Parent-Child Task Relationships

If a task is relatively large and requires several resources with different skills to manage, break the task into sub-tasks and create parent & child task relationships in Gantt Excel. A child task should be a relatively smaller, manageable size of work. Child tasks are also known called subtasks.
When you group child tasks together under a parent, values such as dates, costs, percent complete etc. aggregate and roll up to the parent task. So the parent task takes on the form of a summary task or roll-up task for its child tasks.
Planned start date and Planned end date roll-up occur when you create child tasks: the duration of the parent automatically adjusts to cover its child tasks.

A parent-child relationship is different from task dependencies. In a dependency, one task must finish before another begins. In a parent-child relationship, any number of tasks can be nested under a parent task with or without any dependencies.

Gantt Chart Snippet
Example of Parent Child Task Relationship

Creating a Parent-Child Task Relationship

To create a child task, Select a task that you want to convert to a child task and click on the Make Child button.

make-child-task

Shortcut – Alt-Right arrow key

To create a parent task from a child task click on the Make Parentbutton.
make-parent-task

Shortcut – Alt-Left arrow key

How to Set Parent & Child Task Relationships in Gantt Charts

Parent-Child (Rollup) Task Calculations

Rollups involve date changes, state changes, and value calculations. All the below fields are set to read-only for parent tasks.

  • Estimated Start Date
  • Estimated End Date
  • Baseline Start Date
  • Baseline End Date
  • Actual Start Date
  • Actual End Date
  • Percent Complete
  • Estimated Cost
  • Baseline Cost
  • Actual Cost