I need to write a quick plan, where I roughly know how long in duration a task will take, and I also roughly know how long someone will work on the task within that time. I'm stuffed if I can get MS Project 2010 to work with me!

For example:

1 "Implement Database" - will take 1 week (duration)
1.1 "Write Change record" - will take 0.5 days - anytime in this week
1.2 "Implement change script" - will take 0.5 days - anytime in this week

I want the task to complete by the end of the week, but show that the person doing the change only uses 1 day within the whole week.

MS Project 2010 seems to keep re-calculating things for me and I either have a 1 day duration OR two 1 week tasks.

I guess this is pretty basic, but it seems a little counter-intuitive to a non-PM (C#/ASP dev) using it for the first time!

  • Did you end up finding a solution for this problem? – Ivo Flipse Jul 24 '12 at 15:26

You can show this information visually by switching your view to the Detail Gantt.

Do the following:

  1. On the View menu, click More Views.
  2. In the Views list, click Detail Gantt, and then click Apply.

Assuming that the three tasks are the only tasks in your project, you should see your 5d task in red (indicating that it is on the critical path and any delay to this task will push out the completion date of your project) and your two .5d tasks in blue with a line extending out to the right. This indicates that they have some free slack.

You should also change the table from the entry table to one that shows fields such as Late Start (the latest this task can start), Late Finish (the latest it can finish) free slack (the amount of time this task can be delayed without delaying successor tasks), and total slack (the amount of time this task can be delayed without delaying the finish date of the project. To quickly view this information, do this:

  1. On the View menu, point to Table, and then click Schedule.

Finally, to show when a task must be completed, set a deadline date on each of the tasks:

Double-click on a task, then click the Advanced tab and enter a date in the Deadline box. A green arrow will appear on your Gantt chart that marks the deadline date.

Things get more complicated when you start adding resources. (You will notice that you have allocation warnings on these tasks, because Project hasn't leveled them yet, and you have more than 8 hours of work scheduled in a single day. You can save yourself some headaches later by thinking in terms of work instead of duration. My guess is that Implement Database doesn't require five days of work, but you want to finish that task within five days of starting it. Always enter true work estimates. Use the deadline field to communicate when you want to have something completed. (There is also the "Must finish by" constraint date -- use this to prevent Project from ever moving a task past a certain date. In most cases, deadlines are best, but there are some instances when you need to constrain Project more forcefully.)

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You can make it 1 day of work, but allocate the resource at 20%. Then the duration will be 1 week.

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  • Can you allocate rousources in days/parts of days? – BlueChippy May 17 '12 at 12:24
  • You can allocate as %ages of "full time" as defined in your plan. – Scott C Wilson May 17 '12 at 13:20

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