Microsoft Project Training – Where Do I Start?

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Why use Microsoft Project ?

Non users know it might be handy for drawing project schedules – but make do with an Excel imitation and fail to appreciate the powerful planning and tracking functionality. As project management becomes a core methodology underpinning most modern organizations it is time for companies and individuals to learn just how much more effective they could be by using Microsoft Project, alongside other everyday tools such as Word and PowerPoint. 

Where do I start ?

There is no simple answer! It depends very much on your current familiarity with projects and project management software tools. You also need to take into account the skill sets that you are looking to achieve.

Basic Awareness

You want to be able to set up project timelines using Microsoft Project and understand the basic tracking and reporting functionality

If you are starting from scratch we would recommend a 2 day Introductory (Level 1) course.

If you already have some familiarity with the software (perhaps from an earlier release) then a 1 day course would be appropriate 

If you are totally new to a project environment then introductory project management training may be a useful start point. This will help you to understand project organisation and timelines

Advanced User 

You already know how to set up a project but you want to be confident in using Microsoft Project to update plans, produce custom reports and interface effectively with other programmes 

You have probably already been on a Level 1 course and should now choose an Advanced (Level 2) course 

Depending on your level of existing knowledge choose a 1 or 2 day course

Certified Professional 

If you need certification or you require the expertise to deploy Microsoft Project in an enterprise environment then follow the official Microsoft courses 

These will prepare you to take the relevant Microsoft exam 

The content of these courses is explained in the following sections. 

2. Introductory Courses – Level 1

If you need to understand how to build and manage project plans, an Introduction, or “Level 1”, course in Microsoft Project will get you started. Courses cover the essential skills necessary to create and modify a project plan including tasks and resources. The emphasis will be on creating the initial plan. There are versions of these training courses tailored to align with both 2003 and 2007 releases of Microsoft Project. 

Build and edit a project plan

Create and assign resources 

Manage project costs 

Track progress 

Filter and print project plans 

Communicate your plans 

Produce reports 

There are options of one or two day courses depending upon your previous knowledge and experience. The one day course assumes basic awareness of projects and project planning – perhaps from an earlier version of Microsoft Project. If you are completely new to project management you will find it beneficial to attend a general project management introduction course first. 

Please check the different training course outlines which may have a slightly different content. The Level 1 training is not accredited by Microsoft or associated with an exam. However, all Focus courses are developed and delivered by Microsoft partner companies with a deep knowledge of the subject.

3. Advanced Courses – Level 2 

Advanced or “Level 2” Microsoft Project training courses are designed for existing MS Project users who want to add to their basic skills. They will also benefit Project Managers wishing to learn how to customize Microsoft Project to their own specific requirements. You will learn to use advanced features to plan, track and analyze variances from plan. The emphasis is on how you work with a plan in the implementation phase. 

Resolve resource over-allocations 

Manage multiple projects 

Integrate MS Project with other Office applications 

Customize the MS Project interface (fields, tables, views, filters and reports) 

Record and run simple macros 

Exchange project plan data with other applications including Excel & Word 

Create and print custom reports 

Import data 

Track project progress 

There are versions of these training courses tailored to align with both 2003 and 2007 releases of Microsoft Project. There are also options of one or two day courses depending upon your previous knowledge and experience. 

Please check the different training course outlines which may have slightly different course content. 

The Level 2 training is not accredited by Microsoft or associated with an exam. However, all Focus courses are developed and delivered by Microsoft partner companies with a deep knowledge of the subject.

4. Microsoft Certified Training & Qualifications 

Microsoft operates a comprehensive structure of internationally recognised certifications. Project 2007 skills have recently been incorporated into the MCTS (Certified Technology Specialist) and MCITP (Certified IT Professional) framework. 

The MS5927 “Managing Projects” course is a 3 day course which provides the entry point for the other Project 2007 training. A basic knowledge of project management and experience of using MS Project to create project schedules are pre-requisites.

5. Specialist Courses 

For those looking to apply Microsoft Project to specific environments there are other specialist courses available. Amongst them is one which relates specially to use of Microsoft Project to manage PRINCE2TM projects. This covers similar topics to the Level 1 course but includes guidance on how to model PRINCE2 TM processes within MS Project.

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