Multiple relationships between Tasks–is this possible?


I have a great question form one of my Blog readers:
“Hi Nenad,
thanks for your time and experience. I have a question:
I have to tasks 1 and 2.
Task 2 starts with 1 day of delay of the start of task 2 (Start Start +1 day).
But task 2 cant finish until task 1 is finished.
How can I do that?”

I will show you that you can not do that in this way with MS PROJECT 2016!

First I will create a brand new Project with two Tasks:
Now I have to decide, because there is only one dependencies type that can be establish between two Tasks. In this example it has to be Start to Start with delay of 1 day, like this:


an I will get:


In this case, no matter when the Task 1 will be started, MS PROJECT will automatically move Task 2 to start 1 day after Start Date of Task 1.

But no matter when Task 1 will be finished Task 2 will not depend of that Finish date. To do that (make that Task 1, and Task 2 finish at the same date), I have to establish Finish to Finish dependencies:


and I will get:


In this case, no matter when the Task 2 will be finished, MS PROJECT will automatically move Task 2 to finish at the same date as Task 1.

But now I do not have Start Date set for Task 2 one day after Task 1 will be started. Of course I can manually adjust Start Date for Task 2 (and then make Start no Earlier Than constraint for Task 2), like this:


It looks perfect, but it is not. If I, for example, for same case move Task 1 to start at Wednesday, 26.7.2017:




I will get:


Now, I have Start no Earlier Than constraint for Task 1, and the Start Date is Wednesday, 28.07.2017, so Task 2 will start 1 day before Task 1, and not after.

To conclude, you can choose only one dependencies type between Tasks, and then take care manually for the rest , but be aware that in large projects with many Tasks, and multiple dependencies (when one task has multiple predecessors or/and successors) it can be very complicated and you can easily make a mistake which is lately hard to find.



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 2013, Micsrosoft Project 2016, MS PROJECT 2016 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Multiple relationships between Tasks–is this possible?

  1. Tom Boyle says:

    This is a good illustration of the limitation that Microsoft enforces on users.
    Your reader’s question reflects a valid concern over this limitation, since parallel SS/FF relationships represent the primary method for modeling tasks that are sequentially related but that may proceed largely in parallel. E.g. 1. dig 1000m of trench; 2.install 1000m of pipe in trench. The scheduled dates depend on the durations (and ultimately the resource production rates) of the two tasks, and both relationships are necessary to optimally plan (and manage) the work. In MSP, the best workaround (and the answer to your reader’s question, in my opinion) is NOT to introduce date constraints. Rather, insert a dummy milestone to carry part of the logic between the two tasks. I.e. “Task1” > SS > “Start Task1” (the dummy milestone) > SS+1 > Task2. And “Task1” > FF > “Task2.”

    In prior versions, it was possible to introduce persistent multiple relationships between tasks by editing and importing xml files. I wrote about it here: Has Microsoft closed this loophole in MSP 2016?

  2. Klaus Ulitzsch says:

    Hi Nenad,
    I think, you can solve the problem in this case.
    Thist. In your example there is no problem, cause Task 2 starts after task1 and is longer. So you have all the requiremnts by Task Definition done. (another question ist the Controlling of the Project, if Task 1 needs more time as planed, but this is another theme.)
    If the Duration of Task 2 is shorter than Task 1 you can connect the start via the predecessor in Task 2 with 1AA+ 1d. The ends of the Tasks you can connect als hammata via copy and paste the Content.
    But now it is interesting, wich kind of taskplanning you have, everywhere you get different results for work – this is an interesting point to discus! (I think, all results ar logical, but it is interesting!)


    Klaus Ulitzsch

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