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Fine-Tuning Task Details in Microsoft Project 2010

Setting Up a Recurring Task

Many projects require repetitive tasks, such as attending project status meetings, creating and publishing status reports, or running quality-control inspections. Although it is easy to overlook the scheduling of such events, you should account for them in your project plan. After all, status meetings and similar events that indirectly support the project require time from resources, and such events take time away from your resources’ other assignments.

To help account for such events in your project plan, create a recurring task. As the name suggests, a recurring task is repeated at a specified frequency such as daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. When you create a recurring task, Project creates a series of tasks with Start No Earlier Than constraints, no task relationships, and effort-driven scheduling turned off.

In this exercise, you create a recurring task that will represent a weekly meeting associated with this project.

  1. On the View tab, in the Task Views group, click Gantt Chart.

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    The Gantt Chart view appears.

  2. Select the name of task 1, Acquisition.

    You’ll insert the recurring task above the first phase of the project plan, as it will occur throughout multiple phases of the plan.

  3. On the Task tab, in the Insert group, click the down arrow below the Task button and then click Recurring Task.

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    The Recurring Task Information dialog box appears.

  4. In the Task Name box, type Editorial staff meeting.

  5. In the Duration box, type 1h.

  6. Under Recurrence pattern, make sure Weekly is selected, and then select the Monday check box.

    Next, you will specify the date of its first occurrence. By default, it is the project start date. However, you want the weekly status meetings to begin one week later.

  7. In the Start box, type or select 4/9/12.

    Next, you will specify the end date. You’ll plan for these staff meetings to continue until the project reaches the Design and Production phase. In the Gantt Chart, you can see that as currently scheduled, that phase starts on July 2, so you’ll use that date for now. You can always update the recurring task later as needed.

  8. In the End by box, type or select 7/2/12.

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  9. Click OK to create the recurring task.

    Project inserts the recurring task. Initially, the recurring task is collapsed. A recurring task icon appears in the Indicators column.

  10. To view the first occurrences of the recurring meeting’s Gantt bars, on the Task tab, in the Editing group, click Scroll To Task.

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    A Gantt bar for a recurring task shows only the occurrences or rollups of the individual occurrences of the task.

    Next, you will assign resources to the recurring task.

  11. Verify that task 1, Editorial staff meeting, is selected, and then, on the Resource tab, in the Assignments group, click Assign Resources.

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  12. In the Assign Resources dialog box, click Carole Poland. Then hold down the Ctrl key while clicking Hany Morcos and Jun Cao.

  13. Click Assign, and then click Close.

    The Assign Resources dialog box closes, and Project assigns the selected resources to the recurring task. Next, you will view the individual occurrences of the recurring task.

  14. Click the plus sign next to the recurring task’s title, Editorial staff meeting.

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    Each occurrence of the recurring task is sequentially numbered (if you wish to verify this, widen the Task Name column, or point to the task’s name and note the content of the ScreenTip), and the resource assignments appear for the individual occurrences.

  15. Click the minus sign next to the recurring task’s title, Editorial staff meeting, to hide the individual occurrences.

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

  • By default, Project schedules a recurring task to start at the plan’s default start time. (Click File, click Options, and then click Schedule.) In this project, that value is 8 A.M. If you want to schedule a recurring task to start at a different time, enter that time along with the start date in the Start box of the Recurring Task Information dialog box. For example, if you want the recurring staff meeting to be scheduled for 10 A.M. starting on April 9, you would enter 4/9/12 10 AM in the Start box.

  • As with a summary task, the duration of a recurring task spans the earliest start to latest finish date of the individual occurrences of the recurring task.

  • When you schedule a recurring task to end on a specific date, Project suggests the current project end date. If you use this date, be sure to change it manually if the project end date changes later.

  • If you want to assign the same resources to all occurrences of a recurring task, assign the resources to recurring tasks with the Assign Resources dialog box. Entering resource names in the Resource Name field of the summary recurring task assigns the resources to the summary recurring task only and not to the individual occurrences.