Microsoft Project 2002 Inside Out

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Dig into Microsoft Project 2002?and discover how you can really put your project management skills to work! This supremely organized reference packs hundreds of timesaving solutions, troubleshooting tips, and handy workarounds in concise, fast-answer format. It's all muscle and no fluff. Find the best and fastest ways to perform everyday ...
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Overview

Dig into Microsoft Project 2002?and discover how you can really put your project management skills to work! This supremely organized reference packs hundreds of timesaving solutions, troubleshooting tips, and handy workarounds in concise, fast-answer format. It's all muscle and no fluff. Find the best and fastest ways to perform everyday tasks, and challenge yourself to new levels of Microsoft Project mastery. The companion CD-ROM is loaded with add-ins, third-party tools, a printable eBook, helpful Web links, and more.


About the Authors

Teresa Stover first encountered formal project management in 1986 as the technical publications supervisor for a startup technology company, figuring out how she and her staff could complete seven documentation projects at once. With an early version of Apple’s MacProject, soon PERT charts were papering her office walls, and light bulbs were going off in her head about the wonders of project management. In 1987, she started Stover Writing Services and was managing documentation projects for multiple clients. These clients have included Apple Computer, National Semiconductor, Boeing, MetLife, Unisys, and most significantly, the Microsoft Project User Assistance team. For these clients she has developed books, online help, tutorials, and multimedia productions. Having won seven Society for Technical Communications awards, including a Best In Show, Teresa’s other books include titles on Windows, Office, Team Manager, and Microsoft Money. When not writing in her Victorian home office in southern Oregon, Teresa conducts workshops on computer, business, and project management topics. She also volunteers for the American Red Cross, and “plays store” Saturdays at her husband’s shop, Stovepipe Antiques. Teresa can be reached at sws@echoweb.net.

Stephen T. Adams has been writing Basic since it was an acronymn, back in the 1970s. Originally training to be an intelligence analyst with the CIA, he changed directions in 1990 and began a career in the software industry. He has worked in product support, software testing, and as both an editor and a writer, publishing his first book in 1992. Stephen was an award-winning technical writer for Microsoft Project from 1996 until 2002, when he took a developer position at Microsoft. An avid auto racing fan, Stephen can occasionally be found tearing it up at the local track, where he likes to pretend he’s the next Ayrton Senna.

Bonnie Biafore always got things done. When she started to use Gantt charts, she realized the term was “project management.” In 1996, she started a project management consulting company, MonteVista Solutions, Inc, but soon added writing to her offerings. Redlining others’ writing and documenting how to use software tools was a lifelong habit. Exploiting this inclination, she authored the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Personal Finance. She writes a monthly column on investing using the Internet for Better Investing magazine and is finishing a stock study handbook for the National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC). When she isn’t working, she roams the nearby mountains with her husband, Pete, and their two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Emma and Shea.

James A. Scott is a rare case of a history major done good. A strong fascination with computer technology and software development quickly pulled him back from the dark side in the mid-1990s, leading him down the path towards technical writing. Since then he has been involved with technical writing, creating Web sites (both copy and code), working with XML when it was almost brand new, and finding ways to enjoy being handed increasingly difficult subjects to write about. During off-times, James can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a football (soccer) field.

Ken Speer has been involved with project management since the mid-1980s, when mainframe-based project management systems were the cutting edge. He has experienced the evolution of project management technology firsthand, through the use of Microsoft Project version 1.0 to the present. Ken has been a project management consultant since 1996, with experience in government contracting, aerospace, finance, software development, and telecommunications projects. Along with using it himself, Ken has mentored other professionals in the use of Microsoft Project. An English teacher and gymnastics coach in a “previous life,” currently Ken’s biggest extracurricular interests are music and bicycling, followed closed by hiking and traveling.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
This is the definitive guide to both versions of Microsoft Project -- both Microsoft Project Standard 2002 and Microsoft’s high-end “Microsoft Solution for Enterprise Project Management.” The latter, comprising Microsoft Project Professional 2002 and Microsoft Project Server 2002, is the first version of Microsoft Project that centralizes resource management for entire organizations, permits sophisticated modeling and scenario analysis, and has the potential to standardize project reporting enterprise-wide.

The authors begin with an overview of each product, then offer a detailed introduction to the art of project management itself: creating project plans and controlling your projects using your plan as a roadmap. You’ll also learn exactly how Microsoft Project fits into the process. Even if you’re an experienced project manager, you’ll appreciate the coverage of integrating Project into your project management workflow, and of how each project stakeholder can interact with Project or utilize its outputs.

This 1,200-page book has room for systematic coverage of every aspect of using Project 2002: entering and organizing tasks and resources; viewing your project’s status; incorporating costs and reviewing budgets; and refining your project to adjust critical paths, resource workloads, and key dates.

Speaking of dates, the authors provide detailed coverage of scheduling: setting task durations (and making sure they’re realistic); establishing task dependencies; working with flexible and inflexible constraints; adding lead time; setting milestones; and so forth.

Once you’ve done all that, you’ll learn how to track your project’s progress with Project 2002 -- and how to adjust your finely-honed plan for the realities of Planet Earth.

Throughout Microsoft Project 2002 Inside Out, you’ll find extensive discussions of all of Project 2002’s significant new features, beginning with the Project Guide wizards that streamline and simplify the creation of individual projects.

Much of what’s new reflects Microsoft’s determination to integrate Project ever more thoroughly with the rest of Microsoft Office. For example, you’ll discover how to import tasks from an Excel worksheet (more projects are first launched in Excel than have ever been launched in Project); how to add resources from your Outlook or Windows address book, import Outlook tasks into Project, even -- if you’re really a Microsoft shop through and through -- utilize “Web Parts” from your customized Outlook/SharePoint “Digital Dashboard.”

There’s a full chapter on managing teams using Microsoft Project Web Access, the new Microsoft Project Server web interface that provides powerful portfolio and resource management tools, real-time reporting, and scenario analysis designed to give executives an up-to-the-minute window on the status of all their projects. Users of this web interface do need a Microsoft Project Server Client Access License (CAL), but they don’t need a full version of Project, just a recent copy of Internet Explorer -- making this solution viable for a far wider range of companies and project teams.

You’ll walk through setting up Microsoft Project Web Access and configuring its diverse options; then using its web-based capabilities to assign tasks and send assignments; update task information and incorporate task updates into your project plan; track issues, and more.

You’ll also find detailed coverage of other enterprise features built into the high-end version of Microsoft Project 2002, "Enterprise Edition." Most important, you’ll learn how to import resource information for use by Project’s enterprise features; and how to build a cross-functional project team that draws upon the entire organization, querying your enterprise resource database for folks with the appropriate skills and availability. If you’re at a rarefied level of management, of course, you need a high-level view of many projects at the same time. Microsoft Project 2002 Inside Out shows how to get that information using the new Project Portfolio feature.

If you haven’t used Microsoft Project, or haven’t upgraded to Project 2002, you’ll appreciate the complete 60-day trial version of Microsoft Project Standard Edition on CD-ROM. You’ll also appreciate the CD’s extensive collection of Microsoft and third-party tools and add-ins; and the complete eBook that allows you to take Microsoft Project 2002 Inside Out anywhere your notebook PC can go -- all the way up to the executive suite. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735611245
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2002
  • Series: Microsoft Inside Out Series
  • Edition description: BOOK & CD
  • Pages: 1200
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Teresa S. Stover is a project management expert who has consulted with the Microsoft Office Project Team since Version 4. She is an instructional designer and award-winning author with more than two decades of technical communication experience. Teresa is the author of countless user manuals, tutorials, and help systems—plus more than a dozen computer books, including Microsoft Office Project 2007 Inside Out, Microsoft Office Project 2003 Inside Out, and Microsoft Project Version 2002 Inside Out.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 5.

