I would just like to share a quick post with you that is closely related to Flaw 1 in my series on incorrect use of Microsoft Project stand alone version. What I want to do here is a quick win post: One that you can read in 5 minutes, but makes your live a lot easier afterwards.
The subject of the post concerns Microsoft Project constraints. Now what are constraints? They are the little calendar icon’s on the indicator column in your Gantt-chart. If you hover over a calendar it gives you a nice description of the type of constraint that you have on that task. There are 2 major versions, a blue and a red one:
What does that mean for your schedule? A task with a constraint will not only look to the start date of the project and dependencies it has with other tasks to have a start date. With that calendar a task will always look for the constraint date before it looks at project start date or dependencies. Now that isn’t really dynamic scheduling now is it (there is a book on that too)?
Fixing any non intentional Microsoft Project constraints
Sure a fixed date could be intentionally, you need to reach a specific date and don’t want the schedule to pass that date without warnings. If deadlines don’t do the trick, you should look for the constraints Start No Earlier Than, Finish No Later Than or the variations on these types. The Must Start On and Must Finish On are very restricting constraints and should be avoided at all cost if you want to have a dynamic schedule.
Now on to fixing a constraint that you didn’t want to have:
Step 1: right click on the task with the calendar and select information from the menu
Step 2: Go to the advanced tab in the “task information menu”
Step 3: somewhere in the middle you will see “constraint type” and a date. Select “As Soon As Possible” from the drop down menu.
Step 4: press OK and behold your dynamically scheduled task. Note that the task only moves if there isn’t any progress on it.
Thank you for reading. I hope it clears up some big frustrations I know I had when starting with MS Project. If you have any addition to make to the post or would like to read more please let me know in the comments. Also consider following the blog by subscribing to the newsletter if you want to be in the loop on upcoming posts.