Faster than ASAP?
Enterprise Project Management Software is helping teams accomplish their project based work more efficiently than ever. Most projects are designed to be done As Soon As Possible (ASAP). The PPM software that teams use may even have email alerts to expedite tasks that can start early.
But a colleague recenty posed an interesting challege: “Is there a way to easily reset the start date of successor tasks when a task completes early, essentially setting planned dates to the projected dates? I thought this would be down by looking at recalculate timeline, but this does not seem to do it.”
The Handoff Date
Imagine a project with Task A, Task B1, and Task B2 (successor of B1)
The Workfront “Handoff Date” is a Task level attribute that notes the earliest date that task could be started. When a Task (A or B1) has no predecessors, its Handoff Date is equal to its projected start date. When a task (B2) has predecessors (B1), its Handoff Date remains null while its predecessors are < 100% complete.
Once all of a task’s predecessors (B1) are complete, Workfront populates Handoff Date of the successor task (B2) with the actual completion date of the predecessor (B1).
At this point, the Workfront event handler would kick in and send emails, if configured to do so; however, most of our clients do not use the email event handlers (gets too spammy).
Do The Impossible
I fall in the “Revise Planned Dates as I get Smarter” camp myself, so — heresy or not — if you are also interested in synchronizing the successor plan dates, I have a solution. Change the successor task constraints to FIXT, and the planned start date to the predecessor Handoff Date. The effect is that Workfront stretches the successor earlier in time, visually highlighting the opportunity to compress the timeline.
If you like this approach, you could also create a task report with a filter that restricts to tasks whose actual start date is null (not started), Handoff Date is not null (could start), and Handoff Date is earlier than planned start date (could start earlier than planned). Run the report daily, and do the impossible, as above. Our clients liked it so much that we even used the Workfront API’s to automate it for them in our UberCalc solution.