Scheduling Tasks

Setting Task Durations

Developing Reliable Task Durations

Understanding Estimated vs. Confirmed Durations

Entering Durations

Understanding How Durations Affect Scheduling

Calculating Your Most Probable Duration

Establishing Task Dependencies

Creating the Finish-to-Start Task Dependency

Understanding the Dependency Types

Overlapping Linked Tasks by Adding Lead Time

Delaying Linked Tasks by Adding Lag Time

Changing or Removing Links

Reviewing Task Dependencies

Scheduling Tasks to Achieve Specific Dates

Understanding Constraint Types

Changing Constraints

Working with Flexible and Inflexible Constraints

Reviewing Constraints

Setting Deadline Reminders

Creating Milestones in Your Schedule

Working with Task Calendars

Creating a Base Calendar

Assigning a Base Calendar to a Task

Chapter 5 Scheduling Tasks

You’ve developed your task list, and it’s sequenced and outlined. Perhaps it has a work breakdown structure applied. You have a good task list, but you don’t have a schedule…yet.

Although there are many knowledge areas (including scope management, cost management, and resource management) that contribute to successful project management, time management is most related to development of your project schedule—your roadmap for completing tasks, handing off deliverables, passing milestones, and finally, achieving the goals of your project in a timely manner.

To develop an accurate and workable schedule that truly reflects how your project will run, you need to:

Enter task durations.

Identify the relationships, or dependencies, among tasks.

Schedule certain tasks to achieve specific dates when necessary.

When you’ve done these three things, you begin to see the basic outline of a real project schedule. You have not yet added and assigned resources, which further influence the schedule. Nor have you refined the project plan to make the project finish date and costs conform to your requirements. However, at this point, you can start to see how long certain tasks will take and how far into the future the project might run.

To learn about adding and assigning resources, see Chapter 7, "Assigning Resources to Tasks." For information about refining your project, see Chapter 9, "Checking and Adjusting the Project Plan."

There are scheduling cues at your disposal to help keep you focused and on track as you and your team work your way through the project. You can:

Create reminders that will alert you as deadlines are approaching.

Add milestones to your schedule as conspicuous markers of producing a deliverable, completing a phase, or achieving another major event in your project.

Apply a calendar to a task that is independent of the project calendar or the calendars of resources assigned to the task, so that the task can be scheduled independently.

Setting Task Durations

Your task list is entered, sequenced, and outlined (see Figure 5-1).

Figure 5-1. Your project schedule displays all tasks starting on the project start date, each with an estimated duration of 1 day. (Image unavailable)

To create a realistic schedule, you can start by entering the amount of working time you believe each task will take to complete, that is, the task duration. As soon as you enter a task, Microsoft Project assigns it an estimated duration of 1 day, just to have something to draw in the Gantt Chart. You can easily change that duration.

Entering accurate durations is very important to creating a reliable project schedule. Microsoft Project uses the duration of each task to calculate the start and finish dates for the task. If you will be assigning resources, the duration is also the basis for the amount of work for each assigned resource.

Developing Reliable Task Durations

As the project manager, you can start by entering a broad duration estimate based on your experience. Then you can refine the estimate by soliciting input from others who are more directly involved or experienced with the sets of tasks. There are four possible sources for developing reliable task durations, as follows:

Team knowledge. Suppose you’re managing a new business startup project and you already have your team in place. The business advisor can provide durations for tasks such as creating a market analysis, researching the competition, and identifying the target market niche. The accountant can provide durations for tasks such as forecasting financial returns, setting up the accounting system, and obtaining needed insurance. Team members ready to work on the project can also provide duration estimates for tasks based on their previous experience as well as their projection of how long they expect the tasks to take for this particular project.

Expert judgment. If you don’t have a team in place yet from whom you can get durations, or if you want reliable input from disinterested professionals in the field, you might call upon experts such as consultants, professional associations, or industry groups. These can help you establish task durations.

Project files. Similar projects that have been completed can be an excellent source of durations. If Microsoft Project files are available, you can see the initial durations. If the project manager had tracked actuals diligently throughout the life of the project, you’ll have valuable information about how long certain tasks actually took, as well as any variances from their planned durations.

Industry standards. Historical duration information for tasks typical to an industry or discipline is sometimes available commercially through professional or standards organizations. You can adapt such information for tasks and durations to fit the unique requirements of your project.

You might use a combination of these methods to obtain durations for all the tasks in your project. It’s often very useful to have durations based on established metrics. For example, knowing both the industry standard for the number of hours it takes to develop certain types of architectural drawings and the number of those drawings you’ll need will help you determine a reasonable duration.

Project Management Practices: Building in a Buffer:

Building in a duration buffer is a method that many project managers use as a contingency against project risk. Some say that the durations should be as "real" and accurate as possible, already taking into account any possible risk. Others say it just isn’t realistic to believe you can account for all possible problems in the planning phase. To build in a buffer, also known as reserve time, you can do one or more of the following:

Add a percentage of the duration itself as a buffer to each duration.

For example, if a duration estimate is 10 days, adding 10 percent of that as a buffer would make the duration 11 days.

Add a fixed number of work periods (hours, days, or weeks) to each duration.

Add a "buffer task" close to the end of the project, with a duration that represents a percentage of the total project duration.

Add a buffer task close to the end of the project, with a duration that represents a fixed work period, for example, two weeks.

The reserve time can later be reduced or eliminated as more precise information about the project becomes available. For example, suppose you initially entered a duration of 5 days to set up the accounting system. Then later, more concrete information indicates that it will actually take 8 days. You can "transfer" that time from your buffer without pushing out your project finish date.

Understanding Estimated vs. Confirmed Durations

Any value in the Duration field that’s followed by a question mark is considered a duration estimate. Technically, all planned durations are only estimates, because you don’t know how long a task takes until it’s completed and you have an actual duration. However, the question mark indicates what you might consider an "estimate of a duration estimate." Estimated durations are calculated into the schedule the same as confirmed durations. They simply serve as an alert that a duration is still somewhat of a guess.

TIP Turn off estimated durations:

If you have no use for the estimated durations question mark, you can turn it off. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Schedule tab. Clear the Show That Tasks Have Estimated Durations check box. Also, clear the New Tasks Have Estimated Durations check box.

By default, a duration estimate of 1 day is entered for any newly added task (1d?). Use this value as a flag to indicate that the duration still needs to be entered for this task. You can also enter a question mark (?) after a duration, for example, 2w?. Use this value as a flag to indicate that the duration is still under consideration, and might be changed after you receive more information. When you remove the question mark from a duration, the duration is confirmed, that is, you’re now confident of this duration.

TIP Rearrange your view by estimated durations:

You can sort, group, or filter tasks by whether a task has an estimated or confirmed duration. For more information, see "Rearranging Your Project Information" on page 114.

Entering Durations

You can enter duration in different time period units, as follows:

Minutes (m or min)

Hours (h or hr)

Days (d or dy)

Weeks (w or wk)

Months (mo or mon)

NOTE:

Whether you type "h," "hr," or "hour" in your duration entry, by default Microsoft Project enters "hr." You can change which abbreviation of the time unit appears in the Duration field. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Edit tab. In each of the fields under View Options For Time Units, set the abbreviation of the time unit you want to see. This setting applies to that project file only. If you want it to apply to all new projects you create, click the Set As Default button.

You can use different duration units throughout your plan. One task might be set with a duration of 2w, and another task might be set for 3d.

TIP Specify the time unit you use most often:

If you don’t specify a duration unit, by default Microsoft Project assumes the unit is days, and automatically enters "days" after your duration amount. If you want the default duration unit to be something different, like hours or months, you can change it. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Schedule tab. In the Duration Is Entered In box, select the time unit you want as the default.

To enter a duration, follow these steps:

Display the Gantt Chart.

In the Duration field for each task, type the duration, for example, 1w or 4d.

If a duration is an estimate, add a question mark after it, for example, 1w? or 4d?.

Press Enter. The Gantt bar is drawn to represent the time period for the task (see Figure 5-2). In addition, the Finish field is recalculated for the task. Microsoft Project adds the duration amount to the Start date to calculate the Finish date.

Figure 5-2. Confirmed as well as estimated durations are drawn with the Gantt bars. (Image unavailable)

TIP:

In a Gantt chart, you can also drag the right edge of a Gantt bar to change the task duration.

