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Best Practice Question Re: Tasks That Actually Finished before Predecessors in a Baselined Schedule RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hindsight is indeed 20/20, but here is the situation:

    • Set of Tasks A (Design IDD Tasks) - These tasks are not complete and are, in fact delayed
    • Set of Tasks B (ARC Tasks) – In the baseline, they have Set of Tasks A as their immediate predecessors – some are marked as complete and I made those updates
    • Set of Tasks C (Tasks that Depend on ARC Tasks) – in the baseline they have Set of Tasks B as their immediate predecessors

    The Problem is delays to Set of Tasks A currently do not affect Set of Tasks C (Tasks that Depend on ARC Tasks) – and they should. I am looking for the best way to make Set of Tasks C reflect delays from Set of Tasks A, given that the project has been baselined with a certain set of predecessors and successors.




    Wednesday, April 2, 2014 10:31 PM

Answers

  • Not at all. But perhaps some modification. Assuming it turns out that the first part of task A, but not all of it, was a FS0 predecessor for the start of task B, then task A should be split into two parts, say A1 and A2. Then A1 is a FS0 predecessor of task B but A2 is not. A1 is a predecessor of both A2 and B. A2 is not a predecessor of B, but it sounds as though it is a predecessor of C.

    Task A should have been split into two parts during the original modelling, but if it wasn't then it is not too late to fix it when it is discovered that B could start after the first part of A, and the amendment should be made when the necessity for it is discovered, and it was probably discovered before B started.

    The fact that B did start before A finished is proof that it could start before A finished, and therefore is proof that the model was wrong, or at least not a good representation of the project plan. This is typical of the problems that occur with tracking progress when the original level of detail was insufficient. Chopping tasks up into smaller pieces is the universal fix for nearly every problem of this sort.

    If the plan showed that B could not start until A was finished, is it not a problem with project control that someone ignored it and went ahead and started B anyway, just because they could? Shouldn't this information have been communicated from the person who started or was about to start B to the person writing the plan, so that the plan could be changed before B started?

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 3:49 AM

All replies

  • If task A has not yet happened but was scheduled to start in the past relative to the status date, then it should be moved into the future relative to the status date. There is a button on the task tab ribbon to do this.

    If task B is started and finished then it should have the actual start date and actual finish date (this is done in the tracking table), which of course will be dates in the past relative to the status date.

    If task A was the predecessor of task B, then the predecessor link is clearly wrong now in the light of this new information. When the link was made, it was a statement that task B could not be started any earlier than the finish of task A. It may have been correct then, but it is now proved to not be so since, clearly, task B did start before task A finished. You can and should remove the link.

    If task C should be re-scheduled to not start earlier than task A finishes, then task A needs to be linked as a FS0 predecessor of task C.

    Whether the plan was baselined is irrelevant. There is no predecessor baselines. Baselines only remember the dates, durations and work.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:18 PM
  • Thanks, Trevor.

    Actually some tasks of "Set of Tasks A" have started, but did not finish before their successor tasks in "Set of Tasks B" started (and completed).

    Does that change your advice above?

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 1:26 AM
  • Not at all. But perhaps some modification. Assuming it turns out that the first part of task A, but not all of it, was a FS0 predecessor for the start of task B, then task A should be split into two parts, say A1 and A2. Then A1 is a FS0 predecessor of task B but A2 is not. A1 is a predecessor of both A2 and B. A2 is not a predecessor of B, but it sounds as though it is a predecessor of C.

    Task A should have been split into two parts during the original modelling, but if it wasn't then it is not too late to fix it when it is discovered that B could start after the first part of A, and the amendment should be made when the necessity for it is discovered, and it was probably discovered before B started.

    The fact that B did start before A finished is proof that it could start before A finished, and therefore is proof that the model was wrong, or at least not a good representation of the project plan. This is typical of the problems that occur with tracking progress when the original level of detail was insufficient. Chopping tasks up into smaller pieces is the universal fix for nearly every problem of this sort.

    If the plan showed that B could not start until A was finished, is it not a problem with project control that someone ignored it and went ahead and started B anyway, just because they could? Shouldn't this information have been communicated from the person who started or was about to start B to the person writing the plan, so that the plan could be changed before B started?

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 3:49 AM
  • Thanks, again, Trevor.

    I have been thrown into the position of Project Scheduler.  What is the best resource (books, videos, classes) to quickly learn/confirm best practices for MS Project plan maintenance and reporting?

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 2:11 PM
  • Leslie,

    The best resource of all is right here at this forum. The people who you see answering all of the questions know what they are doing and the advice is always spot on. There is also a newsgroup microsoft.public.project which you can find via Google Groups. The newsgroup has very little traffic now since it all moved to this forum but the archive still exists, and all of the topics and threads cover just about every problem and issue that can occur. It is hard to answer questions completely without being able to see the mpp file but if you can provide it you will get good advice.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 11:58 PM
  • I respectfully disagree with Trevor - this is a the best resource for getting ad-hoc problems solved, but it is not the best forum for learning. 

    For basic use of MS Project there are plenty of books out there, there are free videos on youtube, and many organisations will offer a 1-2 day training course in MSProject.  

    Ultimately, learning the basics of project takes a day or so, but mastering it takes a lifetime! 


    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book

    Friday, April 4, 2014 7:23 AM
    Moderator
  • Leslie - If you are looking for videos, you can try this. I delivered ten webinars on Microsoft Project 2010 last year and its recordings can be played for free. 

    Session 1: Ready. Set. Go. Preparing Project : http://goo.gl/yWVGn

    Session 2 : How to change working time and set holidays in Project 2010? http://goo.gl/QTRds  

    Session 3 : Structure the schedule by WBS and task dependencies http://goo.gl/SPqkM  

    Session 4 : Setup people, cost and material resources in Project 2010 http://goo.gl/lBTUF  

    Session 5 : Assigning resources (people and material) and costs (fixed,variable) http://goo.gl/PPI18  

    Session 6 : Convert draft schedule to optimal schedule that meets stakeholders requirements http://goo.gl/ptdTl  

    Session 7: Keeping Your Project on Track by Leveraging the Baseline Features of Project 2010 http://goo.gl/TM8Gv   

    Session 8: Track project actual against project baseline information http://goo.gl/ZWJxP  

    Session 9 : Report project performance through Reporting Features http://goo.gl/CC76e  

    Session 10: Sharing Resources across Projects http://goo.gl/JkZU01

    Sai PMI-SP, MCTS Project, MVP Project



    Sunday, April 6, 2014 3:57 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, everyone.

    In addition to this forum, I am reading Eric Uyttewaal's book, Forecast Scheduling with Microsoft Project 2010.

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014 2:25 AM