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Microsoft Project 2010 70-178

Create a Logical Schedule Module

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What is Project Management?

Create a New Project

Create and Maintain Calendars

Create Custom Fields

Customize Options Settings

Setup Project Information & Create a Logical Project Structure

Create a Logical Schedule Module

00:00:00 - This nugget is focused on 2.3, "Build a logical
00:00:04 - schedule model", basically taking the basic work breakdown structure
00:00:09 - that we've defined in the previous nugget and starting to create
00:00:13 - a schedule,
00:00:16 - managing the tasks, getting the tasks to execute in a specific
00:00:21 - order or schedule. So let's see how that's done in Microsoft
00:00:25 - Project. And to create that logical schedule we need some
00:00:30 - tasks. So I'm just going to very quickly enter five tasks into my project plan.
00:00:40 - And Task 5. Now you'll notice by default, Microsoft Project has
00:00:46 - not done any scheduling. It's simply said, these five tasks are
00:00:50 - going to start today.
00:00:52 - They're all of an estimated one day's duration and they're
00:00:55 - going to finish today. If I was to, to start to play with the
00:00:59 - duration, say this guy's got two days' duration, this guy has
00:01:03 - three days' duration, this guy has two, three, and four, respectively,
00:01:09 - again, there is no scheduling taking place. They're all starting
00:01:13 - today and they're simply taking the number of days as stated
00:01:17 - by the duration. And if I change my view a little bit and start
00:01:20 - to show the start dates and the finish dates, again, there's no surprise,
00:01:24 - they're all still based on that.
00:01:27 - So this is, this is our starting point. We are now going to begin
00:01:32 - to tell Microsoft Project to schedule these tasks.
00:01:36 - And the most basic way I can schedule the task, I simply bring
00:01:39 - my mouse out into the calendar area, mouse over the blue bar,
00:01:44 - hold down my right mouse and simply drag the task. So I'm dragging
00:01:49 - the task and saying I want this task to start on Friday.
00:01:54 - Now if I reorient that just a little bit you can see that my
00:01:58 - blue bar has now grown. My duration was supposed to be only two days
00:02:02 - long, but now, all of a sudden, my blue bar has grown to show
00:02:07 - a four-day duration but yet, the duration is still showing
00:02:11 - as only two. That's because I have scheduled the work to go
00:02:15 - across a weekend, so Saturday and Sunday are a non-working
00:02:19 - times in my Project calendar, so Microsoft Project knows enough
00:02:24 - to say, oh,
00:02:26 - work isn't done on the Saturday and Sunday, it's still time there,
00:02:31 - but the two days' duration is going to be done on the Friday
00:02:34 - and the Monday.
00:02:35 - And I can do the same on Task Number 2, I can drag it out
00:02:39 - and have it start on the Tuesday,
00:02:43 - and Task Number 3 and so on, I can reorient and
00:02:48 - move the work around however I want within Microsoft Project,
00:02:53 - and I am manually scheduling the work.
00:02:57 - I'm going to say as simple as that. Another thing to note is
00:03:01 - over here, in the information column, I have an icon starting
00:03:05 - to show up, and if I mouse over the icon, it's going to sell, tell
00:03:09 - me that this task has a start no earlier than constraint
00:03:13 - and the "start no earlier than" constraint is on Friday. And
00:03:17 - that's because, again, I manually schedule the task, I did my
00:03:20 - drag and drop and I moved the task out to start on the Friday and
00:03:24 - if I mouse over Task Number 2, same thing, this task has a start
00:03:28 - no earlier than" constraint, based on Tuesday, which again, is
00:03:32 - where I did my drag and drop and the same would appear on Task
00:03:36 - Number 4, or sorry, Task Number 5.
00:03:39 - So that's one way I can manually schedule my work, by simply
00:03:43 - dragging and dropping the blue bars. I can do exactly the same
00:03:48 - here. Instead of dragging and dropping my blue bar, I can change
00:03:53 - the start date, so I'm going to change the start date and say I want
00:03:57 - this to start on the Wednesday.
