Microsoft Projects Without Dates?

I really enjoy that preceding cartoon! Have you ever needed to create a project in which the tasks are not tied to specific start dates and finish dates? One of the questions that comes up occasionally in the Microsoft Project user group on the internet is how to create a projects without dates! Amazingly enough, that functionality is built into Microsoft Project, but good luck finding it. In this blog post, I will teach you how to create a project that isn’t tied to specific dates. If you’d prefer to watch the YouTube video, click here or on the thumbnail below.

projects without dates

Projects Without Dates: Step 1: Set a Start Date for the Project

The first thing you need to do is to set a start date for the project.

  1. Click the Project tab to display the project ribbon and then click the Project Information button in the upper right corner of the project information dialog.
  2. Pick a start date for the project. For example, if it’s projected that the official start date will be somewhere between January and June of 2024, pick a ballpark start date of March 4th. When you click the OK button, Microsoft Project updates all of the dates in the start and finish columns and updates the time scale bar as well.

Remove the Dates in the Start and Finish Columns:

  1. Right-click on the Select All button (the blank button immediately above the row 0 ID number), and on the shortcut menu, choose the More Tables item in the More Tables dialog. Leave the Entry table selected, but then click the Edit button in the Table Definition dialog.
  2. Click the Date Format pick list button. This is the date format that will be applied specifically to the Entry table. It will not affect any other tables at all.
  3. Down near the bottom, there is an unusual date formatting code called W4/4. Select that date format, click the OK button, and then click the Apply button.

Microsoft Project replaces all of the start and finish dates with this unusual code. For example, notice that for the first detailed task, Interview and Select Architect, the code is W10/2 for the start date and W10/4 for the finish date. W10 means week number 10 from the week containing January 1st. The /2 indicates the day of the week measured from Sunday as day number one. So, this task starts on Monday, which would be day number two. The finish date is W10/4, which means the fourth day of the week starting from Sunday.

Remove the Dates from the Time Scale Bar:

  1. Double-click anywhere in the time scale bar.
  2. Click the Label pick list button and go clear down to the bottom.
  3. Choose the item called Week 1, Week 2 from Start. When you choose that and click the OK button.

Microsoft Project now displays the date formatting as the week number from the start date of the project. The first week of the project is obviously week number one, the second week is week number two, and so forth. Now in this project, you don’t see any dates in the Gantt chart view. It’s an acceptable view to the client. This is how to address the unusual problem that some people face with Microsoft Project. Now you know how to create a project that isn’t tied to specific dates. If you found this guide helpful, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and give the videos a like. If you’ve got questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy project managing! See you in my next article!

Course Materials

As a part of this course, each student will receive the following:

  • Hands On Exercises workbook in PDF format
  • Student sample files

Course Description

This “hands on” self-paced eLearning course teaches the foundational knowledge required to effectively manage “process agnostic” enterprise projects using Microsoft Project with either Project Online or Microsoft Project Server. Our “keep it simple” training approach allows students to master the vital skills they need to effectively plan and manage an enterprise project using Microsoft’s PPM (Project Portfolio Management) tools.

Audience

This course is focused on the core needs of project managers, project schedulers, and project coordinators who use Microsoft Project with either Project Online or Microsoft Project Server to manage enterprise projects.

Course Pre-Requisites

Each student must have a copy of one of the following installed on his/her PC:

  • Project Online Professional for Office 365
  • Microsoft Project 2016 or higher

Versions of Microsoft Project earlier than the 2016 version do not qualify for this course.

Best Instructor Ever!

Dale Howard has been a Microsoft Project MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for 20 years in a row and is currently one of only 26 Project MVPs in the entire world. If you post a question about any of Microsoft’s PPM tools on the public message boards, Dale is frequently the person who will answer your question.

Module 01: Microsoft Project Overview

  • Working with the User Interface
  • Understanding the Gantt Chart View
  • Understanding the Microsoft Project Data Model
  • Understanding and Using Views
  • Understanding and Using Tables
  • Understanding and Using Filters
  • Understanding and Using Groups
  • Project Navigation Tips

Module 02: Working with a New Project

  • Creating a New Project
    • Creating a New Project from a Template
    • Creating a New Project from a Personal Template
  • Working with the Standard Calendar
    • Add Holidays to the Standard Calendar
    • Create a Custom Calendar
    • Copy Calendars to the Global.mpt File
  • Defining a New Project
    • Set the Project Start Date
    • Enter Project Properties
    • Display the Project Summary Task
    • Set the Project and Nonworking Time Calendars
    • Set Project Options
    • Save the Project

