How to force Successor to start next working day in MS PROJET 2013



as usual, I’ve got a question from one of my Blog Reader: “If I have two tasks, the second task’s predecessor is the first task, and the first task ends on 7/10, I’d like the second task to start the following day, 7/11, My project has tasks starting the last day of the predecessor task. I don’t want to add a constraint or lag time to the tasks to resolve the issue. Is there a setting for the entire project that sets all tasks to start on the following day as their predecessor?

I’ll show you that with MS PROJECT 2013.

First of all, how can a Successor begins at the same day as Predecessor finishes! Easy! Let me show you.

I will ads Task 1, and I will put 1,5 days in the Duration field. Then I’ll add Task 2, and I will put 2 days in the Duration field. Finally I’ll link them. And I’ll get:


Let me explain this picture a little bit! The working time is from 08:00 to 12:00, and from 13:00 (1:00 PM) to 17:00 (5:00 PM)Since first Task has 1,5 days duration it will take from 08:00 to 17:00 (with lunch break from 12:00 to 13:00) at 03.07.2013 (and that is 8 hours = 1 Day), and from 08:00 to 12:00 at 4.7.2013 (this is second day, but only half of it). Successor starts in Finish to Start relationship first available minute after predecessor. Since there is a lunch break between 12:00 and 13:00 at second day, it will start at 13:00 at second day.

Now suppose that you have a demand that Task 2 should start at first available working day after predecessor finishes. The cleanest way is to put a constraint at the Task2 and that constraint is so called semi flexible, and it will be: Start no earlier than:


and then:


I’ll get:


I’ve got what I wanted, BUT! Suppose that I extend duration to 3,5 days instead 1,5 days for Task 1. I’ll get:


What happens? As you can see, Task 1 will finish at 08.07.2013, and Task 2 will start at the same day! Why? Well, because I told that Task 2 should Start no earlier than 05.07.2013. And it does not. It starts latter, at 08.07.2013, and the problem is same! It does not start next working day!

OK, now I’ll remove those constraints and I’ll get the “start” position:


What can I do! Workaround!

First I’ll insert so called Dummy Task with (for my example) 1 hour duration, between Task 1, and Task 2, and I’ll link them like this:


Now I am going to create new Calendar with name: Dummy, and I’ll tell that working time on this calendar is 1 hour per day from 01:00 AM to 02:00 PM.






Finally, I’ll assign that new Calendar To the dummy Task:


I get this:


You can see that Task 2 will start at 05.07.2013 and that is exactly what I wanted – the day after Task 1 will finish. Again I’m going to extend duration to 3,5 days instead 1,5 days for Task 1. I’ll get:


As you can see, now Task 2 will start at 09.07.2013, and this is first working day after Task 1 finishes.

Do not forget this:

  • DO NOT assign any Resources to Dummy Task! Dummy task is Dummy, e.g no one will work on it
  • After you finish Task 1 (100%) do not forget to put 100% finished to dummy Task!

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, Microsoft Project 2013, PMI, PRoject Management, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to force Successor to start next working day in MS PROJET 2013

  1. simketalsma says:

    Hi Nenad,

    I have a question related to your topic here. I have a task that cannot be split of 2hrs duration. There is a resource assigned with a resource calender which gives about 4hrs of working time every day.

    Working time 14:00 – 18:00
    Task start time 17:00

    The task starts at 17:00, but there is not enough time to complete the task. Therefore it will search for the next available window which is the next day at 14:00 (resulting in a finish time of 15:00).
    However, this task cannot be split. So I want MS Project to start the task the next day at 14:00 and Finish at 16:00.

    Do you know a way to do this?
    PS. I would like for this to still work when durations slightly change so not with a manually added lag.

    • Nenad Trajkovski says:

      I have to disappoint you, but you should do it manually! There is no way that yu force Task to start in a day when it can be accomplish at once. This is because Task can have 3 day duration (for example), and in that can how can in fit in one day? It can’t

  2. Geert says:

    Thx for the interesting scheduling info tips and tricks.
    Can you advise me how to handle a closed task that has a resource assigned, but the resource will eventually spend 0 hours. So it is in fact a 100 % complete task and actual hours are 0. Can this be displayed, keeping the (planned-) ‘work’ hours as planned on, let’s say 4 hours ???

    • Nenad Trajkovski says:

      If you have a resource assigned to the Task, and it works 0 hours, that means that you don’t need this resource! But, what you can do is this:
      1. Assign Resource to the Task!
      2. Save a Baseline
      3. Delete resource from the Task
      4. Mark a Task as 100% completed!
      5. Go to work table, and you will see planned vs. actual work!

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