If you don't use Microsoft Project and want to do duration-driven scheduling, you can use the Excel template linked at the bottom of this FAQ to create a task list and import this into PPO.
Microsoft Project has some powerful features that make it easy to create schedules. Two of these features are duration-driven scheduling and task dependencies. This automatically calculates the Start and Finish dates of your tasks based on the duration and makes the start date of a task dependent on the finish date of another task. You can accomplish something similar in Excel using formulas.
The following steps will guide you through the process:
Step 1: Add a “Duration” column where you will capture the duration of the task in days. For the project task, we will make it calculated.
In cell E2 enter the value 0 and copy it down. Next paste the formula below (shown in purple) into E2.
E2 = NETWORKDAYS([@Start],[@Finish])
Step 2: Make the “Start” date calculated, except for the start date of the project task which is manually entered (highlighted in orange above). The first regular task (Task 1 in row F3 highlighted in red above) uses the start date of the project while all the other tasks (from F4 onwards) use the previous task's end date + 1 working day.
Formula for F2: Enter the start date of your project e.g. 2017-09-01
Formula for F3 = F2
Formula for F4 = WORKDAY(G3,1,Holidays[HolidayDate]) then copy this formula down
Step 3: Make the Finish date calculated as well. For the project task it is the finish date of the last task (highlighted in green in the screenshot above). For other cells it is the start date plus the workings days of the Duration.
Formula for G2 = G7 (This should be the finish date of the last task in your project)
Formula for G3 = WORKDAY([@Start],IF([@Duration]=0,0,[@Duration]-1),Holidays[HolidayDate]) then copy the formula down.
Step 4: Finally, capture a Duration for each of the tasks (except the Project Task) and see how the Start and Finish dates change!
Step 5: The formulas above automatically take into account any holidays that have been captured on the "Holidays" sheet of the template. You can either capture these manually or by extracting the “Public Holidays” report from PPO. Access the following knowledge base article for more information.