Best way to dependencies based on Project Finish Date RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've created a lot of projects but this is the first time scheduling from a Project Finish Date. The product has to be launch by a certain date or it is useless. That means we have to file for approval a year before and it has to be approved 12 weeks before launch . That means certain studies have to be completed on time, and certain preparations have to be done by then. 

    I started with product launch as Task 1. Then I put filing for approval as Task 2. What dependency do I use? What worked was having Task 1 hold a Finish to Start with 12 week lag in it. But I'd rather put the dependency in Task 2, that it has to end 12 weeks before Task 1 starts. Or it is better if I switch back to a Schdeule form Start, and use Start to Finish dependencies? I noticed that my Constraint Types are greyed out too. Can anyone suggest a good way of arranging this project so I can essentially show the deadlines of when certain tasks have to be completed, so we can then decide if this project is even worth pursuing?

    Saturday, October 13, 2012 4:29 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    when I understand correctly, you also try to set up your schedule from end to start?

    Just enter all tasks in their good sequence. Set dependencies as usual. Go to Project - Project Information, select "Project Finish Date" in "Schedule From" and set your Finish Date. Project will recalculate your schedule from the end an tell you when to start. Be aware of, that default constraint will be switched to "as late as possible".

    But: From my experience, most people have difficulties to think consequently from finish to start. So my suggestion: Try to set up your plan as described above. Ensure that you set all deadlines accordingly. Keep the calculated start date in mind, switch back to schedule from start date and enter the calculated start date.

    And wait for some other answers here, there may be other suggestions.

    Good luck!

    Saturday, October 13, 2012 5:06 PM
  • Save yourself some serious headaches and just schedule it from the start and then watch the key milestones so they dont slip. Put hard containts on them like Must Finish On and also put deadlines on them. that way if a change you make to your scheudle changes the finish date you will get plenty of warnings.

    It is just a HUGE hassle to schedule from finish.

    Just my opinion.

    Brian Kennemer - Project MVP
    DeltaBahn Senior Architect
    endlessly obsessing about Project Server…so that you don’t have to.
    Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn

    Saturday, October 13, 2012 5:09 PM
  • Thank you for the suggestions. In our case though, so much of it is based on end dates.

    For example, if you are going to file it in 1Q 2015, you have to have 18 months of stability. So by setting that, it tells us that needs to start by 3Q 2013. To do that, we have to order supply and make product, and that takes so long. It will then tell us how much time we have for customization. And if it is only 2 months, well then, customization will have to wait. The End date is the most important, and I plan to use this to tell people that their "wish" list of things to do on this product have got to go if we want to get this done on time. Only the last date matters in all this.

    Monday, October 15, 2012 2:47 AM
  • You can do the same thing with a scheduled from start project. You set your deadline milestones and then you make certain tasks predecessors that represent all the work that goes into those deadlines starting from today. If you link them all together and this pushes the milestone out past the deadline then you know you have to shorten some other task or you know you are going to miss your date.

    Scheduled from finish projects do the same thing except they just push the start date of tasks back to before today instead of pushing the deadline out. It is the same thing but scheduled from finish projects tend to be a bit more confusing to manage.

    Brian Kennemer - Project MVP
    DeltaBahn Senior Architect
    endlessly obsessing about Project Server…so that you don’t have to.
    Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn

    Monday, October 15, 2012 3:07 AM
  • Hello Brian.

    I am experiencing a similar task situation with a Must Finish On date and have a question...

    I have a huge project schedule and needs to back fill dates for only a portion of the tasks, so changing Schedule From: Project Start Date to Project Finish Date won't work.  I have been trying to find the formula for dependencies that will allow me to do this, but have been unsuccessful.


    Task 11  5day duration 
    Task 12  3day duration     * pred is Task 1
    Task 13  0 duration   ** this date is a "must finish on"  date

    task 11 and 12 need to be updated based on task 13.  basically, back filling the dates for a set of tasks.  (assuming of course that tasks 11-13 are all cascading).

    Did I explain that clearly?

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012 8:47 PM
  • I'm a complete n00b to MS project but one thing I've been trying is setting negative dependencies, so in your example you could try

    name = "Project"

    duration = somewhat irreelvant, must be less than 18months below otherwise it'll overrun the deadline

    (no start or end dates)

    Predecessor: (let's say the task "file project" is number 100) 100SS-18mon

    Sunday, November 11, 2012 4:07 PM
  • I totally agree with Brian. NEVER schedule from a finish date. I go further and say do not use must finish on constraints. Build your schedule from the earliest date you can start and add resources, reduce durations etc until you finish on time (Note you also need to calculate contingency periods based on remaining risk for the project and add contingency periods where they are most likely to be needed). Then add Deadline dates to key deliverables. Now if a delay pushes a task past its deadline date, you get an immediate red diamond in the indicator column - an exception report.

    Further to that I would add a whole load of interim deadlines such that there is a minimum of one a month. If you can't hit the first few monthly deadlines you will really struggle to hit any others!

    I would group all milestones with deadlines at the top of your schedule so they are easy to find and review.

    The problem with must finish on constraints is that its easy to think the task is on time (because it hasn't moved) unless you notice that it has negative slack. many managers won't understand negative slack, so showing a task has passed its deadline means you can have more meaningful conversations about how to pull the time back.

    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Sunday, November 11, 2012 7:21 PM