Manually Scheduled Summary Tasks, and how to deal with them!


Hi, I will show you how to deal with Manually Scheduled Summary Tasks in MS PROJECT 2010! As you already know Manually Scheduled Task are new feature in MS PROJECT 2010, and those tasks are fully controlled by you.

I will now add one new Task in my Project:


Notice that I put 15 days in duration field, and 21.2.2012 in Start Date.

I will now add two more Tasks:


Now I will link those two Tasks, and I will get:


Now I will select Task 1, and Task 2 and I will indent them, so I will make My Manually scheduled Summary Task  as real Summary Task:


and I will get:


I will explain the Picture above. We have Summary Task with Duration = 15 days, Start Date = 21.2.2012, and End Date = 12.3.2012. But Task 1 has Start Date = 20.2.2012 (one day before Summary Task, because this is Project Start Date),  and Task 2 has Finish date = 2.4.2012 (because duration is 28 days). Notice red line in the Gantt Chart Part.


This line represent the “real schedule warning” e.g. it represent variance between Tasks and Summary Task. Notice two other things. First, dates underlined with green and white color represent schedule conflict. Second notice that in Gantt Chart Task 2 is surrounded by doted lines, which represent schedule conflict!

What can you do? You can examine by yourself where are the conflicts, and then enter proper Values in each field which is “wrong”. Or you can use the Task Inspector:


and you will get:


You have three options:

  1. Extend finish date od task. If you choose this one, Summary Task will have finish date 2.4.2012, but Start Date remains same.
  2. Change dates but keep task Manually Scheduled. If you choose this one, Summary Task will have start date 20.02.2012, finish date 2.4.2012, and mode for this task remains Manually.
  3. Switch task to Auto Scheduled. If you choose this one, Summary Task will have start date 20.02.2012, finish date 2.4.2012, and mode will change to Auto.

I will choose Option no. 2 and I will get:


Everything is O.K. now.

Now suppose that I have all my Tasks in auto scheduled mode, like this:


Now, suppose that I want to put in my Summary Task 5 instead of 10 days! I will get:


Notice, that Summary Task is now in Manually Scheduled mode! Some people consider it a BUG! but it is not! What really happens here is: YOU DICIDED TO TAKE CONTROL OVER THE SUMMARY TASK FROM MS PROJECT 2010, and only way to do that is to switch from Auto to Manually Scheduled mode.

That’s it.



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.

2 Responses to Manually Scheduled Summary Tasks, and how to deal with them!

  1. cc says:

    Greetings, Sir,

    Thanks kindly for your detailed example. I have been having a screaming mad time toggling between manually vs. auto scheduled task mode.

    I fully recognize that AUTO schedule allows one to get the maximum .mpp functionality, but my main issue is accounting for variances in task durations. I find myself “guessing” how many days I should enter in the DURATION field so that the FINISH date(s) are updated accurately, but the temptation is to just update the START/FINISH dates directly, which I know converts the task to MANUALLY scheduled.

    Any guidance or recommendation you can provide is helpful.

    Meanwhile, humbly, I believe a CORRECTION is needed in this line:
    “Now, suppose that I want to put in my Summary Task 5 instead of 10 days! I will get.”

    Based on your example, I believe this statements should read:
    “Now, suppose that I want to put in my Summary Task 5 instead of [7] days! I will get.”

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