Join John Riopel for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding buffers to your schedule, part of Managing Time-Constrained Projects with Microsoft Project.
- Sometimes in a time constrained project, you may have lag in your project file that you've used as buffer. In our case, we had had a lag between Task ID number 9 and 10. We want to change that to a task that we can see in the project file instead of one that's less visible. So we're going to click on Task ID number 10, right click, and select Insert Column, and create a Drying Time task for our buffer and we'll make it five days long, just like our lag is right now.
We would like to put that in sequence here. We're going to break the link between 9 and 11. We've selected those two tasks, and pressed the Break Link icon on the task ribbon. We'd like to re-link those tasks, so we'll re-select 9, 10 this time, and 11, and we're going to put those in sequence. We'll use our Link Chain on the task ribbon. We would like to see that particular task as a Buffer task, so to do that, we're going to move our Gantt separator over, and we'll right click on the Start column and insert a column, and we'll use Flag 1.
Flag 1 is nothing more than one of the customizable fields that comes out of the box in Project. And we'll label our Drying Time to Yes. We'd like to make sure that that Flag 1 field gets associated with our custom buffer, so we'll right click on it and select Custom Fields, and rename it to Buffer and press OK, and then OK again. Now that we've labeled the particular task, we want to actually see it formatted in our Gantt chart associated with that flag, so we'll right click in our Gantt chart area and select Bar Styles.
Just below our Task bar style, we'll click on the Split bar, and insert one above that. Since this task is going to be named as Buffer, we'll use that name, and we'll change the color to an orange color so that we'll be able to see it in our Gantt chart. And we'll use Normal as a Show For, Flag 1, Active, and Not Manually Scheduled, and we'll press OK.
Now we have our Buffer displayed in our Gantt chart, and of course, it's formatted so that we'll recognize it, much different than any of the other bars. Now you may also want to use manual mode to schedule Buffer as well, so I'm going to insert another column here, to the left of my Task Name, called Task Mode, and I'll resize that column down. You can also use manual mode, as I said, to change this particular Buffer type task as well.
I'm going to select Task 14 and change that to a manual scheduled task. This will allow me to see that summary line, and when it reduces less than the current series of activities, you will be able to see that that gives me an idea about whether the task grouping is less than its current window. So I'm going to change that from 18 to 15, and I'll move my Gantt separator over a little bit, and you can see that it's actually highlighted the task, letting me know that there's a scheduling issue, that the current series of tasks has exceeded my current window for that particular summary.
There are two different ways that you might use Buffer, and either one displays in a much different fashion.
Note: This course was designed in collaboration with author Bonnie Biafore.
- Determine the duration of a milestone.
- Explain how to add a lead to a task.
- Identify the difference between a deadline and a constraint.
- Recognize how to put tasks in sequence.
- Recall how to overlap two tasks.
- Explain how to change the available working time for a task.