Hello again and welcome back to our course on Project 2016.
In this section we’re going to look at summary tasks and outlining and I’m going to use
the wedding project and demonstrate how we can build up the level of detail and the structure
of this project.
Now I mentioned a couple of times already that the tasks that I currently have in the
project, planning, attire, guests, etcetera, are actually high level tasks.
They really represent groups of tasks.
And what we’re going to start to do now is to break each of those high level tasks,
what we’re going to call summary tasks, down into individual tasks or subtasks.
By the end of this section we’ll have a much more detailed project.
But to get us started I want to look at one particular summary task.
Before I really get started I want to point out two things.
First of all, if you were doing a breakdown of the tasks involved in a wedding project,
particularly if you’re doing it from scratch, you would almost certainly come up with a
different breakdown to me.
And in fact just about everybody who tries to do this comes out with a different breakdown.
So there isn’t a sort of right answer here.
It’s important that all of the necessary tasks in the project are represented ultimately
in the project plan.
But the way you do this breakdown will be a very subjective way indeed.
And the second thing to point out is although I’m going to add quite a bit of detail to
this wedding project plan I could add a lot more.
We’re going to finish up with something of the order of somewhere between say 50 and
100 tasks in total.
But if you really were doing this very, very thoroughly there would probably be hundreds
and hundreds of tasks.
So the task I’m going to breakdown is the Guests task.
Now if I select the task underneath it, Venue, and right click on Venue and click on Insert
Task I get a new task above Venue and that is actually going to be one of my guests subtasks.
It gets a default name.
Note new task there between chevron markers.
And then default values for duration, etcetera.
Now what I’m going to put as the name of that task, I just click in the Entry Bar and
type the name in, is Make guest list.
So that is my first guest related task.
Now the important thing here is that this is actually a subtask of my Guests task.
And in order to indicate that it’s a subtask I’m going to demote it in my task hierarchy.
There is a button in the Schedule Group on the Task Tab.
Let me hover over it and it says Indent Task.
And indenting that task automatically demotes it within the hierarchy.
Watch what happens when I do that.
Now not only does Make guest list get indented and that clearly indicates that it is a subtask
of Guests but a number of other things happen as well.
One of them is that Guests becomes bold, indicating that it is a summary task.
And it also gets a tiny little wedge next to it.
And we can use that wedge to expand and collapse the guests summary task.
If I click on the wedge now I only see the summary task Guests.
In order to see the subtasks, in this case there is only one subtask and that is Make
guest list, I use the wedge, so I expand and collapse with that wedge.
Now what I’m going to do is to put in the second subtask.
Again I’m going to click on Venue.
I’m going to right click and once again insert task.
This new task clearly goes above Venue again but it also inherits the indentation level,
what we call the Outline level of the task above it.
So it automatically becomes a subtask of Guests because it gets the same indentation level
as Make guest list.
So let me type in now the name of that second task.
Now you can see there how the text is wrapped.
I need my task name column to be a little bit wider.
So let me widen that out a little.
If when I enter this, Send out invitation was not actually meant to be a subtask of
Guests all I need to do is make sure I’ve got that task selected and then one of the
other buttons in the Schedule Group on the Task Tab is Outdent Task.
And that would as we say promote Send out invitations to itself be a summary task.
Clearly a summary task with no subtasks at the moment.
But I do want it to be a subtask of Guests so let me just indent it again and let me
put in the third and fourth subtasks.
So having entered the fourth subtask let me just point out something else here.
Let me right click on Book guest accommodation.
Note that indent and outdent buttons are actually on the mini toolbar here.
So you could use that.
And as usual as you’re working in Project 2016 Project itself offers you the most likely
commands on either the contextual menu or the mini toolbar.
So keep eye open for those because they often give you a very quick way of working on a
task like this.
Now at this point you may feel inclined to work out how long each of these tasks is going
to take and when each of them needs to happen and so on.
I don’t want you to worry about any of those things at the moment.
We’re going to come back to durations and time scales and dependencies and so on as
we go through the next sections on the course.
All I want to do at the moment is to put in the structure of the project and then we’ll
start to add the detail a little bit later on.
Having said that there’s one more thing I need to show you here about summary tasks.
Let me go to Make guest list and I’m going to increase the duration to eight days.
Now if you look over at the Gantt Chart itself you’ll see that the Make guest list task
is indeed now eight days long.
But you’ll also see that the summary task no longer has the same type of bar representing
it as a standard subtask.
The summary task has a different format bar on the right there.
