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Chapter 6. Entering Scheduling Requirements > Working with Task Constraints

Working with Task Constraints

Generally speaking you want Microsoft Project to schedule tasks as close as possible to the start of the project in order to minimize the overall duration of the project. For the same reason, if the project is scheduled from a fixed finish date, you want Project to schedule tasks as late as possible so they are close to the fixed finish date and keep the duration of the project as short as possible. However, there are many circumstances in which a task must be scheduled to start or finish by a specific date. These fixed-date requirements are called task constraints in Microsoft Project. They might be due to requirements from outside the project, or they might be the result of interim deadlines imposed by the project manager. External constraints might be deadlines imposed by customers, contractors, the government, or policies within the organization that are external to the project. Constraints that are internal to the project might be such things as progress reviews and reevaluations of the schedule as each major phase of the project nears completion. The following are some specific examples of task constraints:

  • A manufacturing project contract might call for delivery of the product no later than a specific date; thus, the delivery task must finish on or before that date.

  • A contract with a vendor might stipulate the earliest delivery date for some parts or finish date for a service; therefore, the finish of this task should be scheduled on or after that date.

  • A government agency might require an environmental impact test at a specific point in time after the project starts, with the test results delivered by a specific date; therefore, the task to conduct the test must start on a specific date and the task to submit the results must be finished on or before another specific date.

  • Senior management might require project progress reports to be delivered on specific dates.

  • The project manager might want to create review or assessment deadlines at specific points once the work on the project is underway.



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