Keep Your Projects on Track and on Time

Scheduling Essentials with MS Project

In training, we often ask teams the question: What’s more important, the contract or the schedule? The truth is, that’s a trick question. The contract and the schedule are equally important – without elements of capturing and controlling both the scope and cost AND the timing and durations, we’re relying on luck to run a successful project.

In our Scheduling Essentials with MS Project training series, we learn about the fundamentals of scheduling, as well as learning how to use the tools to create and manage schedules for projects of all sizes. We learn how to manage a schedule in real time, by tracking impacts and delays against the baseline schedule to help us keep projects on track and in control.

  • Scheduling Fundamentals

  • Generating a Work Breakdown Structure

  • Managing a Project in Real Time

  • Advanced Resource Management

Scheduling Fundamentals

We’ll review the importance of a contract schedule and review critical components of how they work and WHY they’re important. We’ll be sure to address the importance of subcontractor, supplier, and procurement inputs. Next, we’ll introduce the basic elements of MS Project and run the group through simple exercises to begin understanding how to create projects in the software. This will include work with defining major and minor project activities, establishing relationships, and calculating project durations.

Some topics covered:

  • Understanding How MS Project Works

  • Summary Tasks and Detail Tasks

  • Task Durations

  • Task Relationships and Logic


Learn the Basics of Scheduling

Build a Solid Foundation in Scheduling!


Build a Schedule that Accurately Reflects the Project Plan

Strong Schedules Start With Building the Plan

Generating a Work Breakdown Structure

We’ll review best practices to create a Work Breakdown Structure for any project and develop skills to include the appropriate level of detail required for the job at hand. This approach helps to minimize scheduling scope holes and prevent unnecessary delays.

Some topics covered:

  • The Logic of Planning a Project

  • Thinking through levels of Summary and Detail Tasks

  • Defining Predecessors and Successors for Tasks

  • Understanding Critical Path Method

  • Understanding Slack or Float in a Critical Path

Managing Your Schedule in Real Time

In this session, we’ll talk about using your completed schedule to communicate with clients and subcontractors. We’ll look at how to add simple resources into the schedule to avoid overcommitting your teams and tools. We’ll review building a baseline and as-built schedule, and incorporate the use of Project Tasks to track and understand project impacts and delays.

Some topics covered:

  • Using the Schedule as a Communication Tool

  • Utilizing Simple Resources

  • Baseline Schedules

  • As-Built Schedules

  • Impacts and Delays


Keep Your Schedule In Step With the Progress of Your Project

Track Impacts and Delays


Master the Advanced Features of MS Project

Add Cost Tracking to Your Scheduling Process

Advanced Resource Management

In this optional final session, we get into the functionality of MS Project that tracks project costs attached to the various resources used on the project. We’ll learn how to use cost tracking, and how to make use of that data through Project’s reporting features. We’ll also talk about how to keep track of multiple Project Schedules at once, and talk a little about different methods of tracking schedule, including effort-based scheduling in addition to fixed method.

Some Topics Covered:

  • Utilizing Cost Elements with Resources

  • Tracking and Reporting Project Costs using MS Project

  • Multiple Project Environments

  • Understanding Effort Based Scheduling Method

Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more about the program?
How Does This Program Work?
This course is held in four separate sessions of 3 hours each. In each session, we’ll work through workshops and exercises to increase understanding of scheduling practices, and assign out-of-class work between sessions.
Where is the Program Held?
Normally, we like to hold these sessions at our West Seattle office space. When we hold training in our space, we have a full espresso bar, and snacks. After the COVID crisis is over, come and visit us and we’ll give you a tour and make you a cup of coffee or tea!

For now, though, we have had to adapt, like everyone else, so we are offering this training remotely during social distancing. We have been holding Zoom sessions, and while we always prefer to meet your team in person, for the quarantine era, remote training has been very successful.

What are the Computer Requirements of the Program? (Hardware/Software)
Every participant should have access to a computer with a copy of Project 2016 or newer. If possible, participants who are taking the course remotely will be better served by having two monitors, to enable following the Zoom session and completing exercises without having to switch between applications.

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