* Use constraints to set date limitations
* Set a project schedule baseline
A task constraint is a restriction or limitation that you or MS Project set on the start or finish date of a task. During the course of a project, limitations may have to be placed upon a start or finish date of a task. For example, while you can start doing your income taxes at any time, you must complete them by April 15 (assuming you do not file for an extension). Do not confuse task constraints with task dependencies. While you may schedule two tasks to start at the same time (dependency), you may not specify a certain starting date (constraint).
All tasks are assigned constraints. A constraint is either flexible or inflexible. A flexible constraint is not tied to a specific date; whereas an inflexible constraint is tied to a specific date.
Task constraints can help create a more accurate schedule by using detailed information to control start and finish dates of important tasks. But they can restrict your flexibility in scheduling. You should make sure that any constraint for a task is necessary before assigning that constraint, particularly if the task is part of the critical path.
For this lab, we will be using the MS Project Lab, MyLab5_XXX (where XXX are your initials) from where we left off in Lab 5. You may use your previous file or download MyLab5_XXX.mpp from Doc Sharing.
Applying Flexible Constraints
The following table lists the flexible constraints and when they are flexible:
Constraint| Description| Flexible for…|
As Soon As Possible (ASAP)| Starts the task as soon as possible based on other constraints and dependencies| All projects| As Late As Possible (ALAP)| Starts the task as late as possible based on other constraints and dependencies| All projects| Finish No Earlier Than (FNET)| Finishes the task on or after an entered date| Projects scheduled based on a start date| Start No Earlier Than (SNET)| Starts the task on or after an entered date| Projects scheduled based on a start date| Finish No Later Than (FNLT)| Finishes the task on or before an entered date| Projects scheduled based on a finish date| Start No Later Than (SNLT)| Starts the task on or before an entered date| Projects scheduled based on a finish date|
The As Soon As Possible constraint is the default constraint for projects that are scheduled from a start date. Therefore, our project's tasks all currently are assigned the ASAP constraint. (If project is scheduled from a finish date, As Late As Possible is the default constraint.)
1. Log onto Windows.
2. Open your completed file MyLab5_XXX.mpp. Check the addendum at the end of this lesson to make sure your beginning file is correct.
3. Save as MyLab6_XXX.mpp, where XXX are your initials.
4. Make sure you are in Gantt chart view, with the Entry table appearing.
5. Click on task #6, Proposal To Accounting.
6. Double click to open the Task Information dialog box.
7. Be sure that the General tab is selected and view the currently scheduled start and finish dates for this task. (The task is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 21 and finish on Wednesday, October 23).
8. Click the Advanced tab.
9. Click the Constraint type down arrow and select Finish No Earlier Than.
10. Click the Constraint date down arrow and select Wednesday, October 23, 2013. (See Figure 1).
11. If the Effort Driven box is not checked, do so now and then Click OK. 12. If you get a Planning Wizard, select “Continue. Allow the scheduling conflict.”
13. The constraint is set for this task. We have said that this task cannot finish prior to October 23, 2013 but can finish any time beginning with October 23 (or later!).
14. You will notice beside the task, Proposal To Accounting, a flexible constraint indicator icon. Notice that a similar icon is...