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Microsoft Project 2010: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Chapter 10. Does the Schedule Work?

After sequencing tasks and assigning resources, you finally have a project schedule (and a feeling of accomplishment). But like a crossword puzzle with some letters out of place, your Microsoft Project schedule can look okay even though mistakes are lurking under the surface. Until you’ve made sure that all elements of your project are based in reality—like task duration, dependencies, and resource assignments—your project’s finish date, cost, and schedule remain in question.

In addition to the inherent inaccuracy of project work and duration estimates, schedules pick up imperfections in several ways. Take tasks, for example. If you forget a link between two tasks, or your mouse snags the wrong task for a dependency, the task sequence doesn’t reflect the real relationships between tasks. In turn, these missing or incorrect task dependencies affect when tasks begin and end. Task constraints and tasks you schedule manually go on the calendar where you tell them to—for example, as soon as possible, no earlier than a specific date, or starting and finishing on specific dates. But if those constraints or dates are wrong—or you accidentally create constraints you don’t need, the schedule is both incorrect and less flexible. This chapter tells you how to find and correct task dependencies and inadvertent constraints.

While your project is under the microscope, you’re bound to find imperfections, like a task that starts before one of its predecessors or ...

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