00:04:03 - And again, my blue bar moved, happened so fast you, you probably
00:04:07 - didn't see it move, but the blue bar moved from being here on the
00:04:10 - left, to start on the Wednesday and again, a constraint has been added.
00:04:17 - So let's explore this concept of a task constraint a little
00:04:20 - bit more. Again, if I let my mouse over, it's telling me this task has a start
00:04:24 - no earlier than" constraint, and Microsoft Project added that
00:04:28 - constraint automatically because I adjusted the start-finish dates
00:04:33 - either by dragging and dropping or by actually typing in place.
00:04:37 - Let's explore what other task constraints are available
00:04:41 - to us. We can get to task constraints by double clicking on
00:04:44 - any task, so if we double click on Task Number 1,
00:04:48 - we get the task information window comes up, fairly similar
00:04:52 - to the task information window we saw in the previous nugget when
00:04:55 - we entered reoccurring tasks, but this is the task information
00:04:59 - window specific to non-reoccurring tasks, and we have one, two,
00:05:04 - three, four, five, six tabs. I have already been into this particular
00:05:09 - window before, so it defaulted to the advanced tab, which is
00:05:14 - where we're going to set the constraint. So here in the task
00:05:18 - information window, on the advanced tab,
00:05:23 - we have a constraint type and if we select the list box, we
00:05:27 - can see we have a number of constraints: as late as possible,
00:05:32 - as soon as possible, finish no earlier than, finish no later
00:05:37 - than, must finish on a specific date, must start on, start no
00:05:43 - earlier than, start no later than. So we have all of these options
00:05:48 - available to us and I think the options speak very, very well,
00:05:53 - they're very self-explanatory. If I set a "as late as possible",
00:06:00 - Microsoft Project, when we do the auto scheduling engine, is
00:06:03 - going to say, well this is not a very important task. Steve would
00:06:06 - rather have his resources work on any other task on the
00:06:09 - project than this one, so it's simply going to say, I will not
00:06:13 - even worry about trying to schedule work for this task until the
00:06:17 - last possible minute or when I have resources truly free and
00:06:22 - idle. So this is for a very non-critical task.
00:06:26 - The direct opposite of that is "as soon as possible", and this is the
00:06:31 - default constraint, or really, if we set the constraint type
00:06:36 - to be "as soon as", the
00:06:39 - icon is going to disappear, the "as soon as possible" is really
00:06:43 - the default, and it equates to having no constraint at all, basically
00:06:47 - saying, when the scheduling engine runs, and I know we're not
00:06:51 - talking about the scheduling engine yet, but it's, it's important
00:06:54 - to understand what these constraint types do, when this scheduling
00:06:57 - engine runs, Microsoft Project will try to get this task
00:07:02 - done as soon as possible, ASAP.
00:07:07 - "Finish no earlier than", "finish no later than", speaks for itself.
00:07:14 - They're going to be late tasks, but Microsoft Project will
00:07:18 - ensure that
00:07:21 - it's not that these constraints are going to be on. It's "finish no earlier
00:07:24 - than", "finish no later than", "must start on", "must finish", I'm sorry, "must
00:07:28 - finish on", "must start on", "start no earlier than", "start no later
00:07:32 - than". So by default we assigned the "start no earlier than" based
00:07:40 - on a specific constraint and we can change that. We can say
00:07:45 - no, this task,
00:07:48 - which is currently starting on Friday the ninth, we're going
00:07:52 - to change that to be Monday the 12th, which would be the
00:07:56 - equivalent of doing the drag and drop or doing the type in
00:07:59 - place. One of the beauties of Microsoft Project is it's extremely
00:08:02 - flexible and we can do our data entry in multiple locations.
00:08:07 - The good news about Microsoft Project is it's extremely flexible
00:08:11 - and it doesn't matter whether we do our data entry by dragging
00:08:13 - and dropping, typing in place here, doing a double click and
00:08:19 - bringing up the task information window.
00:08:24 - The only place we have the option of setting the constraint
