MS Project - Displaying Summary Tasks as Normal Tasks RRS feed

  • Question

  • Some of my tasks have additional steps within them that I need to show in MS Project.  I do not need to track durations/dates/completion% for these individual steps.

    E.g. Task A involves completing Steps 1-5. Steps 1-5 are basically a "reminder of things you need to do list" and don't need to be tracked or scheduled at all.

    The obvious way to do this would be to make Task A a summary task, and set Steps 1-5 to "manually scheduled" and potentially 0 duration as well.

    However, with this solution, Task A now shows up as a summary task on the Gantt chart, and, most importantly, it will not show as critical/non-critical. 

    Is there any way to display Task A on the Gantt chart as if it is a normal task, not a summary task? The most important thing is being able to see immediately from the Gantt chart whether it is critical or not.

    I am aware that bar styles can be changed for all summary tasks so they look like normal tasks, however, I don't think allows the logic to determine criticality. Additionally, I have some genuine summary tasks in my project that I would like to remain on the Gantt chart.

    The only solution I currently have is to, without making Task A a summary task, simply list the Steps 1-5 as below Task A, set them to 0 duration, "manually scheduled", and maybe including some manual indentation, or font size change.

    Any advice appreciated!

    • Edited by EdLambourn Wednesday, November 16, 2016 3:40 PM
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 3:35 PM

All replies

  • Ed,

    Let me introduce to the Notes field. If you don't consider the "steps" as actual tasks then they don't belong on the plan itself but they are relevant information you want to annotate, so, put them in the Notes field for those special tasks. You could also use any of the 30 Text fields but only the Notes field can hold text in formatted fashion (i.e. tabs, bullets, etc.)

    Hope this helps.


    • Marked as answer by EdLambourn Wednesday, November 16, 2016 4:11 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by EdLambourn Wednesday, November 16, 2016 4:14 PM
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 3:59 PM
  • Hi Ed,

    you can do what you want...  Whether you use this method or john's is of course up to you.

    1. Criticality is a function of the total slack.  In this case I would link the summary task to ensure that it is part of the critical path.

    2. You can hide the bars for the sub tasks.

    3.  Using a flag, you can identify which summary tasks should be displayed as normal tasks.  

    The following images should help...

    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 6:12 PM
  • The usual rule of thumb is that summary tasks should not be linked as predecessors or successors, and I am usually pretty adamant about it.

    The reason for the rule is:

    1. summary tasks are not really tasks at all but just a way of organising tasks into "chunks".

    2. the critical path should go through tasks, and linking summaries distorts the critical path.

    However, for the particular case you describe, I can agree with Ben's approach which is pretty darn clever.
    This makes the little sub-tasks not really tasks at all, and their bars have been disappeared so it doesn't matter whether they have dates or where they are located, timewise. If you format for white text in the duration and date fields that text will disappear too and all you will be left with is their names. It is a  bit high maintenance, though, because you need the flag and the bar style format, and the text format.

    Even when not linked into the network, summaries have slack, and may also have zero slack if their tasks are critical.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016 2:48 AM