start. On the whole, you should avoid this constraint as it does not leave any slack time to deal
with possible problems. Any delay on the task is likely to impact the overall end date.
The following constraints all restrict MindView's flexibility when scheduling tasks. Although you
might be tempted to use them if you are new to project management, you need to make sure you
understand the implications. Keeping their use to a minimum (especially the last two) will allow you
to take full advantage of MindView's automatic scheduling possibilities.
Start No Earlier Than (SNET) : This means that the task, whether linked or not, may not
start before the given date. However, MindView still has the flexibility to start the task later than
the given date.
If you change a task's start date, for instance by typing a new date in the Gantt Outline
or by moving its task bar on the Gantt chart, this constraint is automatically applied.
If you drag a linked task backwards, a SNET constraint is set for the start date
corresponding to the new position of the task bar, but the bar immediately moves back to its
original position. This is because the start date determined by the link comes later than the
SNET date. The SNET date is therefore applied, but does not change the original scheduling
of the task.
Start No Later Than (SNLT) : This means that the task, whether linked or not, may not
start later than the given date. However, MindView still has the flexibility to start the task earlier
than the given date.
When you are scheduling your project from its end date, changing a task's start date
automatically applies this constraint.
Finish No Earlier Than (FNET) : This means that the task, whether linked or not, may not
end before the given date. However, MindView still has the flexibility to end the task later than
the given date.
If you change a task's end date, this constraint is automatically applied.
Finish No Later Than (FNLT) : This means that the task, whether linked or not, may not
end later than the given date. However, MindView still has the flexibility to end the task earlier
than the given date.
When you are scheduling your project from its end date, changing a task's end date or
moving its task bar on the Gantt chart automatically applies this constraint.
Must Start On (MSO) : This rigid constraint means that the task, whether linked or not,
must start on the given date. Even if the preceding task is completed earlier, MindView cannot
pull in the constrained task to take advantage of the time gained.
Must Finish On (MFO) : This rigid constraint means that the task, whether linked or not,
must end on the given date. As above, even if the preceding task is completed earlier,
MindView cannot pull in the constrained task to take advantage of the time gained.
When you apply one of these constraints to a task, a constraint icon appears next to its name in
the Gantt Outline. Hovering this icon with the mouse displays a tooltip with details about the
If you decide to apply one of these constraints to a task, it is good practice to attach a note or
a comment to the task to explain why you did so. If the constraint causes scheduling conflicts later
on as your project evolves, you will be able to refer to the note to decide whether to keep the
MindView 4 Documentation
constraint, change it or remove it altogether. Such notes also allow you to distinguish easily
between the tasks you have constrained yourself deliberately and the tasks you may have
constrained inadvertently by moving their task bar or editing their start or end date manually.
You can sometimes avoid using constraints by setting deadlines instead (see "Setting deadlines
the topic "Enhancing a project plan
"). If you have an important date to meet, it is usually better to
set a deadline on the task rather than a constraint such as 'Must Finish On'. Not only this type of
constraint restricts MindView's scheduling flexibility, but it may in fact increase the likelihood of
missing the deadline, as the example below shows.
The effect of a constraint is not always obvious when you schedule your project plan from its
end date, so take care to check that it does give the result you want.
The following example shows some tasks in the preparation of a brochure for a mail shot. The mail
shot is scheduled for September 10th. The tasks are linked, but we have set a 'Must Finish On'
constraint on the printing task for September 7th, the latest date that will allow the mailing to go
ahead on the following Monday, September 10th. The constraint, as usual, overrides the link. By
setting a 'Must Finish On' constraint for September 7th, we have effectively moved the task out so
that it ends exactly on September 7th, regardless of whether it could have been completed earlier
The problem with this is that if the printing task takes longer than expected, the mailing date will be
missed. It would be much better to take advantage of the unused time after the end of the
corrections task to get started with printing. However, we still need to keep an eye on the
September 7th deadline. To do this, we remove the constraint from the printing task, so that the
link will determine its start date, and add a deadline marker instead.
Now there is a useful three day gap between the end of printing and the deadline, and the deadline
is clearly indicated. The printing task is now much less likely to appear on the critical path, and the
deadline indicator will warn us if the task moves past its deadline.
Interaction between task dependency links and constraints
Constraints combine with task dependency links to affect the timing of tasks. In some cases,
applying a constraint to a task in addition to a task relationship may create a scheduling conflict.
