Goal: Put tasks, phases, or the project back on schedule

After you identify problems in your schedule, you can use a variety of strategies to manage your project dates. For example, you can simply change a task's duration, or you can adjust other factors affecting the schedule, such as dependencies (task dependencies: A relationship between two linked tasks; linked by a dependency between their finish and start dates. There are four kinds of task dependencies: Finish-to-start [FS], Start-to-start [SS], Finish-to-finish [FF], and Start-to-finish [SF].), constraints (constraint: A restriction set on the start or finish date of a task. You can specify that a task must start on or finish no later than a particular date. Constraints can be flexible [not tied to a specific date] or inflexible [tied to a specific date].), and resources (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.). After you make the necessary adjustments, you should evaluate any effects your changes might have had on other projects and communicate changes to team members and stakeholders.

 Tip   This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project.

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Put tasks back on schedule goal

number 1  Modify a task schedule    One way to get back on schedule is to change specific settings on tasks that affect their length and their relationships to other tasks. For example, changing a task that starts after another task to starting at the same time can help bring in the finish date.

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Number 2  Modify a resource schedule    After you make changes to your plan, changing how you assign resources to critical tasks (critical task: A task that must be completed on schedule for the project to finish on time. If a critical task is delayed, the project completion date might also be delayed. A series of critical tasks makes up a project's critical path.) can also significantly improve the schedule.

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An often overlooked means of keeping your schedule (schedule: The timing and sequence of tasks within a project. A schedule consists mainly of tasks, task dependencies, durations, constraints, and time-oriented project information.) on track is to improve resource (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.) performance. Working with resources to improve performance is a complex topic, but you may be able to improve resource performance as part of project management by using the following suggestions:

Number 3  Evaluate the results of changing the schedule    After you make changes to your plan, make sure you haven't affected the scheduling of other projects with dependencies in your project.

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  • See what's driving the project finish date to see how the changes you made to optimize for the finish date affected the critical path. This can help you see whether you actually achieved your goal of meeting your targeted finish date.
  • View project date information to view date information for your project or for projects that have been published to Microsoft Office Project Server 2007.
  • Review resource workloads to see whether any assigned resources are now overloaded or underutilized as a result of you optimizing the project plan to meet the finish date.

Number 4  Communicate assignment changes to resources    After you make changes to your project, you may need to communicate these changes to others, such as stakeholders and team members.

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Applies to:
Project 2007