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Why would a task with a fixed duration keep automatically changing to a milestone when the project plan is saved? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have an effort driven task in my project plan with a fixed duration that automatically changes to a milestone task when I save the project plan. Why?


    Judy Washington

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:17 PM

Answers

  • Hi Judy, 

    We have reproduced your problem this afternoon. If you delete and recreate the first task, set the task to "effort driven" and "fixed duration" first using the split Details screen (no resources assigned), then click OK, then assign the resources for 0 hours it should do what you want. The task is shown as a dotted line in the Gantt chart instead of a milestone. 

    Please let us know if this helps. 

    Erik van Hurck & 

    Hester Blok

    • Marked as answer by Judy IPD Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:19 PM
    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:13 PM

All replies

  • Judy,

    Pardon my other reply. I didn't see that you posted twice. We still need to know which version of Project.

    What is the duration of the task? If it is zero duration it will automatically be a milestone.

    Look under task information/advanced tab. Is the option to mark the task as a milestone checked?

    We need a little bit more information about the task before we can be of any more assistance.

    John

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:22 PM
  • Hi John,

    I am using Project 2010.  The task is a 251-day task, effort driven, fixed duration task. The task is not marked as a milestone task by the user. The duration  automatically switches to "0" and the task automatically becomes marked as a milestone after the plan is saved. It is the 1st task in the WBS. It is set up exactly like every other detail task in the WBS. The only difference is that it is in the 1st position of the WBS. The task has 2 resources assigned to it, with no hours. All the other tasks also have 2 resources assigned to them, with no hours. All the other durations, start and end dates remain intact when the project plan is saved. The only task that automatically changes to a milestone is the 1st task.


    Judy Washington

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:32 PM
  • Judy,

    Is it a summary task? And please explain how you can assign resources but have not hours in the Work field.

    There has got to be more to it than what you explained. This might be one where I'll have to ask you to send me the file. Would that be possible?

    BY the way, please delete your other post with this same title.

    John


    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 10:32 PM
  • Hi John,

    No the task is not a summary task.

    Believe it or not, resources ARE assigned to the task without actual hours. The number of hours is actually entered as "0". It was entered that way due to the nature of the project plan. It is a customer support plan that is charged only if and when a customer puts in a help desk ticket. We need the resource to be able to see the task on his timesheet each week in case he has to charge time against it, (therefore assigning the resource) but we have no way of predicting how many hours will be needed for the task in any given week (therefore "0" hours). Several weeks - or even a year- can go by with no hours charged to the task since it's only charged if a customer needs help. So the project plan was set up with fixed durations (i.e., 1/1/13-12/31/13), with resources asssigned without hours. Setting it up any other way caused the dates of all tasks to move out way past their end dates in the schedule, and also produced capacity reports showing the resources as over-allocated.

    I realize that project plans of this nature are not very compatible with MS Project. We have tried various ways of setting up this plan and this way produces the fewest number of issues. If you know a better way to set up a plan that has fixed durations and resources but no actual planned work, please let me know.

    I'm not convinced that the way the project schedule is set up has any bearing on my issue since it's only the 1st task in the plan that is automatically changing, but my explanation was to answer your last question.   Hopefully this gives you enough information. I'm not sure I can provide you with the project schedule.

    Thanks.


    Judy Washington

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:08 PM
  • John,

    I don't know how to delete the other post. I don't see a delete button or anything. If you know how to do that please advise and I will delete it. thanks.


    Judy Washington

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:11 PM
  • Hi Judy, 

    We have reproduced your problem this afternoon. If you delete and recreate the first task, set the task to "effort driven" and "fixed duration" first using the split Details screen (no resources assigned), then click OK, then assign the resources for 0 hours it should do what you want. The task is shown as a dotted line in the Gantt chart instead of a milestone. 

    Please let us know if this helps. 

    Erik van Hurck & 

    Hester Blok

    • Marked as answer by Judy IPD Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:19 PM
    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:13 PM
  • Judy,

    Okay, now my next question is, why are you using Project? Project is for planning a schedule. If there are no tasks, there is no schedule. Simply having a list of available charge numbers could much more easily be handled using Excel, Word or even Notepad. If and when a customer ticket is cut, then it MIGHT make sense to create a task in a Project plan but it could also simply be an extension of the Excel spreadsheet. I just don't see a good connection to Project.

    However, with regard to the "auto-milestone creation" problem, I must be missing something. I created a simple plan in Project 2010 Pro with SP1, consisting of three tasks. The first task was set for a duration of 251 days, the second for 10 days and the third at the default 1 day. All tasks were fixed duration, effort driven. I assigned two resources to each task and then set the Work field of each task to zero. The Gantt display immediately changed to a dotted line spanning the full duration. I then saved the file, closed it and re-opened. Upon re-open the Gantt display was unchanged, that is, all three tasks still showed the original duration and the Gantt bars were still shown as dotted lines.

    Do you have SP1 installed?

    John

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:47 PM
  • John,

    John,

    We are using Project for this plan because it is part of a portfolio of projects that ARE complatible with MSProject. Our entire EPM is on the Project Server. We also use the timesheet feature. 99% of our project plans are actual schedules that we use for planning and tracking real projects. This one particular plan does not fit that description, however, resources that have to post time against that plan also post time against other projects. We are not going to isolate one project plan from the server and portfolio because it happens to not be used in a conventional way.  

    As for the issue, it looks like another poster may have solved it. (See reply from Hester Blok). Thanks for your input.


    Judy Washington

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:12 PM
  • Erik and Hester,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will try that and mark it as the answer if it works.


    Judy Washington

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:14 PM
  • Hester and Erik,

    Yes, that worked. Thanks!


    Judy Washington

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:19 PM
  • That's good to hear! see you around on the forums.
    Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:25 PM
  • Judy,

    Okay, I understand. I don't use Project Server so there are issues I may not fully appreciate.

    I'm glad someone found a good solution for you.

    John

    Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:56 PM