00:08:27 - type is in the task information window, but we can change the
00:08:30 - dates in multiple aspects, in multiple locations, as already
00:08:35 - discussed. Pick the constraint that's going to allow Microsoft
00:08:40 - Project to do exactly what you want.
00:08:44 - Now, key point. The only constraint that truly is going to result
00:08:50 - in the maximum flexibility, giving Microsoft Project a maximum
00:08:56 - capacity to create an aggressive,
00:09:00 - fast, short schedule is if we give the absence of or the
00:09:05 - default constraint type "as soon as possible".
00:09:09 - And if we put this back to "as soon as possible", you'll note
00:09:12 - that for Task Number 1, the icon has disappeared and, in fact,
00:09:17 - it's moved back to
00:09:20 - no surprise, my project start date.
00:09:23 - Why is it moving this task around like that? Because I have asked
00:09:27 - Microsoft Project to auto schedule this piece of work for this
00:09:31 - particular task, and in my case, for the entire project. Had I set
00:09:36 - that to manual schedule it wouldn't move it around. So let's
00:09:40 - explore that concept of manual schedule for just a couple minutes.
00:09:44 - This task was set to be auto scheduled. If I set it to be
00:09:48 - manual scheduled, by clicking on the button, a couple of things
00:09:51 - have happened. We see the icon change, as we've already discussed,
00:09:55 - but over here we see a different presentation of the task in
00:09:59 - my calendar area. It's no longer the plain blue bar. It's now
00:10:04 - become, I would say an aqua bar, although I know I'm color blind, with the
00:10:08 - hard ends on it and that's the visual representation that
00:10:12 - this task is now a manually scheduled task. I can do the same
00:10:17 - basic things. I can drag it out and I can have it start on
00:10:21 - the Friday. It will still stretch the task, although this is
00:10:24 - manually scheduled, it still recognizes the calendar and it still
00:10:28 - recognizes that Saturday and Sundays are non-working days.
00:10:31 - I can still adjust my dates here, change it to be the Monday, and
00:10:38 - I can still do a double click
00:10:42 - and I can still begin, oh, wait. No I can't. I can't change
00:10:48 - around the constraints because the constraints are focused
00:10:52 - on auto scheduling of the task, so the constraint type and
00:10:57 - the constraint dates don't work when I am in
00:11:02 - manual schedule mode. So there are a couple of key differences with the
00:11:06 - manual schedule. One is the visual representation and two is
00:11:11 - Microsoft Project is going to turn off all of the functionality
00:11:15 - related to the auto scheduling of the task.
00:11:21 - And because Microsoft Project has turned off all that auto scheduling
00:11:24 - information, things like the duration do not have the same
00:11:29 - degree of importance to Microsoft Project. You can put just
00:11:32 - about anything you want.
00:11:37 - I think this should be two days long and it's fine, it's still
00:11:42 - going to allow you to key information into that particular
00:11:45 - column, but it's taken the edits off. If we try to do something
00:11:48 - like that on an auto scheduled task that says, I think,
00:11:55 - and hit enter, it's going to say, no, no, you can't do that.
00:11:58 - I can't put text into a date field. It must be
00:12:04 - the proper date, so again, just a couple of considerations for how
00:12:08 - Microsoft Project is going to absolutely treat these manually scheduled
00:12:12 - tasks with a little bit of, of, of flexibility to truly allow
00:12:18 - you to do all of the work manually that you want to do. But again,
00:12:22 - in my humble opinion, manually scheduling is not
00:12:26 - something I would use myself a lot. One of the reasons I
00:12:30 - use a tool like Microsoft Project is I really value the help Microsoft
00:12:34 - Project does for me in scheduling, and I want Microsoft Project
00:12:38 - to do as much scheduling for me as it can automatically.
00:12:42 - So I just went back and I said, okay, I'm done experimenting with
00:12:46 - manual schedule and I'm going to turn this task back to an
00:12:49 - auto schedule.
00:12:52 - The most manual aspect to scheduling we have inside Microsoft
00:12:56 - Project is with our constraints.
