Inside Out

Don't fill in the Start and Finish fields

By default, the Gantt Chart table includes the Task Name, Duration, Start, Finish, Predecessors, and Resource Names fields as columns. A natural impulse when entering tasks is to enter project information into each of these fields. However, you can get yourself into some trouble if you enter dates in the Start and Finish fields. Not only would you be struggling to calculate start and finish dates for each task while Microsoft Project could more easily do it for you, but you'd be putting undue restrictions on your schedule and possibly creating scheduling conflicts.

The best approach is to enter the task names first and then the durations if you know them. Leave the Start and Finish fields as they are for now, and let Microsoft Project calculate them for you as you add other project information. The Predecessors field is filled in for you when you start creating links between tasks. At that point, with durations and links in place, Microsoft Project calculates the Start and Finish dates. If you then need to constrain the dates, you can edit them as you need.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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