Microsoft Project 2002 Training Courseware Lesson10: Split Tasks




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Microsoft Project 2002 Training Courseware
Lesson10: Split Tasks

Microsoft Corporation

June 2002

Microsoft Project 2002 Training Courseware

Lesson 10: Split Tasks
Published: June 2002

Applies to:

Microsoft Project Standard 2002

Microsoft Project Professional 2002

Microsoft Project Server 2002

Contents

Objectives
Splitting Project Tasks
Modifying Split Tasks
Split Tasks and Resources
Split In-Progress Tasks
Stop and Resume Fields
Baseline and Interim Plan Split Information
Gantt Chart Bar Styles for Split Tasks
Split Tasks in Calendar View
Exercises and Labs

Objectives

What You Will Learn


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Split tasks.

  • Manipulate split tasks.

  • Deal with split tasks and resources.

  • Understand Stop and Resume fields.

  • Manipulate split in-progress tasks.

  • Understand baseline and interim plan information.

  • Modify Gantt Chart Bar Styles for split tasks.

  • Customize split tasks in Calendar view.

Related Topics Covered in this Lesson


  • Entering tasks and durations

  • Calendars

  • Tracking

Splitting Project Tasks


Task splitting is a useful way to model interruptions to a task. For example, stopping work on a task for a period of time and starting up again. Or it can take more complex forms, such as assigning resources to different sections of the task, or to model a number of similar tasks as a single task.

Microsoft® Project supports relative splits, not absolute splits. The difference is described below:



  • Absolute splits. An absolute split means that the split gap dates are fixed and if the task’s start date changes, the task "flows" around the fixed gaps. It may even move entirely beyond a fixed gap. Microsoft Project does not support absolute splits.

  • Relative Splits. A relative split means that if the task’s start date changes, the gaps move with it. For example, if a 5-day break must occur in a task exactly 2 working days after the task starts, regardless of when the task starts, then a relative split could be used.

To Split a Task


You can split a task so that the task is interrupted, and then resumes later in the schedule.

  1. On the View bar, click Gantt Chart.

  2. Click the Split Task button on the Standard toolbar.

OR

From the Edit menu, select Split Task

OR

In the Gantt Chart right click on the tasks in question and select Split Task from the shortcut menu that appears.



  1. Move the cursor over the task bar you would like to split, and then click on the task bar under the date where you want the split to occur.



Figure 1. Splitting a Task

You can use the Split Task tool repeatedly to split pieces into smaller pieces, creating multiple splits as illustrated below:





Figure 2. Multiple Splits

The number of splits allowed per task is only limited by the memory on the machine.

Splits are sometimes referred to as gaps. In the above figure, the splits are represented by the dotted lines. The length of each gap is called the span of the split, measured in working days. The date at the beginning and end of a dotted line segment are called the split start and split finish dates.

You can use this method to split tasks only in views with timescales such as the Gantt Chart. There is an alternate method discussed later in this section on how to split tasks in Usage views. You cannot create splits in any other kinds of views and the Calendar view is the only other view that will display split tasks.



Tip If you drag a portion of the split task so that it touches another portion, you will remove the split.

Split Behavior


A split is relative to the start of the task, so when the entire task is moved to another point in time, the split is moved with the task.

If the units of an assignment change, the split is moved, but the span of the split does not change.

The split span is based on working time and not elapsed time.

Modifying Split Tasks

To Change the Duration of a Split Task


  1. On the View Bar, click Gantt Chart.

  2. Position the cursor over the right end of any portion of the split task, until the cursor changes to an expansion arrow.

  3. Drag to the left to shorten the duration, or drag to the right to lengthen the duration.

If you click and move the last split section of a task without changing the duration of the task, Microsoft Project will insert zero work between it and the previous split section. Extending a task in this way does not increase the work on the task.

When you drag the Finish of the last split section, an outline bar is drawn for the entire task:





Figure 3. Extending the finish of the last split section of the task

However, if you drag the cursor back before the start of the split section, the outline bar snaps back to the Finish of the previous split section, because if you release the mouse button at that point, the new task Finish will be the Finish of the previous split section.





Figure 4. Dragging the task finish to the left of the last split section

To change the duration of the entire task, type a new duration in the Duration field. You may want to move portions of the split task after changing the duration.