00:13:00 - Pick this constraint that's going to work best for you, realizing that
00:13:03 - Microsoft Project is going to do the maximum flexibility, "as
00:13:07 - soon as possible",
00:13:09 - but there will be tasks that "must start no earlier than". The
00:13:15 - equipment that I need for this particular task is on order
00:13:18 - and the equipment is not going arrive until, you know, October the 15th
00:13:22 - so therefore, this task simply cannot start any earlier
00:13:27 - than October the 15th.
00:13:29 - Microsoft Project treats constraints such as "start no earlier
00:13:34 - than" and "must start on" quite differently.
00:13:37 - Using that example again, the equipment isn't going to arrive until
00:13:41 - October the 15th. If I say this task must start on October the 15th,
00:13:46 - Microsoft Project will start that task on October 15th.
00:13:50 - Doesn't matter if the resources are not available,
00:13:54 - doesn't matter if, doesn't matter if, doesn't matter if.
00:13:57 - Microsoft Project will violate other rules that we're going
00:14:00 - to set inside the tool and we'll explore those rules later
00:14:04 - in this nugget.
00:14:06 - These are what we call very hard, very fixed constraints, as
00:14:11 - opposed to this constraint is "must start no earlier than". So
00:14:15 - it's going to ensure the task doesn't start before October the 15th,
00:14:18 - but if it, if the other constraints of dependencies,
00:14:22 - if, if, if, says this task really shouldn't be starting until
00:14:26 - October the 19th, sure, the equipment arrived on the 15th,
00:14:30 - it can sit there idle, other dependencies, other resource constraints,
00:14:33 - other, other says the task really is better off starting
00:14:37 - on the 19th,
00:14:39 - then it will allow that task to slip and not start until the 19th.
00:14:43 - So there's very hard constraints, the "must finish
00:14:47 - on", "must start on", and the less stringent "start no earlier than",
00:14:54 - but it could start later than, "start no later than" but it
00:14:57 - could start earlier than, and so on,
00:15:00 - recognizing that we get the most power, the most flexibility
00:15:04 - in Microsoft Project by letting it be "as soon as possible".
00:15:10 - And one last aspect to manually adjusting tasks to suit your
00:15:15 - schedule, we will go back into our task information window,
00:15:19 - we're still on the advanced tab, and we'll look at this
00:15:23 - feature called "deadline". And by default, deadlines are not entered
00:15:28 - into Microsoft Project. With deadlines we can say, this task
00:15:34 - needs to be done by
00:15:38 - Friday the ninth and if we click "okay", we'll see that Microsoft Project
00:15:43 - has put a green arrow into my schedule, saying there is my deadline
00:15:48 - for this particular task. Now the good news is the task is currently
00:15:52 - scheduled to be done on Thursday, so I'm going to meet my deadline.
00:15:56 - Deadlines are there for visual representation, deadlines are
00:16:01 - there for project manager information, deadlines to not impact
00:16:06 - the project schedule. For example, if I go back into my detailed
00:16:10 - task information, change my deadline and say this task needed
00:16:14 - to be done not Thursday, because that's when it was going to
00:16:18 - be done, let's say this task needs to be done by Wednesday,
00:16:21 - click "okay",
00:16:24 - the task isn't done by my deadline, the task isn't going to be done until
00:16:28 - Thursday, but Microsoft Project is not going to get terribly
00:16:32 - upset about it, except it's going to give me
00:16:36 - an icon, a nice, red icon out there in my information bar and it's
00:16:41 - going to tell me that this task goes past its deadline.
00:16:45 - So again, it's there for project management information, does
00:16:48 - not impact the scheduling of the task itself.
00:16:54 - And that ends our discussion on setting some of the manual
00:16:58 - options I have as a project manager within Microsoft Project,
00:17:02 - certainly works very well, but again, in Steve's humble opinion,
00:17:06 - setting constraints, setting the projects such that
00:17:11 - the project is not going to again, support auto scheduling, to
00:17:15 - me is contrary to why I buy a tool like Microsoft Project. One
00:17:20 - of the features of, one of the beauties of Microsoft Project
