How to Use Manually Scheduled Tasks in Microsoft Project 2010

As you may have heard by now, Microsoft Project 2010 has introduced manually scheduled tasks.  For experienced Microsoft Project users who have ever found yourself scratching your head trying to figure out why your schedule insists on behaving in a manner that was not approved by its owner (we’ve all been there), or for those of you who are new to the scheduling world and need a little flexibility in your scheduling to get your feet wet, this feature will come as a great treat!

When setting up a project schedule you will want to set the Task Mode to either Manually Scheduled or Auto Scheduled.  If you choose not to specify an option Microsoft Project 2010 will automatically create all tasks for your project in the Manually Scheduled mode.  You will also be able to change the setting at the task level by clicking on the task, clicking on Task Mode and then manually changing the setting for that specific task.

If the Task Mode Column is visible in your project schedule you will be able to view via a specialized indicator which Task Mode each task is in.  If a task is in the Manually Scheduled Task Mode, you will be able specify your own values for Duration, Start and Finish.  You will also be allowed to enter other textual data in those fields such as “approx. 1 week” or “TBD”.  You can also choose to leave the fields blank until you have the appropriate information available.

If you choose to link Manually Scheduled tasks to other tasks in your schedule, Microsoft Project has multiple scenarios for determining how the task will be scheduled. If you enter a valid Duration date into your Manually Scheduled task it will leverage the Duration date you entered and update the Start and Finish date accordingly.  If you don’t enter a valid Duration date the system will default to a Duration of 1 day and then calculate the Start and Finish date from there.

So as you can probably see there are many different scenarios that apply to the Manually Scheduled Task Mode.  Many of which I did not cover above but I will continue to supply tips and tricks to help you familiarize yourself with Microsoft Project 2010.  There is defintiely a lot of functionality to look forward to!