Duration and Splits


  • Splits in a fixed-duration task count as part of the total task duration.

  • Splits in a non-fixed duration task do not count as part of the total task duration.

The Before/After figures below illustrate the impact splits have on duration of the task types:

Before splitting:





Figure 5. Effect of splitting on different task types section I

After splitting:





Figure 6. Effect of splitting on different task types section II

Extending or Reducing Gantt Task Portions


You can use the mouse to extend or reduce the duration of individual pieces. When you adjust the duration of an individual piece, only assignments that have work at the end of that piece are impacted. If an assignment does not have work at the end of a piece, then increasing the duration of that piece doesn't impact the contour of that assignment, and decreasing the duration of that piece will not impact the contour of that assignment as long as it doesn’t decrease earlier than the original finish of the assignment.

The impact on the resource contour depends on whether the task type is fixed work or not.


Example


This example illustrates the impact of extending one of the pieces of a split task, and how it depends on task type. Split tasks T1 and T2 begin with identical schedules except that T1 is fixed work and T2 is not. The sequence of pictures below shows what happens when the first piece of each task is dragged to the right one day. Note that R2 on each task does not work to the end of the first piece on T1 and T2.



Figure 7. Impact of extending one of the pieces of a split task and the effect on fixed work and fixed units task types section I

Start with the same resource contours on split fixed work and fixed units task:





Figure 8. Impact of extending one of the pieces of a split task and the effect on fixed work and fixed units task types section II

This is the corresponding Gantt Chart:





Figure 9. Impact of extending one of the pieces of a split task and the effect on fixed work and fixed units task types section III

Next, drag the right end of the first piece of each task 1d to the right:





Figure 10. Impact of extending one of the pieces of a split task and the effect on fixed work and fixed units task types section IV



Figure 11. Impact of extending one of the pieces of a split task and the effect on fixed work and fixed units task types section V

Corresponding Task Usage:


R1 had work at the end of the first piece of each task, so its contour was impacted when the duration of the first piece increased.

  • For the fixed work task T1: R1 originally had 24h spread over the 3d first piece of T1. The duration of the first piece was dragged to 4d so now R1's 24h of work on the first piece of T1 has to be spread over 4d. That's 24h divided by 4d, which is 6h per day.

  • For the non-fixed work task T2: Extending the duration of the first piece simply extends R1's contour, using R1's units (work rate) at the end of the first piece, which was a rate of 100% (8h per day). Extending 1d to the right at that same work rate gives 8h on Day4.

R2 on the other hand did not originally work at the end of the first piece on either task, so increasing the duration of each task didn't change either contour for R2.

Notice that if you now drag the first piece of T1 and T2 back to the left to their original positions, the reverse impact occurs, and everything ends up as it was at the start.


To Move a Split Task


Two methods that can be used to do this:

Method 1. Move the cursor over the first split section of a task until the cursor changes to the move cursor , Click and drag the bar to its new location.

Method 2. Hold down the Shift key and click any split section of the bar and then drag the bar.

As the task moves outlines of all the split sections move as well.


To Remove a Split from a Task


To remove a split on a task, drag a portion of the Gantt bar so that it touches another portion.

If you use any calendar to specify the span as nonworking time instead of splitting the task, the nonworking time will not appear as a split task on the Gantt Chart.


Linking and Split Tasks


You cannot create relationships where the predecessor, successor, or both are single sections of a split task. You cannot create links between split sections of different tasks or between a split section and another task.

Splitting Completed Portions


Typically, you do not want to split the completed section of a task, however, the Split Task command allows you to create task splits in completed portions of tasks and assignments.

Splitting an in-progress task with no assignments behaves the same as a task without progress. Splitting a task with assignments similarly behaves the same as a task with progress.


Example


This example illustrates using the Split Task tool to split a completed portion of a task that has assignments. In each picture, the Gantt Chart is in the top pane and the task usage is in the bottom pane, showing timephased Work and Actual Work.

The Split Task tool is clicked and then the bar is split after Day 1 and starts again on Day 4, creating a 2-day gap in work.

Before splitting the task:



Figure 12. Splitting a completed portion of task with assignments section I

After splitting the progress portion:





Figure 13. Splitting a completed portion of task with assignments section II

Dragging to reschedule the remaining section of an in-progress task


The Split Task tool is not being used here; you are simply clicking on section of a bar and dragging.

