Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Entering task durations
In the Start field for task 6, type About two weeks before launch complete , and
then press Enter.
As with the duration value of a manually scheduled task, you can also enter a text
string for a start or finish date, or both. When the task is switched to be automatically
scheduled, the text strings will be replaced with specific dates.
Project management focus: How do you come up
with accurate task durations?
You should consider two general rules when estimating task durations:
Overall project duration often correlates to task duration; long projects tend to
have tasks with longer durations than do tasks in short projects.
If you track progress against your plan (described in Chapter 8, “Tracking
progress,” and in Part 3, “Advanced scheduling techniques”), you need to consider
the level of detail you want to apply to your plan’s tasks. If you have a multiyear
project, for example, it might not be practical or even possible to track tasks that
are measured in minutes or hours. In general, you should measure task durations
at the lowest level of detail or control that is important to you, but no lower.
For the projects you work on in this topic, the durations are supplied for you. For your
projects, you will often have to estimate task durations. Good sources of task duration
estimates include
Historical information from previous, similar projects
Estimates from the people who will complete the tasks
The expert judgment of people who have managed similar projects
The standards of professional or industrial organizations that carry out projects
similar to yours
One rule of thumb to consider is called the 8/80 rule. This rule suggests that task
durations between 8 hours (or one day) and 80 hours (10 working days, or two weeks)
are generally sized about right. Tasks shorter than one day might be too granular, and
tasks longer than two weeks might be too long to manage properly. There are many
legitimate reasons to break this rule, but for most tasks in your projects, it’s worth
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