One of the shortcomings of Microsoft Project is that it does not have a dependency of Task B on Task A so that both SS and FF dependencies are respected. Why would we need that? There are situations where a Task that is parallel to a group of Tasks must have their same Duration and must change its own when their total Duration changes.

Try it the old way: say you try 3 tasks A, B and C. You then create Task D whose dependence on Task A is SS and whose dependence on Task C is FF. It will stubbornly have its own Duration regardless of the duration of Tasks A, B and C.

We need a solution so that Task D will have the same Duration as Tasks A, B and C no matter what happens to the Start of Task A and the Finish of Task C.

This is needed in situations such as:

  • Assigning a supervisor to an Effort Driven Task such as pouring concrete. You need to have a separate Task in order not to confuse Microsoft Project with the changes in the units of the concrete pouring Resources. The supervision effort must be expressed as a Task that expands or contracts depending on how you manage the pouring concrete task — their Duration must be the same.
  • Project Management Tasks that span the whole project
  • Tasks wherein you assign overheads (that also span the whole project)
  • Tasks which span other Tasks where the resource assignment is wildly different

what is commonly known as a Hammock task will do the trick. It will have the same Duration as the whole project or as a specific task it is spanning. But there is no automatic or direct way of creating a Hammock Task.

Please download the PDF file that has a fully detailed procedure to create a Hammock Task (Click here).

Also, the next post shows a very useful and practical example using the Hammock Task (Click here).