A User Guide to Project for the Web – Part 2

//A User Guide to Project for the Web – Part 2

A User Guide to Project for the Web – Part 2

Review

In our first blog post article, we taught you how to access Project for the web, how to create a new project, how to define a new project, and how to complete the task planning process. In this blog post article, we will teach you how to create your project team, assign team members to tasks, manually enter task progress, and how to use and customize the views available in Project for the web.

Creating Your Project Team

Your project team consists of the people who will perform work in the tasks in your project. Your project team may include the same people on every small, simple project you manage, or you may have a project team consisting of different people on every project. To create your project team using Project for the web, click the Group members button in the upper right corner of the page, such as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Click the Group members button

Figure 1: Click the Group members button

Project for the web displays the Group dialog, such as the one shown in Figure 2. The dialog includes two tabs: the Create group tab and the Add to a group tab. By default, the software selects the Create group tab initially.

Figure 2: Group dialog

Figure 2: Group dialog

The Create group tab allows you to create a new group (aka your project team). The new group can either be associated specifically with your project, or it can be a group that you can reuse with other projects you manage. The Add to a group tab allows you to use an existing group as the project team for your project.

Creating a New Group Specific to Your Project

By default, Project for the web selects the Create group tab in the Group dialog and sets the name of the project as the name of the new group. To add team members to the new group, begin typing the name of the first team member in the Enter a name to add a member field. The system searches through the list of Project for the web users and then displays a pick list of names that match the text you typed. For example, notice in Figure 3 that we began typing the name, Aaron, and the dialog displays a pick list with the name, Aaron Painter, on the list. Select the name of the first team member in the pick list of names.

Figure 3: Search for a team member

Figure 3: Type a name and select a team member

Continue typing the names of team members in the Enter a name to add a member field and selecting the team member names in the pick list. After assembling your project team, click the Create button to create the new group associated specifically with your project. Notice in Figure 4 that we are ready to create a new group associated with my project with five team members in the group.

Figure 4: Create the new group

Figure 4: Create the new group

When you click the Create button, Project for the web creates a new Office 365 group. The new group automatically includes you, along with the team members you selected in the Group dialog. In the upper right corner of the project, Project for the web changes the Group members button to an X Group members button, where X shows the current number of team members in the group, such as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Project group created

Figure 5: New group associated with my project

To add a new team member to the group after creating the group, click the X Group members button to display the Group dialog again. In the Group dialog, you can add new team members using the steps documented previously.

It is >not possible to remove team members from an existing group using Project for the web. Instead, you must remove the unneeded team members from the Office 365 group using Outlook Web App (OWA). You can access OWA from the Groups dialog by clicking the → button to the right of the group name, such as shown in Figure 6. In OWA, you can remove a team member by clicking the Remove from group button (the small x button) to the right of the unneeded team member’s name.

Figure 6: Access Outlook Web App

Figure 6: Access Outlook Web App

Creating a New Group to Reuse with Other Projects

If you want to create a group that has a different name than the name of the project, such as for a group that you can reuse with other projects, then click the button to the right of the group name in the Group dialog, such as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Expand the group fields

Figure 7: Click the button

Project for the web expands the Group dialog to reveal additional fields, such as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8: Create a reusable group

Figure 8: Expanded Group dialog

In the Group Name field, delete the name of the project and enter the new name of the group. For example, a project manager named Mickey Cobb might name her reusable group something like Mickey Cobb Project Team. In the Description field, enter a brief description of the group. Click the Privacy pick list and select either the Private or the Public item. If you select the Private item, the group remains private to you only. If you select the Public item, everyone in your organization can see and use your group. Figure 9 shows the setup of the Group dialog for the new, reusable group.

Figure 9: Setup of reusable group

Figure 9: Setup of the Group dialog for the reusable group

To add team members to the new group, begin typing the name of the first team member in the Enter a name to add a member field. The system searches through the list of Project for the web users and then displays a pick list of names that match the text you typed. Select the name of the first team member from the pick list, such as shown previously in Figure 3.

