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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Every year, project management gets more complex, as projects increasingly cross functional and even organizational boundaries. In response, Microsoft has broadened Microsoft Project’s reach in planning and managing these “next-gen” projects. Project 2003 is a stunningly powerful tool -- and a very complex one. Microsoft Office Project 2003 Inside Out gives you all the information you need to make the most of Project 2003 -- from quick, step-by-step feature instructions, to expert guidance for the whole project lifecycle.
Author Teresa Stover is a longtime project manager, a consultant to the Project development team...and an exceptional writer. In this nearly 1,100-page book, she systematically covers both the standalone Microsoft Project Standard 2003 and the enterprise-focused Microsoft Project Professional 2003. She also offers detailed coverage of collaborative project management with Microsoft Project Server 2003 and Microsoft Project Web Access 2003.
Stover begins with a detailed introduction to the art of project management itself: creating project plans and controlling projects using your plan as a roadmap. Even if you’re an experienced project manager, you’ll appreciate her discussion of integrating Microsoft Project into your workflow, and how stakeholders can interact with Project or use its outputs.
She then covers the meat-and-potatoes tasks every PM will perform: entering and organizing tasks and resources; viewing project status; incorporating costs and reviewing budgets; and refining projects to adjust critical paths, resource workloads, and key dates.
Speaking of dates, there’s detailed coverage of scheduling: setting (and reality-checking) task durations; establishing task dependencies; working with flexible and inflexible constraints; adding lead time; setting milestones; and so forth.
Once you’ve done all that, you’ll learn how to track your project’s progress -- and adjust your finely honed plan for the realities of Planet Earth.
Throughout Microsoft Office Project 2003 Inside Out, you’ll find thorough introductions to Project 2003’s significant new features. For instance, Stover explains soft-booking, which lets you tentatively propose the use of specific resources, pending feedback. She also introduces timesheet lockdowns, which prevent team members from reporting hours for time periods outside those you’ve authorized.
Microsoft has extended its features for enterprise collaboration, and Stover covers the new tools in extraordinary depth. (That’s the biggest reason this book is nearly 150 pages longer than its predecessor.)
Most notably, there are two chapters on Project Web Access, Microsoft’s web-based project portal. PWA helps dispersed project teams to work on projects without having to use Microsoft Project Professional, itself. It also gives executives an easy tool for making key project decisions -- and seeing that they’re carried out.
Finally, you’ll appreciate the CD-ROM’s extensive collection of Microsoft and third-party tools and add-ins; and the complete e-Book that allows you to take Microsoft Office Project 2003 Inside Out anywhere your notebook PC can go -- all the way up to the executive suite. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.