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Creating Task Relationships and Milestones in MS Project: Episode 2

Creating Task Relationships and Milestones in MS Project: Episode 2

In the informative video presented by Yasmine Brooks, viewers are taken through an advanced tutorial on Microsoft Project Desktop, focusing on the creation of task relationships and best practices for linking tasks within a project plan. This post, intended for project managers and users of Microsoft Project, aims to distill the essence of Brooks' tutorial into a concise guide, offering insights into managing project tasks more effectively.


Episode Overview

This episode builds upon the foundation laid in the first episode, where Yasmine introduced the basics of project management using Microsoft Project Desktop. She encourages viewers to watch the previous episode for context, highlighting the continuation of the same project in this installment.

Key Takeaways

Task Relationships and Linking

  • Creating Task Relationships: Brooks demonstrates how to establish the order of activities in a project by creating task relationships, ensuring that tasks are scheduled in a realistic sequence.
  • Common Mistakes: She points out a common mistake of linking all tasks at once, which can lead to unrealistic project timelines and scheduling conflicts.
  • Correcting Mistakes: Brooks showcases the proper method of linking tasks by adding a "Successor" column to the task list, allowing for a clear view of task dependencies.

Best Practices

  • Avoid Linking Summary Tasks: Yasmine advises against linking summary tasks directly, recommending that tasks should be linked to other tasks or milestones instead.
  • Identifying Open-Ended Tasks: She explains how to identify tasks that have no predecessors or successors, emphasizing the importance of each task having a clear place within the project timeline.
  • Utilizing Milestones: Milestones are introduced as non-activity markers that signify the completion of significant phases within a project. Brooks demonstrates how to create milestones with a duration of zero days.

Project Summary Task

  • Overview: The Project Summary Task feature is explained as a tool that aggregates the total duration of the project, providing a high-level view of the project timeline.
  • Usage: Brooks illustrates how to activate the Project Summary Task and how it automatically updates to reflect the total project duration, aiding in overall project management and planning.

Practical Demonstrations

Through hands-on examples, Brooks corrects the initial mistake of bulk linking tasks, instead showing how to thoughtfully link tasks to reflect the actual workflow and dependencies. She navigates the "Gantt Chart Format" tab to toggle the visibility of summary tasks, ensuring that the project plan is easy to read and manage.

Saving and Future Planning

Brooks concludes the video by saving the project plan, emphasizing the importance of regular updates and revisions to the project schedule. She hints at future topics, including strategies for optimizing the project timeline and reducing overall project duration.


This tutorial provides a valuable resource for project managers seeking to refine their skills in Microsoft Project Desktop. By highlighting best practices for task linking and the importance of milestones and the Project Summary Task, Yasmine offers a roadmap for creating more structured and manageable project plans. Her practical advice and demonstrations underscore the necessity of careful task management and the potential pitfalls of common scheduling mistakes, making this video an essential guide for efficient project management.

Don't forget to check out the Pragmatic Works' on-demand learning platform for more insightful content and training sessions on Microsoft Project and other Microsoft applications. Be sure to subscribe to the Pragmatic Works YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on the latest tips and tricks.

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