TIP:

You can change the estimated durations of multiple tasks to confirmed durations. Select all the tasks containing estimated durations. On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information, and then click the Advanced tab. Clear the Estimated check box.

Understanding How Durations Affect Scheduling

When you enter a duration, the task is scheduled according to its assigned calendar. Initially, this is the project calendar. When resources are assigned, the task is scheduled according to the resource’s working times calendar. If a task calendar is applied, the task is scheduled according to the task’s working times calendar.

For more information about task calendars, see "Working with Task Calendars" later in this chapter.

For example, suppose you enter a 2d duration for the "Create market analysis plan" task, and the task starts Monday at 8:00 A.M. Based on the default Standard working times calendar and its options, Microsoft Project counts the 16 working hours in the 2-day duration to arrive at a finish date of Tuesday at 5:00 P.M.

NOTE:

Until you set task dependencies by linking predecessors and successors, the Start date of all your tasks is the same as the project start date by default.

You can make any new tasks adopt the current date as the start date. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Schedule tab. In the New Tasks list, click Start On Current Date.

In a schedule-from-finish project, the Finish date of all your tasks is the same as the Project finish date.

NOTE:

If you’re working in a schedule-from-finish task and you enter a duration, Microsoft Project subtracts the duration amount from the Finish date to calculate the Start date.

If you want a task to take a set amount of time regardless of any working times calendars, you can enter an elapsed duration. This can be useful for tasks such as "Paint drying" or "Cement curing" that can’t be stopped after they’ve started or that are independent of project schedules or resource assignments. Elapsed durations are scheduled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until finished. That is, one day is always considered 24 hours long (rather than 8 hours), and one week is always 7 days (rather than 5 days). To specify an elapsed duration, simply enter an "e" before the duration unit, for example, "3ed" for three elapsed days (see Figure 5-3).

Figure 5-3. Regular durations are scheduled according to applied working time calendars, whereas elapsed durations are based on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. (Image unavailable)

For regular durations, we need a way to specify the number of working hours in a day and week, the number of working days in a month, and so on. This way, when we specify 2 weeks as a duration, for example, we can be assured that this means the same thing as 80 hours, or 10 days. To set these options, follow these steps:

Click Tools, Options, and then click the Calendar tab (see Figure 5-4 on the next page).

You can also click Tools, Change Working Time, and then click the Options button.

Figure 5-4. On the Calendar options tab, you can specify the details of your working time units, including the hours, days, and weeks. (Image unavailable)

Select the options on this tab to reflect the way your team works.

The Default Start Time (8:00 A.M.) and Default End Time (5:00 P.M.) are assigned to tasks when you enter a start or finish date without specifying a time.

The Hours Per Day, Hours Per Week, and Days Per Month values serve as your time unit specifications when needed. If you specify that a task has a duration of 1 month, does that mean 20 days or 30 days? These settings are used in conjunction with the working times calendars to dictate how your tasks are scheduled.

Calculating Your Most Probable Duration

In the course of researching task duration information, you might get conflicting results. Maybe the team member who’s going to carry out a major task says it’s going to take 3 weeks. Perhaps an expert stakeholder says it should take 2 weeks. And maybe the industry standard states that the same task should take 4 weeks. These are large discrepancies and they’re all coming from credible sources. How do you schedule a task with three possible durations?

Or maybe you have a single reliable duration or a duration range like 2 weeks +/- 10 percent for all tasks in your task list, and you want your project plan to model a best-case scenario, a worst-case scenario, and an expected scenario for all durations. This way you can learn the earliest possible project finish date, the latest possible date, and the most probable finish date.

Troubleshooting:

You set the calendar for 20 hours per week but the tasks are still being scheduled for 40 hours per week

Or you thought you set the calendar for 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M., for the project to be scheduled only in the mornings, but the tasks are still being scheduled 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Sometimes the Calendar options tab confuses more readily than it assists. The Hours Per Day, Hours Per Week, and Days Per Month settings can easily be misinterpreted to make us think we’re using them to set the schedule for the project. What we’re actually doing is setting start and end times and specifying how duration entries are to be converted to assignment work.

Suppose you want to specify that work on this project is to be scheduled only in the mornings, from 8:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M. To affect actual task scheduling in this way, you’d need to edit the working times for each day in the Change Working Time calendar. The Default Start Time only specifies the time that Microsoft Project should enter if you enter a start date without a corresponding start time. The Default End Time only specifies the time that Microsoft Project should enter if you enter a finish date without a corresponding finish time.

Also, suppose you want to specify that work on this project is to be scheduled only 20 hours per week because your team is working on another project at the same time. If you enter 20 in the Hours Per Week box, and then enter a duration of 2 weeks, that is scheduled as 40 hours—according to the project calendar. That means if the project’s working times calendar is still set for Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. through 5:00 P.M., the 2 weeks is scheduled as two sets of 20 hours back to back, resulting in "2 weeks" taking place in 1 actual week in your schedule—probably not what you intended.

The solution is to make the corresponding change in the working times calendar. Set the working and nonworking times in the Change Working Time calendar so that there are 20 hours of working time per week. Then when you enter 2 weeks as a duration, the first 20 hours will be scheduled in the first week, and the second 20 hours will be scheduled in the second week.

The settings in the Calendar Options tab also determine how durations are translated into work time units when you assign resources to tasks.

To help resolve discrepancies or to model alternative scenarios, you can run a PERT analysis. PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) analysis uses a weighted average of optimistic, pessimistic, and expanded durations to calculate task durations and therefore the project schedule. This can be an effective risk management tool. It can also help if you're working out a project proposal or estimating time, cost, or resource requirements.

CAUTION:

When you run a PERT analysis, the resulting calculated values in the Optimistic Duration, Expected Duration, and Pessimistic Duration fields will be stored in the custom fields Duration1, Duration2, and Duration3, respectively. In addition, the resulting optimistic start and finish dates are stored in the custom fields Start1 and Finish1. The expected start and finish dates are stored in the custom fields Start2 and Finish2. The pessimistic start and finish dates are stored in the custom fields Start3 and Finish3. Any values in any of these custom fields are overwritten by the results of the PERT analysis. This can be significant if you were storing interim plan information in these fields.

For more information about interim plans, see "Saving Additional Baselines" on page 288. For more information about using custom fields, see "Customizing Fields" on page 613.

To set up a PERT analysis, follow these steps:

Click View, Toolbars, PERT Analysis.

On the PERT Analysis toolbar, click PERT Entry Sheet.

For each task, enter the optimistic, expected, and pessimistic durations in the appropriate fields (see Figure 5-5).

Figure 5-5. Use the PERT Entry Sheet to specify the optimistic, expected, and pessimistic durations for each task. (Image unavailable)

If you do not expect a duration for a particular task to vary at all, enter the same value in all three fields.

On the PERT Analysis toolbar, click Calculate PERT.

The estimated durations are calculated, and the results change the value in the Duration field (see Figure 5-6).

Figure 5-6. The recalculated durations based on the PERT analysis replace the values in the Duration field for each task. (Image unavailable)

InsideOut:

The PERT method is seldom used to calculate task durations these days. Another, more commonly used method, and the one on which the standard Microsoft Project calculations are based, is the CPM (Critical Path Method). In the CPM method, project duration is forecasted by analyzing which sequence of project activities has the least amount of scheduling flexibility. An early start and early finish are calculated, as are the late start and late finish.

For more information about the critical path method, see "Working with the Critical Path and Critical Tasks" on page 233.

You can review Gantt charts using each of the three sets of durations, as follows:

For the optimistic durations, click Optimistic Gantt on the PERT Analysis toolbar (see Figure 5-7).

Figure 5-7. The Optimistic Gantt shows the optimistic durations for the PERT Analysis. (Image unavailable)

For the expected durations, click Expected Gantt on the PERT Analysis toolbar.

For the pessimistic durations, click Pessimistic Gantt on the PERT Analysis toolbar.