The feature of dragging the remaining portion of a task to split it without the Split Task command requires the following:



  • Click the Schedule tab of the Options dialog box (Tools menu). Select the Split In Progress Tasks option.

  • In the Bar Styles dialog box, there must be a progress bar defined to run From Start or Actual Start to %Complete or CompleteThrough.

If the Split In-Progress Tasks option in the Schedule tab of the Options dialog box (Tools menu) is not selected, then you will not be able use the drag method to reschedule uncompleted work.

However, if the Split In-Progress Tasks option is enabled, then clicking on the portion of the bar that is not progressed and dragging it, creates a split at the end of the progress bar and the tasks resumes on the date where the bar is dropped.

Progress bars use the %Complete or CompleteThrough (internal calculation), which are both related to Actual Duration. If the Tools Options, Calculation tab, Updating Task Status Updates Resource Status option is not selected, then %Complete and assignment Actual Work are independent, and you cannot split the task by manually dragging the uncompleted portion.

Creating a New Split Section


You can create new tasks by dragging the cursor while holding down the left mouse button. You can also create new split sections the same way.

Dragging in an existing task row to create a new split:





Figure 14. Creating a new split section

You can drag the outline of the new section to the left or right. If you drag the outlined bar until you hit an existing piece and then release the mouse button, the new section is appended to the existing one.

You can cancel the drag operation by moving the cursor off of the task row and releasing the mouse button.

How work is assigned to the new section


For tasks with assigned work, the following rules are used for assigning work to the new task section:

  1. For split sections created before the start of a task, Microsoft Project assigns only the resources that were already scheduled at the previous start of the task and assigns them at the units they had there.

  2. For split sections created between other split sections, Microsoft Project assigns only the resources that were already scheduled at the finish of the section on the left of the new section and assigns them at the units they had there.

  3. For split sections created after the finish of a task, Microsoft Project assigns the resources that were already working at the finish of the task and assigns them at the units they had there.

Split Tasks and Resources

Assigning Resources to Split Tasks


You cannot assign resources to individual split sections in the Gantt Chart or Calendar view. If you assign a resource to a task it is assigned to all split sections of the task.

You can, however, edit the assignment timephased work contour so that the resource does work only on specific sections. If the entire task is moved later, the contours move too.


Splits and Resource Contours


A split on a task automatically gives all of the task's resources zero work during the gap period. The Usage views show the zeroes in the timescaled grid.

If a task has resources, a split is equivalent to giving all of its resources zero work during the desired split gap.

To create a split in a Usage view, select where the split is to begin and drag to where it will resume. Then from the Insert menu select Cells or use the Insert key.

If zeroes had been inserted for only one of the resources, then it does not create a split.

Splits can also be removed in a Usage view by selecting a timescaled range in the grid in the task row, and then using the Edit menu, Delete Cells command, or pressing the Delete key.

Splits Caused by Leveling


Leveling can also create splits. The Tools Resource Leveling menu command displays the Resource Leveling dialog box, which contains the option Leveling that can create splits in remaining work, as shown in the figure below:



Figure 15. Lower portion of the Resource Leveling dialog box

With this option selected, leveling may create split tasks if necessary to help resolve overallocations more effectively. When split information is saved, splits created by leveling are flagged internally so that they can be distinguished from other splits. If you later click the Clear Leveling button, task and assignment leveling delay is cleared, and only the splits created by leveling are removed.


Storage of Split Dates


In addition to looking at zero work gaps, Microsoft Project internally stores pairs of split dates for all splits on a task. Splits created with the Split Task tool in the Gantt Chart view are rolled down to assignments if there are any, and edits to assignments are rolled up to the internal task split dates. The split dates can only be observed in a Usage view by looking at periods of zero work. There are no fields you can insert it a table to see these split dates.

Nonworking Time is not a Split


A split gap is different than specifying a nonworking period on project or resource calendars by using the Change Working Times command, or the Working Times tab in the Resource Information dialog box. It impacts the start and finish of tasks, but does not split them.

Split In-Progress Tasks


This setting is located in the Schedule tab; select the Tools menu and click Options.

