Understand task durations

In this video, you will learn:

  • What a task duration is in Workfront
  • How durations affect start and completion dates of tasks
  • How durations factor into project timelines
  • Best practice recommendations for using task durations
In this video, you will learn what a task duration is in work front, how durations affect the start and completion dates of your tasks, how durations affect your project timeline and best practices for using durations after you’ve created the task list either through a project template or by building it from scratch. The next step is to establish how long each task should take to complete by setting the task duration. The technical definition of duration is the difference between the tasks planned start date and planned completion date. A common definition used by work front is duration is the window of opportunity for the work to be completed. Before we dig into duration, let’s define two terms You’ll deal with a lot during project planning, plan, start date and planned completion date. Everyone refers to the start and due dates when they talk about work. The start date of a task is when the work can or should begin and the due date. What work calls the completion date is when the work should be completed and work front the planned dates refers specifically to the dates established by the project timeline. Task plan dates are established by two things the duration and the predecessors. Note work site uses the same language when referring to the start and completion dates of a project. The project’s planned dates are established by the start or completion date you selected when you created the project, plus the durations of all tasks in the project. Edit the planned start date or completion date of your project From the Project Details section in the Left panel menu or the edit option in the Project header. Let’s look at a task in this project. Here’s the start date and here’s the completion date that gives the person doing the work three days to get it finished. How was this timeframe established with the duration on this task? It’s set at three days Start date plus duration equals completion date change. The duration of this task to five days using the inline edit feature and the completion date of the task changes Shorten the duration and the completion date changes again, task durations should be set in the project template used to create the project. Depending on the project, those durations may need to be adjusted. If you add tasks to the project, they’re given a zero day duration by default. Add a duration. So the time for these new tasks gets factored into the project timeline correctly. At this point in your project planning, don’t worry about the planned start dates of each task. Those will be calculated with task predecessors. Right now. Make sure each task has enough time for the work to get done. Rotate Work Front recommends using duration and predecessors to establish the start and completion dates of each task, clicking into the date fields and selecting a date from the pop up calendar changes what’s called a task constraint. You’re constraining this task by telling it to start or stop on a specific date. And when you do this, the tasks dates may not adjust automatically anymore when durations or predecessors change. So keep an eye on those tasks. When you’re making timeline changes, why is setting the duration of each task important? As mentioned previously, the duration of each task contributes to the overall project length, which in turn calculates the project’s planned completion date. The project duration tells you how long you have to complete the deliverable or reach the intended outcome. You want this window of time to be accurate. The calculation is more accurate. Once predecessors are included on the timeline. When you use a parent child task structure, the duration of the parent task is the amount of time between the first child task start date and last child tasks end date. This tells you how long that phase or section of the project will take. Durations are required if you’re using work friends, resource management and scheduling tools. Work front needs to know when the work needs to be completed in order to provide accurate resource estimates and for you to schedule work when team members are available. Durations and predecessors establish your task start and completion dates, which in turn contribute to the overall length of your project. You may not always know how long a task will take, but using work front is the perfect place to capture valuable information.