Now we’re going to talk about Gantt Chart formatting much later on and you can in fact
change most aspects of the formatting of these bars anyway.
But there’s two important things.
One of them is that the summary task does have a different format of bar which helps
it stand out on the right there.
But also the summary task by default does not have a duration of its own.
The duration of the summary task is actually the duration from when its first subtask starts
right through to when its latest subtask ends.
So the duration of the summary task is in effect dictated by the scheduling of its subtasks.
What I’m going to do now is to insert the rest of the subtasks for this particular project.
Now if you’d like to actually do this yourself rather than use the sample file, the demo
file that I’ll tell you about towards the end of this section, there is a text file
in the course file folder.
And that lists each of the subtasks under its relevant summary task.
So if you want a bit of practice you could go through and set these up.
This is what you’ll see in that text file.
It’s called SSI-Project-2016-Wedding-Task-Breakdown.txt.
So here is the revised wedding plan.
This will be the version that I’ll save as Wedding 02, if you want to just take a
look at it and perhaps compare it with a version that you’ve made yourself.
And there’s one other area now we need to look.
And in order to look at that area what I’m going to do is to add even more detail to
I’m going to take the task Select and order wedding dress and I’m going to break that
down into three further subtasks.
So the first subtask is going to be Select wedding dress, indent that, and then two further
Now as you can see these three further subtasks are Select wedding dress, Order dress and
Measurements and fittings.
And we might, for example, breakdown Measurements and fittings into Measurements and then First
fitting and Second fitting or something like that.
So as you can see even at this early stage of planning the wedding we’re starting to
get quite a deep structure to the plan.
Now when you’re looking at a plan like this, and bearing in mind that we’ve still only
got round about, what, just under 50 tasks in total, the highest ID number there is 43.
If we really went in and put in all of the detail actually making your way around this
plan would start to get quite complicated because it will look more and more complicated.
We haven’t even started yet on durations and assigning resources and putting in dependencies
and time constraints and so on.
So there’ll be much more detail to add.
And it’s usually the case when you start to increase the size of a project that you
only want to look at certain parts at certain times or even that you only want to look at
the project at a certain level.
Now there is a straightforward way of determining the level of detail that you see in a plan
such as this one.
What I’m going to do is to scroll back up to the top of the plan.
I’m going to select the Attire summary task.
That’s the task with ID 4.
And then on the View Tab I’m going to go to the Data Group and there is an Outline
If you look at the description there, the Screen Tip description, Specify which outline
level should be used in the view.
For a large project you may want to collapse everything to outline level 1 or 2 and then
expand only the sections that interest you.
If I have Attire selected and click on the bottom of this Outline button, let’s see
what happens if I say Hide Subtasks.
You now only see Attire and all subtasks and all levels below it are hidden.
Let’s go back to the Outline button again.
Now if I want to show the subtasks again I can just click on Show Subtasks.
Now in fact I can apply the same principle to the whole project.
So if I click on the bottom of the Outline button and say click on Level 1, Show outline
level 1 look what happens.
I see everything just at level 1.
If I click on it and say level 2 I see everything at level 2.
But note with Task ID 5, Select and order wedding dress under Attire, level 2 means
that I don’t see its subtasks.
I only see the level 2 task Select and order wedding dress.
So as you can see the summary tasks like Planning and Attire and Guests are at what we call
level 1 and the level below that is level 2 and so on.
There is in Project 2016 a level zero.
And level zero is actually pretty important so let me show you what level zero is.
If you go the Gantt Chart Tools Format Tab, towards the right hand end in the Show/Hide
Group there is a checkbox for Project Summary Task.
And the Project Summary Task has some very important uses, some of which we’re going
to look at during this course.
So I’m going to check that which switched on the Project Summary Task.
You can see there that the name of the task is basically the name of the file at the moment.
So it’s SSI-Wedding-02.
And there is a duration for the Project Summary Task which is in effect the duration of the
And as we’ll see there are many aspects of the project that we need to use the Project
Summary Task in order to deal with.
But more on those things later.
I can select the Project Summary Task.
And if I went back to the View Tab and the Outline button and said Hide Subtasks, bearing
in mind that this applies to the selected task, I would hide all subtasks and I would
only see the Project Summary Task itself.
Let me show those again.
And then finally since I’ve put in the subtasks of task five here, Select and order wedding
I think I will leave those in for now.
They may be useful to us a little bit later on.
So that’s it on summary tasks and outlining.
Please join me for
Exercise 02 in
the next section.