Autoschedule Projects in Open Workbench

You can autoschedule projects in Open Workbench (OWB). Autoschedule is an automated way to create project schedules. Autoschedule schedules tasks based on an internal set of rules the system sets. Each task is scheduled to:
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You can autoschedule projects in Open Workbench (OWB). Autoschedule is an automated way to create project schedules. Autoschedule schedules tasks based on an internal set of rules the system sets. Each task is scheduled to:
  • Use availability as early in the project as possible.
  • Start at the earliest or latest possible time, subject to constraints.
  • Minimize the duration of the critical path.
Before scheduling, autoschedule automatically calculates the project's critical path. Autoschedule works in the following order:
  1. Schedules work that has no flexibility, such as actual work, fixed assignments, and all work on locked tasks, and reduces the remaining availability accordingly.
  2. Processes the remaining tasks in order of a calculated priority subject to task dependencies. As each task is processed, remaining availability is reduced accordingly.
How Autoschedule Determines the Subproject Task Scheduling Order
Autoschedule uses the following factors, in this order, to determine the order in which the subproject tasks are scheduled:
  1. The task has a
    Must Start On
    or
    Must Finish On
    scheduling constraint
  2. The task's priority (lower values rank higher)
  3. The task's float (lower values rank higher)
  4. The task has started
  5. The task's physical location in the WBS. Tasks located toward the top of the WBS rank higher
If two or more tasks have equaling factors, the next factor in the queue is taken into account. For example, if you have two tasks, both with no defined scheduling constraints and priority as 5, and the first task's float is less than the second task's, the first task is scheduled before the second.
By default, Autoschedule operates on the entire project, but does not change tasks that:
  • Start earlier than the date you enter for
    Ignore Tasks Starting Before
  • Start later than the date you enter for
    Ignore Tasks Starting After
  • Are marked as locked or completed
    You can override the task lock.
  • Have actuals, except for the time period between the last actuals thru date and the finish date
How Autoschedule Creates a Schedule Satisfying All Dependencies
Autoschedule performs three passes of the project to create a schedule that satisfies all dependencies and does not overallocate selected resources. Each pass includes a forward pass and a backward pass. To develop a schedule, the following passes are performed whether you schedule from the project start or finish date:
  • During the first pass, autoschedule creates a baseline schedule and performs a priority sort to resolve potential scheduling conflicts.
  • During the second pass, the schedule is created. When autoschedule considers resource constraints, autoschedule first makes a pre-pass.
  • During the third pass, autoschedule recalculates the critical path based on the schedule that was developed in the second pass.
You can set dependencies, constraints, and resource availability so that it is impossible for autoschedule to produce a schedule free of dependency violations or resource over allocations.
Define Autoschedule Parameters and Schedule a Project
Use the
Autoschedule
dialog to specify the scheduling criteria and to begin scheduling tasks using autoschedule. You can autoschedule an entire project or only tasks that occur between ranges of dates.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the
    Project
    ribbon.
  2. Click
    Autoschedule
    in the
    Schedule
    group.
  3. Complete the fields. The following fields require explanation:
    • Start Date
      Defines the date from which to begin scheduling tasks. To schedule from the finish date, enter the date on or before which you want to begin scheduling tasks.
    • Ignore Tasks Starting Before
      Defines the date before which you want tasks to be excluded. For example, if you enter 4/3/2008 as the
      Ignore Tasks Starting Before
      date, and you have a task starting on 3/31/2008, this task is excluded from the schedule.
    • Ignore Tasks Starting After
      Defines the date after which you want tasks to be excluded. For example, if you enter 4/3/2008 as the
      Ignore Tasks Starting After
      date, and you have a task starting on 4/10/2008, this task is excluded from the schedule.
  4. Select the following options.
    • Resource Constraints
      Specifies whether you want autoschedule to consider resource availability when scheduling the project.
      Default:
      Selected
      If you clear this check box, autoschedule treats resources as having unlimited availability. Each task is scheduled against the resources total availability, not against the resources remaining availability which takes other task assignments into consideration. This results in the shortest possible schedule, but it may also cause resources to be overcommitted.
    • Schedule from Finish Date
      Specifies whether you want autoschedule to perform a backwards schedule from a defined deadline date.
      Default:
      Cleared
      If you select this check box, the
      Start Date
      field toggles to the
      Finish Date
      field.
    • Honor Constraints on Started Tasks
      Specifies whether you want autoschedule to honor any constraints or dependencies you have on tasks with a status of
      Started
      .
      Default:
      Cleared
      If you select this check box, you run the risk of overallocating resources or violating task dependencies.
    • Schedule Assignments on Locked Tasks
      Specifies whether you want autoschedule to move the assignment ETC within the scheduling Start Date and the task's Finish Date.
      Default:
      Cleared
    • Start Successors on Next Day
      Specifies whether you want autoschedule to start successor tasks with zero lag the day after the predecessor task finishes. When cleared, successor tasks start the same day as the predecessor task finishes as long as the resource has availability that is left.
      Default:
      Cleared
      This applies to variable-duration tasks only.
  5. Click
    OK
    .
