A project is developing a product that has to be tested outdoors for at least 6 months. The test has to include winter conditions during at least 3 months (i.e. test must run during Jan-March).
How do you schedule this situation?
Hi Michael, it’s me again. Trying to understand the specifics of your scenario it sounds like the test needs to start any time between October and January (assuming the winter months can come in the middle of the test). Without knowing anything else I might suggest first defining the project schedule that determines an estimated start date for testing. Then setup a SNET constraint on the test to start so that it provides a buffer and covers three months of winter. I’m guessing there is more to it than that but hard to help without additional information. Hope that helps…
Hi Larry, I’ll try to explain. The issue is that if the development is ready in time for the coming winter (2015/2016), the test will run for 6 months over the winter. If not, e.g. development ready April 2016, the test will have to run from April 2016 to March 2017 (12 months) to include 3 months winter. Hope that helps 🙂
Michael, I’m not sure I would change my answer that much. What I would do (again, based on the information you provided) is to define the development timeline to when you want or plan to be completed. It sounds like defining the scope and resources to be able to finish in time for the coming winter would be preferred, but that of course depends on required scope and resource constraints. Then I would setup the testing timeline based on that plan. That’s what gets baselined. Then I would define the risk and impact of not meeting that timeline. It could even be a positive risk if the plan is to not be in time for the coming winter.
The key is to define a plan and track to that plan. The problem with having a “whenever the development guys are done” approach will assure you that you won’t make it in time for the winter months. Define, manage, and track to the plan estimated by the development team and committed by management. Then make sure you communicate to all if/when the plan is running late and the defined risk of not correcting. Hope that helps…
Larry, of course that’s the right approach from a PM point of view. What I was looking for was a way to make the plan in MS Project contain this constraint, meaning that if development is delayed beyond Jan 1st 2016, Project will automatically prolong the test period to 2017 to make sure it contains 3 months winter in total. Can this be done by e.g. defining a ‘Winter’-resource, available only in winter time? (I have tried but have very limited experience in working with resources in Project …) Or is there an other way?
Michael, thank you for the clarification. I think the biggest issue with your problem is that the test is at least 6 months and only 3 months need to be during the winter, which means you have a lot of rules to work through. You could probably turn the scenario on and off using inactive tasks (active moves the testing out, inactive moves it back in) or something like that.