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In Microsoft project, how can I define a recurrent task?

Posted on 2008-01-29
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?  I want to be able to define a task that runs for a period of three months executed one hour per week only.  The scenario is that I have a service oriented company that wants to streamline the logistics for executing several service contracts and we want to use Microsoft project to control the operations.  Each service contract would therefore be represented as a repetitive task or repeating task.

How can this be done?  
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Question by:MICHAELJALLEN
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by:jbfraser
ID: 20768449
I can think of a few different ways to do this off the top of my head, depending on how you need this task to interact with other tasks.

I think the most elegant solution would be to set up a single task, with a duration of 90 days, or whatever is appropriate, and work of 12 hours.

This will spread the work evenly out over the open periods in the calendar, but this should be fine, since you don't really care what day or time of day, the work is actually done, since you don't have dependencies on the work.

If you do have dependencies, you should just create 12 separate tasks. You can create them at one place in the schedule and "Drag-fill" to copy contents, then cut and paste the tasks to the appropriate spots in the schedule. Then set up dependencies.

Project doesn't support recurring tasks, and I'm not sure how those would work with inter-task dependencies....


James Fraser
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by:MICHAELJALLEN
ID: 20769105
Hi James,

I read your response with great interest. The only constraint I want to place on the tasks is that if a task is to be executed on Monday whenever it executes must be a Monday. What that happen in the scenario you provide.

Secondly, I notice that project has a feature whereby you can split a task. Here are the questions that arise.
1.      How many segments can you spot the task into?
2.      Can you assign a duration to each of the segments and constrain it to specific day?
3.      Can you manage into dependencies by segments?
4.      How would lead and lag feature in this arrangement?

If they can get positive answers to these questions and the ways clear.

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by:jbfraser
ID: 20769297
With the additional information, I think I might do something else:
Assign a calendar to the task:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/HP452951941033.aspx (instructions are for 2003, but 2007 is very similar in this feature.)

Set the calendar up for Monday's only. and then set your task to use that calendar.

You also asked:
> 1.      How many segments can you spot the task into?
Many. I'm not sure of a specific limit, but 20 wouldn't be stretching things at all.

> 2.      Can you assign a duration to each of the segments and constrain it to specific day?
Sort of, but not as directly as what you are imagining. Task splits are made when the Timephased view of work has working times (per the calendar) that have work set to 0. So you have to get a bit tricky to use these, and they would be a pain to manage.

> 3.      Can you manage into dependencies by segments?
No, not at all. They are still the same task, just work is performed irregularly.

> 4.      How would lead and lag feature in this arrangement?
Wouldn't change, since dependencies will still use that task start and finish.

If you want different dependencies, you need multiple tasks.


James Fraser
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Author Comment

by:MICHAELJALLEN
ID: 20775705
Thanks James for your quick response.

I have been using project management software for many years to plan, budget, execute, and control projects of all sorts; but Im stepping out into some uncharted waters with this one.

A company that does two kinds of maintenance operations according to weekly, monthly, fortnightly schedules is trying to organize its logistics and has called me in so Im trying to use MS project to streamline these functions.  It seems entirely possible.

Here is a new question arising out of the responses you just gave.

Would the resources attached to such tasks be properly reported and leveled in the resource reporting calendars or the calendar reports for the resources attached to the task?  
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jbfraser earned 1500 total points
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>>> A company that does two kinds of maintenance operations according to weekly, monthly, fortnightly schedules is trying to organize its logistics and has called me in so Im trying to use MS project to streamline these functions.  It seems entirely possible.
<<<
So you're probably building out templates and want to get those as correct as possible. I personally might lean toward some of the "Brute force" methods of creating multiple copies of the tasks and drag filling to complete days and such. Test out the intelligence of the Drag-fill, it should pick up that the start dates increment by a week...

>>>
Would the resources attached to such tasks be properly reported and leveled in the resource reporting calendars or the calendar reports for the resources attached to the task?
<<<
I'm not certain about leveling, but certainly the reporting should be fine. The work is scheduled on a task using the intersection of a resource calendar and the task calendar.


James Fraser
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Author Closing Comment

by:MICHAELJALLEN
ID: 31425965
it provided the background to help me make my mind up
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