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Auto Scheduled start dates populating with manually scheduled tasks as dependencies - How can we get the start dates to be correct? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I have tried just about every setting possible in this application, and the following just does not seem to work for me, any suggestions?

    1. I set a 'start' task with a manually scheduled start date of 1/23/15

    2. I add several tasks and set them to auto-scheduled

    3. I link all the tasks together (including the manually scheduled one which is above it, using the chain link icon to set each as a dependency of the previous)

    4. Now every single auto scheduled start date is set to a date prior to the dependency on the manually scheduled task, with the first one starting 1/15/15, even though they should not be starting before the dependent task finishes. (and definitely not before 1/23/15)

    Monday, January 26, 2015 3:51 PM

Answers

  • Chris,

    When a user manually enters a date into the Start field, Project automatically sets a start-no-earlier-than constraint. A manual entry into the Finish field will set a finish-no-earlier-than constraint. Or, if a user sets up the project for reverse scheduling (i.e. schedule from the Project finish date), then manually entering a date into the Finish field will set a finish-no-later-than. Perhaps you did one of those things sometime during development of your project. The bottom line is that without proper training new users can easily get tripped up by Project, and that's why we are here to help.

    The first thing I would do, is to convert everything to auto-scheduled. Make sure your project is forward scheduled (i.e. Project/Project Information/Schedule from: Project Start Date). If certain tasks do not have any valid predecessors, yet will not start on the Project Start Date, then enter a date directly into the Start field which will set the constraint. However, ALL tasks should have a successor, even if it's only the last milestone of the project.

    If my responses have helped, please consider marking one of my responses as the answer, or at least "voting" that it was useful.

    John

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 12:11 AM

All replies

  • Christopher,

    First of all, which version of Project are you using? Is it updated with the latest service pack?

    A few question could help us help you.

    1. What is the Project Start Date?

    2. Is calculation set to automatic?

    John

    Monday, January 26, 2015 4:05 PM
  • Hi John,

    This is version 2010 (14.0.7011.1000) SP2 MSO (14.0.7140.5002)

    Project start date is 9/9/14 (im using one big file for scheduling, with multiple projects listed as summary tasks), however the project start date is nowhere near the expected start date of the summary task in question or is it anwhere near the resulting start date.

    As for calculation set to automatic, I think you will have to be more specific as to which setting if you are referring to a project setting. The task which I want to be the dependency is manually scheduled and the task with the incorrect start date is automatically scheduled.

    -Chris

    Monday, January 26, 2015 7:39 PM
  • Chris,

    When you say one big file with multiple projects listed as summary tasks, are you talking about a dynamic master file with inserted subprojects? If so, that's a different ball game. We'll need more information, like where the manual and automatic tasks are located (master or subproject), is the Project start date of 9/9/14 that of the master or of the subproject(s). Do you only have those test tasks or are there many other tasks in the file? (If you could, a screen shot might be helpful, just make sure it's readable.)

    With regard to calculation, I'm referring to File/Options/Schedule group. Is that set to "on"?

    John

    Monday, January 26, 2015 8:50 PM
  • John,

    No this is not inserted subprojects - I did not know that was possible! Now I want to try that for next time.

    In the screenshot attached, I have tried to color code the problem I am having.

    1. In Red I have circled the project start date (this is the start date for the list of projects).

    2. In Green I have circled the manually scheduled start date of the task which I want to be a dependency for the other tasks.

    3. In Blue I have circled the first auto scheduled start date, which is showing the wrong date.

    (scroll to second attachment and you will see my project settings as well)

    Monday, January 26, 2015 9:48 PM
  • Chris,

    I wouldn't be so anxious to create a linked structure (i.e. master/subproject) without first understanding some caveats. In Project linked structures are prone to corruption. You must never move, rename, overwrite, or save off any of the files in the structure. All files should be in the same directory on a local drive and not be operated over a network. There are two types of master files in Project - dynamic, (the default), and static. The former is a linked structure wherein the master contains pointers to each of the subproject files but those subproject files are not actually part of the master. It is dynamic because changes made at master level are reflected in the subprojects and vice versa. It all works fine given the above rules are followed religiously and everything is updated and maintained properly.

    A better, and safer approach is to create a static master. A static master is created by unchecking the "link to project" option in the lower right corner of the Insert Project window. Each subproject is copied into the master which is then an independent file representing a snapshot in time of all the inserted subprojects. It is not a linked structure so it is not prone to link corruption.

    Okay, you've been warned.

    With regard to your issue. I would not mix manually scheduled and auto-scheduled tasks. Either go with all manual, (useful during the conceptual process of creating a new project when everything is quite nailed down), or auto-scheduled, (best used for "live" projects that are defined and being executed). By observing your tasks, I'd say you have the latter. Is there a good reason why you have a mixture of task modes in your file?

    I can't really tell why your dates aren't doing what you want because I still don't have enough information. I see an icon in the Information field for all tasks under the UI Template. What is that indicating? Are there any constraints on your tasks? And you didn't say if you have the calculation option set to "on".

    John

    Monday, January 26, 2015 10:41 PM
  • Thanks John.

    I went with the mixture so that I could set the static start date just for the dependency, im sure there is a better way to do this. Perhaps with start no earlier than..

    Interestingly enough, that Icon sais 'This task has a 'Finish no later than' constraint on Fri 1/23/15

    That may be the solution, highlighting several of these and choosing the opposite (start no earlier than 1/23) is moving the dates in the right direction.Whats Odd is I dont remember adding that setting in the first place so I dont know how it got there.

    Sorry I forgot to mention, yes the calculation is set to 'on'

    Monday, January 26, 2015 10:54 PM
  • Well, ive got lots of good ideas from your answers and from blog posts around the web.

    Unfortunately, every attempt so far has failed.

    Perhaps it is time to cut loses, reinstall the application and build the projects over from scratch.

    Monday, January 26, 2015 11:28 PM
  • Chris,

    When a user manually enters a date into the Start field, Project automatically sets a start-no-earlier-than constraint. A manual entry into the Finish field will set a finish-no-earlier-than constraint. Or, if a user sets up the project for reverse scheduling (i.e. schedule from the Project finish date), then manually entering a date into the Finish field will set a finish-no-later-than. Perhaps you did one of those things sometime during development of your project. The bottom line is that without proper training new users can easily get tripped up by Project, and that's why we are here to help.

    The first thing I would do, is to convert everything to auto-scheduled. Make sure your project is forward scheduled (i.e. Project/Project Information/Schedule from: Project Start Date). If certain tasks do not have any valid predecessors, yet will not start on the Project Start Date, then enter a date directly into the Start field which will set the constraint. However, ALL tasks should have a successor, even if it's only the last milestone of the project.

    If my responses have helped, please consider marking one of my responses as the answer, or at least "voting" that it was useful.

    John

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 12:11 AM
  • Actually, all of your responses were helpful, and I will upvote all of them if it lets me.

    Your last answer worked for me: Setting them all back to auto-scheduled (including the summary/label items), followed by setting a constraint only on the first item - and now everything is perfect

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:21 AM
  • Chris,

    You're welcome and thanks for the feedback. I'm glad the "reset" took care of your issues.

    John

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3:35 PM