Start and Finish Date with Auto Scheduled Task


first of all, apologies for delaying with my regular Post, but I was very busy with organizing SPCAdriatics (SharePoint and Project) conference last weeks (

Again, a question from one of my Blog readers:

“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.”

Well, let’s start with MS PROJECT 2013. First I will add one Task to MS PROJECT with 1 day (auto setting) Duration in Auto Scheduled Mode:


Now, Suppose that I do not want to make any guessing about Task Duration, but I  want to enter Start and End date by Myself. For example, Start date will be at December/09/2013, and End Date will be at December/12/2013. When I enter this data in MS PROJECT 2013 I’ll get:


As you can see Task did not turn in Manually scheduled mode! BUT! If you look information (Hover your muse over the Icon) on the first Column you will see:


Because I entered Finish Date manually, MS PROJECT set Finish No Earlier Constraint to the Task. And what does it mean? It means that should not be finished before that date! This is called Semi Flexible Constraint, and if you want to know a little bit more about Constraints in MS PROJECT read my previous post:

My advice is: Avoid Semi Flexible or Hard Constraint whenever you can. It can give you a headache




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)!
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3 Responses to Start and Finish Date with Auto Scheduled Task

  1. Faris says:

    Nenad, I’m actually interested in what Kevin is asking. How do you update actuals? Let’s say the task is supposed to have finished 21 Feb 2014 according to the original plan. However, this task can now be finished earlier. Do you enter the new finish date as a constraint? Or do you enter a new duration and let the finish date be calculated. And how do you not let it affect your Work value?

  2. Kevin Peto Bostick says:

    Whilst a good example of the effect of typing dates into the ‘Start’ and ‘Finish’ fields, I think the question should have been answered by referring to how to update actuals… as it sounds like the reader knows the actual finish date.
    I’m sure you have written about this.

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