Module 03: Task Planning

  • Understanding Manually Scheduled vs. Auto Scheduled Tasks
  • Creating the Task List
  • Creating Summary Tasks
  • Creating Milestone Tasks
  • Entering Duration Estimates
  • Specifying Task Dependencies – Overview
  • Specifying Task Dependencies in a Real World Project
  • Applying Task Constraints
  • Applying Deadline Dates
  • Applying a Task Calendar
  • Using Cell Background Formatting to Highlight Tasks of Interest

Module 04: Resource Planning

  • Understanding Project Resource Types
  • Creating a Work Resource
  • Creating a Generic Resource
  • Editing a Work Resource
  • Creating a Material Resource
  • Creating Budget and Expense Cost Resources

Module 05: Assignment Planning

  • Assigning Resources to Tasks: Best Practices
  • Assigning Resources to Tasks Using the Task Entry View
  • Assigning Resources to Tasks Using the Assign Resources Dialog
  • Assigning Material Resources
  • Assigning Budget Cost and Expense Cost Resources

Module 06: Completing the Project Schedule

  • Performing a Quality Check on the Project Schedule
  • Saving and Backing Up a Baseline for the Project

Topical Outline: Execution Training

Module 07: Capturing Task Progress

  • Setting the Status Date for the Project
  • Manually Entering Task Progress

Module 08: Working with Task Updates

  • Rescheduling Incomplete Work from the Past

Module 09: Variance Analysis, Plan Revision, and Change Control

  • Analyzing Project Variance
  • Revising a Project Schedule
  • Adding New Tasks to a Project through Change Control
  • Updating the Project Baseline

Module 10: Project Reporting

  • Creating a Timeline View
  • Formatting the Timeline View
  • Exporting the Timeline View to Another Application
  • Viewing a Dashboard Report
  • Editing a Table in a Dashboard Report
  • Editing a Chart in a Dashboard Report


Microsoft Project Training Course Samples

Click here to see some of the videos from the courses or check out my YouTube Channel for tips and tricks about Microsoft Project, Project Online/Server and Project for the Web.

microsoft project training sample

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Certificate of Completion


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Microsoft Project Standard Desktop Training

Microsoft Project Professional Desktop for Project Online Training

Microsoft Project Professional Desktop for Project Server Training

Templates, Student Hand Outs, Tips and Tricks

Certificate of Completion

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FAQ

What is Microsoft Project Dynamic Scheduling?

Microsoft Project Dynamic Scheduling is a feature within Microsoft Project that allows you to create flexible project plans, update schedules based on changing circumstances, and optimize resource allocation.

How can Microsoft Project Dynamic Scheduling benefit my project management?

Microsoft Project Dynamic Scheduling can benefit your project management by enabling efficient planning, increased productivity, and the ability to adapt to changes, allowing your projects to thrive.

What role does dynamic scheduling play in effective project management?

Dynamic scheduling plays a crucial role in effective project management by helping you stay on track, manage resources efficiently, and meet project goals.

What features does Microsoft Project offer for dynamic scheduling?

Microsoft Project offers various features and functions for dynamic scheduling, allowing you to create flexible project plans, update schedules in real-time, and optimize resource allocation.

How does dynamic scheduling optimize resource allocation?

Dynamic scheduling in Microsoft Project optimizes resource allocation by providing a flexible project schedule that can adapt to changes in resource availability, ensuring efficient utilization and maximizing productivity.

How does dynamic scheduling streamline project execution?

Dynamic scheduling streamlines project execution by providing a real-time, updated project schedule that enables effective communication, task prioritization, and timely decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.

How does dynamic scheduling enhance collaboration within Microsoft Project?

Dynamic scheduling enhances collaboration in Microsoft Project by offering collaborative features that promote effective communication, facilitate teamwork, and foster a shared understanding of project goals and progress among team members.

How does dynamic scheduling help track progress and manage risks?

Dynamic scheduling in Microsoft Project helps track progress and manage project risks by providing real-time updates and customizable reports that allow you to identify potential bottlenecks, mitigate risks, and take proactive actions to keep your project on track.

How can dynamic scheduling in Microsoft Project leverage data and insights for continuous improvement?

Dynamic scheduling in Microsoft Project provides valuable data and insights for continuous improvement by analyzing project performance metrics, identifying trends, and making data-driven decisions to enhance project outcomes and increase overall efficiency.

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