InsideOut:

Sometimes the PERT analysis results appear to be skewed or exaggerated. You can adjust how Microsoft Project weights duration estimates for the PERT analysis. On the PERT Analysis toolbar, click Set PERT Weights. Change the number in at least two of the three fields: Optimistic, Expected, and Pessimistic—so that the sum of all three numbers equals 6 (see Figure 5-8). Then enter the durations in the PERT Entry Sheet as described above, and finally click Calculate PERT.

By default, the PERT weights are 1-4-1, that is, heavily weighted toward the expected duration, and lightly and equally weighted for the pessimistic and optimistic durations. Although 1-4-1 is the standard PERT weighting, 1-3-2 can build in a little more pessimism for better risk management.

Figure 5-8. Use the Set PERT Weights dialog box to change the weighting of optimistic, expected, and pessimistic durations for the PERT Analysis calculation. (Image unavailable)

TIP Use your PERT analysis to check how you’re progressing:

A good use of the PERT analysis is for a quick check of how your project is going. Has your critical path or resource leveling pushed the project schedule beyond your worst-case PERT analysis? If so, this can tell you it’s time to replan your project.

Establishing Task Dependencies

Now task durations are entered in your Gantt Chart (see Figure 5-9).

Figure 5-9. Durations are graphed in the Gantt Chart, and all tasks start on the project start date. (Image unavailable)

The next step in creating your schedule is to link tasks that are dependent upon each other. Often, one task cannot begin until a previous task has been completed. Sometimes several tasks are dependent upon the completion of one task. Sometimes several tasks must finish before a single later task can begin. You can link the previous, or predecessor task to its succeeding, or successor task, and thereby set up the task dependency between the two.

NOTE:

A task dependency is also referred to as a task relationship or a link.

With your task dependencies and durations in place, your project plan really starts to look like a real schedule, and you can start to see possible start dates and finish dates, not only for the individual tasks, but also for major phases, milestones, and the project as a whole. When you create a link between two tasks, Microsoft Project calculates the successor’s start and finish dates based on the predecessor’s start or finish date, the dependency type, the successor’s duration, and any associated resource assignments. There’s still more information and refinement to be done, but you’re getting closer to a schedule you can work with.

Creating the Finish-to-Start Task Dependency

The most typical link is the finish-to-start task dependency. With this link, the predecessor task must finish before the successor task can begin. To link tasks with the finish-to-start task dependency, follow these steps:

Display the Gantt Chart.

You can set task dependencies in any task sheet, but you can see the effects of the links immediately in the Gantt Chart.

In the task sheet, select the two tasks you want to link. Drag from the predecessor to the successor task if they are right next to each other. If they are not adjacent tasks, click the predecessor, hold down the Ctrl key, and then click the successor.

On the Standard toolbar, click Link Tasks.

The tasks are linked in the chart portion of the Gantt Chart. In addition, the Predecessor field of the successor task lists the task number for its predecessor (see Figure 5-10).

Figure 5-10. Linked tasks in the Gantt Chart. (Image unavailable)

TIP Link multiple tasks at once:

You can link multiple tasks at one time, as long as they all have the same type of task dependency. Select all the tasks that are to be linked, either by dragging them or by clicking them while holding down the Ctrl key. On the Standard toolbar, click Link Tasks.

TIP Set multiple links to a single task:

You can have multiple links to and from a single task. One task might be the predecessor for several other tasks. Likewise, one task might be the successor for several tasks. There’s no difference in how you set the links. Select the two tasks and click Link Tasks on the Standard toolbar. Or select the successor, and then set the predecessor and link type on the Predecessors tab in the Task Information dialog box.

TIP Link tasks by dragging between Gantt bars:

In the chart portion of the Gantt Chart, drag from the middle of the predecessor Gantt bar to the middle of the successor Gantt bar. Before you drag, be sure that you see a crosshair mouse pointer. This creates a finish-to-start task dependency between them.

Understanding the Dependency Types

Although the finish-to-start task dependency is the most common, there are four types of dependencies, as follows:

Finish-to-start (FS). As soon as the predecessor task finishes, the successor task can start.

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Finish-to-finish (FF). As soon as the predecessor task finishes, the successor task can finish.

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Start-to-start (SS). As soon as the predecessor task starts, the successor task can start.

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Start-to-finish (SF). As soon as the predecessor task starts, the successor task can finish. This type of link is rarely used, but still available if you need it.

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TIP Link tasks with the Project Guide:

You can use the Project Guide to help you set task dependencies. On the Project Guide toolbar, click the Tasks button. In the Project Guide pane, click the Schedule Tasks link. Read the information, and use the controls provided to link tasks. When finished, click the Done link.

TIP Automatically link tasks:

By default, when you move a task from one location to another in your task sheet, or when you insert a new task, that task is automatically linked like its surrounding tasks. You can control this setting. Click Tools, Options, and then click the Schedule tab. Select or clear the Autolink Inserted Or Moved Tasks check box.

To apply a task dependency, follow these steps:

Display the Gantt Chart or other view with a task sheet.

Select the task that is to become the successor in the dependency you will be setting.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

You can also simply double-click a task to open the Task Information dialog box.

Click the Predecessors tab (see Figure 5-11).

Figure 5-11. Use the Predecessors tab in the Task Information dialog box to set different types of task dependencies. (Image unavailable)

Click the first blank row in the Task Name field, and then click the down arrow. The list of tasks in the project appears.

Click the task that is to be the predecessor to the current task.

Click the Type field, and then select the type of task dependency: Finish- to-Start (FS), Start-to-Start (SS), Finish-to-Finish (FF), Start-to-Finish (SF), or None.

TIP Change the task link directly in the Gantt Chart:

You can also apply the Finish-to-Start task link to a pair of tasks, and then quickly change the link on the chart portion of the Gantt Chart. Double-click the task link line on the chart. The Task Dependency dialog box appears. In the Type box, change the dependency type, and then click OK.

TIP Link between projects:

Not only can you link tasks within one project, you can link tasks in different projects. For more information, see Chapter 15, "Exchanging Information Between Project Plans."

Overlapping Linked Tasks by Adding Lead Time

One way to make your project schedule more efficient is to overlap linked tasks where possible. Suppose you have a task that can’t begin until a previous task is finished. You realize that the predecessor doesn’t actually have to be finished—after it’s 50 percent complete, the successor can begin. The successor essentially gets a 50 percent head start, hence the term lead time. For example, "Construct walls" is the predecessor to "Plaster walls." Although plastering cannot be done until the walls are constructed, the final wall does not need to be constructed before plastering of the first wall can begin. You can set an amount of lead time for the "Plaster walls" task.

Lead time is expressed as a negative value. It can be a percentage of the predecessor, for example, -25%. Or, it can be a specific time period, for example, -4d or -1ew.

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To enter lead time for a linked task, follow these steps:

Display the Gantt Chart or other view with a task sheet.

Select the successor task that is to have the lead time.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Predecessors tab.

In the Lag field for the existing Predecessor, type the amount of lead time you want for the successor. Use a negative number, and enter the lead time as a percentage or duration amount.

TIP Enter lead time directly in the task sheet:

You can also enter lead time in the sheet portion of the Gantt Chart. Click in the Predecessors field for the successor task. The field should already contain the Task ID of the predecessor task. After the Task ID, enter the code representing the link type, and then enter the amount of lead time. For example, 9FS-1 day, or 14FF-20%.

Delaying Linked Tasks by Adding Lag Time

Suppose you have a pair of tasks with a finish-to-start link. And then you realize that the successor really can’t start when the predecessor is finished—there needs to be some additional delay. This is usually the case when something needs to happen between the two tasks that isn’t another task. For example, suppose the "Order equipment" task is the predecessor to the "Install equipment" task. Although the equipment cannot be installed until after the equipment is ordered, it still cannot be installed immediately after ordering. Some lag time is needed to allow for the equipment to be shipped and delivered. In such a case, the successor needs to be delayed, and you can enter lag time in the schedule to accurately reflect this condition.

Just like lead time, lag time can be a percentage of the predecessor, for example, 75%. Or it can be a specific time period, for example, 16h or 3ed. Unlike lead time, however, lag time is expressed as a positive number.

