Book review: Microsoft Project 2019 Step by Step

The cover of the Step by Step book for Microsoft Project. Written by Cindy Lewis.
The cover

It’s that time again! Get ready for another book review in regards to Project and Project Management. And I got to say, it’s been a while! The last book I reviewed was by Eric Uyttewaal on Forecast Programming in June 2018.

Today I’m reviewing Microsoft Project 2019 Step by Step. It’s part of the well established book series “Step by Step” and as such we have high hopes on learning how to work with the tool Microsoft Project. The book was authored by Cindy Lewis, a name that should be familiar with you by now. But just in case it isn’t, lets you up to speed:

March 2022 update:

Cindy released a newer version of this book, you can get a copy here (no affiliate link). In the new version there is a Professor package in this edition so it can used easily at universities. How cool is that, right?

Who is the author, Cindy Lewis

Cindy is a fellow MVP with a specialism in Project (just like me). Well, obviously not just like me, she’s got a book now. But we know her from her previous contributions as a guest blogger in regards to UserVoice and she runs her own website.

You can find more about her on the website obviously or connect through Twitter and LinkedIn (tell her Erik send you).

Cindy is a source of inspiration and can describe complex scheduling functionality in a way that we can all understand. And I believe that’s a great asset when tackling the Step by Step book.

Highlights in Microsoft Project 2019 Step by Step

This is a Step by Step book. Meaning that it is unique over others on the market in that it does not recommend a feature best practice. Often those best practices align with a company standard or methodology (like PMI).

Instead the book assumes you want to use the program out of the box with very little configuration except as needed for your specific project. If you have experience with best practices materials, this book might make you stop and think about features that are presented in different ways.

This book is ideal for a college student and it is required material for many college programs. Because of it’s high focus on functionality descriptions. But even a seasoned user of MS Project might pick up a few tips and tricks along the way.

Four sections, 21 chapters and a ton of content

With a full blown application you are sure to have a lot of features to cover. And MS Project has been around for a long time. I believe it was 1984 when the first version was released, that makes it older then Excel (yeah, suck it you parasite)!

As the book title suggests the chapters and sections are ordered to give you a great step by step guide towards understanding the scheduling functionality in Microsoft Project. Better yet, you can pick up the book and dive directly into a topic and you will be guided by instruction, screenshots and clear descriptions on what the software has to over.

I’m a user of the Project Online (insiders version), and as such features have already changed compared to the content in the book. There’s a great chapter in the end of the book concerning the Agile template that I briefly cover in one of my other posts. However, the online version of MS Project has a new and improved Agile functionality. And it’s a shame Cindy didn’t have the opportunity to delve into the topic with that functionality.

Who would I recommend the book to?

If you work with MS Project on a regular basis for a while already, and you had proper training, I wouldn’t pick this book. But rather pick up something more theory or methodology related (such as PMI or IPMA).

However, if you are new to the application or if you never had proper training in working with the tool this is a gem! It contains feature functionality in great detail and with practical how to steps that make sure the information sticks.

Why the emphasis on proper training? Well, this is a MSFT application, just like Word, or PowerPoint, or … Excel. But it’s not just a regular everyday tool. Apart from the common look and feel of all the other Office application, Microsoft Project contains intelligence (the scheduling engine) that takes getting used to. And if self-taught without any guidance, some of the intricacies of the application might be lost to you.

You can get your copy here and here. And there’s even a e-book version with full color versions of the images (if your e-reader can take it).

Final thoughts

It was great to read another book on MS Project again. It’s a wonderful application and it’s great to read how Cindy takes good care in describing it in detail.

Fun part is that I even got a signed edition of the book. Got to love the community and that authors know where to find me :-). If you are a author of MS Project or project management related books and would like to have your book featured here, drop me a line on Twitter or through responding on one of my newsletter mails.

Thanks Cindy for doing a great job! Look forward to meeting you again next year.