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Chapter 5. Creating a Task List > Outlining the Task List

Outlining the Task List

Outlining is Microsoft Project's method of organizing the details of a project into groups of activities that correspond to the major phases of a project, and it is the equivalent of the traditional Work Breakdown Structure (refer to Figure 5.1 and Figure 5.2). Each task has an outline number, which is calculated by Project using the so-called legal numbering system. For example, if a summary task has an outline number of 2, the subtasks directly under it would be 2.1, 2.2, and so on. The subtasks under the subtask 2.1 would be 2.1.1, 2.1.2, and so on. The outline number serves to identify the group containing the task in the overall structure of the project.

Like the Work Breakdown Structure, outlining organizes tasks into functional groups. Outlining usually is thought of in terms of its visual effect: You indent detail topics under major topics, creating subtasks. See the expanded task list in Figure 5.30. The major topics, called summary tasks, control and summarize the subordinate detail tasks. In project scheduling, indenting a task is called demoting the task, and the task you demote is a subtask. The task under which the task is indented automatically becomes a summary task that both controls and summarizes the subtasks.


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