In project management, a task is an activity that needs to be accomplished within a defined period of time or by a deadline to work towards work-related goals. A task can be broken down into assignments which should also have a defined start and end date or a deadline for completion.
Tasks are the basic unit of action in Gantt Excel. You can create tasks, assign them to yourself or others, set costs and dates for tracking and add notes for context.
Create a Task
1. To create a task, simply type in the last row that contains the text “Type here to add a new task”
This is the fastest way to create a new task. As soon as you hit enter a new task is created and WBS automatically updates.
2. You can also double-click the text “Type here to add a new task” to open the task in a form.
3. The third method is to use the buttons in the Gantt tab. You can also add a task in between tasks by selecting ‘Add Task at Selection’ or ‘Add Task below Selection’ from the Gantt Tab
- Add Task at Selection will insert a task at the current selection and the new task will inherit the WBS number at the location it is added. The existing task will be pushed down and it will inherit the next WBS number.
- Add Task below Selection will insert a new task below the task that is currently selected and the new task will inherit the next WBS number
Tip: Shortcut key to add a task is Alt G-A and then you can use the arrow keys to select the options.
- You can add as many tasks under a section
- A Task must have a Name, Estimated Start and End date
Edit A Task
There are multiple ways to edit a task.
This will bring up the task detail form.
Task Name – is the name of the task
Resource – Can we used for Task Owners or resources like Rooms etc…
% Completed – Actual percentage completed for the task should be entered here.
Estimated Dates: Estimated dates are planned dates for when a scheduled task is planned to start or end
Estimated Start Date – The estimated date when the task should be started
Estimated End Date – Task Due date – The date by when the task should be completed
Estimated Duration – The difference between the estimated dates
Baseline Dates: Baseline dates are essentially a snapshot of the estimated dates when a task is created. While the estimated dates may change often, the baseline dates should not be ideally changed. It gives the stakeholders a fair idea as to when the task was originally supposed to start or end. These dates are useful for management.
Add the Baseline Start field to a task sheet when you want to compare baseline start dates to scheduled or actual start dates for tasks.
Baseline Start Date – A snapshot of the Estimated Start Date
Baseline End Date – A snapshot of the Estimated Start Date
Baseline Duration – The difference between the baseline dates
Actual Dates: Actual dates are the actual dates when the task was started and completed. They should be regularly updated to reflect task current status.
Actual Start Date – The actual date when the task was started
Actual End Date – The actual date when the task was completed
Actual Duration – (calculated automatically) – The actual numbers of days taken to complete the task.
- Dates can be easily added by typing dd/mm or mm/dd and the template automatically displays the correct date. Eg. Typing 5/12 in the United States automatically converts it to 12th May, 2015 or typing 12/5 in the UK converts to 12th May 2015
- The duration is automatically calculated if you enter the start date and end date and the end date is automatically calculated if
Estimated Cost – Cost estimated for the task
Baseline Cost – When the ‘Copy from Estimated’ button is clicked the Estimated cost is saved into the Baseline.
While the estimated cost may change often, the baseline cost should not be changed ideally. It gives the stakeholders a fair idea as
to how much the task was originally supposed to cost.
Actual Cost – The actual cost of the task should be entered after the task is completed.
Notes – Task notes or comments can be added to the text area. Helpful to capture additional task info.