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How do I make MS Project (2010) distinguish between different kinds of dependencies? For example, consider the following two kinds:

Some tasks I mark as dependent on other tasks due to the nature of the tasks themselves (to use a concrete example: if you're building a house, the task to lay the foundation must come before any of the the tasks to put in the windowframes).

Other tasks I mark as dependent on each other due to resource constraints (e.g. the task to put in the living-room windows comes before the task to put in the kitchen windows, but only because I have a single carpenter. If I had two carpenters, the work could happen in parallel.

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This is the difference between hard and soft predecessor/successor logic. There are more than just resource dependencies as to why you sequence packages together, too.

I do not think there is a way to mark it in project; however, you can indicate the type of constraint in your WBS dictionary. And you can explain rather briefly how the constraint was determined. For example, I may draft in the dictionary a code like: soft FS+5 task A. So, if you need to fast track or move things around, that "soft" in the code will clue you in that this package might be able to move.

  • Ah, the one problem I found with this approach: Sometimes a task has two (or more) dependencies, of different types. I guess in this case I'd mark it as a hard dependency, because ultimately it means that adding a resource won't make it finish sooner. – Johan Apr 2 '12 at 12:00
  • Code all of them. If the hard predecessor finishes before the soft predecessor(s), then you may have the option of fast tracking. Your schedule is in constant flux; every time you capture actuals, your network diagram shifts, your critical path shifts, and your dependency logic shifts. So you cannot assume safely that, if you have a hard dependency, you cannot move packages around. Your schedule is something that will require active assessment and reassessment until you close your project down. Good luck! – David Espina Apr 2 '12 at 12:04

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