Project Management

Boost your Microsoft Project expertise with these two tips

Be careful when assigning resources to Summary Tasks in Microsoft Project. Here are two macros to help you manage this feature. We've also included a tip to help you make the best use of the Edit menu.


Contributor Brian Kennemer often writes about Microsoft Project for TechRepublic’s IT communities. Here are two tips to help you make the most of Microsoft Project.

Make Summary Task assignments behave
Always exercise caution when assigning resources to Summary Tasks, because it can cause problems with Earned Value reporting and can also skew the reporting of actual work on subtasks.

Here are two macros that can help you remove those assignments. The first one, “MarkSummaryAssignments”, will go through your plan and set the Flag1 field to True for any Summary Task that contains resource assignments. Run this, then go through and make sure it’s okay to delete these assignments. Then, the second macro, “RemoveSummaryAssignments”, will delete them.
Sub MarkSummaryAssignments()
Dim asn As Assignment
Dim Tsk As Task
For Each Tsk In ActiveProject.Tasks
    If Not (Tsk Is Nothing) Then
        If Tsk.Summary = True Then
            If Tsk.Assignments.Count > 0 Then
                Tsk.Flag1 = True
            End If
        End If
    End If
Next Tsk
End Sub


Sub RemoveSummaryAssignments()
Dim asn As Assignment
Dim Tsk As Task
For Each Tsk In ActiveProject.Tasks
    If Not (Tsk = Nothing) Then
        If Tsk.Summary = True Then
            For Each asn In Tsk.Assignments
                asn.Delete
            Next asn
       Tsk.flag1 = False
        End If
    End If
Next Tsk
End Sub


Beware of Edit | Clear
If you choose Edit | Clear in Microsoft Project, you’ll find several options:
  • All
  • Formats
  • Contents
  • Notes
  • Hyperlinks
  • Entire Task

Be careful when using these options. While some of them can be handy, they can have sometimes unexpected results. Selecting Edit | Clear | Formats, for example, can be useful if you have applied special formatting to a task and then you want to remove the formatting without having to go through and reset every format setting. This option will reset the formatting of the task back to the default.

You can choose Edit | Clear | Contents to remove the values from selected fields for multiple tasks. An example of this would be a text field used to mark a task for a special purpose. When the marking is no longer needed, you can select the field header and select Edit | Clear | Contents. Project will remove the values from that field.

Here is where the danger can start with using Clear. If you have an entire task row selected and you select Edit | Clear | Contents, it will remove the values from all the fields or it will set the values back to their default values (for example, the Duration field would be set back to one day). You can imagine the problems this could cause.

Of particular danger is the Edit | Clear | All selection. As it suggests, it clears everything: notes, task name, text fields, costs, durations—you get the picture. If you use this option, you might as well just delete the task.

Share your Microsoft Project tips with us
Do you have suggestions for getting the most from Microsoft Project that have worked well for you or your clients? Tell us about them in your comments below.

 

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