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Fine-Tuning Task Details in Microsoft Project 2010

Interrupting Work on a Task

When initially planning project tasks, you might know that work on a certain task will be interrupted. Rather than listing a task twice to account for a known interruption in work, you can split the task into two or more segments. The following are some reasons why you might want to split a task:

  • You anticipate an interruption in a task. For example, a resource might be assigned to a weeklong task, but she needs to attend an event on Wednesday that is unrelated to the task.

  • A task is unexpectedly interrupted. After a task is under way, a resource might have to stop work on the task because another task has taken priority. After the second task is completed, the resource can resume work on the first task.

In this exercise, you split a task to account for a planned interruption of work on that task.

  1. Select the name of task 3, Content edit.

  2. On the Task tab, in the Editing group, click Scroll to Task.

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    You have been informed that work on this task will be interrupted for three days starting Monday, April 9.

  3. On the Task tab, in the Schedule group, click Split Task.

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    Split Task

    A ScreenTip appears, and the mouse pointer changes.

  4. Move the mouse pointer over the Gantt bar of task 3.

    This ScreenTip is essential for accurately splitting a task because it contains the date at which you would start the second segment of the task if you dragged the mouse pointer from its current location on the Gantt bar. As you move the mouse pointer along the Gantt bar, you will see the start date in the ScreenTip change.

  5. Move (but don’t click) the mouse pointer over the Gantt bar of task 3 until the start date of Monday, April 9, appears in the ScreenTip.

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  6. Click and drag the mouse pointer to the right until the start date of Thursday, April 12, appears in the ScreenTip, and then release the mouse button.

    Project inserts a task split, represented in the Gantt chart as a dotted line, between the two segments of the task.

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    Here are a few other things to keep in mind when splitting tasks:

    • You can split a task into multiple segments.

    • You can drag a segment of a split task either left or right to reschedule the split.

    • To rejoin two segments of a split task, drag one segment of the task until it touches the other segment.

    • The time of the task split, represented by the dotted line, is not counted in the duration of the task. No work occurs during the split.

    • If the duration of a split task changes, the last segment of the task is increased or decreased.

    • If a split task is rescheduled (for example, if its start date changes), the entire task is rescheduled, splits and all. The task keeps the same pattern of segments and splits.

    • Resource leveling or manually contouring assignments over time can cause tasks to split. You will contour assignments in Chapter 9, “Fine-Tuning Assignment Details,” and level resources in Chapter 10, “Fine-Tuning the Project Plan.”

    • If you do not want to display splits as a dotted line, you can remove the dotted lines. On the Format tab, in the Format group, click Layout. In the Layout dialog box, clear the Show Bar Splits check box.