Scheduled Start and Finish Dates

Feb 25, 2015  •  By Ellis Cohen  

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.

An Introduction to Algorithms for Solving Schedule-Related Problems

Feb 3, 2015  •  By Ellis Cohen  

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.

Combined Constraints

Dec 5, 2014  •  By Ellis Cohen  •  combined constraints  •  task constraints  •  Microsoft Project

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.

There are times that you may want a task to have both a start and a finish constraint.   In many cases,, unlike Microsoft Project, supports these joint constraints directly.  In addition, many joint constraints can be supported through a combination of constraints and dependencies. This article talks about how to implement combined constraints in a variety of ways, as well as how to arrange that tasks start and/or finish in between a pair of dates.

Task Constraints

Nov 28, 2014  •  By Ellis Cohen  •  task constraints  •  Microsoft Project

Tasks in have constraints that require that the start and/or finish date of a task be no later than, no earlier than, or on a specific date.  Constraints are not enforced at all for manual tasks, and for automatic tasks, they are only enforced when the workplan is rescheduled.  This article talks about how constraints can be set, and how they can be visually identified in a workplan.

Manual Tasks

Nov 21, 2014  •  By Ellis Cohen  •  Manual task  •  Microsoft Project has two kinds of leaf tasks – manual tasks and automatic tasks.  Manual tasks are manually scheduled.  They should be used when you want to explicitly set a task's start and finish dates and not allow it to be changed automatically by the scheduler based on changes to other tasks. However, as in Microsoft Project, the start and finish dates and the duration are tied to one another.  This article discusses how the duration and scheduled start and finish dates of manual tasks are tied to one another, and how manual scheduling is enabled.

Automatic Tasks

Oct 30, 2014  •  By Ellis Cohen  •  automatic tasks  •  Microsoft Project has two kinds of leaf tasks – manual and automatic.  Automatic tasks (also called calculated tasks) are automatically scheduled.  They should be used when you want the workplan scheduler to automatically set the start and finish dates of a task, based upon its work and duration, its constraints, and its dependencies on other tasks.  In this article, we're going to talk about how automatic tasks are scheduled by the scheduler.

Work, Duration & Calculation Types

Oct 6, 2014  •  By Ellis Cohen  •  Calculation Types  •  Task Types  •  Microsoft Project  •  Work  •  Duration, like Microsoft Project, supports 3 calculation types (also called task types) – fixed-work, fixed-duration, and fixed-units.  In this article, we're going to talk about how they affect work and duration, and which one you should use.

Beyond the Plan

Dec 11, 2013  •  By Maggie Kean  

It isn't long before even the best project plan is rendered obsolete by new realities. And in an environment of shared resources and common strategic goals, the impact can spread like a virus. To succeed, organizations must apply collaborative tools and practices that go beyond planning and bring enterprise-wide project execution to the forefront.

In a famous FedEx TV commercial, a lowly shipping clerk is on the phone getting the parameters of a critical project — namely, sending a very important package overnight to an impatient customer. After each instruction, he confidently responds, "I can do that! I can do that!" Then he hangs up the phone with a horrified look and asks himself, "How am I gonna do that?"

ITScore Overview for Program and Portfolio Management, 2013

Dec 11, 2013  •  By Maggie Kean  

The Program and Portfolio Management Maturity Model is an effective tool for organizations to quickly decide what PPM improvements they should make to enhance their organizations' abilities to optimize investments, execute big changes and deliver value.

Project Portfolio Management: Three Dangerous Myths

Dec 11, 2013  •  By Maggie Kean  •  article

The Standish Group's "CHAOS Summary 2009" report shows a marked decrease in IT project success rates, with 32 percent of all projects succeeding. It's one thing to know that 68 percent of all IT projects don't succeed. But it's another to look across your company and realize you have no way of knowing which of your projects might be in the 68 percent bucket and which have the potential to be in the 32 percent bucket.

Project Portfolio Management is gaining respect for effecting successful project outcomes, creating a discipline of informed, confident decision-making and better stewardship over scarce resources. Releases Version 9.4

Dec 9, 2013  •  By admin  •  news

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™. in Gartner 2013 Report MarketScope for IT Project and Portfolio Management Software Applications

Dec 9, 2013  •  By admin  •  news

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.