When I first starting working with Microsoft Project, I was typically able to muddle through the front end and put together a reasonably functional plan. In studying recently for the Managing Projects with Project Professional exam (74-343), I found a couple of tricks that I hadn’t known about and have helped me to better manage project schedules and tracking. One of those is setting Lead time in a Project.

Lag Versus Lead

Often when scheduling a project, tasks don’t have a true Finish to Start relationship. Some tasks need a lag time (concrete needs to dry, for example) and some tasks have lead time. Task lead time means that a successor task can begin earlier than the end date of its predecessor.

When I was first working with project, I could only ever find the “Lag” column in the task information, thus resulting in my coming up with very creative options to create Lead time for a task.

Adding lead time to a task is deceptively simple. Open a Task Information dialog by selecting the task and selecting Information from the Task tab.

On the Predecessor Tab of the Information dialog, you will see the list of the task’s predecessors. In this view will be a column called “Lag.” To set LEAD time for a task, simple set the Lag to have a negative number. In this example, I have set the task to have a lead time of 2 days (or -2 Lag).

task info

Once I have saved my change, you’ll notice in the Task Entry table and in the Gannt chart, my successor task is now scheduled to begin two days BEFORE its predecessor:

completed task information


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