00:17:23 - is it will schedule that the project for me automatically.
00:17:27 - So I'm going to quickly go into these tasks and remove all of those
00:17:31 - constraints, I'm going to remove the deadline,
00:17:35 - and I'm going to wipe that out all together and I'm going to click "okay" and
00:17:41 - I'm going to go into this task and I'm going to set it back to "as
00:17:45 - soon as possible", and so on, as we go down.
00:17:50 - Bear with me as I do this quick typing, but I wanted you to see
00:17:53 - that I am removing all of these constraints from my project
00:18:01 - and that was just a pop up saying, you seem to be doing the same
00:18:04 - thing over and over again, Steve. You want me to give you a little
00:18:07 - hand with that, and because I only had one more task to go I
00:18:11 - said no, you don't need to bother.
00:18:13 - So now I'm back to where I was when I did my original data
00:18:16 - entry. I have five tasks with various durations and they're
00:18:21 - all starting on the project start date and finishing as appropriate
00:18:25 - to their duration. The beauty of Microsoft Project is we can
00:18:30 - begin to create dependencies. We can say this is a very serial
00:18:35 - project. Task 1 is the first task in my project and the next
00:18:40 - task, which is Task 2, can't start until Task 1 has finished
00:18:45 - and we tell Microsoft Project those rules by creating something
00:18:50 - we call a dependency.
00:18:52 - To create a dependency in Microsoft Project I select the predecessor
00:18:56 - task, so Task 1, I do a control click and I select the successor
00:19:01 - task and then I come up here. Again, I'm on my task ribbon, my
00:19:06 - task toolbar, and I have this icon that looks like a chain,
00:19:11 - and if we let the tool temp show up, it says it's going to link
00:19:13 - tasks together, and I click the button and we can see Microsoft Project
00:19:20 - has created a dependency
00:19:22 - and it has started to automatically schedule the work for me.
00:19:26 - So Task Number 1 finished on Thursday, so Task Number 2
00:19:31 - can start on Friday and it's going to finish on the Tuesday,
00:19:36 - And I can create another dependency, say Task Number 2, control
00:19:41 - click on Task Number 3, and again create the dependency,
00:19:45 - and you can see that I'm beginning to create a serial chain
00:19:49 - in my project. And I could set Task 1 or 2, 3, 4
00:19:55 - and 5 to be all serial, but again, most projects will have
00:19:58 - multiple parallel streams that I can easily create Task 4
00:20:02 - as a predecessor to Task 5, same concept, I click on Task 4,
00:20:07 - I do a control click on Task Number 5 and I hit my chain. So now
00:20:12 - I have two parallel streams working through my project, Task
00:20:16 - 1 through 3 which is going to start on the Wednesday
00:20:20 - and finish on the Thursday, and coincidentally, because of the durations
00:20:24 - that I entered, the sequence of Task 4 and 5 is also
00:20:28 - going to start on the Wednesday and finish on the Thursday.
00:20:32 - And that's creating project dependencies in its most simplistic,
00:20:36 - most rudimentary, but typically, the most typical form in the
00:20:39 - project. Now I'm just going to adjust my real-estate a little bit,
00:20:43 - I'm going to skinny down my task name pass and that's going to show
00:20:46 - me yet another column that Microsoft Project has provided for
00:20:49 - me, which is the predecessor column, which is telling me nothing
00:20:53 - I don't already know. It tells me that Task 2 has a predecessor
00:20:57 - called Task Number 1,
00:20:59 - Yeah, I knew that, and it's telling me that Task 3 has a
00:21:03 - predecessor to Task Number 2. Yes, I knew that. Similarly Task
00:21:07 - Number 4 has no predecessors, starting on my project start
00:21:11 - date and it has a predecessor of Task, or Task 5 has a predecessor
00:21:16 - on Task Number 4. So again, no surprises, just another way to enter
00:21:20 - information in, and as we've explored before, another way for
00:21:25 - me to deal with my project. I could delete that,
00:21:30 - delete that, and delete that and I have effectively removed
00:21:35 - all of those dependency links on my project. And I did that
00:21:39 - to show you if you have a pure sequential task as we just