Selecting this option is required to enable the following features:



  • Remaining work on an in-progress successor task that violates a relationship with a predecessor task is automatically rescheduled to honor the relationship with the predecessor.

  • The Stop and Resume fields for non-summary tasks can be edited. If the Split In-Progress Tasks option is not selected, Stop and Resume fields are still calculated, but cannot be edited.

  • These features, Tools, Tracking, Update Project, and Reschedule uncompleted work to start after, can split in-progress tasks to reschedule remaining work. Otherwise this feature can only move tasks that have not started (by giving them SNET constraints).

  • You can click on the remaining portion of an in-progress task Gantt bar and drag it to reschedule it. This creates a split that runs from the original stop date to the new resume date, and you do not need the Split Task tool to do this.

Stop and Resume Fields


Stop and Resume fields, are used to split the remaining portion of a task from the work done on the first portion. The Stop and Resume fields can be edited directly if the option to Spilt in progress tasks is on.

Editing the Stop field has the same impact as using the Update Work as Complete Through, Set 0% - 100% option in the Update Project dialog box.

Editing the Resume field has the same impact as using the Update Project, Reschedule uncompleted work to start option.

In progress tasks are split when using the Update Project command form the Tools menu, click Tracking with the Reschedule Uncompleted Work to Start option.





Figure 16. Update Project dialog box

There are two options that impact Stop and Resume dates and the use of the Update Project command as follows:



  • Split In-Progress Tasks (available through the Tools menu, click Options then select the Schedule tab). If selected, then remaining work on an in-progress successor task that violates a relationship with a predecessor task is automatically rescheduled to honor the relationship with the predecessor. Also, the setting must be selected in order to have Stop and Resume dates, and for the Reschedule Uncompleted Work to Start feature to have any impact on in-progress tasks.

  • Updating Task Status Updates Resource Status (available through the Tools menu, click Options then select the Calculation tab): If this option is selected, then edits to % Complete cause assignment Actual Work to recalculate, at that percentage of the assignment work. This is a two way setting. Edits to Actual Work and Stop dates cause %Complete to be calculated. When the setting is not selected, %Complete is independent of Actual Work and Stop dates.

There are also two options that impact Stop and Resume dates when editing %Complete or using the Update Project command as follows:

  • Move end of completed task sections after status date back to status date (available through the Tools menu, click Options and select the Calculation tab). If this option is selected, this edits to %Complete move the completed section of the task to end at the Status date, which is the same as the Stop date. The Resume date equals the original scheduled Start.

  • A subordinate option, And move start of remaining sections back to status date becomes available when the parent option is selected. When selected there will be no split in the task. The Resume date equals the status date.

  • Move start of remaining sections before status date forward to status date (available through the Tools menu, click Options then select Calculation tab): If this option is selected, then edits to % Complete will reschedule uncompleted work immediately after the Status date. The Resume date equals the Status date + 1 minute. Stop date equals Actual Start plus Actual Duration.

  • A subordinate option, And move end of completed sections forward to status date, becomes available when the parent option is selected. When selected there will be no split in the task. The Stop date is equal to the Status date.

Please note that setting a new Stop and Resume date does not impact existing Actual Work contours. Only remaining work is scheduled on or after the Resume date, after the current Actual Work already on the assignment.

The following apply to both Stop and Resume:

  • If Split In-Progress Tasks is not selected, then Stop and Resume are NA.

  • If %Complete is 0, then Stop and Resume are NA.

Assuming that Split In-Progress Tasks is selected and that %Complete is nonzero, then the following rules apply:

  • If a task has no resources, then the task Stop is the date derived from Actual Start + Actual Duration.

  • If a task has resources, then the task Stop is the earliest of all of the internal assignment stop dates.

  • The Resume date is the first working day after the Stop date by default.

If you repeatedly reschedule uncompleted work, the split history is lost. Each time you reschedule remaining work in Microsoft Project it simply assumes the current Actual Work was done as scheduled.

Baseline and Interim Plan Split Information

Baseline Splits


When you save a baseline plan, the split information is saved with the baseline internally. This means that the baseline bars can be displayed on the Gantt Chart with the splits intact. Clearing a Baseline Start or Finish field clears the split information from the project.

There are no fields that display scheduled, baseline, or interim split dates.

