What is this tutorial about?

What is a Project? A set of carefully planned activities whose execution aim at accomplishing well defined objectives; a project has well defined start and end dates and involves several resources which draw some costs.

What is Project Management? A series of activities undertaken along the entire lifecycle of a project, meant to ensure that the objectives of the project are accomplished. Project management requires the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to successfully initiate and plan a project, control its execution, manage the resources and, in the final phase, close the project.

What is a Project Manager? A person responsible for accomplishing the expected project objectives, having responsibilities such as creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing constraints such as time, costs, scope and quality. A project manager can have the responsibility of planning, execution and closing of any project in a specific field and they represent the bridging gap between production team and the client. Typically project managers are users that create or edit project plans and they are the authors of the project plan.

What are Team Members? Persons part of a group that are involved in a specific project and are assigned to activities for the same project. A project team may be defined as an interdependent collection of individuals who work together towards a common goal and who share responsibility for specific outcomes of their organizations. Team members work under the coordination of the project manager on their assigned tasks in order to finish the project within the established deadline and estimated budget. Usually, team members are the viewers of the project plan and they only need to review and /or analyze the information in the project plan or sometimes to enter their progress on their assigned tasks in the project.

What is Project Planning? A series of activities that aim at developing an action plan which, if followed, ensures that the goals of the project are fulfilled. While planning, the following questions must be addressed: what is to be done (the result is a WBS), when it should be done (scheduling is usually performed by CPA - Critical Path Analysis), who must do it (resource assignment), howmuch does it cost (cost estimation). Project planning is a cornerstone in project management, a primordial step that dictates the future execution of the project.

What is a Project Planning Tool? Is is a software used for project planning, scheduling, resource allocation and change management. It allows project managers (PMs), stakeholders and users to control costs and manage budgeting. It is also used for collaboration and communication between project stakeholders. Its main purpose is to facilitate the planning and tracking of project components, stakeholders and resources and can assist in keeping track of all the components of the project to be sure it is delivered on time and within budget.

What is Project Plan 365? A solution for project planning in an agile framework, with teams working in fast-paced collaborative environments that may include disparate geographic locations; it offers support for efficiently building a project plan, tracking the plan during execution and sharing the plan with team members that have restricted write access as decided by the PM.

What is a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)? A decomposition of the entire work of the project on several levels, resulting in a tree structure: the work of the project (first level = root of the tree) is divided in several activities (second level), which, successively may be divided into shorter-term tasks, etc. Successive subdivisions, corresponding to new levels in the tree, may be necessary until the components obtained are manageable in terms of estimates (on duration, costs), work and responsibility.

What is a Task? An activity in the project necessary to reach the project specific goals, characterized by duration, clear starts and finish dates. Tasks are the bricks (basic units) used for building a project plan.

What is a Summary Task? A higher level task (with regard to the WBS), grouping related activities/tasks. Summary tasks behave just like recipients: they may contain basic units (tasks) or may contain other recipients (summary tasks); the content of a summary task is addressed as subtasks.  The duration, start and finish dates and costs of a summary task are computed based on its subtasks.

What is a Subtask? A smaller task that is part of a summary task. Commonly several subtasks that denote related activities are grouped beneath a summary task, that summarizes the data of their subtasks.

What is a Project Summary Task? The task summarizing the entire work of the project; it is the root of the WBS and its duration, start and finish dates and costs are just an aggregate off all the tasks in the project.

What is an Outline? A hierarchical structure for a project that shows the tasks groupings. You create an outline for your tasks by indenting and outdenting them to create the summary tasks and subtasks.

What is a Milestone? A timestamp in the project marking the end of a major project goal or phase.

What is a Succesor? Is a task whose start or finish date is driven by its predecessor task. The Successor is the task completed "after" the current task.

What is a Predecessor? Is a task whose start or finish date determines the start or finish date of its successor task. The Predecessor is the task completed "prior to" the current task.

What is a Task Dependency? Is a relationship between the tasks in the project that drive the schedule for the project. The nature of the relationship between a predecessor task and a successor task determines the type of task dependency to use. We can use 4 types of task dependencies: Finish - To - Start (FS), Start - To - Start (SS), Finish - To - Finish (FF) and Start - To - Finish (SF).

What is a Task Note? It represents a descriptive text associated to that task containing additional or supporting information or a comment for that task.

What is a Completed Task? It is a task whose percent complete is 100%, indicating that the task was finished.

What is a Critical Task? A task for which any delay of its execution draws delays of the project finish date.

