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Task Types in Microsoft Project- Tutorial

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Task Types in Microsoft Project- Tutorial: A picture of the

Task Types in Microsoft Project: Overview

            This lesson discusses how task types in Microsoft Project affect the scheduling formula used to calculate task duration. When you record actual work completed or progress made on a task in your project file, Microsoft Project will recalculate remaining task duration, by default. When calculating the work value of a task after updating either the work, duration, or unit values, Microsoft Project uses a formula, called the scheduling formula, to recalculate the task’s remaining work value. The scheduling formula is: Work = Duration x Units. Note that “Units” refers to the resource assignment units, often entered as a percentage.

            When you create tasks within your project file, the task has an associated “Task Type” that you can set on the “Advanced” tab within the “Task Information” dialog box. The task types in Microsoft Project correspond to each element of the scheduling formula. The task types in Microsoft Project determine which formula element remains constant if you change one of the other two elements.

Task Types in Microsoft Project- Tutorial: A picture of the "Task type" drop-down within the "Advanced" tab of the "Task Information" dialog box in Microsoft Project.

Task Types in Microsoft Project- Tutorial: A picture of the “Task type” drop-down within the “Advanced” tab of the “Task Information” dialog box in Microsoft Project.

            “Fixed Units” is the default task type. This task type lets you change the task duration to have Project recalculate the work remaining, or vice versa. However, you can change this setting to select either the “Fixed Duration” or “Fixed Work” choices. If you choose to create a “Fixed Duration” task, you can change either the work or the unit values and Project will recalculate the other value. If you select a “Fixed Work” task type, you can change either the task’s unit or duration values and Project will recalculate the other value. Also note that you cannot disable “effort-driven scheduling” on a “Fixed Work” task type.

            Also important to note is that assigning task types in Microsoft Project allows you to enter actual work or progress values for a task, and then let Project update the other values. This does not mean that you cannot change the “fixed” value for the task. You can always change any value (duration, units, work) for a task, regardless of which of the task types in Microsoft Project is applied to the task. The “fixed” aspect simply refers to which element (variable) in the scheduling equation is held constant when recalculating work values on the task.

Task Types in Microsoft Project: Instructions

  1. To change task types in Microsoft Project, open the “Task Information” dialog box.
  2. Then click the “Advanced” tab within the “Task Information” dialog box.
  3. Use the “Task Type” drop-down to set the desired setting for the task type.
  4. The default task type of “Fixed Units” lets you change the duration of a task to have Project recalculate the work remaining, or vice versa.
  5. Alternatively, you can select either “Fixed Duration” or “Fixed Work from the “Task Type” drop-down.
  6. If you select “Fixed Duration,” you can change either the work or unit values and Project recalculates the other value.
  7. If you select “Fixed Work,” you can change either the unit or duration values and Project recalculates the other value.
  8. Note that you cannot disable “effort-driven scheduling” on a “Fixed Work” task type.
  9. You can always change any value (duration, units, work) for a task, regardless of the task type. The “fixed” aspect just refers to which scheduling equation element is held constant when recalculating task work values.

Task Types in Microsoft Project: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Task Types,” discusses the different task types in Microsoft Project. It discusses how they relate to the scheduling equation when recalculating remaining task duration. This video is from our complete Microsoft Project training, titled “Mastering Project Made Easy v.2016-2013.”

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