Continue typing the names of team members in the Enter a name to add a member field and selecting the team member name in the pick list. After assembling your project team, click the Create button to create the new group.

Adding an Existing Group

To add an existing group of project team members to your project, such as a reusable group you created previously, click the Add to a group tab in the Group dialog, and then click the Select group button. Project for the web displays a list of Private and Public groups to which you have access, such as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Select an existing group

Figure 10: Available groups

In the list of available groups, click the name of the group of team members you want to use in your project. In the Group dialog, click the Add button, such as shown in Figure 11. Project for the web adds the group of team members to your project.

Figure 11: Existing group selected

Figure 11: Add the existing group to the project

Assigning Team Members to Tasks

By default, the current configuration of Project for the web only allows you to assign team members to work full-time on tasks. This means that when you assign a team member to a task with a 5-day duration, the software automatically calculates 40 hours of work for the team member. The software does not currently allow you to assign team members to work part-time on a task, such as assigning a team member to work 10 hours over a 5-day duration. However, this behavior could change in future updates that Microsoft applies to Project for the web.

Customizing the Layout of the Grid View

Before you begin assigning your team members to tasks, we recommend you change the layout of the columns displayed in the Grid view of your project. Because it is very easy to hide, add, and move columns in Project for the web, we recommend you include the following columns in this order:

  • Name
  • Duration
  • Start
  • Finish
  • Assigned To
  • Effort

The Effort column, by the way, displays the amount of work assigned to the team member on the task, measured by default in hours. Project for the web automatically calculates the Effort value, based on the number of team members you assign to the task, and the Duration value for the task.

To hide a column you do not want to display in the Grid view, click anywhere in the column header of the column you want to hide, and then click the Hide Column item on the menu. For example, notice in Figure 12 that I am hiding the Depends on column.

Figure 12: Hide a column

Figure 12: Hide a column

To insert a column in the Grid view, click the + Add Column button and select the column you want to display from the menu of available columns. Notice in Figure 13 that we are adding the Effort column.

Figure 13: Add the Effort column

Figure 13: Add the Effort column

Figure 14 displays the custom layout of the columns in the Grid view. The columns in this custom layout will assist you with the process of assigning your team members to tasks in your project. We believe it is important for you to display the Start and Finish columns when assigning team members, just in the case the team member you want to assign to a task depends on the schedule of the task. For example, if the task is scheduled in February, we want to assign Calvin Baker; however, if the task is scheduled in March, we want to assign Cindy McNair instead.

Figure 14: Custom Grid view layout

Figure 14: Customized layout of the Grid view

Assigning Team Members to Tasks

Project for the web allows you to assign one or more team members to each non-summary task in your project schedule. The software will not allow you to assign any team members to a summary task, and even warns you with a tooltip in its Assigned to field if you attempt to do so.

To assign team members to a task, float your mouse pointer over the Assigned to cell for the task to which you want to assign team members, and then click the Assign task to resource icon in the cell. The software displays a pick list of your project team members, such as shown in Figure 15.

In the pick list of team members, individually click the names of the team members you want to assign to the task. For example, if we want to assign Molly Dempsey to the selected task, such as shown in Figure 15, all we need to do is to click her name. To complete the assignment process for a task, click anywhere outside of the pick list to hide the pick list. Continue assigning team members to each non-summary task until you have assigned at least one team member to every task.

Figure 15: Assign a resource to a task

Figure 15: Assigning team members to a task

To remove an assigned team member from a task, float your mouse pointer over the Assigned to cell for the task and then click the Assign task to resource icon in the cell. In the pick list of your project team members, click the X button to the right of the team member you want to remove from the task, such as shown in Figure 16. Click anywhere outside of the pick list to hide the pick list.

