Project 2013 – Microsoft Project for Professionals
4 Simple & Practical Steps to Mastering Reporting Basics in under 20 Minutes
Create a dashboard
Step 1. Open Project 2013 and open the project that we created the in the last part of this series Resource basics from the Commercial Construction project template.
NOTE: Alternatively, you can follow along with a new Project created from the Commercial Construction Project Template, choosing other tasks than the ones shown in this tutorial.
Dashboards provide a convenient way to display different parts of the project status on one screen. In this case, we want to create a Burndown Dashboard.
Step 2. Click on the Report tab –> Dashboards –> Burndown.
Project tab: Dashboard
It displays the burndown status (how much of the project you’ve burned through or completed) in two ways: The Work Burndown chart shows the work that’s completed and what’s still left to do. The Task Burndown chart also focuses on what’s done and what remains, except that it does so by showing the number of completed and remaining tasks.
Modify the dashboard
We can easily modify it to our needs. Let’s say we want to change the style of the chart.
Step 3. Click on the chart and then on the Chart Styles icon next to it and select the second style (with the gradient background).
Chart Style icon
Report: Select Chart Style
It shows all data labels for the time. For better readability we want to get rid of them.
Report: Chart Style
Step 4. Click on the chart and then on the + icon and deselect Data Labels.
Chart Elements icon
Report: Hide Data Labels
There are multiple chart elements to display when appropriate for a chart. For example, let’s add the chart title on top of the chart.
Step 5. Click on the chart and then on the + icon and select Chart Title.
Report: Add Chart Title
Step 6. Enter Work Burndown in the field.
Report: Name Chart Title
To emphasize certain developments throughout the project it can be helpful to display other fields. Here, we will add the Regular Work field to show how much work is planned for the shown period.
Step 7. In the right pane Field List, select the field Regular Work.
Fields: Add Regular Work
Because we haven’t set a deadline yet, we don’t need to display the Baseline Remaining Cumulative field for now, but we want to keep it in the chart for later. This can be done with the filters.
Step 8. Click on the chart and then on the filter icon .
Step 9. Deselect Baseline Remaining Cumulative and click Apply.
Dashboard: Hide Baseline Remaining Work
Set up views
Project provides many views with all of them having their special purposes.
Let’s look at the quick views in the lower right-hand corner:
Step 10. Click on Gantt Chart icon.
Quick Views: Gantt Chart
It shows the view that we are working with most of the time in this session.
Step 11.Click on the next icon: Task Usage view.
Quick Views: Task Usage
This is used to focus on how resources affect the task by showing resource assignments for each task.
Step 12. Click on the Team Planner icon.
Quick Views: Team Planner
It is only available in the professional edition of Microsoft Project. It is particularly useful when assessing resources, tasks and resource allocations. It has 4 quadrants that display tasks in particular statuses. The quadrants are: resources, assigned and scheduled, unassigned and scheduled and unassigned and unscheduled.
Step 13. Click on the next: Resource Sheet view.
Quick Views: Resource Sheet
It allows you to manage your project resources including their types and cost information.
Finally, you could see reports. Because we have not created a report yet, this button has no function as of now.
Step 14. Finally, click on the Reports icon.
Quick Views: Report
Our Burndown Dashboard shows up.
NOTE: You can zoom the right pane manually with the + and – buttons. But this is not very practical.
Step 15. Click on the Gantt Chart icon.
Quick Views: Gantt Chart
You can drag tasks around in the view directly. But I highly advise to avoid performing operations in the Gantt Chart view. Its best usage is for a better graphical representation how the tasks are tight together.
NOTE: There are many more views that we will cover in other Sessions. You can view them by clicking in the Task tab on the arrow under the Gantt Chart.
NOTE: You can save your favorite view under Options –> General –> Default View.
Set up tables
Another important element of the views are tables.
Step 16. Click on the Select All cell in the upper left hand corner to select all cells.
Table: Select All Cells
Step 17. Right-click on the Select All cell to choose between different tables like Cost or Summary.
Table: Cost Table
NOTE: Another way to switch between tables is to go to the View tab and click the arrow under the Tables button. Let’s view the Summary table.
To enter and view information efficiently you will use tables a lot. Modifying them is easy as it is important to set up a comfortable project environment.
Step 18. To insert a new column, right-click on a column and name it Constraint Type.
Table: Insert Column
Table: Add Constraint Type Column
Step 19. We can also insert a new column by clicking the last column of the table Add new column and choose Status.
Table: Add New Column
Table: Add Status Column (Autocomplete)
Step 20. To move a column around, simply click and drag it to the desired position. Move the Status before the Constraint Type.
Step 21. To hide a column, right-click it and select Hide column. Hide the Constraint Type.
Table: Hide Column
NOTE: The changes will remain next time you bring this table up!
Step 22. You can save the view by clicking the arrow under the Tables button and click Save fields as new table. Name it Summary with Status and click OK.
View tab: Tables
When you want to select it again, it shows up in the list of tables.
You can also change the settings of each column.
Step 23. Right-click on the column Status –> Field settings.
Table: Open Field Settings
Step 24. Enter Task Status in the Title field and click OK.
Column Field Settings: Task Status
Condensed version (Clickthrough):
In this 4-part series of Project 2013 basics we learned the most important steps in setting up a task structure, assign resources and track progress. As Project 2013 provides many more possibilities to setup and control projects and portfolios of projects, look out for our next series on Project 2013 with intermediate topics.