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MS Proj 2010 - Removing a task from the critical path as it is more of a placeeholder RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi

    Sorry I can't seem to find an answer on this, but I am not exactly sure what to search for as I am quite new to MS Project

    I am having difficulty getting Project to show my critical path as I have one task that is the longest, but not necessarily part of the project. essentially this task is ore of a placeholder - it may be done within the project, or it maybe done as part of BAU (business as usual). So I don't want to remove it, as it needs to be seen as an outstanding item, but it effectively stops the tasks that finish before it being shown as the critical path. Also it can't be scheduled after these other tasks as they are to be performed by different teams.

    Can I make it a placeholder of some type, so it still gets scheduled and moves with the project timeline, but won't mask what I think is the true critical path?

    So I guess in some ways it is almost like having multiple critical paths, but when I ticked that option, it basically highlighted 90% of the tasks, which seemed more confusing.

    Just wondering if there is another option?

    thanks

    Monday, April 15, 2013 2:51 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Reduce duration of the placeholder task in such a way it  no longer finishes after the criticl path.

    Greetings,

    Monday, April 15, 2013 7:44 AM
    Moderator
  • If the task is not necessary for achieving any of the project deliverables, then it does not need a successor - and therefore will not be part of the critical path. An example might be a Level of Effort (typically Fixed Units) task that is needed for a major task to be carried out (e.g. support effort task during a module test task). The module test task is the one that completes the deliverable and is included in the critical path. The support effort task is done at the same time as the module test task (SS relationship, same duration) but should not contribute to the critical path - and there would be no other tasks depending on it.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 2:55 PM
  • HI,

    Sorry but even without any successor, the placeholder task will be considered as critical by Project if it ends later than the latest task of the "right" crithical path. So what the postere asks for -eliminate it from the critical path - is (only) achieved by shortening it.

    Greetings,

    Monday, April 15, 2013 3:52 PM
    Moderator
  • HI,

    Sorry but even without any successor, the placeholder task will be considered as critical by Project if it ends later than the latest task of the "right" crithical path. So what the postere asks for -eliminate it from the critical path - is (only) achieved by shortening it.

    Greetings,

    Hi guys this is correct...

    the task doesn't have any successors anyway. Ideally it shouldn't be there, but the dept responsible for it want to see it in the plan, so they can show this to their management.

    I can see in MSP profesional that there is the ability to make tasks inactive (great feature), but we only have the standard version at work. 

    My other thoughts were to make this piece of work a subproject and then bring this in when necessary to the master plan, but not too familiar with that concept, and seems a bit messy for what i want. Would any calculated fields help me?

    Monday, April 15, 2013 10:24 PM
  • Easy and very useful way to do this:

    1. Create a new Milestone task called Project Closed and set a constraint date 10 days after the last task to finish. Now only this task is critical.
    2. Set Deadline dates for key deliverable milestones. Deadline dates affect critical path which is good.
      If those milestones are on or after the deadline dates you now have the critical path to achieve them all. If not, then:
    3. Select File, Options, Advanced
    4. Scroll to end of list and enter 5d for Task are critical if total slack is less than or equal to
    5. If there are still no critical tasks, then you have a lot of slack: lucky thing you!
    6. Adjust value in 4. Reduce it over time until near the end of the project it's 0d.

    This method is particularly useful for time critical projects or projects where key deliverables are not completed at the end of the project, as yours are.


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2:43 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Did you shorten the task as I suggested? That does work you know, no need for more complex solutions.

    Greetings,

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 8:03 AM
    Moderator
  • Easy and very useful way to do this:

    1. Create a new Milestone task called Project Closed and set a constraint date 10 days after the last task to finish. Now only this task is critical.

    thanks Rod - the first line alone solved the problem!!!

    Jan - wasn't able to shorten the task as they wanted to show the level of effort they think the task requires. Personally, i just wanted to remove the task, as I don't think it is project related - but not my call :)

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:36 AM