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NOTE:

Don’t confuse the delay afforded by lag time with assignment delay. With lag time, the delay is from the end of the predecessor to the beginning of the successor task. With assignment delay, there is a delay from the task start date to the assignment start date.

For more information about adjusting assignments using delay, see "Adjusting Assignments" on page 261.

To enter lag time for a linked task, follow these steps:

Display the Gantt Chart or other view with a task sheet.

Select the successor task that is to have the lag time.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Predecessors tab.

In the Lag field for the existing Predecessor, type the amount of lag time you want for the successor. Use a positive number, and enter the lag time as a percentage or duration amount.

TIP Enter lag time directly in the task sheet:

You can also enter lag time values in the sheet portion of the Gantt Chart. Click in the Predecessors field of the successor task. The field should already contain the Task ID of the predecessor task. After the Task ID, enter the code representing the link type, and then enter the amount of lag time. For example, 9FS+1 day, or 14FF+20%.

Changing or Removing Links

To change or remove an existing task dependency, follow these steps:

Display the Gantt Chart or other view with a task sheet.

Select the successor task whose link you want to change.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Predecessors tab.

Click in the Type field for the predecessor you want to change, and then select the type of task dependency you want it to be: Finish-to-Start (FS), Start-to-Start (SS), Finish-to-Finish (FF), Start-to-Finish (SF), or None. If you select None, the link is removed entirely.

Troubleshooting:

You’re trying to remove just the predecessor link from a task, but the successor link is removed at the same time

When you click a task and then click Unlink Tasks, all links are removed—predecessor, successor, and any multiples. As a result, the scheduling of this task returns to the project start date or a start date entered as a constraint.

To remove just a single predecessor, click the task, and then click Task Information on the Standard toolbar. In the Task Information dialog box, click the Predecessors tab. Click the task name of the predecessor you want to delete, and then press the Delete key.

Reviewing Task Dependencies

When needed, the following three views can give you a closer look at the task dependencies in your project:

The Gantt Chart shows task dependencies with link lines between the Gantt bars. In fact, all Gantt chart views show task dependencies this way.

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The Network Diagram shows each task as an individual node, with link lines between them.

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The Relationship Diagram shows the predecessors and successors of a single selected task.

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Scheduling Tasks to Achieve Specific Dates

With task dependencies established, your project schedule is taking shape and looking more and more realistic (see Figure 5-12).

Figure 5-12. With durations entered and tasks linked, the Gantt Chart is starting to show meaningful information. (Image unavailable)

With working times calendars, durations, and task dependencies in place, Microsoft Project has the information needed to schedule your project from start to finish. By default, Microsoft Project schedules each task to start "As Soon As Possible."

However, you might have additional dates to consider. For example, maybe certain pivotal supplies will not be ready for use in the project until after April 6. Perhaps an important review meeting is taking place on June 29 that will set the stage for work toward the final milestones. Maybe one of your deliverables is a presentation at a key professional conference held on August 22.

To schedule around these important dates, you can set a constraint, which is a restriction on the start or finish date of a task. All tasks have a constraint applied—at the very least, the default "As Soon As Possible" constraint. The As Soon As Possible constraint indicates that the task should be scheduled according to its working times calendars, duration, task dependencies, and any resource assignments—without regard to any specific date.

Understanding Constraint Types

The As Soon As Possible constraint is applied by default to all tasks in a project scheduled from the start date. In a project scheduled from the finish date, the As Late As Possible constraint is applied. The As Soon As Possible and As Late As Possible constraints are considered flexible constraints.

NOTE:

Different types of constraints are applied in certain situations depending on whether you’re working with a project scheduled from the start date or from the finish date. For example, entering a date in the Start field of a project scheduled from the start date causes a Start No Earlier Than constraint to be applied. Doing the same thing in a project scheduled from the finish date causes a Start No Later Than constraint to be applied.

When a task needs to be scheduled in relation to a specific date, there are additional constraints you can apply, each of which is associated with a date. The following is a list of all the date constraints you can use to refine your project schedule:

Start No Earlier Than (SNET). A moderately flexible constraint that specifies the earliest possible date that a task could begin. For projects scheduled from a start date, this constraint is automatically applied when you enter a start date for a task.

Finish No Earlier Than (FNET). A moderately flexible constraint that specifies the earliest possible date that this task could be completed. For projects scheduled from a start date, this constraint is automatically applied when you enter a finish date for a task.

Start No Later Than (SNLT). A moderately flexible constraint that specifies the latest possible date that this task could begin. For projects scheduled from a finish date, this constraint is automatically applied when you enter a start date for a task.

Finish No Later Than (FNLT). A moderately flexible constraint that specifies the latest possible date that this task could be completed. For projects scheduled from a finish date, this constraint is automatically applied when you enter a finish date for a task.

Must Start On (MSO). An inflexible constraint that specifies the exact date when a task must begin. Other scheduling controls such as task dependencies become secondary to this requirement.

Must Finish On (MFO). An inflexible constraint that specifies the exact date on which a date must be completed. Other scheduling controls such as task dependencies become secondary to this requirement.

Insideout:

If you enter a date in the Start field (in a project scheduled from the start date), the Start No Earlier Than constraint is applied. The Finish date is recalculated based on the new Start date and the existing duration.

If you then enter a date in the Finish field of the same task, the constraint changes to Finish No Earlier Than. The Start date remains as you set it, but the duration is recalculated to reflect the difference between your entered Start and Finish dates.

Always be aware that any dates you enter will change the As Soon As Possible or As Late As Possible constraints to something more inflexible. If you enter both the Start and Finish dates for a task, Microsoft Project will recalculate the duration.

Project Management Practices: Working with Date Constraints:

When developing your project schedule, you might contend with one of two major categories of date constraints: externally imposed dates and milestone dates.

An externally imposed date reflects situations outside the project that influence the project schedule. Examples include the following:

Shipment of material needed for the project

A market window for a new product

A product announcement date at a trade conference

Weather restrictions on outdoor activities

A special event important to the project but scheduled by forces outside the project

You can reflect externally imposed dates as constraints on the tasks they affect. You can also add a task note as a reminder of the source of this date.

Milestone dates are typically dates set internally. As the project manager, you might set them yourself as goals to work toward. The project sponsor, customer, or other stakeholder might request certain dates for certain milestones, deliverables, or events being produced by the work of your project. You can set constraints on milestones as well as on regular tasks.

Changing Constraints

Remember, tasks always have a constraint applied—even if it’s just As Soon As Possible or As Late As Possible. So we never think of adding or removing constraints. When making a change, we’re typically changing a constraint from a flexible one to a more inflexible one, or vice versa.

There are several methods of changing constraints, as follows:

In the Gantt Chart or similar view with a task sheet, type or select dates in the Start or Finish fields. In a project scheduled from the start date, this causes a Start No Earlier Than or Finish No Earlier Than constraint to be applied. In a project scheduled from the finish date, this causes a Start No Later Than or Finish No Later Than constraint to be applied.

In any task view, select the task whose constraint you want to change, and then click Task Information on the Standard toolbar. In the Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab (see Figure 5-13). In the Constraint Type box, click the constraint type you want to apply to this task. If applicable, enter the date in the Constraint Date box.

Figure 5-13. On the Advanced tab of the Task Information dialog box, you can set constraints, deadlines, milestones, and task calendars. (Image unavailable)

On the Project Guide toolbar, click the Tasks button. In the Project Guide pane, click the Set Deadlines And Constrain Tasks link. Read the information under Constrain A Task, and use the controls that are provided to set constraints.

In the Gantt Chart or other view with a task sheet, apply the Constraint Dates table. Click View, Table, More Tables. In the More Tables dialog box, click Constraint Dates, and then click the Apply button (see Figure 5-14). In the Constraint Type field, click the constraint type you want to apply to this task. If applicable, enter the date in the Constraint Date box.

Figure 5-14. Apply the Constraint Dates table to review or change constraint types and dates. (Image unavailable)

TIP Change constraints for multiple tasks at once:

Select all the tasks that will have the same constraint applied. Drag across adjacent tasks to select them, or hold down Ctrl while clicking nonadjacent tasks. On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information, and in the Multiple Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab. Change the Constraint Type, and if applicable, the Constraint Date. Click OK. The constraint is changed for all selected tasks.

