Automatically Create Project Schedules with Autoschedule

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Autoschedule is an automated way to create project schedules. Autoscheduling helps model your plan and generate dates for your tasks and overall project. Autoschedule is designed to schedule project tasks while minimizing the delays and expansions that can cause deadline slippage, while eliminating or minimizing resource over-allocation.
Use Autoschedule to update the project schedule after you or others make small, quick changes to it. You can review your changes before publishing them as the plan or record (POR), and accordingly arrive at a practical result.
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Working with Autoschedule
Autoschedule uses task duration, task date constraints, priority order, dependency information, and related date and resource logic to identify the project critical path and schedules tasks. Each task is scheduled:
  • To use availability as early in the project as possible
  • To start at the earliest or latest possible time, subject to date constraints
  • To minimize the duration of the critical path
To autoschedule in the Gantt view, verify that you have the
Project - Schedule In Browser
access right.
The critical path determines the earliest finish date of the project. Autoschedule uses the critical path information to make the following scheduling adjustments:
  • Determines early and late start and finish dates for each task.
  • Moves the early start forward or back, as applicable.
  • Checks for load patterns that are set to fixed, and adjusts early start and finish dates to fit.
  • Builds new ETC curves that are based on the recalculated early start and finish dates for the tasks, and subtracts as applicable from remaining resource availability.
  • To eliminate or minimize resource over-allocation, calculations can move out a task finish date, or the project finish date.
Task date constraints are rules that help determine the project work sequence. For example, the task must start on, start or finish no later than a specific date. Set the date constraints on the task properties page.
Autoschedule prioritizes constrained tasks over non-constrained tasks. However, autoscheduling overrides this rule if it violates a dependency or over allocates a resource. For example, task 1 has a dependency on task 2 to finish before it can start. Task 1 also has a constraint that requires it to finish one day before task 2 finishes. In this case, the autoscheduler ignores the task constraint because it violates the dependency on task 2.
Autoschedule and Publish
You can publish the tentative schedule using the default options. When you autoschedule and publish, the new schedule replaces the plan of record (POR) and the project is unlocked.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
  2. Open the Tasks menu and click Gantt.
    The Gantt view appears.
  3. Click the down arrow for the Autoschedule With Options icon in the Gantt view, and click Autoschedule with Publish.
  4. Create a tentative schedule. When autoscheduling completes, the tentative schedule is created and the project is locked.
  5. You can publish the tentative schedule or decide to delete it.
Schedule Subnets
You can set up your project to calculate separate critical paths. Subnets are a set of project tasks that have dependencies among themselves, or a single task with no dependencies. During autoschedule, you can calculate and display separate critical paths for each subnet and for each task that does not have dependencies. Otherwise, only one critical path, the longest path, is calculated for the project.
Scheduling subnets has these key benefits:
  • If you are working with a master project that contains multiple projects, you can calculate and display the critical path of each subproject, not only the longest critical path.
  • If you are working with a project where you have structured the work breakdown structure to support multiple concurrent critical paths, you can display all critical paths.
  • If you have a project that contains management tasks that span the project life, you can display the management tasks and the true critical path.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
  2. Open the Tasks menu and click Gantt.
    The Gantt view appears.
  3. Click the down arrow for the Autoschedule With Options icon in the Gantt view.
    The autoschedule page appears.
  4. Select the Subnets check box:
    • Subnets
      Specifies to autoschedule to calculate the critical path for the entire project. When the field is selected, a separate critical path is calculated for each subnet.
      Default:
       Cleared
  5. Click Autoschedule.
Lock Tasks
You can lock one or more tasks to prevent task dates from changing when you are working with the autoschedule.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open an unlocked project and click Tasks.
  2. Click Open in Scheduler,
    Clarity
    Gantt.
  3. In the Gantt View, click Options. Configure the page to add the Locked field to the list.
  4. For each task, set the Locked value to Yes.
  5. Make a note of the dates for these tasks.
  6. Click Autoschedule With Options.
  7. Click Create Tentative Schedule.
  8. Click Publish Tentative Schedule.
    The dates for the tasks that are locked are not changed.
Tentative Schedules
Autoschedule a project to create a tentative schedule that you can own and edit. The project is locked and is in tentative-schedule mode. Use a tentative schedule to see the effects of changes that you make to the project. For example, estimate to complete (ETC) changes, before publishing the schedule as the plan of record (POR). You can review the tentative schedule and can decide whether to accept them.
All locked project pages display the POR as read-only information. You can view and work with tentative schedules using the Gantt view, the task list page, and the task assignments page. You can change the tentative schedule by adjusting the scheduled tasks and assignment information, such as ETC.
The work breakdown structure (WBS) in the Gantt view displays the tentative schedule with redlining of POR information. Use the redlining to view the changes that you tentatively make to the schedule.
While the project is locked, the name of the resource that is holding the lock displays on the message bar. An Unlock button displays on this bar, which you can use to unlock the project. On the Gantt view, a lock icon displays on the toolbar, which you can use to unlock the project.
