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Question / Managing Late-Starting Tasks RRS feed

  • Question

  • OK, since you guys are so darned helpful, I'm going to keep firing questions. :) Here's one:

    I'm curious about the best practice to managing what I'll call "late-starting tasks."

    For example, let's say I have a task ("Task A") that begins on the first day of the project (March 1), has a fixed duration of 1 week, and has no predecessors. That is, it COULD start on the first day of the project, but it's not critical to do so. It has one successor (FS), Task B, that has a duration of two weeks.

    So, we have Task A starting on Monday, 3/1 and ending on Friday 3/5, and Task B starting on Monday, 3/8 and ending on Friday 3/19.

    Fast forward two months into the project. No one has worked on Task A or Task B yet. So, in looking at my Gantt Chart, it still says that Task A starts on March 1 and Task B starts on 3/8. Of course, I KNOW that it didn't actually start on March 1, and the work is 0% complete.

    But, today is May 1, and I happen to know that Betty is going to start working on it today. I have a project status meeting, and I want to have some way of indicating that I know that Betty will start working on it this week.

    I could put it in as the Actual Start Date for Task A, but the truth is, she hasn't actually started yet. Something could get in the way and she might not start until Wednesday, who knows?

    I could manually set the start date for Task A to 5/1, but from what I've read Project behaves much more nicely when the start/finish dates are derived, not manually entered.

    So, what can I record about Fact A that will make it easy to show that we now expect Task A to start on May 1?

    Thanks! :)

    ~Steve

    p.s. I will confess, I'm not using a baseline here, or a Tracking Gantt. If the answer is "You need to do that in order to facilitate this sort of thing," then just let me know!

    • Edited by sbattisti Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:24 PM
    Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:21 PM

Answers

  • Steve --

    From your description, it sounds like no one has done ANY work in the project for two months.  It that were the case, the simplest solution would be to change the Start date of the project to May 1.

    On the other hand, if some tasks already have progress entered for them, then you should reschedule the uncompleted work from the past into the current reporting period.  To do this, click the Update Project button in the Status section of the Project ribbon.  In the Update Project dialog, select the "Reschedule uncompleted work to start after" option and then enter the date April 30 in the date field to the right.  Leave the "Entire project" option selected and then click the OK button.  Microsoft Project 2010 will automatically reschedule any uncompleted work in the past to the day AFTER April 30th, which is May 1st.

    Also, you REALLY need to start saving a baseline for your projects.  :)

    A couple of ideas for you.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    • Marked as answer by sbattisti Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:27 PM
    Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:59 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Steve --

    From your description, it sounds like no one has done ANY work in the project for two months.  It that were the case, the simplest solution would be to change the Start date of the project to May 1.

    On the other hand, if some tasks already have progress entered for them, then you should reschedule the uncompleted work from the past into the current reporting period.  To do this, click the Update Project button in the Status section of the Project ribbon.  In the Update Project dialog, select the "Reschedule uncompleted work to start after" option and then enter the date April 30 in the date field to the right.  Leave the "Entire project" option selected and then click the OK button.  Microsoft Project 2010 will automatically reschedule any uncompleted work in the past to the day AFTER April 30th, which is May 1st.

    Also, you REALLY need to start saving a baseline for your projects.  :)

    A couple of ideas for you.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    • Marked as answer by sbattisti Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:27 PM
    Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:59 PM
    Moderator
  • There are other, completed tasks, I was just simplifying for the example. :)

    However, your suggestion regarding the "Update Project" thingy was most excellent!

    I do need to start using baselines, but I struggle with the concept. I'll post a separate thread to ask a question about that.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:27 PM
  • Steve --

    Glad to help.  :)


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:27 PM
    Moderator