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adding dependency between summary task RRS feed

  • Question

  • hi

    i am looking for some suggestion while using mpp and adding dependency between tasks. typical project plan for me goes more than 300-400 lines and tasks in a summary task can be dependent on another task in some other summary task. I make two summary task dependent on each other, but that's not advisable i guess.

    looking for suggestion on how to put dependency in better way in below scenario

    Summary task X> task A (last task in summary X) is linked with task B which is in Summary task Y. and then task C getting added after task A and task C should be linked with task B. 

    normally i used to link summary task but is there any better way doing it?

    thank you

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018 12:24 PM

Answers

  • Nimo007,

    You state, "So each milestone will have predecessor as summary task...". That implies you are going to link directly to a summary line and that's where you will run into trouble.

    I cannot fathom why you "need" to link any summary lines or even why you "want" to create extra milestones for linking. However, it's your plan so do whatever you want and good luck.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Nimo007 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 10:30 AM
    Tuesday, August 7, 2018 2:37 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Any scheduler will tell you (I hope so) that linking summary tasks are really ot a good practice at all. Basically summary tasks are not actual tasks but just containers helping regrouping activities using a certain logic: timeline, phase, workpackages, product parts... 

    That being said, it is not an issue to link for example the last task of a Summary A with the first task of the Summary task B. More, you just cannot avoid it, otherwise you'll just have independant summary tasks, which does not make a project.

    I stronghly advice to have at least a milestone at the end of each block (summary task block). This milestone is like the output of your group of tasks and should be the predecessor of a subsequent task.


    Hope this helps,


    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MVP, P-Seller

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018 12:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Nimo007,

    In addition to Guillaume's response, you might find the following Wiki article helpful.

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/29569.ms-project-linking-andor-assigning-resources-to-summary-tasks.aspx

    John

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018 2:38 PM
  • Like this?


    Wednesday, August 1, 2018 7:50 PM
  • thanks everyone, just one more thing do you feel that adding another task at the beginning of the summary task will help? sometime my starting task also gets changed.

    i like the idea of adding one MS at the end but really linking summary task make my life real easy while managing big plan. if you have one MS at the end also you need to make sure all the task in that block is linked to the MS and that needs lot of work as not all the task in the block are linked, few are dependent as well. and then of course you add new task and always you need to make sure you are linking that task to the MS to get the end date of that block/summary task. I certainly understand the looping issue but really wanted to use linking summary task while mitigating the risk of having cycle in my plan. kindly suggest . thank you

    just to add "That is, summary tasks are linked to show the overall schedule logic of groups of tasks but there are NO links between subtasks under different summary tasks." if i don't link two subtasks from different summary task, is the cycling issue avoidable? 
    • Edited by Nimo007 Friday, August 3, 2018 4:01 PM
    Friday, August 3, 2018 3:48 PM
  • Nimo007,

    I don't understand why adding a milestone as the first subtask under a summary line will help. You say the sometimes your starting task, and by that I assume you mean the earliest subtask under the summary, gets changed. That will change the start date of the summary line, as it should, since the summary is not a task, as Guillaume pointed out, but is a "summary" of all the subtasks under it.

    Something to consider when looking at what and how tasks in the plan are linked. Links should only be used to show real relationships and not simply be added for the sake of a fully linked network. Most but not all tasks should have a predecessor, unless the whole plan is made up of completely independent tasks. In that case I'm not sure why you would bother with Project as Excel can do that just as well. Tasks that do not have a realistic predecessor will either be "driven" by the Project Start Date or normally have a start-no-earlier-than constraint to set their start date. On the other hand ALL tasks in a plan should have a successor even if it's the finish milestone. And yes, that may result in a lot of predecessors for the finish milestone, but if any task does not contribute to the finish milestone then that task simply does not belong in the plan.

    The statement you cite from the Wiki article is valid but also note that it states this type of dependency structure is best used for very high level initial planning. If it is used for a detail plan the issues brought up in the Wiki article about why linking summary lines is not a good idea, will still apply.

    Certainly, what you want to do with your plan is up to you. We are only here to give our advice based on many years of experience with Project and project management.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    Friday, August 3, 2018 5:04 PM
  • thanks John, the biggest problem i faced is all my sub-tasks get changed whether it's in beginning. middle or in the end. i understand that this will change the summary task start and end date. using this software for sometime now.

    What i am looking is the easiest way to link two summary tasks as most of my project plan is having dependency on each other like testing cannot start till development finishes and development and testing are two summary tasks. so thinking to have one milestone in each summary task and that milestone should signify the end date of that block/summary task. and then we can link that accordingly. in that case also that milestone should be linked to all other task in that group and could be adding 50-60 tasks as predecessor to that milestone. what are the other option we have? 


    Monday, August 6, 2018 10:40 AM
  • Nim007,

    Maybe you're "overthinking" the process. If you logically link the detail tasks in the appropriate sequence, there should be no need for an additional milestone either at the beginning or end of a summary group. Oh you might have some special milestones to identify major plan events, (e.g. preliminary, intermediate, final design reviews and plan finish), but otherwise, the normal links between tasks is all you should need.

    That is the easiest and best way to create a plan and it does not involve links on any summary lines. Again, SUMMARY LINES ARE NOT TASKS.

    John

    Monday, August 6, 2018 2:39 PM
  • thanks everyone, my last post may be on this one

    I was thinking yday and i need both; i need linking a subtask with another subtask in different summary task and i need to link two summery task as well.

    For Linking summary task creates cycling issue so what i am thinking is i will create group of Milestones under a new summary task only to link summary task on my project. so each milestone will have predecessor as summary task and then i will use milestone for further linking as required. By following this method, i am not linking summary task directly but liking summary task using a milestone. is it ok? or it can create cycling issue also. can someone suggest.

    thanks



    • Edited by Nimo007 Tuesday, August 7, 2018 9:56 AM
    Tuesday, August 7, 2018 9:19 AM
  • Nimo007,

    You state, "So each milestone will have predecessor as summary task...". That implies you are going to link directly to a summary line and that's where you will run into trouble.

    I cannot fathom why you "need" to link any summary lines or even why you "want" to create extra milestones for linking. However, it's your plan so do whatever you want and good luck.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Nimo007 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 10:30 AM
    Tuesday, August 7, 2018 2:37 PM
  • Hi John, 

    let me give an example why i wanted to link summary tasks

    when i create a plan i usually get 20-30 tasks in a summary task and total project plan can be of 400-500 tasks.

    i have hard dependency between these summary tasks.

    Now, all my activities get changed during the course of project due to so many reason in a summary task and so the dependency. So it's humanly impossible for me to check all the dependency one by one. let's assume i have a sub task which is linked to another subtask in different summary task and then the first sub task is overridden by a new sub task. These are real life problem i faced and linking summary task carefully made my life easy. point to note, i only use mpp for scheduling; nothing else.

    Now, having said all above;  question one might ask why plan getting changed more than 30% let's say. Can't answer that really as those are coming from tech team and gets changed due to nature of the project. Have worked few best companies exist on the planet today; never got a suitable answer. 

    thank you for all your responses. cheers.


    • Edited by Nimo007 Wednesday, August 8, 2018 10:48 AM
    Wednesday, August 8, 2018 10:29 AM
  • Nimo007,

    Good luck with your plan.

    John

    Wednesday, August 8, 2018 1:12 PM