This works best if you’re changing date constraints to As Soon As Possible or As Late As Possible, because it’s rare that multiple tasks would have the same constraint date.

Troubleshooting:

You can’t delete a constraint

By their nature, constraints are not deleted. A constraint is applied to every task. If you’re thinking of deleting a constraint, what you probably want to do is change it from a date constraint like Must Start On or Finish No Later Than to a flexible constraint like As Soon As Possible.

Double-click the task to open the Task Information dialog box, and then click the Advanced tab. In the Constraint Type box, click As Soon As Possible or As Late As Possible.

Working with Flexible and Inflexible Constraints

There are three levels of flexibility associated with task constraints: flexible, moderately flexible, and inflexible.

The flexible constraints are As Soon As Possible and As Late As Possible. These constraints work with task dependencies to schedule a task as soon or as late as the task dependency and other scheduling considerations will accommodate. These are the default constraints, and allow Microsoft Project maximum flexibility in calculating start and finish dates for the tasks. For example, a task with an ASAP constraint and a finish-to-start dependency will be scheduled as soon as the predecessor task finishes.

The moderately flexible constraints (Start No Earlier Than, Start No Later Than, Finish No Earlier Than, and Finish No Later Than) have a range of dates to work within. That is, the task is restricted to starting or finishing before or after the date you choose. This provides some room for flexibility, even though a date is in place. For example, a task with a Start No Later Than constraint for November 14 and a finish-to-start dependency to another task can begin any time its predecessor is finished up until November 14, but it cannot be scheduled after November 14.

The inflexible constraints, Must Start On and Must Finish On, have an absolute single date that the schedule must accommodate. This means that other scheduling considerations must fall by the wayside if necessary to meet this date. By default, constraints take precedence over task dependencies when there’s a conflict between the two. For example, a task with a Must Finish On constraint for April 30 and a finish-to-start dependency to another task will always be scheduled for April 30, regardless of whether the predecessor finishes on time.

InsideOut:

If you set a moderately flexible constraint such as Start No Earlier Than, or an inflexible constraint such as Must Finish On, you run the risk of a conflict with task dependencies. Suppose the "Hang wallpaper" task has a Must Finish On constraint for June 25. Because of various delays, the task’s finish-to-start predecessor task, "Texture walls," actually finishes on June 29.

This creates a scheduling conflict. According to the task dependency, you can’t hang wallpaper until the walls are textured, which won’t finish until June 29. But according to the constraint, the wallpaper must be hung by June 25.

By default, where there’s a conflict like this between a task dependency and a constraint, the constraint takes precedence. In this case, there would be 4 days of negative slack, which essentially means that the predecessor task is running 4 days into the time allotted to the successor task. You might see a Planning Wizard message regarding this, especially if you’re still in the planning phase and are setting up tasks with such a conflict before actual work is even reported.

To resolve this, you can change the constraint to a more flexible one, like Finish No Earlier Than. You can change the Must Finish On date to a later date that will work. You can also change the scheduling precedence option. If you want task dependencies to take precedence over constraints, click Tools, Options. In the Options dialog box, click the Schedule tab. Clear the Tasks Will Always Honor Their Constraint Dates check box.

Reviewing Constraints

With the right constraints in place, you have the beginnings of a schedule. The Gantt Chart can provide a great deal of information about your constraints and other scheduling controls.

You can sort tasks by Start Date, Finish Date, Constraint Type, or Constraint Date. You can group tasks by Constraint Type. You can filter tasks by the Should Start By date or the Should Start/Finish By date.

These can provide overviews of the big picture of start and finish dates across many tasks at a time. If you want to review details, you can review the Task Information dialog box for a task. The General tab includes the scheduled start and finish dates, and the Advanced tab includes the constraint type and constraint date.

You can apply the Task Entry view. The task details for any task you select in the Gantt Chart in the upper pane are shown in the Task Form in the lower pane. The default Resources & Predecessors details show task dependencies as well as any lead or lag time (see Figure 5-15).

Figure 5-15. With the Task Entry view, you can review details of an individual task selected in the Gantt Chart. (Image unavailable)

newfeature!

Getting Scheduling Feedback

After you have assigned tasks to resources, Microsoft Project 2002 employs Microsoft Office XP Smart Tags technology to provide scheduling feedback. When you make certain kinds of changes that affect scheduling, such as changes to duration, start date, or finish date, a green triangle might appear in the corner of the edited cell in a Gantt chart, task sheet view, or usage view.

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When you move your mouse pointer over the cell containing the feedback indicator, the Smart Tag icon appears.

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Click the Smart Tag icon. A message explains the scheduling ramifications of your edit. The message usually gives you the opportunity to change the edit so that the result is closer to your expectation.

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Feedback message

The indicator appears in the cell as long as the edit is available for an Undo operation. After you make a new edit, the indicator disappears.

Unlike Microsoft Office XP Smart Tags, you cannot change or create your own feedback messages in Microsoft Project. However, you can turn them off. Click Tools, Options. In the Options dialog box, click the Interface tab, and then clear any of the check boxes under Show Indicators And Options Buttons.

For more information about feedback indicators in resource assignments, see "Changing Resource Assignments" on page 206.

Setting Deadline Reminders

Suppose you want a task or milestone to be completed by a certain date, but you don’t want to limit the schedule calculations by setting a constraint. Set a deadline instead. A deadline appears as an indicator on your Gantt Chart as a target or goal, but does not affect the scheduling of your tasks.

To set a deadline, follow these steps:

Select the task for which you want to set a deadline.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

In the Deadline box, enter or select the deadline date.

The deadline marker appears in the chart area of the Gantt Chart (see Figure 5-16). Repeat Steps 1-4 to change or remove a deadline if necessary. If you’re removing a deadline, select the date and press the Delete key.

Figure 5-16. The deadline does not affect scheduling but simply provides a guideline for important dates. (Image unavailable)

TIP Use the Project Guide to set deadlines:

On the Project Guide toolbar, click the Tasks button. In the Project Guide pane, click the Set Deadlines And Constrain Tasks link. Read the information under Set A Deadline, and use the controls provided to set deadlines.

You can show deadlines in your task sheet as well, by adding the Deadline field as a column. To do this, follow these steps:

Right-click the column heading to the right of where you want your new Deadline column to be inserted, and then click Insert Column.

Or you can click the column heading, and then click Insert, Column. The Column Definition dialog box appears.

In the Field Name box, click Deadline. You can type the first one or two letters to go straight to it in the list.

The Deadline field shows any deadline dates that have already been set, and "NA" for tasks without deadlines. You can enter deadlines directly in this field.

If the schedule for a task moves beyond its deadline date, either because of normal scheduling calculations or because of actual progress information entered, an alert appears in the Indicators field, specifying that the task is scheduled to finish later than its deadline (see Figure 5-17).

Figure 5-17. If a deadline is going to be missed, the deadline indicator provides the details. (Image unavailable)

You can set deadlines for summary tasks as well as individual tasks. If the summary task’s deadline conflicts with the finish dates of any of the subtasks, the deadline indicator specifies a missed deadline among the subtasks. You can also set deadlines for milestone tasks as well as for normal tasks.

InsideOut:

There are two instances in which a deadline can indeed affect task scheduling. The first is if you enter a deadline that falls before the end of the task’s total slack, the total slack is recalculated using the deadline date rather than the task’s late finish date. If the total slack reaches 0, the task becomes critical.

The second is if you set a deadline on a task with an As Late As Possible constraint. Suppose the task is scheduled to finish on the deadline date. However, if any predecessors slipped, the task could still finish beyond its deadline.

For more information about the critical path, slack, and late finish dates, see "Working with the Critical Path and Critical Tasks" on page 233.

Creating Milestones in Your Schedule

You can designate certain tasks as milestones in your project plan. Having milestones flagged in your project plan and visible in your Gantt Chart helps you see when you’ve achieved another benchmark. Milestones often indicate the beginning or ending of major phases or the completion of deliverables in your project. As you complete each milestone, you come ever closer to completing the project. Milestones are also excellent reporting points.

