Setting manual dates on tasks with defined durations and predecessors

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Hello! I need help with a scenario. I created a project plan with no dates but tasks, predecessors, and durations. I was waiting for the client to define their go-live date, but they wanted to see the project plan structure ahead of the commitment date. The client finally identified their go-live date and asked me to plan backward from 6/5/2023. I tried to manually add a date to a task that has a predecessor and duration defined to it. However, I cannot keep the predecessor if I manually assign the date (message: "Manually changing "Start Date" will result in the removal of all predecessor relationships on this row. Do you wish to continue"). Is there a way to manually assign a date and keep the durations and predecessor in place? Please help.

Answers

  • Julio S.
    Julio S. Moderator
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    Hi @dleo ,

    If you are looking to go backwardly with your dates from 6/5/2023 without affecting the Project structure, a possibility could be to populate the last task (if it doesn't have a predecessor) and then establish Start-to-Finish relations among the predecessors as in my example below - see "Change the Attributes for a Predecessor Relationship" from this article for more detail about all the available configurations for Predecessors:

    Note that you can also alter the duration in each task to cascade affect the other tasks with predecessor relationships.

    If you'd need further specific advise about your particular project, please include some captures where you have hidden any sensitive information. 

    I hope that this can be of help. 

    Cheers!

    Julio

  • DamianK
    DamianK ✭✭
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    Hi all and @dleo

    I was experiencing the same issue in Smartsheet, i.e. adding (1) manually a start date for a specific task AND (2) defining certain predecessors for the same task seems to be not possible.

    In other discussions (Link below) and also inhere I saw the hint to use lag times, however this does not help since this lag time does not dynamically adjust when a predecessor is delayed.

    Therefore, do you found a solution for this problem in the meantime? I would be very much interested in it since the management of larg (and complex) projects is highly dependent from such a function.

    Best,

    Damian


    // Here again a detailed description of our problem:

    Task 1: Starting at day 1 and a duration of 10 day

    Task 2: Starting at day 15 and a duration of 10 day, predecessor is task 1

    --> Currently I have three options to implement this

    --> Option 1 (Don't use the predecessor function): Task 1, manually set start date to day 1 & Task 2 set manually start date to day 15. Problem: When I have to extend Task 1 to a duration of 20 days, Task 2 remains as it is.

    --> Option 2 (Use the predecessor function): Task 1, manually set start date to day 1 & Task 2 set predecessor as task 1. Problem: Task 2 starts directly after Task 1, i.e. at day 10 and not day 15 as it should be.

    --> Option 3 (Use the predecessor with lag function): Task 1, manually set start date to day 1 & Task 2 set predecessor as task 1 with lag 5 days. At the beginning this looks good. However, when I have to extend the duration of Task 1 to 15 days, Task 2 starts only at day 20, because "lag" is still added, despite it is no longer relevant.

    // So the requirement towards the system would be:

    It shall be possible to manually define a start date of a specific task but still allow the definition of predecessors. Therefore, in the background, such a task should always have (1) the manually defined start date and (2) a automatically calculated start date (based on the predecessor). Now, the system should always check which of these two dates is "more in the future" and should therefore be displayed as actual start date of the specific task in the Gantt.

  • DamianK
    DamianK ✭✭
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    Forgot the link to the other discussion (I mentioned above), which is closed but the content is about a very similar topic:

    https://community.smartsheet.com/discussion/7262/forced-dates-when-dependency-is-enabled

  • Julio S.
    Julio S. Moderator
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    Hi @DamianK,

    At the moment, it is not possible to edit the Start date in a project when the task in question has a predecessor. When you have a moment, please submit this feature request to the Product team by signing in to the online Community (the Community uses your Smartsheet account to sign in) and create an Idea post in the Smartsheet Product Feedback and Ideas topic

    Posting your enhancement in the Community will allow other Smartsheet users to see and vote on your idea! The top-voted posts in this category are reviewed monthly by the Product team and you'll receive an email notification if a status changes for a post you've created or voted on. 

    In your particular example, it sounds like the simplest option would be that one of using lag time and manually removing this when this is no longer necessary or selectively remove predecessors that may deviate from the project critical path.

    I hope this can be of help.

    Cheers!

    Julio

  • DamianK
    DamianK ✭✭
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    Hi @Julio S.


    Thanks, for your answer. Your proposal with removing the lag time manually when it is not anymore applicable is surely a solution, but is very erroneous esp. in large and complex projects.

    I created now a Feedback as you proposed.


    Best,

    Damian