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Suppose I have a project "Perform a business meeting" which amounts to the following steps:

  1. Prepare the meeting
  2. Tell my business partners I'm done preparing, they start their meeting
  3. Take the bus to the meeting location (the city)
  4. Collect the meeting results (in person)
  5. Take the bus home
  6. Document important internal notes for the meeting

Given that I live outside the city, my bus connection sucks and only drives into the city at 8am and back home at 5pm. As for the meeting itsel, I really want to attend it if I can and it's happening as soon as possible, however it does not strictly require my attendance. The only thing I strictly need is the "results". If that means the meeting will go beyond 5pm I'll stay in the city beyond the work day. Me taking the bus into the city happens always at the earliest after completing the preparations though. Additionally, this meeting only needs to be held once.

Now my question is: How can I model this "bus behavior" in MS Project?

That is, tell it that the bus driving to the city is a periodic thing which I do not care about when I do it but has to be scheduled after the preparations are completed. And then linking the "riding home" part to the same day I rode into the city and then link the "riding home" part with other processes afterwards (the internal notes) so that the automatic scheduling can figure out timelines for me solely based on the end date of the preparations.

Given that I realize how confusing the textual description has to sound, here's a diagram of the dependencies:
enter image description here

This is obviously not my real project but should illustrate well the problem I have

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  • The bus ride home MUST be on the same work day as the bus ride in no matter if the other predecessor tasks are complete? Or all predecessors must be complete before bus ride home? Jul 25, 2022 at 15:15
  • @DavidEspina I've clarified that point. The ride home solely depends on the meeting completing and I'm willing to stay more than one work day if that meeting takes longer. However the "meeting starting" may happen in parallel to me travelling to the city (sorry, my analogy breaks down here).
    – SEJPM
    Jul 25, 2022 at 15:50
  • I would suggest breaking out the "Partner Prep" from the "Meeting" to get proper clarity of the sequence. The sequence that you have illustrated would appear to allow the entire meeting to take place while you are in the bus on the way to the city. That seems illogical to me. Then the F-S and S-S relationships as described by David Espina would be the way to go, modified to allow for the extra step.
    – Iain9688
    Jul 26, 2022 at 15:46
  • @Iain9688 yes, it would be fine if the entire meeting happened on the bus, think of it more as me having to "collect the results in person", as in practice this is a step being handled by a different department which gives me back a result once they're done without much of my input. Sequentialising this whole thing to have the meeting first and only then take the next "bus" would indeed (technically) be possible, however in practice the time delay of not getting a bus wile having a decent chance to get it is too severe to accept (the "bus" only comes once a year).
    – SEJPM
    Jul 27, 2022 at 14:50

1 Answer 1

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Seems like a F-S relationship for tasks 1 through 3 would work in your network logic. Then, I would have a S-S for tasks 3 and 4 since the meeting might occur during the bus ride in. While the plan may show tasks 3 and 4 starting at the same time, if it does not you would enter an actual start that would push task 4 out accordingly.

Then I think F-S for tasks 4 through 6.

The way you describe it, it seems a normal F-S logic would work just fine, except for tasks 3 and 4.

I hope this helps for your actual project network logic.

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  • Ah, so there's no feature that would have MS Project recognize the "bussy" nature of this project having to do certain steps (3 & 5) at certain fixed times during a period and instead I should just manually update these as things progress? (though saying this now, I realize how much of a first-world problem this seems to be)
    – SEJPM
    Jul 25, 2022 at 16:02
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    Because the bus start MUST be at 5:00 pm; else, you miss it and have to wait until the next day. I am not aware of the functionality to handle that. I don't think a scheduling tool is that smart; however, someone else might know of a solution. Jul 25, 2022 at 16:17

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