How Do I set Up an autoscheduled Task so it starts when project starts and ends when project ends?

Iron Contributor

I want to set up a an autoschedule task called Direct & Manage project work, that is autoscheduled and will start when the project starts, and have a finish date based on the project finish date.  I can't figure out what the right predecessor dependency types to use linking the start date of the first project task and the finish date of the last task in the project to this direct and manage project task.  Any suggestions?

11 Replies
Ironically, right after I posted this I just had an epiphany. I set a Start-to-start dependency with the first project task and then a finish-finish dependency on the last project task as predecessors to the Direct & Manage Project Work task, and that seemed to work. The task starts when the project starts and ends when the project ends.


Seemed to work? Really, I like to see a screen shot of that "working".


The only way I know to get what you want is with a hammock task. The details of how to set that up are laid out in the following Wiki article: 


@John-project .  The dependencies I created seemed to work.  I set a Start-to-Start dependency as a Predecessor on the first project task, then a Finish-to-Finish dependency Predecessor on the last project task.   Here's a screenshot.

JBLT83 -- John is correct. Using your approach will not cause Microsoft Project to calculate the Duration of the Direct & Manage task. You will need to use the method he recommends. Hope this helps.
I will look into this hammock task thing, but the approach I used appears to also work. My direct & manage project work task starts when the project starts and ends when the project ends.


Sorry but your screen shot doesn't show anything relevant. Take a look at the following sample. The first instance of "manage project" is a hammock task that starts concurrent with "task a" and finishes concurrent with the finish of "task b". The second instance, "manage project 2", is implemented using your method. It finishes when "task d" finishes but does not start when "task c" starts.2022-05-24_12-53-23.png


@John-project .  The page that describes creating a hammock task is a little dated.  I went through the steps to copy the start date of the first task, pasted as link to the Manage Project Task Start Date, then copied the finish date of the last task in the project and pasted as link to the finish date of the Manage Project task.  No grey triangles appear in the lower right corner of the start and finish date fields.  The only thing that displays is an icon in the status indicator field that just says the task has a finish no earlier than constraint and gives me the project end date.  





Additionally, after I added the edit links command and clicked on it, the screen shown in the article for managing links was not the same that was shown in the article.  Below is what I see in Project 2021.


So, bottom line, I don't know whether this Hammock Task thing worked or not.   There has to be a way to have a Manage Project Task that is autoscheduled and updates at least the finish date, as the project changes using predecessor and/or successor dependency types.

@John-project .  The predecessor and dependency types I set up on the Manage Project Task, using the first project task and the last project task seems to be working.



best response confirmed by Dale Howard (MVP)
You are correct in that I wrote the Wiki article back in 2015 under Project 2010 so it is a bit dated but the information is valid. Look VERY carefully in the lower right corner of the Start and Finish fields of the hammock task. You will see a small triangle. If you do not see those little triangles, then that is a change in Project 2021 because all previous versions of Project show the little triangles.

It sounds like you did the steps correctly and here's how you can test whether the links "took". Double click the Start field of the hammock task. Project will select the task field to which it is linked. Likewise for the Finish field of the hammock task. If that test fails, then for some reason the links didn't "take". If the test works, then you will be able to move the task that drives the start and/or finish dates of the hammock and the dates for the hammock task will recalculate, as will its duration.

You did not click on the Edit Links icon, you clicked on the Edit Link icon. The former brings up the paste link window as shown in the Wiki article, the latter brings up the Edit Hyperlink window that you show in your screenshot.

As far as the predecessor types you set up on your Manger Project Task working, I guess your definition of "working" is different from mine or Dale's. The whole point of a hammock task is to create a dynamic task that automatically responds to changes in the tasks that drive it, start and finish. The method you use will not do that.


@John-project This time the linking worked for me, the little grey triangles show up now and the edit links button is enabled.  I was pasting as a link before but wasn’t working for some reason. this time I actually selected paste>Special and selected the paste as link option and it worked.


I'm glad you got it working. Now, doesn't that work better than your method? If I answered your question, please consider marking my response as the answer.