When such a conflict arises, the constraint always takes precedence over the task dependency.
Let us consider the example below. Here the "Print" task is linked to the "Final changes" task with
the default 'Finish to Start' relationship. The "Final changes" task ends on Oct 1st. In normal
circumstances, this would mean that the "Print" task cannot start before Oct 2nd. However,
because you imperatively need the printed materials on Sept 28th for a training session, you have
set a 'Must Finish On' constraint on the "Print" task for Sept 28th, as evidenced by the constraint
indicator. Since the constraint set on a task always overrides any relationship it may have with
other tasks, the start date of the "Print" task has been rescheduled automatically to end on Sept
In this case the constraint has led to an illogical relationship with the predecessor task: printing is
now scheduled to start before final changes are complete. Note that MindView conveniently flags
this as a possible problem using the icon, which shows that a link has been overridden by a
If you later decide to remove the constraint, for instance because the training session has been
postponed, the task dependency link is enforced again, as shown here:
For more information about how to detect and solve potential scheduling conflicts, see "Reviewing
a project plan
Setting a constraint
You can apply a constraint to a task as follows:
Select the task and choose Task Information to open its Task Information dialog.
Select the constraint type. For constraints other than 'As Soon as Possible' or 'As Late As
Possible', you also need to set the constraint date required.
As mentioned above, changing a task's start date by editing it in the Gantt Outline or moving its
task bar on the Gantt chart applies a 'Start No Earlier Than' constraint automatically (assuming you
are scheduling from the project start date). Changing a task's end date applies a 'Finish No Earlier
When scheduling from the end, changing a task's start date applies a 'Start No Later Than'
constraint. Changing a task's end date applies a 'Finish No Later Than' constraint.
To remove a rigid constraint, select 'As Soon as Possible' in the Task Information dialog (or 'As
Late As Possible' if you are scheduling from the end).
Enhancing a project plan
There are various things you can do to make your project plan easier to use. For example:
You can add explanatory notes to tasks. This is especially useful for tasks that have
constraints. Constraints override links and can lead to illogicalities or schedule conflicts in the
plan, so you will need to keep an eye on them.
You can highlight the critical path in order to see at a glance the tasks that are currently directly
affecting your project end date.
You can set milestones or deadlines to mark key dates.
You can give tasks priorities.
You can show a percentage completion for any task, visible on the task bar.
You can customize the display of the project plan on the Gantt chart.
MindView 4 Documentation
You can add notes and comments to any task, just as in all the other MindView views. See
"Inserting text notes
" and "Inserting comments
Viewing the critical path
In a project plan, the critical path corresponds to the tasks or chain of linked tasks that cannot be
delayed without delaying the entire project. A task lies on the critical path if a change to its start
date or duration affects the end date of the project (or the start date if you are scheduling from the
end of the project).
Keeping a close eye on the status of your critical tasks at any time is therefore key to good project
management. If the overall project duration is too long, the only way to make it shorter and bring in
its end date is to shorten the critical path.
To toggle the critical path on or off, click Show Critical Path on the Gantt Tools tab. Tasks
on the critical path are highlighted in red.
You can change the color used to highlight the critical tasks from the Properties dialog. See
"View properties: General tab
" for more information.
A milestone is a task with zero duration. It appears on the Gantt chart as a solid diamond.
Milestones are generally used to indicate important dates on the project plan, often key events or
goals. For example, you might use milestones to mark desired completion dates, or project review
As with any task, a milestone can be linked to other tasks. However, milestones are generally used
as fixed markers and are therefore not normally linked.
To enter a milestone:
Create a task and give it a duration of 0.
To convert a task to a milestone:
Select the task and give it a duration of zero, or
Select the task and choose Task Information on the Gantt Tools tab to open its Task
Information dialog. Check the option 'Set task as milestone'.
To convert a milestone to a task:
Select the milestone and give it a non-zero duration.
You can add a deadline marker to any task. This does not affect any of MindView's Gantt
calculations, but places a visible marker on the Gantt chart as a reminder.
If the task end date moves past the deadline, a missed deadline icon appears in the Indicators
column of the Gantt Outline.
To add a deadline to a task:
Select the task and choose Task Information to open its Task Information dialog. In the
Deadline field, select the deadline date.
