionally many Project templates you can quickly download and look at to help you get a feel for how you can put Project to use.  Simply open the File tab, select New, then browse the available Office.com templates.  You’ll generally make the best plans for your own projects if you create your own new Project files, but these can give you ideas and let you see how you might break your project down into useful parts.

These resources should help you manage your projects better than ever in Project 2010.  Microsoft Project includes many features designed to help you efficiently manage your whole team’s time.  If you take the time to setup up tasks and plan appropriately, it can be a great help at planning new appointments and keeping everyone productive.

Learn More About Microsoft Project 2010

Download a free 60 day trial of Project Professional 2010

Download a Quick Reference Guide to get started with Project easily

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay is a veteran app reviewer and technology tip writer. His work has appeared on Zapier's blog, AppStorm, Envato Tuts+, and his own blog, Techinch.
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