A milestone, as such, has no additional calculation effect on your schedule. However, you typically link a milestone to other tasks. You might also set a date constraint on a milestone.

The simplest method for entering a milestone is to create the task, worded like a milestone, for example, "First floor construction complete," and enter a duration of 0. Any task with a 0 duration is automatically set as a milestone. The milestone marker and date are drawn in the chart area of the Gantt Chart (see Figure 5-18).

Figure 5-18. Microsoft Project interprets any task with a 0 duration as a milestone. (Image unavailable)

However, a milestone does not have to have a 0 duration. You might want to make the final task in each phase a milestone, and these are real tasks with real durations. To change a regular task into a milestone, follow these steps:

Select the task you want to become a milestone.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

Select the Mark Task As Milestone check box.

The Gantt bar for the task changes to the milestone marker in the chart area of the Gantt Chart (see Figure 5-19).

Figure 5-19. You can set any task as a milestone. (Image unavailable)

InsideOut:

By default, milestones markers are set to appear on their Start date. Suppose you have a 4-day task with a Start date of December 12 and a Finish date of December 16. If you change this task to a milestone, the duration, start date, and finish dates remain the same. However, the Gantt bar for the task in the chart area of the Gantt Chart changes to a milestone marker on December 12. This can be misleading because there’s no longer anything drawn to show the end of the task.

You can change the bar style for the milestone marker. By default, the style is drawn "From Start To Start." You can change it to be "From Finish To Finish." Click Format, Bar Styles. In the grid, click in the From field for the Milestone style, and then click Finish. Click in the To field for the Milestone style, and then click Finish. This will cause the milestone marker to sit on the Finish date (see Figure 5-20).

Figure 5-20. You can change the milestone marker to appear on the Finish date rather than the Start date. (Image unavailable)

Or you can change the bar style to include a bar showing duration, with the milestone marker at the end of the bar. In the Bar Styles dialog box, click the Appearance field for the Milestone style. Below the grid, under Middle, enter a shape, pattern, and color for the Gantt bar you want to represent the milestone bar. Under End, enter the shape, type, and color for the end marker for the milestone Gantt bar. In the grid, change the From field to Start and the To field to Finish. This will give you a Gantt bar showing the duration of the milestone task as well as a symbol to mark the end of the task and completion of the milestone (see Figure 5-21).

Figure 5-21. You can create a milestone Gantt bar to show the milestone’s duration as well as its end point. (Image unavailable)

Working with Task Calendars

The scheduling of your tasks is driven by task duration, task dependencies, and constraints. It’s also driven by the project calendar. If your project calendar dictates that work is done Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., initially that’s when your tasks are scheduled.

For more information about calendars, see "Setting Your Project Calendar" on page 58.

However, if a task is assigned to a resource who works Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M., the task is scheduled for those times instead. That is, the task is scheduled according to the assigned resource’s working times calendar, rather than the project calendar.

Sometimes you have a task that needs to be scheduled differently from the working times reflected in the project calendar or the assigned resource calendars. For example, you might have a task that specifies preventive maintenance on equipment at specified intervals. Or you might have a task being completed by a machine running 24 hours a day. In any case, the task has its own working time, and you want it to be scheduled according to that working time rather than the project or resource working time so it can accurately reflect what’s really happening with this task.

Creating a Base Calendar

Microsoft Project comes with three base calendars. These base calendars are like calendar templates that you can apply to the project as a whole, a set of resources, or in this case, a set of tasks. The three base calendars are described in Table 5-1.

Table 5-1. Base Calendar Types

Calendar type Description

Standard Working time is set to Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., with an hour off for lunch from 12:00 P.M. until 1:00 P.M. each day. This is the default base calendar used for the project, for tasks, and for resources.

Night Shift Working time is set from 11:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. five days a week, with an hour off for lunch from 3:00 A.M. until 4:00 A.M. each morning. This base calendar is generally used for resources who work a graveyard shift. It can also be used for projects that are carried out only during the night shift.

24 Hours Working time is set to 12:00 A.M. until 12:00 A.M. seven days a week, that is, work never stops. This base calendar is typically used for projects in a manufacturing situation, for example, which might run two or three back-to-back shifts every day of the week.

NOTE:

If you are running Project Server, the Night Shift and 24 Hours calendars are available only to administrators.

If you want to apply a task calendar, you often need to create a special base calendar for the purpose. To create a new base calendar, follow these steps:

Click Tools, Change Working Time.

Click the New button. The Create New Base Calendar dialog box appears (see Figure 5-22).

Figure 5-22. Create a new base calendar to set a unique working times schedule for a specific task. (Image unavailable)

In the Name box, type the name you want for the new base calendar, for example, "Equipment Maintenance."

Select Create New Base Calendar if you want to adapt your calendar from the Standard base calendar.

Select Make A Copy Of if you want to adapt the new calendar from a different existing base calendar, such as the Night Shift. Select the name of the existing calendar you want to adapt.

Click OK.

Make the changes you want to the working days and times for individual days or entire days of the week, as needed.

When finished with your new base calendar, click OK.

Assigning a Base Calendar to a Task

To assign a base calendar to a task, follow these steps:

Select the task to which you want to assign a base calendar.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

In the Calendar box, click the name of the calendar you want to assign to this task. All base calendars are listed, including ones you have created yourself.

A calendar indicator appears in the Indicator column. If you rest your mouse pointer over the indicator, a ScreenTip displays the name of the assigned calendar (see Figure 5-23). Follow this same procedure to change to a different task calendar, or to remove the task calendar.

Figure 5-23. Assign a calendar to a task to schedule it independently from the project or resource calendars. (Image unavailable)

Troubleshooting:

You’ve assigned a task calendar, but it’s not scheduling tasks in all the times it should

The task probably also has a resource assigned, and the resource calendar is conflicting with what you want the task calendar to accomplish.

When you assign a task calendar, it takes the place of the project calendar. However, suppose resources are assigned to the task as well. Resources are all associated with their own resource calendars, as well. Although a resource’s calendar might be the same as the project calendar, it might be customized for the resource’s specific working times.

When resources are assigned, the task is scheduled not just for the working times indicated in the task calendar. Instead, by default, Microsoft Project schedules the task according to the common working times between the task calendar and the resource calendar.

For example, suppose the 24-hour base calendar is assigned to a task that’s also assigned to a resource who works Friday through Sunday, 9:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. The only times the two calendars have in common are Friday through Sunday, 9:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M., so by default, those are the only times when work will be scheduled for this task.

If you want the resource calendar to be ignored on a task, open the Task Information dialog box for the task, and click the Advanced tab. Select the Scheduling Ignores Resource Calendars check box.

A milestone, as such, has no additional calculation effect on your schedule. However, you typically link a milestone to other tasks. You might also set a date constraint on a milestone.

The simplest method for entering a milestone is to create the task, worded like a milestone, for example, "First floor construction complete," and enter a duration of 0. Any task with a 0 duration is automatically set as a milestone. The milestone marker and date are drawn in the chart area of the Gantt Chart (see Figure 5-18).

Figure 5-18. Microsoft Project interprets any task with a 0 duration as a milestone. (Image unavailable)

However, a milestone does not have to have a 0 duration. You might want to make the final task in each phase a milestone, and these are real tasks with real durations. To change a regular task into a milestone, follow these steps:

Select the task you want to become a milestone.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

Select the Mark Task As Milestone check box.

The Gantt bar for the task changes to the milestone marker in the chart area of the Gantt Chart (see Figure 5-19).

Figure 5-19. You can set any task as a milestone. (Image unavailable)

InsideOut:

By default, milestones markers are set to appear on their Start date. Suppose you have a 4-day task with a Start date of December 12 and a Finish date of December 16. If you change this task to a milestone, the duration, start date, and finish dates remain the same. However, the Gantt bar for the task in the chart area of the Gantt Chart changes to a milestone marker on December 12. This can be misleading because there’s no longer anything drawn to show the end of the task.

