I’m using Project 2010, and can’t seem to get Project to do what I want to see.

I have a primary task path, call it tasks A, B, C, D. I have another secondary task path, call it tasks 1, 2, 3, 4. Task 4 is a predecessor for task D; however, I do NOT want task 4 to drive the start date of task D. I can manually schedule the secondary task 4 so that it ends at the start date of task D, but then should the start date of task D change due to its primary automatically scheduled task path (A, B, C, D), I would have to manually change task 4 to match the new start date of task D. (This would be acceptable if there were just one or two dependencies like this, but I have more like 50).

Another way to say it is that I want to automatically plan the secondary task path BACKWARDS from an event in the primary task path. (I don’t care if the start of the secondary task path is driven backwards to a date before the current date or project start date. In fact, that’s one of the things I want to see).

Essentially, I am looking for a BACKWARDS flowing critical path from a specific event. Is there any way to do this? (I have played with the constraints, but without much success).


Use a Start-Finish constraint on task 4 with task D. If task D is pushed out because task C is slipping, then the start date of task 4 should also slip. I do not think that starting task 4 late will push out task C with this type of constraint.

  • That works for the primary task path. However, if the total time to finish the secondary task path is greater than that of the primary task path, the secondary task path just pushes out past the date where it is needed to meet the primary task path requirement. I want to be able to show the secondary task as a "reverse critical path".
    – Sam B.
    Mar 6 '15 at 21:10
  • The schedule set up only matters at baseline. Once you baseline, then the schedule will behave based on how things are actually progressing, which is probabilistic and NOT deterministic like the baseline suggests and how it seems you want it to behave. If you start seeing the secondary path pushing out, then it is giving you the necessary signal for some type of intervention. You seem to be asking the schedule to solve what a human needs to solve based on what the schedule is signaling. Mar 6 '15 at 21:25
  • Yes, that's exactly what I want it to show. However, because of the size of this schedule, and the number of people that actually make inputs, and a whole other group that uses the output, seeing the problem is very difficult based on the way tasks are outlined.
    – Sam B.
    Mar 6 '15 at 21:34
  • So you may have several issues here to solve. One, you may have a schedule management problem where you are losing some control over the integrity of your schedule. Two, if this relationship between task 4 and D, even if you have several of these relationships, you may have a risk management problem. I would have these tasks identified at baseline in the risk process with schedule dates for specific examination on those constraints, schedule with enough time to intervene. Mar 6 '15 at 21:38
  • There's another contributor here named Julie who is a project guru; maybe she will read this and offer up another solution. Mar 6 '15 at 21:39

I think you might want a FF relationship with task D always finishing after task 4. But can start whenever task C finishes. For 8 tasks of a notional 3 day duration you would have...

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The "extra" 2 day duration for task D combined with the "+2days" on the FF relationship reflects how much of task D cannot be done until task 4 completes.

Sorry if I misunderstood your need.

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