00:21:42 - described, where Task 1 is dependent on 2 or 2 is dependent
00:21:47 - on 1 and 3 is dependent on 2, I can do it individually as
00:21:50 - I did a moment ago, or I can do a shift click,
00:21:54 - select all three of them, click on my chain, and it will automatically
00:21:59 - chain the three of them together in a serial fashion. So just
00:22:04 - a very short form for creating dependencies when I have multiple
00:22:08 - in a sequence, and you probably can expect, I can go directly
00:22:13 - into this column and say that Task Number 5 has a predecessor
00:22:17 - in Task Number 4, and I get the same information.
00:22:22 - It behaves exactly the same way, whether I do my typing in the column, whether
00:22:27 - I use the chain or in the case of doing the deletes, I can
00:22:31 - do the "unlink". So again, if I go to Task Number 5 and do the "unlink"
00:22:36 - it's going to remove it. If I do the "relink"
00:22:42 - it's going to relink them. And if we go back to the detailed task
00:22:46 - information, another tab that we haven't looked at yet is the predecessor
00:22:50 - tab. We have the ability to go in and start to manage
00:22:57 - the predecessors with more detail than we get in the basic
00:23:02 - in view.
00:23:05 - Here we can explore the various types of dependencies available
00:23:10 - to us in Microsoft Project. The most common, the one I would
00:23:14 - expect you all use 90 +% of the time, is the default
00:23:19 - which is the finish-start, which is what we're seeing in place.
00:23:23 - Task Number 1 must finish before Task Number 2
00:23:28 - can start, or said differently, Task 2 cannot start until
00:23:34 - Task 1 finishes, and so on.
00:23:37 - The other options available to us are start-start,
00:23:41 - so if we select start-start on this particular task,
00:23:46 - the visual representation changes, it's now showing that Task 5
00:23:52 - cannot start until Task 4 starts.
00:23:57 - So it brought it back and it will link Task 4 together,
00:24:01 - so I was to do a constraint, which is something Steve doesn't
00:24:04 - like, but I put a constraint on Task Number 4 to say it's
00:24:08 - going to start on the Monday.
00:24:11 - It, because we have that start-start relationship, will also
00:24:15 - move Task 5 out and have it also start on the Monday.
00:24:19 - I'm going to simply undo that,
00:24:23 - bring it back to where we were,
00:24:25 - and go back in and look at that detailed task tab again and
00:24:29 - look at my other options.
00:24:31 - Finish-start, the most common, start-start, we just explored,
00:24:36 - finish-finish, I don't think will will require a lot of imagination
00:24:41 - to understand how it's going to work. It's saying that this task
00:24:45 - cannot finish until that task finishes. Now in this case it's
00:24:50 - still showing as a day longer, but that's because the task
00:24:54 - itself has a duration of, of an extra day, but again, if we were
00:24:58 - to put a constraint on that and move him out by a few days,
00:25:01 - they're both going to move, and now
00:25:06 - we're seeing the two of them are finishing simultaneously
00:25:09 - because it was able to start this task a little earlier, honoring
00:25:15 - that the two of them are going to finish at the same
00:25:17 - time. Let's undo that again, go back to our detailed task tab
00:25:24 - and look at the last
00:25:28 - activity which is start-finish. My expectation is you'll probably
00:25:34 - never use a start-finish dependency. Start-finish is is saying
00:25:40 - that the task cannot finish until the other task starts.
00:25:46 - So if we put that one on,
00:25:52 - it's going to say, well this has got some problems, it's going
00:25:56 - to be before the project start date. Yes, I know. I'm just doing
00:25:59 - a little bit of experimentation here. So let's see what it's
00:26:02 - done. This is telling me that it's a start-finish,
00:26:09 - Task Number 4 cannot start until Task 5 finishes.
00:26:16 - This is probably not a normal process. You were probably surprised
00:26:21 - by what Microsoft Project has done. Start-finish dependencies are
00:26:26 - very abnormal, again my expectation is you'll probably never
00:26:29 - use it in your life as a project manager. I've been doing this
00:26:32 - for 25 years and I have never had occasion to use