You can change the bar style for the milestone marker. By default, the style is drawn "From Start To Start." You can change it to be "From Finish To Finish." Click Format, Bar Styles. In the grid, click in the From field for the Milestone style, and then click Finish. Click in the To field for the Milestone style, and then click Finish. This will cause the milestone marker to sit on the Finish date (see Figure 5-20).

Figure 5-20. You can change the milestone marker to appear on the Finish date rather than the Start date. (Image unavailable)

Or you can change the bar style to include a bar showing duration, with the milestone marker at the end of the bar. In the Bar Styles dialog box, click the Appearance field for the Milestone style. Below the grid, under Middle, enter a shape, pattern, and color for the Gantt bar you want to represent the milestone bar. Under End, enter the shape, type, and color for the end marker for the milestone Gantt bar. In the grid, change the From field to Start and the To field to Finish. This will give you a Gantt bar showing the duration of the milestone task as well as a symbol to mark the end of the task and completion of the milestone (see Figure 5-21).

Figure 5-21. You can create a milestone Gantt bar to show the milestone’s duration as well as its end point. (Image unavailable)

Working with Task Calendars

The scheduling of your tasks is driven by task duration, task dependencies, and constraints. It’s also driven by the project calendar. If your project calendar dictates that work is done Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., initially that’s when your tasks are scheduled.

For more information about calendars, see "Setting Your Project Calendar" on page 58.

However, if a task is assigned to a resource who works Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 A.M. until 9:00 P.M., the task is scheduled for those times instead. That is, the task is scheduled according to the assigned resource’s working times calendar, rather than the project calendar.

Sometimes you have a task that needs to be scheduled differently from the working times reflected in the project calendar or the assigned resource calendars. For example, you might have a task that specifies preventive maintenance on equipment at specified intervals. Or you might have a task being completed by a machine running 24 hours a day. In any case, the task has its own working time, and you want it to be scheduled according to that working time rather than the project or resource working time so it can accurately reflect what’s really happening with this task.

Creating a Base Calendar

Microsoft Project comes with three base calendars. These base calendars are like calendar templates that you can apply to the project as a whole, a set of resources, or in this case, a set of tasks. The three base calendars are described in Table 5-1.

Table 5-1. Base Calendar Types

Calendar type Description

Standard Working time is set to Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., with an hour off for lunch from 12:00 P.M. until 1:00 P.M. each day. This is the default base calendar used for the project, for tasks, and for resources.

Night Shift Working time is set from 11:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. five days a week, with an hour off for lunch from 3:00 A.M. until 4:00 A.M. each morning. This base calendar is generally used for resources who work a graveyard shift. It can also be used for projects that are carried out only during the night shift.

24 Hours Working time is set to 12:00 A.M. until 12:00 A.M. seven days a week, that is, work never stops. This base calendar is typically used for projects in a manufacturing situation, for example, which might run two or three back-to-back shifts every day of the week.

NOTE:

If you are running Project Server, the Night Shift and 24 Hours calendars are available only to administrators.

If you want to apply a task calendar, you often need to create a special base calendar for the purpose. To create a new base calendar, follow these steps:

Click Tools, Change Working Time.

Click the New button. The Create New Base Calendar dialog box appears (see Figure 5-22).

Figure 5-22. Create a new base calendar to set a unique working times schedule for a specific task. (Image unavailable)

In the Name box, type the name you want for the new base calendar, for example, "Equipment Maintenance."

Select Create New Base Calendar if you want to adapt your calendar from the Standard base calendar.

Select Make A Copy Of if you want to adapt the new calendar from a different existing base calendar, such as the Night Shift. Select the name of the existing calendar you want to adapt.

Click OK.

Make the changes you want to the working days and times for individual days or entire days of the week, as needed.

When finished with your new base calendar, click OK.

Assigning a Base Calendar to a Task

To assign a base calendar to a task, follow these steps:

Select the task to which you want to assign a base calendar.

On the Standard toolbar, click Task Information.

In the Task Information dialog box, click the Advanced tab.

In the Calendar box, click the name of the calendar you want to assign to this task. All base calendars are listed, including ones you have created yourself.

A calendar indicator appears in the Indicator column. If you rest your mouse pointer over the indicator, a ScreenTip displays the name of the assigned calendar (see Figure 5-23). Follow this same procedure to change to a different task calendar, or to remove the task calendar.

Figure 5-23. Assign a calendar to a task to schedule it independently from the project or resource calendars. (Image unavailable)

Troubleshooting:

You’ve assigned a task calendar, but it’s not scheduling tasks in all the times it should

The task probably also has a resource assigned, and the resource calendar is conflicting with what you want the task calendar to accomplish.

When you assign a task calendar, it takes the place of the project calendar. However, suppose resources are assigned to the task as well. Resources are all associated with their own resource calendars, as well. Although a resource’s calendar might be the same as the project calendar, it might be customized for the resource’s specific working times.

When resources are assigned, the task is scheduled not just for the working times indicated in the task calendar. Instead, by default, Microsoft Project schedules the task according to the common working times between the task calendar and the resource calendar.

For example, suppose the 24-hour base calendar is assigned to a task that’s also assigned to a resource who works Friday through Sunday, 9:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. The only times the two calendars have in common are Friday through Sunday, 9:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M., so by default, those are the only times when work will be scheduled for this task.

If you want the resource calendar to be ignored on a task, open the Task Information dialog box for the task, and click the Advanced tab. Select the Scheduling Ignores Resource Calendars check box.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
We'd Like to Hear from You!
About the CD
Conventions and Features Used in this Book
Pt. 1 Project Fundamentals 1
Ch. 1 Introducing Microsoft Project 2002 3
Ch. 2 Understanding Projects and Project Management 25
Pt. 2 Developing the Project Plan 45
Ch. 3 Starting a New Project 47
Ch. 4 Viewing Project Information 83
Ch. 5 Scheduling Tasks 127
Ch. 6 Setting Up Resources in the Project 163
Ch. 7 Assigning Resources to Tasks 189
Ch. 8 Planning Resource and Task Costs 217
Ch. 9 Checking and Adjusting the Project Plan 231
Pt. 3 Tracking Progress 279
Ch. 10 Saving a Baseline and Updating Progress 281
Ch. 11 Responding to Changes in Your Project 309
Pt. 4 Reporting and Analysis 335
Ch. 12 Reporting Project Information 337
Ch. 13 Analyzing Project Information 369
Pt. 5 Managing Multiple Projects 387
Ch. 14 Managing Master Projects and Resource Pools 389
Ch. 15 Exchanging Information Between Project Plans 411
Pt. 6 Integrating Microsoft Project with Other Programs 427
Ch. 16 Exchanging Information with Other Applications 429
Ch. 17 Integrating Microsoft Project with Microsoft Excel 449
Ch. 18 Integrating Microsoft Project with Microsoft Outlook 463
Pt. 7 Collaborating as a Team 473
Ch. 19 Evaluating Team Collaboration Solutions 475
Ch. 20 Collaborating Using E-Mail 485
Ch. 21 Managing Your Team Using Microsoft Project Web Access 505
Ch. 22 Communicating Information Using Microsoft Project Web Access 529
Pt. 8 Managing Projects Across Your Enterprise 545
Ch. 23 Understanding the Enterprise Features 547
Ch. 24 Using Enterprise Features to Manage Projects 559
Pt. 9 Customizing and Managing Project Files 583
Ch. 25 Customizing Your View of Project Information 585
Ch. 26 Customizing the Microsoft Project Interface 641
Ch. 27 Automating Your Work with Macros 657
Ch. 28 Standardizing Projects Using Templates 671
Ch. 29 Managing Project Files 685
Pt. 10 Programming Custom Solutions 703
Ch. 30 Understanding the Visual Basic Language 705
Ch. 31 Writing Microsoft Project Code with Visual Basic for Applications 733
Ch. 32 Working with Microsoft Project Data 769
Pt. 11 Appendixes 795
App. A Installing Microsoft Project 2002 797
App. B: Field Reference 825
App. C Online Resources for Microsoft Project 879
App. D: Keyboard Shortcuts 883
Index to Troubleshooting Topics 887
Index 889
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