Tasks in Microsoft Office Project have relationships with one another. In other words, some tasks are parent tasks and others are child tasks. This video explains the relationships tasks can have with one another, as well as how to display task predecessor and successors. Learn the three ways to link one or more tasks together to create a relationship or dependency with one another in this online tutorial.
Part of building a schedule is putting tasks into the right order. The start or finish of some tasks trigger the start or finish of others. In project management terms these relationships are called task dependencies or links. Well task links aren't about which tasks comes first, it's really about which task controls the other. So for example, here are two tasks and they are linked finish to start. That means that the finish of Design office space determines when Prepare drawings starts.
So Design office space is the one that's in control and it's called the predecessor. Prepare drawings is the one that's being controlled so it's called the successor. Well if you are working on task links, the best way to do that is with the Task form in the Details pane. So to do that, on the View tab, over in the Split view section, turn on the Details checkbox and Project automatically displays the task form at the bottom of the window. Well if all you're working on are links, you can actually show predecessors and successors in this form.
So just right-click and choose Predecessors & Successors and now you have a table for both. And you can see here, because I have Design office space selected up in the Gantt chart, that you can see the Successor for that task in the Successor table. And you can also see the Type is FS for Finish to Start. Finish to Start links are by far the most common type of link. So if I go to the Task tab and then select the Pack office task, you can see that there is an icon for linking tasks.
That actually creates a Finish to Start dependency. So if I select these two tasks, just drag across their task name cells and click the icon, you can see the Finish to Start link just drops into place. You can also see here, the Type is Finish to Start. Well, there are actually three other types of links. The next type is Start to Start. Well, that means the start of one task determines when another task starts. For example, let's say we have an event, so we have registration going on.
When registration starts,people start recording the submitted registrations. So those tasks are Start to Start. So to do that I've got Start registration selected and come down in this table, choose Record submitted registrations. But in this case in the Type field, I choose SS for Start to Start. Then when I click OK, you can see the task links go from the start of one bar to the start of the next.
The next type is Finish to Finish. Well that means that the finish of one task determines when another task finishes. And in this case, we've got recording submitted registrations and sending confirmations. Well, once you've finished recording submitted registrations, you don't have to send any more confirmations, so they both finish at the same time. So in this case I select Record submitted registrations, choose Send registration confirmations in the Name cell, and in this case I choose FF for Finish to Finish.
And when I click OK, you can see that the link line goes from the Finish to Finish. Well the fourth type is Start to Finish and it's kind of confusing, so it's really good that it doesn't happen very often. And what this says is that the start of one task controls the finish of another. So it really puts the whole timing thing completely opposite of what you expect. So let's see an example of this one. So we've got this moving truck and there is stuff in it, so you want to make sure that somebody is watching the truck, so no one walks off with any of the contents.
Well, the first shift can't end until the second shift starts. That means the people on the first shift have to stay there until the people for the second shift show up. Otherwise no one is watching the truck. Well you create that link just like any other. Select the first task, in the Successor name cell, choose the Successor, in this case choose SF for Start to Finish and click okay.
And now you can see that the first shift finishes when the second shift starts. You can also tell Project to automatically add links when you insert, move and delete tasks. So to do this go to the File tab, click Options. Go to the Schedule category, we'll scroll down to the Scheduling options for this project section. And what you want to turn on is Autolink inserted or moved tasks and click OK.
Well, here is what happens. Let's look at Pack office and Load moving truck and you can see there is a Finish to Start between those two tasks. Well, if I select Load moving truck and then insert a task, I've got this new task and you see Project automatically took care of getting rid of the original link and now linking all three tasks Finish to Start. Depending on how you're trying to link tasks, this can be really handy or not, so just change the setting depending on what you're trying to do.
After you get your Project tasks linked with the right types of links, your project schedule really begins to take shape. Then you can fine tune links with lag time or date constraints, which are discussed later.
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- Choosing the right Project edition
- Creating and saving projects
- Setting up calendars
- Creating individual and recurring tasks
- Linking and timing tasks
- Assigning tasks to resources
- Viewing your data differently with sorting, grouping, and filtering
- Fine-tuning the project schedule
- Understanding baseline, schedule, and actual values
- Reporting on the project status
- Sharing projects<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.