00:26:36 - a start-finish, but I can give you an example for where this
00:26:40 - might work. You need to bring in a very expensive piece of equipment.
00:26:45 - This equipment is very expensive and in very rare supply and the
00:26:49 - shortest period of time that you can have this piece of
00:26:54 - expensive equipment on site for your project, the better, because
00:26:58 - it's very expensive. That is Task Number 4. Using the expensive
00:27:04 - piece of equipment
00:27:07 - is my
00:27:09 - critical task, but we have Task Number 5 that we're saying
00:27:14 - preparation. The more preparation I can do, the more time I can
00:27:19 - spend on preparing for this piece of expensive machinery coming
00:27:22 - in, the better off I'm going to be. If I can spend 35 days preparing
00:27:26 - for it, I may be able to reduce the amount of time that I need that equipment
00:27:29 - by two days. If I only spend 10 days preparing for it,
00:27:34 - I'm going to need that piece of equipment for an extra day longer. If I only
00:27:37 - get to spend three days preparing for it, I may may need to use that
00:27:40 - piece of very expensive equipment for an additional five days.
00:27:44 - So basically we want to keep Task 5, the preparation
00:27:48 - task, in place for as long as possible and only stop that that preparation
00:27:54 - task when, in fact, the
00:27:58 - piece of expensive equipment comes on site. So
00:28:02 - I'm going to go back and I'm going to take that dependency off because
00:28:06 - again, in Steve's humble opinion, it's not a normal type of dependency
00:28:11 - and something that we would use on a very rare and infrequent
00:28:15 - basis. So now we're back to showing the project with the traditional
00:28:21 - dependencies.
00:28:22 - Now one last thing we can do with dependencies or predecessors.
00:28:26 - By default, one finishes, the next starts, one finishes, the next
00:28:33 - starts. This one finishes, the next one starts. That's the default.
00:28:40 - If again we go into one of these dependencies, so let's pick on Task Number
00:28:45 - 2, bring up to the detail task window, we have this thing called
00:28:50 - lag. This is going to allow us to tell Microsoft Project yes,
00:28:55 - the Task 1 must finish before Task 2 can start but I need
00:29:01 - a little bit of extra time, I need two days between when Task
00:29:06 - 1 finishes and Task 2 starts. So let's use our imagination. Task
00:29:12 - 1 was pouring a concrete floor. The concrete has to dry and
00:29:16 - set for two days before I can start Task Number 2, which
00:29:21 - is building the walls, for example. So that's what the lag
00:29:25 - is going to do, it's going to say yes, Task 1 finishes and
00:29:29 - then two days later, well in this particular instance it's actually
00:29:32 - four days later because it crosses the weekend, but two days, two
00:29:36 - business days later, the Task 2 can start and we can see that
00:29:41 - showing in my dependency column. It's got a predecessor in
00:29:45 - Task Number 1, it's typed its finish-start and there is a gap of
00:29:51 - two days. We can make negative gaps as well.
00:29:56 - So let's make this a lag of negative one and see what happens.
00:30:06 - So one day before Task 1 finishes, Task 2 can start now, my
00:30:11 - concrete example certainly doesn't apply here,
00:30:14 - but let's use another example where as soon as I got some work
00:30:19 - done on Task Number 1
00:30:22 - then I have enough, enough foundation, I have enough material, maybe
00:30:26 - we're, we're starting to spread topsoil and we can start to
00:30:29 - plant grass seeds, where after one day of spreading the topsoil I can start
00:30:34 - to plant my grass seed on where the topsoil has already been
00:30:37 - spread, and so on, and so on. So again, we have a lot of power
00:30:41 - and a lot of flexibility managing our predecessors,
00:30:46 - changing our types, we're back to Task Number 5,
00:30:50 - do a double click there and change the type to be start-start
00:30:56 - and so on. We can change the types, we can add lags, we can add
00:31:01 - negative lags, we can put gaps in place and we have a lot of
00:31:05 - power that's going to start to position Microsoft Project
00:31:10 - to accurately, realistically, automatically schedule our project.