Tentative Schedules and Subprojects
Autoscheduling a master project creates a tentative schedule for the master project and publishable tentative schedules for all of its subprojects. If a subproject is locked when you autoschedule the master project, an unpublishable tentative schedule is created for the subproject. When you publish the tentative schedule for the master project, the plan of record (POR) for the subproject is replaced only if the tentative schedule is publishable.
During autoscheduling, a warning message appears with the names of the subprojects under the following circumstances:
  • A sub project is locked through a process, by another user, or through scheduling in the Gantt or an external scheduler.
  • A sub project is marked as Read Only on the Subprojects list page. This method of locking subprojects is also honored in the external schedulers such as OWB.
  • The current user does not have appropriate edit rights to alter the subproject schedule.
The system generates the following alert:
"The following subprojects are already locked, marked read-only, or you don't have rights to change them.  If you create a tentative schedule now, changes to the tentative schedule for those subprojects will not be able to be published back to the plan of record.  Do you still want to continue?"
Create a Tentative Schedule
You can specify scheduling criteria and can begin scheduling tasks using Autoschedule. You can autoschedule an entire project or only tasks that occur between ranges of dates. Use these steps to specify the deviations from the current schedule and automatically create a new tentative schedule. You can also create a tentative schedule by running the Autoschedule Investment job.
You can discard a tentative schedule and can delete projects that are tentative-scheduled. When you delete the tentative schedule, the project is unlocked and the plan of record (POR) information is displayed. To delete a tentative schedule, click the down arrow for the Autoschedule With Options icon on the Gantt view toolbar, and select Delete Tentative Schedule.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
  2. Open the Tasks menu and click Gantt.
    The Gantt view appears.
  3. Click the down arrow for the Autoschedule With Options icon in the Gantt view.
    The autoschedule page appears.
  4. Complete the following fields:
    • Project
      Displays the name for the project. The value for the field is based on the Project Name field on the project properties page.
    • Project Start
      Displays the start date. The value for this field is based on the Start Date field on the project properties page.
    • Project Finish
      Displays the finish date. The value for this field is based on the Finish Date field on the general properties page.
    • Autoschedule Date
      Specifies the date to begin scheduling tasks. If you are scheduling from the finish date, enter the date on or before to begin scheduling tasks. If the project is not initiated, enter the project start date. If the project is already in progress, enter the first day after the last date actuals are posted.
      Default:
      Current Date
    • Ignore Tasks Starting Before
      Specifies the date before which to exclude tasks.
      Example:
      For example, you enter 7/3/15 as the Ignore Tasks Starting Before date, and you have a task that starts on 6/20/15. The task is excluded from the schedule.
    • Ignore Tasks Starting After
      Specifies the date after which to exclude all tasks.
      Example:
      For example, you enter 7/3/15 as the Ignore Tasks Starting After date, and you have a task that starts on 8/14/15. The task is excluded from the schedule.
    • Resource Constraints
      Specifies if you want Autoschedule to consider resource availability when scheduling the project.
      Default:
      Selected
      If you clear the check box, Autoschedule treats resources as if they have unlimited availability. Each task is scheduled against the total availability for the resource, but not against the remaining availability for the resource which takes other task assignments into consideration. This results in the shortest possible schedule, but it can also cause over-commitment of resources.
    • Schedule from Finish Date
      Specifies if you want Autoschedule to perform a backwards schedule from a defined deadline date. Use this option if the last task must be complete by the project finish date.
      Default:
      Cleared
      If you schedule from the finish date, enter the finish date into the Autoschedule Date field.
    • Subnets
      Specifies to autoschedule to calculate the critical path for the entire project. When the field is selected, a separate critical path is calculated for each subnet.
      Default:
      Cleared
    • Honor Constraints on Started Tasks
      Specifies to ignore started tasks during autoscheduling. Autoschedule schedules the remaining work according to normal autoschedule logic, including any task constraints.
      Default:
      Cleared
    • Schedule Assignments on Excluded Tasks
      Specifies autoscheduling. So, you can exclude task resource assignment dates when the new dates stay within the task start and finish dates.
      Default:
      Cleared
      This field works with the Exclude from Autoscheduling field on the task properties page.
    • Start Successors on Next Day
      Specifies to 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
      Publish After Scheduling
      Specifies to publish the tentative schedule to the plan of record (POR) immediately. When selected, the tentative plan is created and immediately deleted, and the project gets unlocked.
      Default:
      Cleared
  5. Click Autoschedule.
Publish a Tentative Schedule
Publishing the tentative schedule replaces the plan of record (POR) with your tentative schedule and unlocks the project.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
  2. Open the Tasks menu and click Gantt.
    The Gantt view appears.
  3. Click the down arrow for the Autoschedule With Options icon in the Gantt view, and click Publish Tentative Schedule.
  4. Click Yes to confirm.
Unlock Projects in Tentative Schedule Mode
You can unlock projects that are in tentative-schedule mode. When you unlock the project, the tentative schedule is deleted. Only the user who locked the project, or a resource with the 
Administration - Access
 right, can unlock projects in tentative-schedule mode.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
  2. Open the Tasks menu and click Gantt.
    The Gantt view appears.
  3. Click the Lock icon in the Gantt view.
  4. Click Yes to confirm.