Before starting a project, I currently estimate project costs using Excel. I enter the tasks along with estimated effort. The spreadsheet will have several rules of thumb for high level estimates, such as Total Transition Effort will be 40% of the Total Development Effort.

I was wondering If I could use MS Project instead of Excel for this planning exercise. Then when costs have been finalised, the high level project plan can be given to the project manager who refines it further as the project progresses.

In MS Project, is it possible to automatically set one task's duration (E.g. Transition) based on another task/summary task's duration (E.g. Development)?

  • 1
    Hi Chris. Welcome to PMSE. I think you've got two questions - Planning in MS Project and auto task duration in MS Project - here. You might want to edit your question or split into two to elicit the most useful response from the community.
    – Willl
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 9:50
  • @Ashok - If you add change this comment to an answer, I can upvote you!!
    – Chris Snow
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 16:26
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    I did answer your question. However, a moderator converted it to a comment! I am not allowed to convert it as an answer. Learning the Stack Exchange process :) Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 17:31
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    There is a previous thread here which dealt with a similar question of setting one task's duration based on some other parameter: Calculated duration in MS project task? You may find that helpful. Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


You can set one task's duration based on another task's duration, but it would require you to clearly define the rules... then convert those rules into some VBA code that you can run inside Microsoft Project. The VBA code could check the first task in question, read it's duration, do a calculation, then set the duration of the second task in question.

Without knowing the exact rules, though, I can't help you more than that right now.

Good luck!

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