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!!!