When you add a task in the network diagram, the new task will be inserted after the selected task in the Gantt table. To make sure the tasks appear in the order that you want always select the existing task in the network diagram that you want the new task to follow. You can always drag tasks in the Gantt table to a new position. Click in the first column to select the task row you want to move. Then hold the mouse button down and drag the row to a new row in the table.
The first task does not have to be the name of your project. You can insert a zero outline level task which automatically contains the project name. (Do this with Tools -> Options -> View -> Show project summary task. To ensure your project is a certain duration add a span task with the fixed duration as the first task. You can follow this approach with phases. As you add detailed tasks, your schedule will stay fixed until the detailed task schedule exceeds the span task.
I don't know of any more effective alternatives, what do you think?
The baseline is a frozen version of your plan used to compare actual progress against your original intentions. Your 'baseline cost' represents your project budget. Once your project is approved you don't want this changed so be careful about saving baselines. Microsoft has improved protection of the baseline by warning you that when you are about to overwrite the baseline.
When you first save your plan, Project will prompt you "Do you want to save a baseline?". Until your plan is ready and approved you can use the baseline to track the daily evolution of your plan. Once your plan is approved then be very careful with saving the baseline. Save the baseline for selected tasks only when changes are approved for your plan.
You need to reset the calculation mode to 'ASAP' to get regular critical path scheduling. Do this in the Task information dialog box. Click on the Advanced Table and select the constraint type to be 'ASAP'. If you have set the Actual Start then you have replace the date with 'NA'.