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Capturing and analyzing task dependencies

P: n/a
DFS
Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has created
or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction cost/time
estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A has to be started
and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks A&B can only happen
concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx that's
a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd like to hear.
Thanks

Dec 1 '06 #1
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7 Replies


P: n/a
I apologise if this is aimed at the wrong level of expertise, anybody can
post here.

There are standard applications for Project Management which are
specifically designed for this task. Microsoft do one called Project Manager
which is a general package. There are also many very specialised packages
aimed at specific industries, construction being one of them. These can cost
a great deal, but exist because they are essential for any substantial task.

Most people involved in any substantial construction would be better served
sticking to their area of expertise rather than trying to develop their own
systems.

"DFS" <nospam@dfs_.comwrote in message
news:Vg*****************@bignews2.bellsouth.net...
Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has created
or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction cost/time
estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A has to be started
and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks A&B can only happen
concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx
that's a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd like
to hear.
Thanks


Dec 1 '06 #2

P: n/a
DFS wrote:
Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has created
or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction cost/time
estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A has to be started
and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks A&B can only happen
concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx that's
a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd like to hear.
Thanks
You might want to consider using the right tool for the right job. MS
Project should be able to handle your request. From something I found
in GoogleGroups, for group *Access* searching for MS Project Access I
found this snippet

"You can save a project file in Access format. I'm not sure if that is
what you mean by linked. You can use access to interact with the
project database files as long as you follow the rules which you can
find in the file named projdb.htm on your project cd or on any computer
that has project installed."

So you can work with the data from Project in Access and visa versa.
Dec 1 '06 #3

P: n/a
DFS
salad wrote:
DFS wrote:
>Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has
created or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction
cost/time estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A
has to be started and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks
A&B can only happen concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx
that's a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd
like to hear. Thanks

You might want to consider using the right tool for the right job. MS
Project should be able to handle your request.
Thanks, but I've used Project off and on since 2001. I don't need a tool as
sophisticated as that - I have to integrate a fairly simple task dependency
module into the screens, routines, and database of an Access system I built.


Dec 2 '06 #4

P: n/a
DFS wrote:
salad wrote:
>>DFS wrote:
>>>Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has
created or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction
cost/time estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A
has to be started and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks
A&B can only happen concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx
that's a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd
like to hear. Thanks

You might want to consider using the right tool for the right job. MS
Project should be able to handle your request.


Thanks, but I've used Project off and on since 2001. I don't need a tool as
sophisticated as that - I have to integrate a fairly simple task dependency
module into the screens, routines, and database of an Access system I built.
I know what you mean. The guy I'm doing some work for, we showed him MS
Project a few years ago. For his needs it would have added a degree of
complexity to the system he didn't want.

About the only other place I can think of that you might want to check
out would be http://www.tucows.com. The problem is that any apps you
might find there might be standalone...not permit the app to have
properties you can set from within your app.

Good luck in your search...or programming effort.
Dec 2 '06 #5

P: n/a
I programmed a simple application to do this job over a weekend back in 1970
in PL/I. I will see if I can find the listing. It would be easy to change
to it VBA. I may even be able to scrape the rust off of the brain cells and
regenerate it from scratch.

You will obviously need a Tasks table, with a minimum and maximum estimated
duration. You will also need a Dependency table whih links tasks to those
that must precede them or occur at the same time. If you do a Google groups
search for Gannt charts you should find an other necessary element of the
task. If I were the man I was we could have this running by Monday ...

I am sure somebody must have done this as an academic exercise. I just took
the job on as a trainee programmer because I wanted an useful application
with which to practise recursion and to demonstrate what a PERT program
looked like for a operational research guy to pitch for money to buy a
commercial package. I was quite surprised when my weekends work had a team
of five running production for a major company with it.

David F. Cox
"DFS" <nospam@dfs_.comwrote in message
news:PQ*****************@bignews8.bellsouth.net...
salad wrote:
>DFS wrote:
>>Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has
created or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction
cost/time estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A
has to be started and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks
A&B can only happen concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx
that's a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd
like to hear. Thanks

You might want to consider using the right tool for the right job. MS
Project should be able to handle your request.

Thanks, but I've used Project off and on since 2001. I don't need a tool
as sophisticated as that - I have to integrate a fairly simple task
dependency module into the screens, routines, and database of an Access
system I built.



