Adding Subtasks

After you enter the major tasks in your project, you can begin to flesh out the details by adding subordinate tasks, also referred to as subtasks. When you add sub-tasks, the upper-level task becomes a summary task. Summary tasks and subtasks provide an easy-to-apply outline structure for your schedule.

Project's outline approach also enables you to display and print your project information with various levels of detail. For example, with only summary tasks showing, you see a higher-level overview of the project that you may want to present to management. On the other hand, you can reveal the details of only one or two phases of a project so that you can discuss those tasks with the people who will be performing them. The outline structure gives you a lot of flexibility in working with your schedule.

New Vt You can use the Project Guide to help you organize your project outline. On the Feature Project Guide toolbar (to display the toolbar, right-click any toolbar and then click Project Guide), click Tasks. Then click the Organize tasks into phases link.

When you insert a new task, it appears above the currently selected task. Begin by adding subtasks under the Book meeting space task. Follow these steps to insert a new task:

1. Click the Schedule Speakers task.

2. Choose InsertONew Task. Row 2 becomes a blank row, and all the other tasks move down one row. Your cursor rests in the new task row.

3. Type Request Purchase Order, and click the check mark button to accept the new task.

4. Click the Indent button on the Formatting toolbar (it looks like a right-facing arrow) to indent the subtask, as shown in Figure 3-11.

Note By default, summary tasks appear in boldface type and subtasks appear in normal type. However, some people like to differentiate these task types even more. In traditional outlining, the capitalization of items may vary, depending on their level. For example, you can capitalize the first letters of all the words in the summary tasks (headline style) and capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the sub-tasks (sentence style), as in this example. The choice is yours. However, if you decide to use some special effect as you enter text, be consistent so that others looking at your schedule can recognize your system. And, if others are to work on your schedule, make sure that they follow the formats that you have established.

Notice that the summary task (Book Meeting Space) now displays a solid black line on the Gantt Chart, with a down arrow shape marking its beginning and end. When a task becomes a summary task (that is, when it contains subtasks), the timing of the summary task reflects the total amount of time that is required to complete the subtasks. If a task has a duration assigned to it and you make it into a summary task, the timing of the subtasks overrides the assigned duration. If you change the timing of a subtask, the summary task duration changes to reflect the change.

Indent button

Indent button

Figure 3-11: The summary task now appears in boldface type.

You can add other subtasks by following these steps:

1. Click the Schedule Speakers task.

2. Press Insert (which is a shortcut to choosing InsertONew Task). A new blank row appears.

3. Type Select Room, and press Enter to accept the new task. The new task uses the same level of indentation as the task above it.

4. Press Insert. A new blank row appears.

5. Type Confirm Space, and press Enter to accept the new task. The new task uses the same level of indentation as the task above it.

6. Press Insert.

7. Type Order Flowers, and press Enter to accept the new task.

Each of these new tasks indents to the subordinate level. However, the third new task is not a subtask of the Book Meeting Space summary task. To move the task higher in the outline hierarchy, simply select the new task and use the Outdent button on the toolbar. You can also use your mouse to move the task as follows:

1. Move your mouse over the first few letters of the Order Flowers task name until the mouse pointer becomes a two-way pointing arrow.

2. Drag the task to the left until a thick gray line indicates that the task is lined up with the upper-level tasks in the outline, as shown in Figure 3-12.

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3. Release the mouse button to complete the move.

Your schedule now looks like the schedule shown in Figure 3-13. Adding details is as simple as inserting new tasks wherever you want them and then moving the tasks in or out in the outline structure.

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Figure 3-13: The outline structure enables you to see summary tasks and subtasks as manageable chunks of work.

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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