Chapter 1. A Project Management Overview

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Examining the project life cycle

Looking at project roles

Understanding the triple constraint, critical path, and slack

Exploring the basics of resource management

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Microsoft Project 2007 is a wonderful tool for managing projects. However, a tool is only as good as the person wielding it. Understanding how Project fits in the context of a typical project is important to using it successfully.

In this chapter, we look at what occurs during the life of a project and how Microsoft Project fits within that life cycle; the typical roles in a project and how people in each of those roles might interact with Project; and some basic project management concepts.

The Life of a Project

You handle projects day in and day out. Some take a few hours to complete, such as that shed you built in your yard last Saturday. Others might take years from beginning to end to complete the work and reach your goals. However, most projects that you handle will have several things in common.

So, just what is a project?

Microsoft Project has certain features that help you deal with all the elements of a typical project. So what is a typical project? All projects have

  • An overall goal

  • A project manager

  • Individual tasks to be performed

  • Timing for those tasks to be completed (such as three hours, three days, or three months)

  • Timing relationships between those tasks (For example, you can’t launch a space shuttle until you fill it with ...

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