You can use the task Baseline Start and Baseline Finish fields to move, truncate, or extend the baseline end pieces, but you cannot adjust individual baseline split pieces, either through task fields or with the mouse.

You can also edit task timephased Baseline Work in a Usage view, but it has no impact on the baseline split dates and the appearance of baselines bars on the Tracking Gantt, because no calculations are done with baseline data.


Interim Plan Splits


The Save Baseline dialog box (displayed by the Tools menu Tracking Save Baseline command) also includes an option to Save interim plan. This option by default saves scheduled dates into the Start1 and Finish1 fields. The Copy and Into drop-downs allow you to move saved plans between any combination of Start/Finish or Baseline fields. Save a baseline means to save scheduled information to corresponding baseline fields such as Baseline Start, Baseline Finish, Baseline Work, and so on. To save an interim plan means to save scheduled information to fields like Start1/Finish1 or to save one set of baseline data into another baseline.

Gantt Chart Bar Styles for Split Tasks


Each task has two sets of bar styles and formatting, one for the task sections, and one for the split gaps. All split sections use the one style of formatting and all split gaps use another.

The "Show Bar Splits" Setting


When the Gantt Chart is active, the Layout command on the Format menu and the Gantt shortcut menu displays the Layout dialog box, which contains the Show Bar Splits setting.



Figure 17. Gantt Chart Layout dialog box

If this setting is selected, then task sections and split gaps are displayed. If this setting is not selected only whole task bars display.

Even when the setting is not selected, you can still use the Split Task tool to create task splits in the Gantt Chart, but you can't see the gap you create. Also, you cannot drag individual split sections unless they are displayed.

The Show Bar Splits setting is selected by default for new and imported projects.


Bar Styles Dialog Box


When the Gantt Chart is active, the Bar Styles command on the Format menu and the Gantt shortcut menu displays the Bar Styles dialog box, which is used to defined categories of bar formatting. The Show For column determines to what category of task, task section, or split gap that the formatting should apply. The split can be used in conjunction with other conditions.

  • If split is one of the conditions listed in the Show From column for a specific bar style definition, then that style can only be used to draw split gaps for tasks that satisfy the rest of the conditions for that style (if there are any).

  • If split is not one of the conditions for a bar style, then that style can be used for tasks without splits and for tasks with split sections. As mentioned above, if the Show Bar Splits setting is selected in the Layout dialog box, then all tasks can only use bar styles that do not have the split condition, and those bars are drawn without splits whether they have any or not.



Figure 18. Bar Styles dialog box with Split condition in Show For

Bar styles defined with the split condition can use the same Bars tab settings as any other bar style, however you cannot associate bar text with them. The Text tab is disabled (grayed out) when a bar definition is selected in the top half of the dialog box that uses the split condition.


Minimum Length for Drawing Splits


To avoid visual clutter in the Gantt Chart, split gaps are not drawn if they are under a minimum size. The minimum size depends on the base unit of the minor timescale if it is displayed, otherwise it depends on the base unit of the major timescale. The table below shows the minimums for various timescale base units.

Table 1. Miminum length for drawing splits

Timescale Base Unit

Don’t Display Splits Less Than…

Minutes

1 minute

Hours

10 minutes

Days

2 hours

Weeks

1 day

Thirds of Months

1 day

Months

2 days

Quarters

1 week

Years

3 weeks

Split Tasks in Calendar view


The Calendar view can display split sections but does not support editing them.





Figure 19. Calendar view showing split task sections and gaps

Bar Styles Dialog Box


Split sections are formatted in the Calendar view by using the Bar Styles command on the Format menu and Calendar shortcut menu. The Bar Styles dialog box contains a Split Pattern setting. Each category of bar in the Task Type list gets its own split pattern. Only the pattern of the split gap is controlled separately. Its shape and color are the same as the task section formatting for the category.



Figure 20. Calendar view bar styles

Some sample Calendar view bar styles follow. All use a dashed split pattern.




Bar Type is Line.




Bar Type is Bar and bar pattern is a solid bar. Note that the split gap is always hollow.




Bar Type is Bar and bar pattern is a hollow bar. The Shadow option is selected. Note that the shadows go separately with each task section, but no shadow for the gaps.