To remove a deadline from a task, you open the Task Information dialog again and remove the
check mark from the Deadline field.
You can assign a priority to a task in the following ways:
Select the task and choose Task Information to open its Task Information dialog. Enter a
priority number in the Priority field.
Select the task. On the Task/Timeline Info panel, enter a priority number in the Priority field.
Although priorities can range from 0 to 1000, you can use any convenient scale, for example 1
(highest priority) to 10 (lowest priority).
Setting completion values
You can indicate the progress that has been made towards completing a task by entering a %
completion value. A thick line on the task bar indicates progress.
You can enter or modify a % completion value for a task in the following ways:
Move the cursor to the left of the task bar (or to the right end of the completion line if the task
already has a completion value) until it changes to
and drag rightwards or leftwards until
the appropriate completion position is reached.
Select the task and choose Task Information to open its Task Information dialog. Select a
value in the Completion (%) field.
Select the task. On the Task/Timeline Info panel, select a value in the Completion (%) field.
Customizing the Gantt chart display
For more information about this, refer to the paragraph "Customizing the Gantt Chart" in the topic
"Using the Gantt view
Reviewing a project plan
It's a good idea to review your project plan regularly in order to locate conflicts or other problems.
You can then make appropriate changes to remove them.
Have any tasks overshot their deadline? If so, you will see red warning markers in the Indicators
To overcome the problem you may need to reschedule tasks. Alternatively, if the overshoot is
acceptable, you can change the deadline by opening the Task Information dialog (double-click the
task bar) and assigning a new date. To remove the deadline altogether, remove the check mark
from the Deadline field.
Checking the project end date
Is the project on course? Check that the end date of your project looks reasonable.
When you are scheduling a project plan from its start date (see "Defining the global project
"), MindView calculates the end date of the project automatically, on the basis of the task
durations, the task dependencies and the project calendar.
You can check the project end date in several ways:
View the end date of the first task in the project plan, either in the Gantt Outline or in the Gantt
chart. This is the root summary task that covers the whole project.
MindView 4 Documentation
View the end date of the last task in the project plan, either in the Gantt Outline or in the Gantt
If the task bar of the last task is not visible in the Gantt chart, select the task in the Gantt
Outline and click Go to Selected Task on the Gantt Tools tab.
Choose Project | Project Information on the Gantt Tools tab to view the start and end date of
the overall project.
If the end date is too late, and the suggestions described in the following paragraphs cannot help,
you may need to apply more resources to one or more tasks. For example, if you assign two
people rather than one to a task, you should be able to halve its duration.
Checking the project start date
If unconstrained tasks start later than you expect them to, check the project start date (choose
Project | Project Information on the Gantt Tools tab).
In the following example, Task1 and Task2 actually start on the project start date, as they should.
However, Task3 has a 'Must Start On' constraint that is earlier than the project start date. This
effectively extends the project backwards before its official start date. This also happens when a
task is given a lead time that pushes its start date before the project start date.
The project start date is nevertheless maintained, and any new task you add is scheduled to start
on the official start date.
Checking the dependencies
Are all the links between tasks necessary? By unlinking tasks that don't actually depend on each
other, you will make use of all the slack time available, thereby shortening your schedule and
maximizing its flexibility.
Alternatively, consider whether some tasks could overlap each other to reduce the overall duration
of the project. If so, assign appropriate lead times (see "Defining lead or lag time
" in the topic
"). Another possibility is to redefine some of your 'Finish to Start' relationships to either
'Finish to Finish' or 'Start to Start' if the logic of your schedule allows it.
Checking the constraints
Are the constraints working as you expect? Look in the Indicators column of the Gantt Outline for
tasks that have constraint markers
. If you have been adding an explanatory note to every
constraint you set, read the notes to check that your intentions are still being met. And look for
tasks that have a constraint but no note: these may have been created inadvertently and be
Do the tasks that have constraints fall where you expect them to? Do they fit logically with the other
tasks around them? Check that their start and end dates are neither too early nor too late.
Look for unexpected overlaps or gaps (see below) between linked tasks: often this is caused by a
rigid constraint on one or other of the tasks, in which case you should see a constraint marker in
the Indicators column. However, remember that overlaps and gaps can also be caused by
intentional lead or lag times. Displaying the Predecessors column in the Gantt Outline will allow
you to check for the presence of lead or lag time.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested