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Starting a Project in Microsoft Project 2013

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This chapter covers how to create and save new projects and the basic options that control how your project is scheduled. You will also learn how to set up the calendars that Project 2013 uses to schedule your project work.
This chapter is from the book

The process of creating a project in Project 2013 begins before work is done on any part of a project, before the project schedule is set, and before tasks are even identified. Creating a new project in Project 2013 means simply setting up the framework for the project plan and making some decisions about how the project will be carried out, when people will be working on it, and what factors matter most while work is being done on the project.

More often than not, the building of a project schedule is a team effort, with you as the project manager or scheduler being the person who builds the actual file in Project. Input from your project team is essential at several different points. You may be able to get the list of tasks started by yourself, but to get the complete list of detailed tasks you will likely need help from your team. The same goes for creating the links between the tasks, the duration and work estimates, and maybe even the resource assignments. On some projects, your relationship to the work might allow you to do all of this on your own; even so, make sure that you leave yourself open to the team approach. On larger or more complex projects, assume that this is an iterative and team-based process.

Setting Up a Project

The first step to starting a project in Project 2013 is simply opening up Project 2013 and choosing where to save it.

Creating a New Project

Open Project 2013 and you will see a screen that displays a list of recently accessed files on the left side and then several options for creating a project on the right side. Figure 3.1 shows this screen.


FIGIRE 3.1. The Project Open screen provides you quick options for creating new projects or opening existing projects.

To create a new project, complete these steps:

  1. After Project is open, click the File tab, and then click New on the left side of the Project window.
  2. Choose how you want to create your new project:

    • Blank project: This is just like it sounds. It will create a new blank project. Click this option, and then click Create on the right portion of the window to create a new project from scratch.
    • New from existing project: This option enables you to use an existing project you have already created as a template to create your new project. Click this option, navigate to where you have the existing project you want to use, and then click Open.
    • New from Excel workbook: If you have a task list already built in Excel and you want to start your project using that list, this is your option. Click this option, locate and click an Excel workbook, and then click Open to create a new project using data stored in the selected workbook. A wizard walks you through the data-import process where you map your task list fields to the correct fields in Project 2013.
    • New from SharePoint task list: Here you can use a SharePoint task list as the starting point for your project. Click this option, provide a URL for an existing SharePoint site, choose a task list from that site, and then click OK to create a new project using data from that list.
    • Office.com Templates: At the top of the New page is a search box where you can search Office.com and its database of templates. There will also be a few commonly used templates listed as links directly on the New page.

Saving a Project

With your new project created, the next step is to decide where you want to save it. If you are using Project Professional 2013 and Project Server, you have several options for saving your project. Professional allows you to save to Project Server 2013, but you can also save your project to SharePoint in a way where it creates a new tasks list. It then keeps your project in sync with the SharePoint list. Project 2013 (both versions) also allows you to save your project as an MPP file directly to a SharePoint document library or to a Windows Live SkyDrive. This section covers the various save options (see Figure 3.2).


FIGIRE 3.2. The Save As page provides you easy access to a variety of options for saving your project.

Saving your project to a SharePoint document library is the same as saving it to a network drive. Your project is saved as an MPP file. However, syncing your project to a SharePoint site is different. It saves the MPP file to a document library on the SharePoint site, but it also creates a new Tasks List on the site and creates a new task in this list for each task in your project. This tasks list can then be used by you and your team.

Saving Your Project as an MPP File

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Save on the left side of the Project window.
  2. Pick a location where you want to save your project:

    • Computer: Click Computer to save your project as an MPP file to a location on your local machine or a network drive.
    • SkyDrive: Click SkyDrive to save your project to a Windows Live SkyDrive location. If this is the first time, you will be prompted to provide your Windows Live account information to access your SkyDrive folders
    • SharePoint: To save your project to a SharePoint document library that is not already listed, click Other Web Locations and provide the URL to your SharePoint library. If your library is in Office 365, click Add a Place and select Office 365 SharePoint. If you have already added your SharePoint site previously, it will be listed in the Save page already.
  3. Provide a filename and location for your project.
  4. Click Save.

Syncing Your Project with SharePoint

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Save on the left side of the Project window.
  2. Click Sync with SharePoint.
  3. Either choose to create a new site or select to use an existing site.
  4. If you selected to sync with an existing SharePoint site, provide the URL, and then click Verify Site. Then provide a tasks list name for your project (see Figure 3.3).

    FIGIRE 3.3

    FIGIRE 3.3. Syncing your project to a SharePoint tasks list is super easy.

  5. If you selected to create a New SharePoint Site, provide a name for the site and a URL for the SharePoint server.
  6. Click Save.

Saving Your Project to Project Server

If you are using Project Professional 2013 and you have connected to your organizational Project Server 2013 server, your Save As page will look slightly different. Instead of the Sync with SharePoint option at the top of the page, it will have a Project Web App section and the name of your Project Server 2013 account connection, as shown in Figure 3.4.


FIGIRE 3.4. The Save As page when connected to Project Server 2013 using Project Professional.

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Save on the left side of the Project window.

    By default, the Project Server account you connected to when you opened Project 2013 will be selected.

  2. Click Save.
  3. Enter a name for your project in the Name field.

    You have the option of selecting a calendar. If your organization uses departments, you also have the option to select a department. Contact your Project Server administrator for more information.

  4. Enter values for the custom fields as needed.
  5. Click Save.

With your project saved to Project Server, you should consider two more project actions:

  • Publish your project: Every time you save your project to Project Server, your changes are saved, but they will not be visible to other users of Project Server in reports or in timesheets until you publish your project. To publish the project, click the File tab, and then click Publish.
  • Check your project in: When you finish editing and close your project, you are prompted to check in your project. Other users (with the appropriate permissions) can open your project for editing only if you have it checked in. If you do not check the project in, users are blocked from opening your project in Read\Write mode until you have checked it in. To check your project in, click the File tab, and then click Close. When prompted, click the option to Check In the project.
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