Calendar View Task Types that Support Split Patterns


The Calendar view only displays split sections for the following task types listed in the Bar Styles dialog box:

  • Noncritical

  • Critical

  • Milestone

  • Marked

  • Highlighted

  • External


Lesson 10: Exercises and Labs

Exercises


  1. In what views can you split a task?

  2. If you split an assignment, can it still have a predefined work contour?

  3. Can a task with no assignments be split?

  4. For a fixed duration task: a) does the split gap count as part of duration?
    b) How about for a fixed units or fixed work task?

  5. Describe situations in which Microsoft Project might automatically split a task.

  6. In order to drag the remaining portion of a task bar to the right in the Gantt Chart, breaking it off from the completed section, what option setting must be selected?

  7. What Show For ... condition in the Gantt Chart Bar Styles dialog box is used to show split gaps and what default fields are used for From and To?

  8. Are there any fields in dialog boxes or tables that list all the split dates for a task?

  9. Which of the following features are supported by individual split sections on the Gantt Chart (the sections where the task occurs)?

a) You can drag them individually to the left or right, including the first section, without affecting other sections (assuming you don't drag one section into another).

b) You can drag them individually to the left or right, except for the first section, without affecting other sections (assuming you don't drag one section into another).

c) You can give each section its own predecessor.

d) You can assign a resource to a specific section in the Gantt Chart view by dragging a resource from the Assign Resources dialog box and dropping it on a specific section.

e) If the task is not a fixed work task, you can increase the duration of an individual section without affecting other sections (assuming you don't drag one section into another).

f) Individual bar sections can be formatted independently from other bar sections by double clicking the bar section that you want to format.



  1. Can you tell by looking at the timephased grid in a Task Usage view if an assignment has a split, or if instead the assigned resource's calendar has nonworking days in the middle of the assignment?

  2. Suppose that the Bar Styles dialog box is set up correctly to show bar sections and split gaps, but that all tasks are currently displaying as single solid bars, including tasks that you know have splits. What setting is probably currently not selected?

  3. a.) Is there a minimum length (duration) that a split gap must have in order for the split gap to be drawn on the Gantt Chart?

b.) Does it depend on the timescale formatting?

  1. Can split gaps be displayed in the Calendar view?

Lab 1. Creating a split from a Usage view


  1. Create a project with a single task T with 4d duration. Edit the Standard calendar so that every day is a working day with the standard working hours 8a-12p, 1p-5p.

  2. Format the Gantt Chart view and enter the values shown in the picture below (no resources are assigned to the task, so you must enter the work value).



  1. Use the Split tool to split the task into two sections with a three day split gap between them.

  2. Switch to the Task Usage view with the timephased grid formatted to display timephased work. You should be able to identify the split gap.

  3. Select the cells that make up the split gap and press the Delete key to remove the split. Switch back to the Gantt Chart, and you should see that the split has been removed.

  4. Switch back to the Task Usage view and select the timephased cells for day two and day three and press the Insert key. This should create a one day section and a three day section separated by a two day split gap. Switch back to the Gantt Chart view to verify this.

Lab 2. Experiment with changing the duration of split sections


  1. Create a project with a single task T with duration 4d. Edit the Standard calendar so that every day is a working day with the standard working hours 8a-12p, 1p-5p.

  2. Use the Split tool to split the task into four one day sections with a three day split gap between consecutive sections.

  3. Save the baseline for the project.

  4. Use the mouse to move several of the sections individually and change the duration of several of the sections individually.

  5. Use the Gantt Chart Wizard to show the baseline. You should be able to identify the baseline split sections and the currently scheduled split sections.

Answers to Exercises


  1. You can manually create task splits in view with timescales such as the Gantt Chart and Usage views.

  2. Yes

  3. Yes

  4. a) Yes
    b) No

  5. Resource leveling will split tasks if the option to create splits is selected in the Resource Leveling dialog box. Also edits to %Complete or using the Update Task and Update Project commands will create splits when the option to split in-progress tasks is selected.

  6. Split in-progress tasks option must be selected.

  7. Split, start, and finish

  8. No.

  9. b and e

  10. Yes, a split will show zero hours in the timephased cell, with a calendar exception the cell will be blank.

  11. The option Show bar splits is disabled.

  12. a) Yes
    b) Yes

  13. Yes

###

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