Autoschedule Master Projects
You can autoschedule a group of subprojects from the master project to show the best fit of all tasks in all projects.
Best Practices:
Before you autoschedule a master project, create a project start milestone for each subproject and link it to the first task in the master project. You can then lock or define a
Start No Earlier Than
date constraint to the milestone to assist with the individual project time frame constraints.
The master project's resource list contains the names of the resources assigned to work on the projects that are contained in the master projects, the subprojects.
Autoschedule Projects from a Start Date
When you schedule a project from its start date, autoschedule attempts to schedule all project tasks to start as early as possible. When you run autoschedule using a project's start date, it calculates the early start and early finish, moves the early start forward, checks for fixed loading pattern assignments, and adjusts the early start or early finish to ensure that fixed assignments are within the date range of the project.
When you autoschedule your project, the task start dates change to the date you enter or a later date, except in the following cases:
  • The task has a status of
    Started
    or
    Completed
    .
  • The task has a
    Must Start On
    scheduling constraint.
  • The task is marked as
    Locked for Scheduling
    .
  • The task has resource assignments with
    fixed
    loading patterns before the entered start date.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the
    Project
    ribbon.
  2. Click
    Autoschedule
    in the
    Schedule
    group.
  3. Enter the date on or after which you want to begin scheduling tasks in the
    Start Date
    field.
  4. Make sure that the
    Schedule from Finish Date
    field is cleared, and click
    OK
    .
Autoschedule Projects from a Finish Date
You can autoschedule projects from a finish date to help you find out on which date your project has to start to meet a required finish date. When you schedule your project based on its finish date, autoschedule performs three traversals of the project. In the second and third traversals, it goes over the tasks backward first and enforces finish constraints over start constraints so that the project is scheduled to start as late as possible.
When you run autoschedule using a project's finish date, it does the following:
  • Calculates the late finish and late start dates.
  • Moves the late finish date forward.
  • Checks for any fixed loading pattern assignments.
  • Adjusts the late start or late finish date to ensure the fixed assignments are within the project's date range.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the
    Project
    ribbon.
  2. Click
    Autoschedule
    in the
    Schedule
    group.
  3. Select the
    Schedule from Finish Date
    check box to perform a backwards schedule from a defined deadline date.
    The
    Start Date
    field toggles to the
    Finish Date
    field. The current project finish date displays in the
    Finish Date
    field.
  4. Enter the project's anticipated finish date in the
    Finish Date
    field, and click
    OK
    .
Autoschedule by Task Priority
The
task priority
controls the order in which tasks are scheduled during autoschedule, subject to dependencies and task and resources constraints. Autoschedule, therefore, schedules tasks with higher priority ahead of tasks with lower priority. Use the
General
tab on the
Task Properties
dialog to define a task's priority or priority inheritance. If you do not specify priority for a task, autoschedule uses the priority of its parent task, or the next highest WBS level. If no priority is defined, autoschedule uses the default value (10).
Autoschedule schedules task priority as follows:
  • Numbers 0 through 9 are given the highest priority level during scheduling.
  • Numbers 11 through 36 are given the lowest priority level during scheduling.
For dependencies, autoschedule assumes that a predecessor task has a priority at least equal to its successor. In some cases, dependency relationships override individual task priority during the scheduling process.
Override Task Lock During Autoschedule
You can override the lock on tasks while autoscheduling. For example, if you have a task that is locked between February 25, 2008 and April 4, 2008, autoschedule distributes the assignment's ETC to the task between the two dates. If you do not override the lock and autoschedule changes the task's end date to April 25, 2008, the assignment's ETC remains between February 25, 2008 and April 4, 2008. However, if you choose not to override the lock, the assignment's ETC is distributed between February 25, 2008 and April 25, 2008, based on the assignment's loading pattern.
When scheduling locked tasks using this option, autoschedule adheres to the following rules:
  • Assignments that have a fixed loading pattern are not scheduled (No change in behavior). Variable assignments that have Front, Back, or Uniform loading are scheduled.
  • Variable assignments that have a loading pattern other than fixed on the locked tasks are scheduled before any other assignments. If a variable assignment is on a fixed task, it is scheduled before any assignment on variable tasks.
  • Variable assignments on the locked tasks are scheduled without regard to the resource's work on other tasks, within the same project.
  • The assignment does not get over allocated and the assignment’s loading pattern is honored.
  • When forward scheduling, work is distributed between the task's
    Actuals Thru
    date or the
    Autoschedule
    date, whichever is later, and the task's finish date. If the Autoschedule date is later than the task’s finish date, all work is placed on the task’s Finish Date since the task duration cannot be extended as the task is fixed.
  • When backward scheduling, work is distributed between the task's
    Finish Date
    or the
    Autoschedule
    date, whichever is earlier, and the task's Start date or the Actuals Thru date. If the Autoschedule date is earlier than the latter of the task Start date and the Actuals Thru date, all work is placed on the later date.
  • When scheduling variable assignments on locked and fixed tasks, neither the task's start nor finish are changed.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the
    Project
    ribbon.
  2. Click
    Autoschedule
    in the
    Schedule
    group.
  3. Select the
    Schedule Assignments on Locked Tasks
    check box, and click
    OK
    .