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Microsoft Office Project 2007 Training
Linking Project tasks

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Course contents
• Overview: Save time as you manage your project
• Lesson 1: Dependency links

• Lesson 2: Create task dependency links
• Lesson 3: Create lag time and lead time

Two of the three lessons include a list of suggested tasks; all include a set of test questions.

Linking Project tasks

Overview: Save time as you manage your project
After you define your project’s tasks and estimate how long they’ll take, you’re ready to link them. Linking tasks creates a plan based on sequence and dependencies, regardless of specific dates. If the start date, duration, or finish date of one task changes, Project automatically reschedules all related tasks. Linking makes your plan more flexible and more reliable.

Linking Project tasks

Course goals
• Apply any of the four task dependency types. • Know when to use each of the task dependencies. • Know when and how to use lead and lag time.

Linking Project tasks

Lesson 1
Dependency links

you override that automatic adjustment. Linking Project tasks . If instead you enter specific start and finish dates for tasks.Dependency links You can use four types of task dependencies (or links) to define the relationships between tasks in your Project plan. Project will automatically adjust your schedule when any part of your plan changes. If you link tasks. So you see the advantage to understanding how Project dependency types are used to link tasks.

Project adjusts the schedule to assign more accurate dates to each task. By default. Project schedules all tasks to begin on the project’s start date and calculates the project’s finish date based on the last task to finish. you’re ready to schedule the tasks by creating task dependency links.Linking tasks 101 After you define your plan’s tasks and estimate how long it will take to complete them. When you enter task dependencies. Linking Project tasks .

the project finish date is the same as the longest task’s finish date.Linking tasks 101 The picture illustrates the concepts. With no task dependencies or constraints applied. 2 Linking Project tasks . 1 All tasks in a Project plan start at the project start date unless you specify otherwise.

3 Task dependencies.Linking tasks 101 The picture illustrates the concepts. can change the project’s scheduled finish date. such as the Finish-to-Start dependency between the first and second tasks (shown here). Linking Project tasks .

A successor is a task whose start or finish date is driven by its predecessor task. Linking Project tasks . A predecessor is a task whose start or finish date determines the start or finish date of its successor task.Predecessor tasks and successor tasks The four dependency types shown in the picture can help you schedule your realworld situation.

The type of relationship between a predecessor task and a successor task determines the type of task dependency to use.Predecessor tasks and successor tasks The four dependency types shown in the picture can help you schedule your realworld situation. Linking Project tasks .

The FS dependency is created by default when you link two tasks in Project. and Task 2 is the successor of Task 1. the tasks have a Finishto-Start (FS) dependency.Finish-to-Start dependencies When the work of Task 2 can start only after all the work of Task 1 is finished. Linking Project tasks . the second as the successor. The order in which you select the tasks treats the first as the predecessor. Task 1 is the predecessor of Task 2.

For example. Linking Project tasks . “Level concrete” (Task 2) can’t begin until “Pour foundation” (Task 1) begins. In the real world. the tasks have a Start-toStart (SS) dependency.Start-to-Start dependencies When the work of Task 2 cannot start until Task 1 starts. SS dependencies generally occur because you want the work of two tasks to overlap.

the overall duration of the two tasks is 15 days. If you set an SS dependency. and Task 2 will take 5 days to complete. and you set an FS dependency.Start-to-Start dependencies Overlapping work also helps to reduce the overall duration of a project. Linking Project tasks . the overall duration of the two tasks is only 10 days (the time required by Task 1). If Task 1 will take 10 days to complete.

they have a Finishto-Finish (FF) dependency.Finish-to-Finish dependencies When the finish date of Task 1 determines the finish date of Task 2. For example. “Inspect electrical” (Task 2) can’t finish until “Add wiring” (Task 1) finishes. Linking Project tasks .

and Task 2 will take 5 days to complete. FF dependencies reduce the overall amount of time it takes to complete work on two tasks. If you set an FF dependency.Finish-to-Finish dependencies Like SS dependencies. Linking Project tasks . and you set an FS dependency. If Task 1 will take 10 days to complete. the overall duration of the two tasks is 15 days. the overall duration of the two tasks is only 10 days (the time required by Task 1). if the work can overlap or be done in parallel.

Start-to-Finish dependencies When the start date of Task 1 determines the finish date of Task 2. but it doesn’t matter when and you don’t want a late finish to affect the just-in-time task. the tasks have a Start-to-Finish (SF) dependency. Say a related task needs to finish before a milestone or project finish date. This is how you create just-intime scheduling. Linking Project tasks . Create an SF dependency between the task you want scheduled just in time (the predecessor) and its related task (the successor).

