Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Setting task duration
Most tasks in a project have a duration, whether it’s ten minutes or a year or
something in between. (For milestone tasks, which have no duration, see the
next section.) Deciding how finely to break down your tasks can affect how
efficiently you track progress on those tasks: Tasks that wander on for a year
are usually too broad, and tasks that take ten minutes are too narrow. Whatever
your best guess at task duration is, Project can accommodate you.
If your project is to run a one-day event, getting to the level of ten-minute
tasks might make sense. In most projects, however, such finely detailed
timing doesn’t make sense because it defeats the point of all the tracking and
reporting features of Project. (That’s true unless you have people tracking
their progress minute by minute, but in that case, what else would they have
time to do?) On the flip side, creating a 12-month-long task suggests that you
might be defining your project too broadly to accurately keep track of all that
can happen in a year.
As with all task information, you can enter a duration in a Gantt Chart sheet
(see the section “Generating tasks in Gantt Chart view,” earlier in this
chapter) or in the Task Information dialog box. Follow these steps to enter a
duration by using the dialog box:
1. Double-click a task to display the Task Information dialog box.
2. If necessary, click the General tab to display it (refer to Figure 4-2).
3. In the Duration box, use the spinner arrows to increase or decrease
4. If the current duration units aren’t appropriate (for example, days
when you want hours), type a new duration in the Duration box.
New tasks are created with an estimated duration of one day unless you
change the duration. You can use the following abbreviations for various
• m: Minutes
• h: Hours
• d: Days
• w: Weeks
• mo: Months
Don’t assume that changing the start and finish dates of a task changes
its duration — it doesn’t. You have to manually change the duration; if
you don’t, your project plan will not be what you intend it to be.
5. Click OK to accept the duration setting.