Dec 2 '06 #6

P: n/a
DFS
David F Cox wrote:
I programmed a simple application to do this job over a weekend back
in 1970 in PL/I. I will see if I can find the listing. It would be
easy to change to it VBA. I may even be able to scrape the rust off
of the brain cells and regenerate it from scratch.
Post your new VBA, and I'll post mine after I finish.

You will obviously need a Tasks table, with a minimum and maximum
estimated duration. You will also need a Dependency table whih links
tasks to those that must precede them or occur at the same time. If
you do a Google groups search for Gannt charts you should find an
other necessary element of the task. If I were the man I was we could
have this running by Monday ...
The db design part will be simple. I already have my tasks table (with the
estimated duration - we don't use min and max duration), and I have some
ideas for a dependencies table:

IndTaskID - independent task
DepTaskID - dependent task
DepClass - is dependent task a predecessor or successor to independent?
DepType - type of dependency (start-finish, start-start, finish-start,
finish-finish)
DepDelay - days that must/can elapse before dependent task can start/finish
....
....
whatever else I dream up while developing

What's going to be the most work is applying the dependency rules, and
dealing with the recursion, to generate systemwide reports and anaylsis on
demand (I have ~1000 projects, each with a mostly standard set of 40
interdependent tasks).

Here's an interesting discussion
http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-...Ask%20E%2eT%2e

I am sure somebody must have done this as an academic exercise. I
just took the job on as a trainee programmer because I wanted an
useful application with which to practise recursion and to
demonstrate what a PERT program looked like for a operational
research guy to pitch for money to buy a commercial package. I was
quite surprised when my weekends work had a team of five running
production for a major company with it.
David F. Cox
"DFS" <nospam@dfs_.comwrote in message
news:PQ*****************@bignews8.bellsouth.net...
>salad wrote:
>>DFS wrote:
Before I build my own custom system, I wondered if anyone here has
created or knows of some commercial systems (say for construction
cost/time estimating) that help manage projects where some Task A
has to be started and/or finished before Task B can begin, or Tasks
A&B can only happen concurrently.

I found this MS page
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/wo...208481033.aspx
that's a good start, but if anyone has ideas or recommendations I'd
like to hear. Thanks
You might want to consider using the right tool for the right job. MS
Project should be able to handle your request.

Thanks, but I've used Project off and on since 2001. I don't need a
tool as sophisticated as that - I have to integrate a fairly simple
task dependency module into the screens, routines, and database of
an Access system I built.

Dec 3 '06 #7

P: n/a
DFS wrote:
The db design part will be simple. I already have my tasks table (with the
estimated duration - we don't use min and max duration), and I have some
ideas for a dependencies table:

IndTaskID - independent task
DepTaskID - dependent task
DepClass - is dependent task a predecessor or successor to independent?
DepType - type of dependency (start-finish, start-start, finish-start,
finish-finish)
DepDelay - days that must/can elapse before dependent task can start/finish
...
...
whatever else I dream up while developing

What's going to be the most work is applying the dependency rules, and
dealing with the recursion, to generate systemwide reports and anaylsis on
demand (I have ~1000 projects, each with a mostly standard set of 40
interdependent tasks).

Here's an interesting discussion
http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-...Ask%20E%2eT%2e
I find that discussion exceptionally interesting. Microsoft project
seems to fall short of the ideals of these visionaries. The pdf
techniques I've used can be made to solve some of the problems, such as
adding annotations and having a top level diagram along with, e.g.,
hyperlinks to detail pages. This is database driven. The problem with
semi-static pdf is that as the project diagram gets increasingly
complicated, especially if images are added, it will take longer and
longer for the database to generate the latest gestalt pdf file from
the shared data. I think that for a complicated project the promise of
truly interactive graphics in the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
has the best chance of satisfying all the requirements of their dream
system. I don't know yet how well Access 2007 and the WFP will work
together. Without something like WPF, I think the user interface in
Access will be too clumsy to satisfy their dream. Their wish list is
still a bit nebulous. Of course, if your goal is demonstrate
feasibility you don't need the whole enchilada.

James A. Fortune
CD********@FortuneJames.com

If the order came from the president for you to press the button to
launch nuclear missles, would you hesitate? -- Interview question,
Raytheon

Dec 5 '06 #8

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