Scheduling Summary Tasks Manually in MS PROJECT 2010



In one of my previous blogs I wrote about Manual VS Automatic Scheduled Tasks. In this post I will show how can you use Manually scheduled tasks for summary tasks in MS PROJECT 2010.

I will make a scenario. I am in a Project which has 2 phases, and each phase has 3 Tasks. I will put them in a MS PROJECT 2010 and initially they will be Manually scheduled:


I will enter Duration for each Task: Task 1 of Phase 1 = 1 day, Task 2 of Phase 1 = 2 days, Task 3 of Phase 1 = 3 days, Task 1 of Phase 2 = 4 days, Task 2 of Phase 2 = 5 days, and Task 3 of Phase 2 = 6 days:


Now, I will connect them:


Now, suppose that I know all the information for Task 1 and Task 2 of Phase 1, and Task 2 and Task 3 of Phase 2 so I will change their schedule mode from Manually to Automatic:


I will get:


O.K. I have a plan for Phase 1, and I want it to least 10 days. For Phase 2 I don’t have a clue about duration (for now). I will put 10 days for duration of Phase 1 .


Now, I will make Tasks for Each Phase as a Summary Task:


and I will get:


You can see that Phase 1 stays in Manually scheduled mode, and Phase 2 is switched in Automatic schedule mode. Why? Because I put 10 dayw for Phase 1 and MS PROJECT 2010 assumes that I have planed 10 days duration for that phase. Since I didn’t enter anything in duration field for Phase 2, MS PROJECT 2010 has switched from Manually to Automatic scheduled mode, and in duration field is now 15 days (sum of duration of Task 1 + Task 2 + Task 3 = 4 + 5 + 6 = 15 days for Phase 2).

Now I will put 11 days in duration field for Phase 2 and I will get:


You can see that MS PROJECT 2010 has changed Task mode for Phase 2 from Automatic to Manually since I have entered the duration manually.

Let us see the graphical part of the Gant chart.


If you but mouse pointer on the gray bar for Phase 1 you will get the Summary information like it is shown in the picture above. I have planned 10 days duration for the Phase 1 and MS PROJECT 2010 has calculated that it will last 6 days, so the Phase 1 will be finished 4 days earlier!


For the Phase 2 I have planned 11 days duration, and MS PROJECT 2010 has calculated that I will last 15 days, so the Phase 2 will be finished 4 days latter, and that is why the time calculated by MS PROJECT 2010 is represented with RED COLORED BAR for Phase 2 (it means: “YOUR PHASE WILL LAST LONGER THAT YOU HAVE PLANNED”). For the Phase 1 time calculated by MS PROJECT 2010 is represented with BLUE COLORED BAR (it means: “YOUR PHASE WILL LAST SHORTER, OR AS YOU HAVE PLANNED”).

I will now include PROJECT SUMMARY TASK in Gantt chart:


and I will get:


Note that the PROJECT SUMMARY TASK is ALWAYS in AUTOMATIC SCHEDULE MODE, and it can not be changed!

O.K. Now you know how to Schedule Summary Tasks Manually! But, why should you do this? What I the purpose of this feature? Here is the answer: FOR THE PLANNIG!!! Suppose that your boss  want to allocate 15 days for the summary task. How will you and her/him know if it is, or is not realistic? You should enter this 15 days for the summary task, and than let the MS PROJECT calculate how long will it take for this summary task, and you will know what is more realistic. And you can show to your boss the GAP!!!

See you,


About Nenad Trajkovski

Location: Zagreb, Croatia Occupation: Project Manager Interests: Project Management and MS PROJECT He was born in Zagreb, Croatia at 1963. After completing his college he started working on projects in different business areas (banking, manufacturing, automotive industry, distribution, oil companies, etc.) developing and implementing ERP systems into different companies. He has got a lot of experience working with people in different business processes and also possesses great knowledge in information technologies and financial services. Today he works as a business consultant, adn Project Manager in PERPETUUM MOBILE d.o.o. Zagreb. He is a regular lecturer for Project Management in MS Innovation Center in Varaždin, Logosoft Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and SEAVUS GROUP in Skopje Macedonia. He was named the best lecturer of WINDAYS 2008 while his lecture was also voted as the best. In addition, he was in TOP 10 lecturers at the MS SINERGY 2009 and MS VISIA 2009, 2010. Shares first place as the best lecturer of KulenDays 2009 and 2010 and PMI Conference 2009 in Zagreb. He is also a regular lecturer in the MS Community. He is a Certified Accountant and a PMP (Project Manager Professional) and a PMI-RMP (Risk Manager Professional), MCP, MCT, and Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist - Microsoft Project 2010. From 01.01.2012 awarded with MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Proffesional - Microsoft Project)!
This entry was posted in MICROSOFT PROJECT, Microsoft PRoject 2010, MS PROJECT 2010, PMI, PRoject Management and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Scheduling Summary Tasks Manually in MS PROJECT 2010

  1. office 2007 business says:

    Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to grasp so much about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I feel that you can do with some percent to drive the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  2. certi Fitlcertafitlcerttifit says:

    Thanks for the good writeup. It in reality used to be a leisure account it. Look complex to more introduced agreeable from you! By the way, how could we keep in touch?

  3. Pingback: Develop a Scope for my Project! Should I choose Manually or Auto scheduled Tasks? | Nenad Trajkovski

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s