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Microsoft Project 2010: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Chapter 7. Making a Schedule That’s Easy to Maintain

In Project, as in life, building good relationships is a key to success. When you define relationships between tasks in a Project file—task dependencies—the program calculates task start and finish dates based on how tasks affect one another. Some tasks have to finish before others can start. For example, the law of gravity requires that you finish a building’s foundation before you start pouring the concrete for the first floor’s walls.

With all the task dependencies in place, tasks cheerfully nestle into sequence, and you can finally see the schedule for the entire project from the start date for the first task to the finish date of the last task. Placing your tasks in sequence is what turns a task list into a project schedule.

This chapter describes the different types of task dependencies, how to create and modify them, and the pros and cons of each one. Also, although task dependencies let Project adjust task start and finish dates automatically, some situations call for specific dates for tasks. In this chapter, you’ll learn two ways to specify when tasks can start or finish. Project 2010’s new manual scheduling feature makes it easy to fix start and finish dates. But you can also apply date constraints with different levels of flexibility. More importantly, you’ll find out how to use date constraints and deadlines to handle specific dates without limiting Project’s ability to calculate the schedule.

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