Quick Links

Reply To: Project Timeframes

Home Forums Discussion Project Timeframes Reply To: Project Timeframes


Task and project work hours always reflect the number of work hours assigned to the resource, regardless of the duration provided to complete those hours. For example, if Bob is assigned to Task 1 with 40 work hours, it doesn’t matter if those hours are completed in 1 week or 3. The total work hours for Bob is 40.

One caution on using summary tasks. Microsoft does not recommend assigning resources or dependencies to summary tasks.

The problem with assigning resources is related to actual hours. The summary task %complete is driven by the child tasks which could result in phantom actual hours being applied to the resources assigned to the summary task. For example, Bob is assigned to the summary task with 40 hours but has not yet done any of that work. If the total % complete of the child tasks is 50%, the summary task will show 50% and MS Project will therefore assume Bob has completed 50% of his work and Project will “give” him 20 hours of actual work. Its also a problem if you use Server and timesheets since summary tasks will not appear on timesheets for actual hours entry.

The problem with dependencies is that these summary task relationships create debugging issues which will often result in ineffective resource usage, typically gaps with no assigned work.

I mention these issues assuming that your schedule will now be containing dependency relationships attached to these summary tasks and I can see downstream issues arising.

I would recommend NOT using summary tasks to drive duration or task relationships. Use them how they work best; to summarize the child tasks within them. I would instead recommend fixing the duration of each small task to one week. With this approach, each task would be configured as Fixed Duration of 1 week with assigned resource hours of only 1 or 2. This indicates those hours can be done anytime over the course of the duration. This will help you establish much cleaner dependency relationships driven by the individual tasks.

Hope that helps