What is a Critical Path? A set of interconnected critical tasks seen as a path in the network diagram ending at the project finish date. A delay of any task on a critical path results in a delay of the project finish date. A project may have several critical paths corresponding to distinct paths in the network diagram, all ending at the project finish date.

What is a Project Resource? An item or a person required to accomplish a task. Resources are of two types, depending on how their cost is computed: 1) resources of type work draw costs that depend on the duration of the task to which it is assigned; it is the case of human resources or items/services that have rates per hour associated (i.e. renting a room for a number of days). 2) Material resources have associated a fixed cost per unit which does not depend on the duration of the task.

What is a Resource Assignment? It represents an association between specific tasks and the resources needed to complete them. Assigning resources to tasks will indicate who or what is needed to complete the tasks in your project. More than one resource can be assigned to a task. Both work resources (e.g. people) and material resources can be assigned to tasks.

What is Overallocation? The situation corresponding to a resource of type work who dedicates more than 8 hours a day to accomplish some tasks. Overallocation may have two distinct causes: 1) the resource is assigned to several tasks that are scheduled during the same period (i.e. the resource is supposed to work 4 hours at task1 and 8 hours at task2 in the same day); 2) the PM wants the resource to dedicate more time and assigns more than 100% units for that resource.

What is Duration? A value that indicates the amount of time required by the task to be completed. It is the length of working time between the start and finish of a task.

What is Work? It represents the total amount of time scheduled on a task for all assigned resources, the total amount of time to which a resource is scheduled on all assigned tasks, or the total amount of time scheduled for a resource on a task. It is the amount of effort, measured in time units (like hours or days), that a resource needs to complete the task

What is Cost? It represents the total scheduled or projected cost for a task, resource, or assignment, based on costs already incurred for work performed by resources assigned to the tasks, in addition to the costs planned for the remaining work. for a resource on a task.

What is Fixed Work Task Type? A task in which the amount of work is a fixed value and any changes to the task's duration or the number of assigned units (or resources) do not affect the task's work.

What is Fixed Duration Task Type? A task in which the duration is a fixed value and any changes to the work or the assigned units (that is, resources) don't affect the task's duration.

What is Fixed Units Task Type? A task in which the assigned units (or resources) is a fixed value and any changes to the amount of work or the task's duration do not affect the task's units.

What is Timescale? A ruler with time units, used usually in association with a Gantt Chart, to measure the duration of tasks. Time units may vary from minutes to hours, days, weeks, months or years.

What is a Report? A graphical representation that captures specific information in a project so that can aid in sharing of current project information with team members or other stakeholders.

What is a View? A visual representation that allow you to simply view any aspects of your project quickly and easily, so that you can view critical information about your projects in a specific format.

What is a Gantt Chart? A visual representation of a project plan, very popular in project management. Tasks are represented as horizontal bars along a timeline. The start/end dates and the duration of a task may be inferred from its projection on the timeline.

What is a Network Diagram? A graphical representation of the tasks in the project in the form of a directed graph: the tasks are vertices and the interdependencies among tasks are arcs. The network diagram is used to perform CPA (Critical Path Analysis).

What is a Resource Sheet? A view that displays resource information in a sheet format, in which you can review, add, or edit information about each resource. Such information include resource name, initials, type of resource (work or material) and payment rate.

What is a Resource Usage? Is a matrix of work assignments. In a table spanned over the project's period, work loads are presented for each resource, and within it, each task if any is available.

What is a Resource Graph? It is a view that graphically displays information about the resource allocation over time. Resources are displayed in a list and for each selected resource corresponding bars are shown. The bars are colored part in blue for the work span within normal capacities of that resource and part in red for the over allocated work assignments.

What is a Task Usage? It is a view that lists for each task the resources assigned to it and the amount of work that each resource has performed over time. It is a matrix of work assignments. In a table spanned over the project's period, work loads are presented for each task, and within it, each resource, if any is available.

What is a Table? A representation used to show specific information about tasks, resources, and assignments in a sheet view. Tables are made up of sets of columns containing fields of information describing the tasks or resources within each row of the table. Tables can be applied to Views. There are separate tables for tasks and for resources (for example, there is an Entry table for tasks and an Entry table for resources).

What is a Dashboard? It is a master project that aggregates multiple project files (either located on the user machine or online) to help the user get a higher-level perspective on his projects. It offers the advantage of bringing projects together in order to analyze them, without having to manually insert them as subprojects into a master file expressly created for this purpose.