Creating Relationships Between Tasks

A network of tasks in a project must be connecting activities from the start to the end, to establish these relationship we need to use the field “Predecessors” of each task, where we can designate which activity will be preceding the one we are updating, in the example below we will indicate MS project that “Activity 5” can start once “Activity 4” is completed (Finish to Start relationship).



Notice that by establishing the relationship now the Group 1 takes 2 days to be completed, because before, the activities were set to be performed in parallel, and now they are in series (Finish to Start relationship) Note: MS project will calculate dates based on the durations of the tasks, their relationships and the start date set for the project, however it is possible to change the starting date of a task (if necessary) By double clicking on a Task or milestone, and using the fields related to the dates (Start or Finish).

Assigning Resources to Tasks

You can use the Resource Sheet in Microsoft Project to create a list of the people, equipment, and material resources that make up your team and carry out the project tasks. Your resource list will consist of work resources or material resources. Work resources are people or equipment; material resources are consumable materials or supplies, such as concrete, wood, or nails.

1.On the View menu, click Resource Sheet.
2. On the View menu, point to Table, and then click Entry.
3. In the Resource Name field, type a resource name.
4. You can go through the fields in the sheet, but for the simplicity of the example just focus on the name and initials of the Resource
5. Below is an example of some Human resources added to the Resource Sheet (We could add also other type of resources such as Equipments, Consumables, etc.)

Assigning Resources

Assigning Resources

6. Once the resources are created, you can go back to the View menu, and click Gantt Chart to see again
the tasks, and then when you double click a task you can add a resource to this task by using the tab

Note: The main goal of the resource assignment is to allocate properly the resources and to provide valuable information regarding the effort of the team.

Find Critical Path

    • Critical Path Analysis (CPA) helps you to lay out all tasks that must be completed as part of a project.
    • CPA helps you to identify the minimum length of time needed to complete a project
    • For finding CP list all the activities and enter early start, late, start, early finish and late finish info of all the activities.
    • You can do this under insert/columns and selecting each terms.
    • Following screen shot demonstrates how to insert.

Project automatically calculates ES, EF, LS and LF based on the starting/ending dates you have provided.

  1. Click View > Gantt Chart.
  2. Click Format, and then select the Critical Tasks check box.

Critical Path


Showing Critical Path in other task views

  • You can show the critical path in multiple ways. You can show critical path using Gantt chart, Detailed Gantt, Network Diagram, and showing only critical tasks.
  • The following images has screenshots of how to show critical path using various methods:
  • In Gantt Chart click on Gantt Chart wizard and choose critical path and follow the steps.

Gantt Chart



  • In Detailed Gantt click on View —–>More Views—-> Detail Gantt-   Apply. It shows the critical path with slack time.


Detail Gantt


  • In Network Diagram click on View  –>More Views –> Network Diagram –>Apply.


Critical Path

  • For showing only the critical tasks, click on Gantt Chart–>filter–>Critical.

Critical Path



Slack Time For Scheduling

  • For viewing the schedule showing the slack go to Views —-> More views —-> Detailed Gantt view —->Apply.
  • In this click on View —-> Table  —-> Schedule
  • Slack appears as thin bars to the right of a task, with slack values adjoining the regular Gantt bars
  • You can also view the free slack and total slack of a task in the sheet.
  • You can move the activity within the available slack time, to balance the resources, in the cases where over allocation is present.

Detail Gantt

Schedule Table View

Then next article” PART 3″ Will be a step by step example

Go to MS.Project 2013: The Basics “Part 1″

Register in our virtual training Managing Projects Using Ms.Project



Suggested Books

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam prep
Microsoft Project 2013 Step by Step
PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition – Updated: Rita’s Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam
Project Management: The Managerial Process with MS Project (The Mcgraw-Hill Series Operations and Decision Sciences)

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