Figure 16: Remove an assigned resource from a task

Figure 16: Remove an assigned team member

When you assign a single team member to a task, Project for the web displays the photo of the team member (if available) along with the name of the team member in the Assigned to field for the task. If you assign multiple team members to a task, the software displays only the photos of the assigned team members in the Assigned to field for the task. If you see only photos of the assigned team members on a task, you can float your mouse pointer over the photos and Project for the web will display the names of the team members in a tooltip.

When you assign team members to a task in your project schedule, Project for the web calculates the amount of work for the task, measured in hours, and displays this value in the Effort column. The work calculation is based on a standard 8-hour work day. The software also calculates the total Effort values for every summary task as well. Notice the Effort values for each task and summary task, as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17: Effort totals for each task

Figure 17: Effort calculated for each task

Manually Entering Task Progress

Project for the web does not offer any type of timesheet system that allows your team members to report task progress to you. Because of this, you must manually enter task progress in your project schedule.

Customizing the Layout of the Grid View

To optimize the process of entering task progress in your project schedule, we recommend that you change the layout of the columns displayed in the Grid view of your project. Because it is very easy to hide, add, and move columns in Project for the web, we recommend you include the following columns in this order:

  • Name
  • Start
  • % Complete
  • Finish
  • Assigned To
  • Effort Remaining

For the purpose of brevity, we will not repeat the steps needed to hide a column, insert a column, or move a column. Refer back to Part 1 of this blog post series to refresh your memory, if needed. Figure 18 shows my project schedule, with the Grid view customized and ready for me to begin entering task progress.

Figure 18: Customized Grid view

Figure 18: Ready to begin entering task progress

Manually Entering Task Progress

When you meet with your team members to discuss the project status, they will need to report their task progress to you about the tasks on which they worked recently, such as during the previous week. We recommend you ask the following questions of the team members assigned to tasks on which they should have worked recently:

  • What day did you actually start work on the task? Enter this date in the Start field for the task.
  • How much progress have you made on the task, as a percentage? Enter the percentage value in the % Complete field for the task.
  • If you competed the task, what day did you actually finish? Enter this date in the Finish field for the task.

Asking your team members for the dates they actually started and finished their tasks will give you a better idea about the current Finish date for the project. For example, if a task was scheduled to start on a Monday, but the team member did not actually start until Wednesday, this could likely make the project Finish date slip by 2 days.

If this is method proves too demanding for you and your team, there is a simpler method for entering task progress. Instead, ask the following question of team members assigned to a recent task: “Did you finish the task last week?”

  • If the answer is no, ask them for their progress as a percentage, and then enter the percentage value in the % Complete column for the task.
  • If the answer is yes, click the Mark task as complete button to the left of the task name, such as shown in Figure 19.

Figure 19: Click the Mark task as complete button

Figure 19: Click the Mark task as complete button

When you click the Mark task as complete button for a task, Project for the web does the following in response:

  • Plays a pleasing “ding” sound
  • Displays a checkmark in the Mark task as complete button
  • Formats the task name with the Strikethrough font
  • Enters a 100% value in the % Complete column
  • Decreases the Effort Remaining value to 0 hours
  • Calculates the current % Complete value for impacted summary tasks, if used in your project

Figure 20 shows a completed task in my project schedule. By the way, notice that Project for the web calculated a % Complete value of 50% for the Pre-Shipping Activities summary task as well.

Figure 20: Completed task

Figure 20: Completed task

Using Views in Project for the Web

In Project for the web, a “view” can be described as “a way of looking at your project data.” The software offers your three views in which to see your project data: the Grid, Board, and Timeline views. You can see links for these three views displayed at the top of your project page, such as shown in Figure 21.

Figure 21: Views links

Figure 21: Views in Project for the web

Using the Grid View

By default, Project for the web applies the Grid view in each new project you create, and applies the Grid view each time you reopen an existing project. The Grid view is a “spreadsheet” view, similar to Microsoft Excel, that displays task data in a grid of rows and columns. As documented previously, you can move rows using “drag and drop” or “cut and paste”, and you can also insert columns, hide columns, and move columns into a different display order. You can use the Grid view to plan and manage your project from start to finish, if desired.