00:31:16 - This concludes our nugget on 2.3, "Build a logical schedule
00:31:20 - model". In this nugget we explored setting up the project schedule.
00:31:27 - And in its most basic form, we explored setting
00:31:33 - task dates, manually adjusting the project's schedule in the gantt
00:31:41 - area, by doing the drag and drop
00:31:47 - to manually schedule the tasks. We realized that set task constraints
00:31:54 - where we can tell Microsoft Project this must task, must start
00:31:59 - on a specific date or this task must start no earlier than
00:32:04 - a specific date and we use the example of where we may have
00:32:08 - to wait for a piece of equipment to be ordered in. We also
00:32:12 - looked at other task constraints where the task must start
00:32:15 - no, or must finish by a specific date or must finish on a specific
00:32:20 - date. And an example of that would be your preparing for a senior
00:32:23 - board meeting, the board meeting is on October the 13th,
00:32:27 - so therefore your preparation work must finish by October the
00:32:30 - 12th. As soon as we set task constraints, although we are
00:32:35 - telling Microsoft Project to do exactly what we want it to do,
00:32:39 - by setting task constraints we're also restricting Microsoft's
00:32:43 - ability to adjust the project schedule, and where possible, we
00:32:48 - want to use the absence of task constraints, which is the proverbial
00:32:53 - ASAP, as soon as possible, and by setting your task
00:32:57 - constraint which is really the the absence of a task
00:33:00 - constraint to ASAP, Microsoft Project will aggressively create
00:33:07 - a project schedule getting every task done as soon as possible,
00:33:11 - creating the shortest possible duration for your project.
00:33:15 - Recognizing that most projects have a degree of dependencies,
00:33:19 - in this nugget we explored how we set dependencies, the
00:33:25 - most common dependency being a finish-start, Task 1 must finish
00:33:30 - before Task 2 can start. We looked at other dependencies where
00:33:35 - we have start-start dependencies, we have finish-finish dependencies,
00:33:38 - which will be used in a realistic project, probably not a lot.
00:33:44 - I would say 90+% of the time you'll use a finish-start
00:33:49 - dependency, the remaining less than 10% of the time
00:33:55 - you will use one of a start-start, finish-finish dependencies,
00:33:58 - and we have the, at least in Steve's humble opinion, the
00:34:04 - non-common type of dependency which is a start-finish, and
00:34:09 - we explored how we can put gaps in place under dependencies
00:34:14 - to either create a true gap, or we can create an overlap
00:34:19 - through a negative gap.
00:34:23 - And with this we're beginning to build our logical schedule
00:34:27 - of our Microsoft Project plan. We will explore that further
00:34:31 - in the next nugget, where we're starting to look at user controlled
00:34:34 - features of scheduling, and as we move into the next major
00:34:39 - segment of of the nugget, we'll start looking at adding resources
00:34:42 - and resource constraints and truly exploring the power of Microsoft
00:34:47 - Project to create powerful, logical schedules, which is one
00:34:52 - of the beauties of, one of the features of Microsoft Project.
00:34:56 - This concludes your nugget on building a logical schedule model. I
00:35:00 - hope this module has been informative for you and thank you
00:35:03 - very much for viewing.

Create a User Controlled Schedule

Manage Multiple Projects

Enter and Edit Resource Information

Assign Resources

Edit Assignments

Manage Resource Allocation

Manage Resource Allocation using Team Planner

Model Project Costs

Setting Project Baseline and Tracking Percentage Completion

Setting Project Baseline and Tracking Percentage Completion 2

Comparing Progress Against a Baseline

Comparing Progress Against a Baseline – Remedial Actions

Task Inspector, Critical Path and Earned Value Management

Using Views and Tables

Fine Tuning Views and Tables

Share Data with External Sources

Print Schedules and Reports

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Steve Caseley

Steve Caseley

CBT Nuggets Trainer


Area Of Expertise:
Project Management, MS Project, Development Methodologies, Agile Development

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