Start to Finish (SF).) 1. question 1 If you’re not certain how the work of Task A relates to the work of Task B.Test 1. Finish-to-Start (FS). 3. which dependency type should you create? (Pick one answer. 4. 2. Start-to-Start (SS). Finish-to-Finish (FF). Linking Project tasks .

question 1: Answer Finish-to-Start (FS). you avoid introducing scheduling conflicts and can take advantage of Project’s ability to update the plan automatically when changes occur. By using the FS dependency type. Linking Project tasks .Test 1.

“Lay the Carpet” Finish-to-Start with “Install the Lights. “Paint the Walls” should start immediately.” and “Paint the Walls” Finish-to-Start with “Lay the Carpet.” and “Install the Lights” Finish-to-Start with “Paint the Walls. “Lay the Carpet” Finish-to-Finish with “Install the Lights.” and “Paint the Walls” Finish-to-Start with “Lay the Carpet. which dependency types should you create? (Pick one answer. To put these task relationships in your plan.Test 1.” 2.” Linking Project tasks .) 1. “Lay the Carpet” Start-to-Start with “Install the Lights.” 3. question 2 After “Lay the Carpet” and “Install the Lights” are both finished.

” Linking Project tasks . you can start on “Paint the Walls.” The minute that both “Lay the Carpet” and “Install the Lights” are finished. question 2: Answer “Lay the Carpet” Finish-to-Finish with “Install the Lights.” and “Paint the Walls” Finish-to-Start with “Lay the Carpet.Test 1.

) 1. Linking Project tasks . FF — finish editing at the same time as finish writing.Test 1. question 3 It will take a writer 12 days to write a manual and an editor 6 days to edit it. 2. 3. FS — finish writing and then start editing. SS — start writing and start editing at the same time. Which type of dependency will get the work completed in the shortest possible time? (Pick one answer.

Editing will finish when the writing finishes. question 3: Answer FF — finish editing at the same time as finish writing. And because the two tasks overlap. Linking Project tasks .Test 1. the overall duration is 12 days.

Lesson 2 Create task dependency links .

Create task dependency links It’s time to learn how to create links between tasks and after that. you make sure that the link you like stays just the way you want it. If you move a task or insert a new task. Linking Project tasks . Project automatically links it in the same way as the tasks around it. By getting all of your tasks in order first. to think about when to link them.

Next. identify one task as the predecessor.Create an FS dependency After you’ve identified two tasks that will be dependent on each other. Then select the predecessor task by clicking its ID number. Linking Project tasks . Then. click Link Tasks on the Standard toolbar. press the CTRL key and select the task that will be the successor of the task that you have already selected.

If you need to remove a dependency link: 1. 2.Create an FS dependency After you’ve identified two tasks that will be dependent on each other. Select the linked tasks. Linking Project tasks . identify one task as the predecessor. Click Unlink on the Standard toolbar. Then select the predecessor task by clicking its ID number. The order of selection does not matter.

as shown in Figure 1: 1 You can create dependency links by typing directly in the Predecessors column. Linking Project tasks .Type dependencies in the Predecessors column What if you need to set dependencies between tasks that are quite far apart in the Project plan? Project provides a simple solution.

Linking Project tasks . In the Predecessors field of the successor task. Then.Type dependencies in the Predecessors column What if you need to set dependencies between tasks that are quite far apart in the Project plan? First. type the predecessor task’s ID number and the appropriate dependency abbreviation: SS. scroll to the task that will become its successor. FF. note the predecessor task’s ID number. or SF. FS.

select the ID number of the predecessor task.Type dependencies in the Predecessors column What if you need to set dependencies between tasks that are quite far apart in the Project plan? To remove a dependency link from the Predecessors column. Linking Project tasks . and then press the DELETE key.

5. Create an FS dependency by typing in the Predecessors column.Suggestions for practice 1. 2. 4. With a single button click. create multiple FS dependencies. Change an FS dependency to an SS dependency. Change a task duration. Online practice (requires Project 2007) Linking Project tasks . 3. Create an FS dependency by using the Link Tasks button.

and then click Link Tasks. 3. and then click Link Tasks. click the task that appears higher in the task list. question 1 What method can you use to make a task that appears lower in the task list (with a higher task ID number) the predecessor of a task that is higher in the list (with a lower task ID number)? (Pick one answer. click the lower task. Hold the CTRL key. and then click Link Tasks. 2. Hold the Shift key while clicking each task.) 1. Use your mouse to drag across the tasks from top to bottom. Linking Project tasks .Test 2.

Test 2. Linking Project tasks . question 1: Answer Hold the CTRL key. click the task that appears higher in the task list. Tasks are linked in the order in which you selected them when you use the CTRL key. click the lower task. and then click Link Tasks.