Using the Board View

Click the Board link to apply the Board view to your project, such as shown in Figure 22.

Figure 22: Bucket view

Figure 22: Board view of a project

The Board view displays each task in your project as a “card”, and you can organize the cards into “buckets”, where each bucket includes one or more cards. You can create your own buckets to give meaningful and logical organization to the task cards. For example, if we wanted to organize the task cards by where the work takes place, we could create two buckets named Warehouse Activities and Store Activities, and drag the cards into the appropriate bucket.

When you create a new project, Project for the web initially creates only one bucket named Bucket 1. If you want to use the Board view with buckets, click anywhere in the Bucket 1 field to place it into editing mode, such as shown in Figure 23. Delete the existing text in the field, enter the new name for the first bucket, and then press the Enter key on your computer keyboard.

Figure 23: Rename Bucket 1

Figure 23: Rename Bucket 1

To add additional buckets, click the Add bucket button. In the blank field, enter the name of the new bucket, and the press the Enter key on your computer keyboard. Figure 24 shows the Board view of my project after creating two buckets named Warehouse Activities and Store Activities.

Figure 24: Two new buckets created

Figure 24: Two new buckets created

After creating your buckets, you will need to “drag and drop” each task card into the appropriate bucket. By the way, Project for the web displays the task cards in Descending order, from the task with the latest Finish date to the task with the earliest Finish date. If you float your mouse pointer over any visible task card, the system reveals a hidden scroll bar, such as shown in Figure 25.

Figure 25: Hidden scrollbar for task cards

Figure 25: Hidden scroll bar revealed

Use the scroll bar to scroll to the first task card that you want to “drag and drop” into another bucket. Place your mouse pointer over the card you want to move, click and hold the mouse button to “grab” the card, drag it to its new location, and release the mouse button to “drop” it into place. Figure 26 shows the Board view of my project after moving task cards into their appropriate buckets. Please notice that I also dragged the task cards into Ascending order by their Finish date, with the earliest tasks appearing at the top of each bucket.

Figure 26: Task cards in buckets

Figure 26: Cards in their correct buckets

If you click the name of the task in any card, Project for the web displays the Details dialog for the task, such as shown in Figure 27. In this dialog, you can see all of the relevant information about the task, and you can even enter task progress in this dialog, if desirable. Click the Close dialog button (the X button) in the upper right corner to close the dialog and return to the Board view.

Figure 27: Details dialog for a task

Figure 27: Details dialog for a task

If you want to use a simple method of entering task progress with the Board view, you can mark tasks as completed simply by clicking the Mark task as complete button to the left of the task name in the card. When you click the Mark task as complete button in the Board view, Project for the web does the following:

  • Plays a pleasing “ding” sound
  • Displays a checkmark in the Mark task as complete button
  • Formats the task name with the Strikethrough font
  • Moves the completed task card to the bottom of its bucket into a special section named Completed

Figure 28 shows the Completed section at the bottom of the Warehouse Activities bucket. Notice that there are currently two cards in this section, indicating two completed tasks in the project.

Figure 28: Completed section of a bucket

Figure 28: Completed section of the Warehouse Activities bucket

Project for the web offers you grouping in the Board view, a feature not available in the other two views. In the upper right corner of the page, click the Group by pick list button, such as shown in Figure 29. The pick list offers you three grouping options: Bucket, Progress, and Finish date. By default, Project for the web applies the Group by Bucket grouping option to each new project initially.

Figure 29: Group by options

Figure 29: Group by grouping options

Click the Group by pick list and select the Progress item to apply the Group by Progress grouping option. Project for the web organizes the task cards into three buckets: Not started, In progress, and Completed, such as shown in Figure 30. You cannot customize the names of these buckets, nor can you add additional buckets. Instead, Project for the web automatically places each task card into the appropriate bucket using the following rules, based on the task progress you have entered so far for the task:

  • If a task has not started (% Complete value = 0%), the software places the task card in the Not started bucket.
  • If the unstarted task should have started by today, but has no progress, Project for the web also formats the Finish date with a red background color. You can see the Finish date of the task in the lower left corner of its card.

