Enhancing Project Timelines with Microsoft Project for the web’s New Feature: Buffers for Task Dependencies

Screen capture from Buffers walk-through demonstration, available in original article.
Screen capture from Buffers walk-through demonstration, available in original article.

A recent Microsoft article, “Introducing Buffers – Lead & Lag in Task Dependencies” by Sakshi Munjal, published on January 24, 2024, explores new features in Microsoft Project for the web aimed at enhancing project execution in the new year.

As project managers gear up for a productive year, Microsoft Project for the web introduces a game-changing feature to boost project execution. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the recently unveiled lead and lag times for task dependencies, providing project teams with unprecedented control over project timelines.

Introducing Lead and Lag Times: Tailoring Task Dependencies

In the quest for seamless project management, the ability to gain a head start on the next task or introduce a deliberate delay is a valuable asset. With the new lead and lag times in Microsoft Project for the web, project managers can now set advancements and delays to task dependencies, offering a level of precision that was previously unavailable.

Implementation Across Views: Grid, Pane, and Timeline

Discover how to effortlessly incorporate lead and lag times into your project. The article outlines methods for adding buffers through the Grid and the Task pane, with adjustments available in days, hours, minutes, weeks, or months. Notably, these updates seamlessly reflect in the Timeline view, providing a comprehensive overview of your project’s schedule.

Efficient Implementation with Keyboard Shortcuts

Project managers familiar with Project Desktop will find the transition smooth, as keyboard shortcuts for the grid view remain supported. Learn how to articulate dependencies with buffers efficiently using the provided syntax, enhancing your workflow and saving valuable time.

Example: [Task Number][Dependency Type (FS/SF/FF/SS)] +/- [Buffer numeral][Duration Format] – e.g., 3FS+10d

Integration with Microsoft Planner and Licensing Information

Explore the broader context of these updates, including their integration with Microsoft Planner and the timeline for availability in Microsoft Teams and the Planner web app. The article also addresses licensing considerations, ensuring clarity on which users can leverage lead-lag functionality.

FAQs: Your Guide to Lead-Lag Implementation

The article concludes with a helpful FAQ section, addressing common queries regarding lead-lag functionality. Whether it’s understanding licensing privileges, importing projects from Project desktop, or ensuring data preservation during export to Excel, the FAQs provide a comprehensive guide for users.

Link to the Original Article and Author Credit

For an in-depth exploration of these exciting updates, visit the original article by Sakshi Munjal published on January 24, 2024 here. We extend our gratitude to Sakshi Munjal for sharing valuable insights into the latest features empowering project managers in Microsoft Project for the web.

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  1. I guess its dissapointing that Microsoft choose to announce this feature as ‘Buffers – Leads and Lags’. There are already plenty of mechanisms called ‘Buffers’ in the PM world (e.g. Critical Chain Buffers, Contingency for Risk Buffers) and Leads/Lags are not a best practice in any event although I can understand supporting them. Just why do they annouce them as Buffers? They aren’t referred to as Buffers in MS Project and honestly Leads/Lags don’t even function as buffers. Usually they hide unclear/missing scope!

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