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Help scheduling tasks from both project start date and from later deliverable dates RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am trying to set up a project scheduling template for a number of similar projects.

    These projects will require initial work to be completed at the project start date, working through the critical path to an end date.

    However.  Certain milestones/deliverables are required on specific dates in teh project (they are recievable by internal customers on firm dates).  I am having trouble scheduling my predecessors for these deliverables to occur as late as possible.  I.e.  I want my procurement to start x-weeks (depending on the task) before the deliverable is due.

    Trying to manually set the deliverable date and hoping project will work back and adjust the predecessors to fit isnt quite working... is this possible?

    Im using MSP2010 standard

    Friday, August 29, 2014 9:11 PM

Answers

  • nategalambos,

    Actually this is probably a very common scheduling scenario. Schedules often have interim milestones, sometimes with fixed dates.

    Just-in-time scheduling has received a fair amount of press in the past but in my view it has some very real negative downsides. I believe the best plans have contingency built in to allow for unknown problems. For example, let's say you have a task that must deliver an item on a particular date and in order to build that item you need to order material. You know the built and test time, it's all done by machine, takes 10 days, and doesn't vary from item to item. The lead time for the material is 6 weeks, so you set up the schedule to place the material order 8 weeks before the delivery date. However, there is a problem, the vendor who supplies the material has a problem at his factory and the material is delayed such that it won't be delivered in 6 weeks but instead it will take 8 weeks. Because you have not allowed for contingency in your plan, your delivery date is now in jeopardy.

    But to answer your question, one way to set up the predecessor you want is as follows. Using my example above, the Place Order task, let's say the delivery date task is task ID 5 and is a milestone. The place order task could have a predecessor of 5SF-40d, or 5FS-40d will also work if the place order task and the delivery date are both milestones.

    Hope this helps.

    You might also want to read Trevor's response to a related post on the following forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-project/field-for-start-based-on-as-soon-as-possible/45829d8b-b073-4fbf-8126-0bdac5c7684c

    John


    • Edited by John - Project Saturday, August 30, 2014 3:52 PM more background
    • Marked as answer by nategalambos Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:14 PM
    Saturday, August 30, 2014 3:48 PM
  • Hi,

    I know, I know, this is Microsoft's official answer to the justified complaint that Project is unable to seriously plan Just In Time scheduling, but I dislike it very much.

    Just suppose the guy responsible for placing the order gets sick or his letter got stuck somewhere fo aa few days... then reality will be that the delivery will be late.. but your plan will never show that, and there will even be no warning.

    The better answer is, providing you fix the necessary delivery date by a compelling constraint or a deadline, to use the logical FS constraint (delivery will be 40 days after placing the order) and then give placing this order an ALAP constraint. Then as soon as Placing the order might get late, the scheduling conflict will ring all sorts of alarm bells.

    Greetings,


    Monday, September 1, 2014 8:41 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • nategalambos,

    Actually this is probably a very common scheduling scenario. Schedules often have interim milestones, sometimes with fixed dates.

    Just-in-time scheduling has received a fair amount of press in the past but in my view it has some very real negative downsides. I believe the best plans have contingency built in to allow for unknown problems. For example, let's say you have a task that must deliver an item on a particular date and in order to build that item you need to order material. You know the built and test time, it's all done by machine, takes 10 days, and doesn't vary from item to item. The lead time for the material is 6 weeks, so you set up the schedule to place the material order 8 weeks before the delivery date. However, there is a problem, the vendor who supplies the material has a problem at his factory and the material is delayed such that it won't be delivered in 6 weeks but instead it will take 8 weeks. Because you have not allowed for contingency in your plan, your delivery date is now in jeopardy.

    But to answer your question, one way to set up the predecessor you want is as follows. Using my example above, the Place Order task, let's say the delivery date task is task ID 5 and is a milestone. The place order task could have a predecessor of 5SF-40d, or 5FS-40d will also work if the place order task and the delivery date are both milestones.

    Hope this helps.

    You might also want to read Trevor's response to a related post on the following forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-project/field-for-start-based-on-as-soon-as-possible/45829d8b-b073-4fbf-8126-0bdac5c7684c

    John


    • Edited by John - Project Saturday, August 30, 2014 3:52 PM more background
    • Marked as answer by nategalambos Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:14 PM
    Saturday, August 30, 2014 3:48 PM
  • Hi,

    I know, I know, this is Microsoft's official answer to the justified complaint that Project is unable to seriously plan Just In Time scheduling, but I dislike it very much.

    Just suppose the guy responsible for placing the order gets sick or his letter got stuck somewhere fo aa few days... then reality will be that the delivery will be late.. but your plan will never show that, and there will even be no warning.

    The better answer is, providing you fix the necessary delivery date by a compelling constraint or a deadline, to use the logical FS constraint (delivery will be 40 days after placing the order) and then give placing this order an ALAP constraint. Then as soon as Placing the order might get late, the scheduling conflict will ring all sorts of alarm bells.

    Greetings,


    Monday, September 1, 2014 8:41 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you both.

    There seems to be an opportunity for MS to improve here in later versions, and certainly and opportunity for me to sharpen my skills!

    In regards to procurement, I agree that JIT has inherent risks to scheudules, in some circumstances certainly more than others.  Consideration must also be given to tying up company resources in material inventory too early, just to sit in a yard for months, and also with some EPC projects the risk of a late design/engineering change meaning retrofitting equipment/materials ordered early can be costly. 

    Effective procurement management is essential in both reducing risk while maintaining responsible cash flow.  It looks like I will be setting both ALAP to delivery milestones and ASAP constraints depending on the items.

    Thanks again for your responses.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014 3:26 PM
  • netefalambos,

    You're welcome and thanks for the feedback. There will always be tradeoffs between maintaining a tight schedule (e.g JIT) and managing cash flow, be it inventory sitting on the shelf or an idle workforce that still must be paid. It sounds like you understand that.

    John

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014 4:07 PM