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Each task has a scheduled start date and a scheduled finish date (usually just called the task's start date and finish date)  The way that they are used and set depends on whether the task is manual or automatic.

In this article, we'll talk about how scheduled start and finish dates are set, how to choose between manual or automatic scheduling (also known as calculated scheduling), and the role of constraints, dependencies, deadlines and milestones.

The project management system contains a scheduling engine that can automatically schedule the tasks in a project, determining the start and finish times of each task based on its work, duration, assigned resources, dependencies on other tasks, and other constraints.  To understand how the scheduling engine works, it's helpful to start out with a much broader perspective, and look at

  • schedule-related problems in general (which include project scheduling problems)
  • the various kinds of algorithms used to generate solutions for those problems

This article aims to provide an introductory overview of the terminology and approaches used in applying these algorithms to a wide range of classical schedule-related problems.

Both and Microsoft Project allow the scheduled dates of a task to be constrained so its starts or finishes no later than, no earlier than, or on a specific date.


Introduces Advanced Scheduling Engine, Business Intelligence Capabilities and Drag & Drop Workplans

Bedford, MA–December 10, 2013– Inc., the leader in Open Source collaborative Project Management and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) today released Version 9.4 of™.

1st Open Source Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Solution Included in Market Scope

Bedford, Ma. — May 14, 2013 — Inc., the leader in collaborative Project Management and Portfolio Management (PPM), has been included by Gartner, Inc. in its "MarketScope for IT Project and Portfolio Management Software Applications" research report. provides organizations with an enterprise-grade, customizable and robust alternative to expensive and proprietary monolithic applications.