Setting Project Properties and Options
You can set a lot of different options and defaults for your project. And by a lot, I mean way too many to cover in a reasonable way when you’re just getting started with your project. I do, however, point you to the ones that are the most important and the most commonly used at this point in your project. I then cover other options in later sections of this book.
Setting Project Properties
First, let’s look at setting project properties. These properties are a place to store metadata about your project such as title, subject, author, company, keywords, and descriptions of your project. These properties can be useful when searching for your project or for reference purposes when you or someone else revisits this project file months or years from now. To set these properties, complete these steps:
- Click the File tab, and then, with Info selected on the left side of the Project window, click Project Information on the right side of the window.
- Click Advanced Properties.
- On the Summary tab, provide whatever data is most appropriate in your organization. You can choose to include a Title, Subject, Author, Manager, Company, and other relevant metadata for your project.
- On the Custom tab, you can include additional project properties by choosing a property Name, the data Type for the property, and the Value for the property. When all three of these fields are completed, click Add to add the property to your project.
Setting Project Options
Next, let’s look at the default settings and other options you want to use for your project plan. Again, I can’t emphasize enough that there are significantly more options than what I cover in this book, but this procedure highlights the most common options that you’ll want to set at this point in your planning process:
- Click the File tab, and then click Options.
- Click Schedule on the left side of the Project Options dialog box.
If appropriate, choose the Calendar options for this project, including what day the Week starts on, which month the Fiscal year starts in, what the Default start time and Default end time are for a typical work day, and how many Hours per day, Hours per week, and Days per month your project’s resources typically work. Figure 3.5 shows the Calendar options for this project section.
- Default start and end times: Set these values to the normal working day that will be in place for your project. The default is 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- Hours per day and Hours per week: Normally, this should be equal to the number of working hours in the default working day and working week as defined in the project calendar. We revisit this when we talk about working calendars later in this chapter. The default is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. If your project team will work 7 hour days 5 days a week, you need to change these to 7 and 35. Then the project calendar should be changed to agree with this working time.
- Days per month: This is the average number of working days in a month. The default is 20.
FIGURE 3.5. Set calendar options under Schedule on the Project Options dialog box.
In the Scheduling options for this project section, shown in Figure 3.5, choose whichever settings are most appropriate for your project. Here are some highlights:
- New tasks created: Choose whether you want new tasks in your project to be Auto Scheduled, using the Project scheduling engine, or Manually Scheduled, using only the dates you enter. You can change this setting for each task individually. What you choose here sets what the default is for each new task in your project. In general, I suggest using Auto Scheduled as the default.
- Duration is entered in: Choose the time units you want to use, by default, when identifying the length of time you think tasks in your project will take (also known as duration). You can choose Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, or Months. You can choose any of these time units at any time when entering task durations. Here, you’re setting what the default is for each new task in your project. I suggest keeping the default of Days unless your organization is really married to the idea of using another unit.
- Work is entered in: Choose the time units you want to use, by default, when entering the work completed on tasks in your project. As with duration, you can choose Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, or Months. Again, here I suggest sticking with the default of Hours.
- Other options: There are many more options in the Project Options dialog, to be sure, and we cover some of them later in this book. At this point, keep the defaults.
- Click OK to save these settings for your project.