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Reply To: Linkage of Summary tasks

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Daryl Deffler

Just because Project allows you to do this, it’s not generally a good habit to get into. In addition to Thomas’ point, linking summary tasks will also lead to ineffective resource scheduling. For example, consider this scenario. Bob and Joe each work on the project. Summary Task A contains tasks 1 & 2. Summary Task B contains tasks 3 and 4. Bob is assigned to Tasks 1 & 3, each with a 1 day duration. Joe is assigned to Tasks 2 and 4, each with a 5 day duration. When you link Summary Tasks A and B together (Finish Start), that means that NO work in Summary Task B’s group can start until ALL of the work in summary Task A group is done. While this works fine for Joe who is driving the duration, Bob is scheduled for 1 days work on Task 1, followed by a 4 day gap waiting for Joe to finish his Task 2 work. Finally, when Joe finishes his Task 2 work, Bob’s Task 3 is scheduled.
It’s a simple example, but expand that scenario into a schedule with hundreds of tasks, complex dependencies, and dozens of resources. The result will be a schedule;
* with ineffective resource utilization
* that unrealistically extends overall duration
* that is hard to debug and manage because the root cause of schedule problems, like Bob’s unscheduled work gaps or dependency loops, are the result of dependency links in unrelated or indirectly related parts of the schedule

hope that helps