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MS Project - Switching Tasks

Posted on 2014-01-14
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Last Modified: 2014-01-20
Hi,

I have newbie type question.

Say if I have some tasks (1-5) where you have to complete task 1 before starting task 2, etc...

Say I am 30% through task 1 and I get tasked to stop work on task 1 and jump across to the new urgent task.  How should I handle this in MS Project?

I want to be in the position that the plan clearly shows the impact of stopping tasking 1?

(I am a complete novice on MS Project 2010)

Thanks.
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Question by:andyw27
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Expert Comment

by:Dr. Thomas Henkelmann
ID: 39781580
Hi,

if the work should happen in a defined order (as you describe it) the first step would definitely be to select all 5 tasks and link them. Also make sure you set the project start date in the "Project" ribbon in "Project Information".
If you want Project to calculate them please also set the tasks to "Task Mode"=Auto. Now you can set the progress to the first task by either double clicking it and set 30%, or by showing task details (from the View ribbon) and enter 30%, or by clicking on e.g. "25%" in the Task ribbon. Yes, sorry, there are so many ways in Project to achieve the same result :)

Now you need to "stop working" on task 1 and leave it at 25% (or 30%, doesn't matter). For your question above you would now track progress for task 2 AND set the start date to the first day where you worked on the task. This causes a "conflict" in the schedule (on purpose!) because task 1 is NOT finished but task 2 has started - no problem and Project can handle this very real situation.

Does this help?

Regards

Thomas
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Author Comment

by:andyw27
ID: 39781907
Hi Thomas,

Thanks this is a great starting point.  In your message does task 2 refer to the new urgent task?

Does the new 'urgent' task need to be inserted into the original hierarchy and linked?
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Dr. Thomas Henkelmann earned 500 total points
ID: 39782132
Ah, didn't get that that the "urgent task" is a new one but thought it's one of the five you initially setup. The basic story is the same:

- if the new "urgent" task has a logical sequence and needs to be done before thee EXISTING task2, then I would insert it between 1 and 2, and link to task 2.
- if the new "urgent" task is independent, then just add it below the 5 linked tasks and record your progress as you move forward.

An additonal recommendation: to reflect that time goes by, please set your project status date on a weekly base ("Project" ribbon) and then click on "Update Project", then "Reschedule uncompleted tasks to start after" and hit OK. This will reschedule and show all work that still needs to be done after the status date.
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Author Comment

by:andyw27
ID: 39794284
Thanks that great.
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