Test 2. Which of the following changes will create a Project plan with the shortest overall duration — without changing the project’s start date? (Pick one answer. 2. Task 2 is three days. and Task 4 is two days.) 1. Task 3 is four days. Create a Start-to-Finish dependency between Task 1 and Task 2. Create a Start-to-Finish dependency between Task 3 and Task 4. 3. Task 1 is two days. question 2 The duration of your current Project plan is 11 days. and it has a Finish-to-Start dependency between all four tasks. Create a Start-to-Finish dependency between Task 2 and Task 3. Linking Project tasks .

question 2: Answer Create a Start-to-Finish dependency between Task 3 and Task 4. This shortens the overall duration to 9 days without affecting the start date of the Project plan. Linking Project tasks .Test 2.

Lesson 3 Create lag time and lead time .

Linking Project tasks . What if your plan needs to include complex task relationships? In Project. Or you can make one task overlap with another.Create lag time and lead time Life can be complicated. you can build in a delay between the finish of one task and the start of another.

For overlap. This accounts for something that must happen between two tasks. use lead time. Linking Project tasks 2 . 1 For delay.Create lag time and lead time The picture illustrates each approach. a lead time of seven days gets that second ball rolling. use lag time. such as waiting for a shipment of supplies to arrive. If a task can start a week before the previous one is finished.

For the “Edit Manual” task. suppose you plan to start editing a manual three days after writing starts. Linking Project tasks . For example. and then click OK. you’d enter 3 in the Lag field on the Predecessors tab in the Task Information dialog box.Lag time Lag time is a delay between dependent tasks.

If “Write Manual” is Task 1 and “Edit Manual” is Task 2. in the Predecessors column of Task 2. Linking Project tasks .Lag time Lag time is a delay between dependent tasks. You can also enter lag time directly in the Predecessors column of the successor task in the chart portion of the Gantt Chart view. you could type 1SS3.

Linking Project tasks . For example. and work on the tasks will overlap.Lead time Lead time is overlap between dependent tasks. if the “Prepare Binders” task can start two days before its predecessor task “Print Manual” is finished. you can create a lead time of two days. proceeding at the same time.

select the Predecessors tab. For this example.Lead time Lead time is overlap between dependent tasks. then type -2 in the Lag field. Finally. Lead time is entered as a negative value in the Lag field on the Predecessors tab in the Task Information dialog box. Linking Project tasks . you’d double-click “Prepare Binders” to open the dialog box. you’d click OK.

Create lag time between tasks. 2. Create lead time between tasks.Suggestions for practice 1. Add a task. 3. Online practice (requires Project 2007) Linking Project tasks .

Which dependency type and lag time or lead time will get the work completed in the correct sequence and in the shortest possible time? (Pick one answer.) 1. question 1 Suppose the task “Paint the Walls” cannot start until after the task “Lay the Carpet” has started. 2. The tasks are both ten days long. Linking Project tasks . “Lay the Carpet” Start-to-Start to “Paint the Walls” with a lead time of three days. 3. “Lay the Carpet” Start-to-Start to “Paint the Walls” with a lag time of three days. and work on them can overlap.Test 3. “Lay the Carpet” Start-to-Finish to “Paint the Walls” with a lag time of three days.

question 1: Answer “Lay the Carpet” Start-to-Start to “Paint the Walls” with a lag time of three days. This schedules “Lay the Carpet” to start first and “Paint the Walls” to start three days later. Linking Project tasks .Test 3.

“Select Pictures” Finish-to-Finish to “Presentation” with a lead time of one week. “Select Pictures” Start-to-Finish to “Presentation” with a lead time of one week. 2. question 2 The task “Select Pictures” must be completed at least one week before the task “Presentation” finishes.Test 3. “Select Pictures” Finish-to-Finish to “Presentation” with a lag time of one week.) 1. Linking Project tasks . Which dependency type and lag time or lead time will get all the work done in the shortest possible time? (Pick one answer. 3.

Test 3. The tasks are linked by their finish dates. question 2: Answer “Select Pictures” Finish-to-Finish to “Presentation” with a lead time of one week. but “Select Pictures” will finish one week before “Presentation” does. Linking Project tasks .

Assign the editing an Finish-to-Start dependency type with a lead time of 6 days. and the task “Edit Manual” will take 12 days. Assign the editing a Start-to-Start dependency type with a lag time of 6 days.) 1. question 3 The task “Write Manual” will take 15 days. Assign the editing task a Start-to-Start dependency type with a lead time of 6 days. Linking Project tasks . 3. Which dependency type and lag time or lead time will get all of the work done in 18 days? (Pick one answer.Test 3. 2.

making the overall duration 18 days. Writing and editing will overlap for 9 days and then editing will continue for another 3 days. Editing will start 6 days after the start of writing.Test 3. question 3: Answer Assign the editing a Start-to-Start dependency type with a lag time of 6 days. Well planned! Linking Project tasks .

Linking Project tasks . view the Quick Reference Card.Quick Reference Card For a summary of the tasks covered in this course.

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