Archive for 2009/05/23

Microsoft Project Tutorial Part 27 – WBS (Work breakdown structure)

2009/05/23 5 comments

Every time I write a new post in my tutorial, I think it will be the last. And then I realize that there is something I’ve missed. And of course, I’ve missed the grouping and filtering functionality.

The most basic grouping functionality has already been covered: the usage of heading tasks:


This is, if you’ve forgotten (or missed that class), achieved by selecting tasks A1 & A2 and clicking Indent

All tasks have an ID but they also have a WBS code. WBS stands for work breakdown structure and if you right click a column and select Insert column, you can select to insert the WBS field.


The column to the left is the ID field while the WBS field is the field to the right.

You can actually customize the WBS codes. This is very useful if you have inserted projects, when both the ID column and WBS column will have duplicates.

So, to customize the WBS code, you select Project—>WBS—>Define Code.

This dialog box is empty if you view it on a new project, which means numeric values are used and the different levels are divided by dots(.).

On the first row, you can see a preview of your defined code. On the second row, you can specify a Project Code Prefix, and this is as I mentioned; a very good thing if you have inserted project files.

In the grid, each row specifies a level in the WBS code and if a level isn’t defined, the rule with numbers and dots is used. On each level you specify what kind of symbols divides the different values and here you most commonly choose between numbers and letters. You can also see that you can choose between uppercase and lowercase. In the column length, you can specify how many signs can be used in that position, so if you select 1 there can only be 1,2,3,4,5,6.7.8 and 9 in that position. In the separator position you specify which separator is used.

As you can see in the bottom of the dialog box, you can also select to not making the WBS code automatic. The reason for this is that if you refer to this number in other documentation and the insertion of new tasks are done, the WBS codes of other tasks can be changed.


Confirm with OK and have fun with your WBS codes!

Categories: Microsoft Project, planning Tags:

Midnattsloppet 2008

I wonder who the loony in the templar knight’s costume is?

Categories: Agile

Customize fields in Microsoft Project

2009/05/23 1 comment

There are so many fields in Microsoft Project, so why should you want to customize some new ones? Well, there are many reasons. Here are some examples of how you can use customized fields.

There are quite a few fields which you can customize:

  • Text 1-20
  • Finish 1-10
  • Start 1-10
  • Number 1-20
  • Flag 1-20
  • Date 1-10
  • Cost 1-10


The simplest way to use these fields is just showing them like the image above and start printing in information, but below you can see how they can be used:


  • In the Text1 field, the user can enter values from a list (High, Medium and Low) and depending on the value, different flags are displayed.
  • Start1 and Finish1 are used to specify during which times the tasks can be tested. This is also displayed as bars in the Gantt chart.


  • Work B2-B1 and Cost B2-B1 are calculations which compares the values in Baseline 2 with Baseline 1.
  • Flag1 is used to specify if the specification of the task is completed. If the user enters the value Yes, this task is flagged by a green lamp. Otherwise, the lamp is red.

And here is how you customize fields.

First you insert the field by right clicking one of the present columns and select Insert field. You can then right click the field and select Customize field.


On the top of the dialog box you can see that you can customize fields in task views (like Gantt chart) and resource views (like Resource sheet). You can here also select which field type you want to customize in the dropdown. This means that you can customize all fields at the same time, but for me; I prefer looking at my field when I’m done.

If you click the button Rename, you can enter the new name and confirm.

Under the custom attributes, you can select None, Lookup or Formula. None is used if you want the user to enter values normally. Lookup is used if the user is to select values in a dropdown (like Risk level in the example). Formula is used if the user is not to enter values manually but if project is to calculate the values (like the comparisons between baselines).


If you enter formulas, the result can look something like this. Please observe that the fields are entered by you clicking Field and selecting the correct field in the dropdown:


If we return to the dialog box for Customize fields you can see that you can specify how Heading rows are handled. Depending on your other selections, the options here will differ but remember to take care of this section as well. The same goes for assignment rows. This is applicable if you view Resource Usage or Task Usage. In the chart part you can insert assignment fields.

Finally we move on to the graphical indicators. If you make no changes here, the entered values will be displayed but if you click here you can in the grid specify which images are to be displayed under which conditions. Please observe that on top of the dialog box can you specify how graphical indicators are used on summery rows and the project summery row (which is displayed if you specify this in the Tools—>Options—>View dialog box).