  • If a task has started by has not yet finished (% Complete value is greater than 0% and less than 100%), the software places the task card in the In progress bucket.
  • If the task has finished (% Complete value = 100%), Project for the web places the task card in the Completed bucket.
  • If you manually “drag and drop” a task card from the Not started bucket to the In progress bucket, the software automatically sets the % Complete value to 50% for the task.
  • If you manually “drag and drop” a task card to the Completed bucket, Project for the web automatically sets the % Complete value to 100% for the task.
Figure 30: Group by Progress option

Figure 30: Group by Progress grouping option

Click the Group by pick list and select the Progress item to apply the Group by Progress grouping option. Project for the web automatically creates buckets and places each task card into its appropriate bucket, based on the Finish date of each task compared to the current date, along with the current % Complete value for the task. Though not shown with a screen capture in this blog post article, the Group by Progress grouping option will create some or all of the following buckets, as needed:

  • The Late bucket includes tasks whose Finish date is earlier than the current date and whose % Complete value is less than 100% (tasks that should have finished by today, but are not yet completed). Project for the web formats the Finish date with a red background color. You can see the Finish date of the task in the lower left corner of its card.
  • The Today bucket includes tasks whose Finish date is the same as the current date (tasks that should finish today).
  • The Tomorrow bucket includes tasks whose Finish date is one day later than the current date (tasks that should finish tomorrow).
  • The Next Week bucket includes tasks whose Finish date occurs during the next business week.
  • The Future bucket includes tasks whose Finish date is two or more business weeks in the future.

Project for the web also places task cards for completed tasks in a Completed section at the bottom of the Late bucket.

Using the Timeline View

Click the Timeline link to apply the Timeline view to your project, such as shown in Figure 31. The Timeline view includes the task list on the left side of the view, along with the team members assigned to teach task. The right side of the Timeline view displays a timeline of the project with a bar representing the schedule of each task. Dark blue bars indicate completed tasks, while light blue bars indicate unstarted tasks. Bars with both dark blue and light blue colors indicate in-progress tasks.

Figure 31: Timeline view at daily level

Figure 31: Timeline view of a project

When you float your mouse pointer over the bar for any task in the Timeline view, Project for the web displays a tooltip that reveals the schedule of the task. The tooltip shows the Start date at the left end, the Finish date at the right end, and the Duration of the task in the middle of the tooltip. For example, notice in the task tooltip shown in Figure 32 that the Start date of the task is August 17, the Duration of the task is 10 days, and the Finish date of the task is August 28.

Figure 32: Floating tooltip for a task

Figure 32: Tooltip displays the task schedule

By default, Project for the web displays the Timeline view at the daily level. Depending on the time span of your project, you may want to zoom the Timeline view to monthly level so that you can see the bars for every task in your project schedule. To zoom the timeline, click the hold the Zoom slider button and drag it to the left end of the slider, such as shown in Figure 33. Project for the web zooms the Timeline view to the monthly level. By the way, if you drag the Zoom slider button at the halfway point in the slider, Project for the web zooms the Timeline view to the two-week level.

Figure 33: Timeline view zoomed to months

Figure 33: Timeline view zoomed to monthly level

Conclusion

In this two-part blog post series, we taught you every aspect of using Project for the web. At this point, you are now ready to use Project for the web to manage small, simple projects and to succeed in the process!

By |2020-01-27T14:22:01+00:00January 29th, 2020|Microsoft Project Tips|
Dale Howard, Microsoft Project MVP
Dale Howard is the Director of Education for PROJILITY. He has used Microsoft Project since version 4.0 for Windows 95 and he has used the Microsoft PPM tool since the first version of released as Project Central in the year 2000. He is the co-author of 22 books on Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one of only 26 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 4 in the United States.

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