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In this section, we will explore how to link items in the grid and all the details that you need to know about this process. So, let's dive in!
Types of links
Within the Goal Module, there are four types of links you can use to connect tasks to each other:
Start to start: You can link two or more tasks by joining their start points. This means that the successor task cannot start until the predecessor task has begun. For example, suppose there is a project to build a house, and there are these two tasks: "Foundation Excavation" and "Concrete Pouring."
The Foundation Excavation task involves digging and preparing the ground for the foundation, while the Concrete Pouring task involves pouring the concrete to create the foundation. In this scenario, the Concrete Pouring task has a start-to-start relationship with the Foundation Excavation task. This means that the Concrete Pouring task cannot begin until the Foundation Excavation task has started. If there is a delay in the excavation work, it will automatically delay the start of the concrete pouring.
Conversely, if the excavation starts earlier than planned, the concrete pouring can also start earlier. By establishing a start-to-start link between these tasks, the project manager ensures that the concrete pouring doesn't begin until the foundation excavation has started, ensuring a proper sequence of construction activities and avoiding any potential issues or conflicts in the project schedule.
Finish to start: You can link two or more tasks by joining the endpoint of the first task with the starting point of another task. This means that the successor task cannot begin until the predecessor task has been completed.
Suppose there is a project to build a house, and you have these two tasks: "Foundation Construction" and "Wall Construction." The Foundation Construction task involves building the foundation of the house, while the Wall Construction task involves erecting the walls on top of the completed foundation.
In this scenario, the Wall Construction task has a finish-to-start link with the Foundation Construction task. This means that the Wall Construction task cannot start until the Foundation Construction task is finished. Once the foundation construction is completed, the wall construction can begin. For example, if the foundation construction encounters delays or takes longer than expected, it will automatically push back the start of the wall construction. Conversely, if the foundation construction finishes earlier than planned, the wall construction can start earlier as well.
Start to finish: You can link two or more tasks by joining the starting point of the first task with the ending point of the other tasks. This means that the successor task cannot be finished until the predecessor task has begun.
Suppose there is a project to build a house, and there are two tasks to be done: "Wall Framing" and "Drywall Installation."The Wall Framing task involves constructing the structural framework of the walls, while the Drywall Installation task involves installing the drywall sheets onto the framed walls.
In this scenario, the Drywall Installation task has a start-to-finish link with the Wall Framing task. This means that the Drywall Installation task cannot be completed until the Wall Framing task has started. Once the wall framing begins, the drywall installation can progress, and it will continue until all the drywall sheets are installed. For example, if the wall framing starts late due to unforeseen circumstances, the drywall installation will also be delayed.
Conversely, if the wall framing begins earlier than planned, the drywall installation can start earlier as well, potentially shortening the overall project timeline.
Finish to finish: You can link two or more tasks by joining their endpoints. This link type means that the finish date of the predecessor task determines the finish date of the successor task.
To provide a clearer example, let's suppose there is a project to build a house, and we have two tasks: "Interior Painting" and "Final Cleaning." The Interior Painting task involves painting the walls, ceilings, and other surfaces of the house, while the Final Cleaning task involves thoroughly cleaning the entire house once all construction work is complete.
In this scenario, the Final Cleaning task has a finish-to-finish link with the Interior Painting task. This means that the Final Cleaning task cannot be finished until the Interior Painting task is completed. If the Interior Painting task gets delayed or takes longer than anticipated, it will automatically push back the finish date of the Final Cleaning task. Conversely, if the Interior Painting task finishes earlier than expected, the Final Cleaning task can also finish earlier.
It's important to remember that the task to which the linking arrow is pointing will be the dependent task, meaning its start or finish time will depend on the task to which it is linked.
Note: To view the links added in the Gannt chart, just toggle on links in the grid settings located at the top right corner.
How to link tasks
Linking tasks in the Goal module is a breeze. You can easily create different types of links between tasks by dragging lines between their task bars on the timeline section. It's worth noting that you can only create these links from the beginning or end points of the task bars.
Another way is by clicking the task and selecting the tab 'Links' and adding the details you want.
It's essential to use linking strategically, as it can impact the overall schedule and dependencies of tasks. Before linking tasks together, consider their priority and the impact that any delays or changes may have on the project timeline. It's wise to regularly review and adjust task links as needed to ensure the project stays on track.
When you link a task to another, the date of the linked task will be automatically adjusted according to the date of the task to which it is linked, while the duration will remain unchanged. E.g. If a task has a 'finish to start' link and its end date is postponed by three days it will mean that the start date of the task to which it is linked to will have the start date delayed by three days, but its duration will remain the same.
To ensure that any modifications you've made are saved, click on the 'Rebranch' option. If you realise that the changes you've made do not meet the requirements, you can just click 'Undo'.
Note: To see relevant information about an item just hover over it and a small Info window will appear showing the name of the item, duration, start and end date.
Linking with Lag
Let's delve into the concept of linking tasks with lag in the Goal Module. When scheduling tasks, a user may want to add a specific duration gap between two or more linked tasks, and this is where lag comes into play. For instance, let's say two tasks are linked using the finish-to-start linking type, but the second task should start two days after the end date of the first task. To accomplish this, the user can add a lag between the tasks.
Similarly, when working with start-to-start linked tasks, the user can add a lag to ensure that the later task starts after the prior task has commenced for the required duration. The same approach applies to other types of linking as well. By adding lag time, the user can accurately reflect the dependencies between tasks and ensure a smooth project flow.
Positive and Negative Lag
In project management, the lag time between two linked tasks plays an important role in adjusting the timing between them.
Positive lag time between two linked tasks indicates that there is a gap between the completion of the first task and the start of the second task.
This gap is represented by a certain duration, which is added to the start time of the second task. For example, if Task A has a positive lag time of 3 days with Task B, this means that Task B will not begin until 3 days after Task A has been completed. The positive lag time allows for a buffer period between the two tasks, which can be useful for various reasons, such as allowing for additional resources to become available or providing time for testing and reviewing.
On the other hand, negative lag time represents a lead time between two linked tasks. If you set a negative lag time between tasks which has a 'finish to start' link, it means that the second task should start before the completion of the first task. For instance, if you set a 'start to start' link with a negative lag time of '-2' between Task A and Task B, it indicates that Task B should start 2 days before Task A starts.
Therefore, positive and negative lag times are valuable tools to adjust the timing between linked tasks in a project, providing flexibility to project managers to manage the project schedule efficiently.
How to add a lag
There are two ways to add a lag between tasks.
First option is by double-clicking over the link that was added between the tasks. This action will open a widget in which you edit as needed.
To add lag, you have the option to input positive or negative values. For positive just add the number, for negative add the '-' sign and the number E.g -2. Once you have added the desired lag, you can either save or cancel your changes, in case you are not happy with it you can turn it back to 0 or even delete the link altogether.
The second way to add a lag is through the info panel of the respective task item.
To access 'links' within the info panel, you have two options: either click on the 'Edit Links' button located at the bottom of the screen or select 'Links' tab. From there, you can add a positive or negative lag by clicking the 'Lag' option.