Microsoft Project 2010: Service Pack issue?, milestone not displaying on a timeline, and problem with adding dates into project schedule RRS feed

  • Question

  • I recently starting using Microsoft Project 2010.  And I am running into the following issues and I would like to know how to resolve them.

    - What causes a milestone not to display on a timeline?

    - What causes a start and finish date in the project schedule to change? 

    - Does the number of predecessors and successors you add to a single task affect the start and end date you've entered?  Could this be the reason why I continue to experience date changes?

    - Is Microsoft Project more stable when run from a Project Server?  Does the number of times you open the same project on different computers cause a project plan to be corrupted, especially if it's being open and close by multiple people on different computers?

    - I read somewhere that the Service Pack can make all the difference with hold the software performs.  Service Pack 1 and 2 provides many fixes for Microsoft Project 2010,  "These service packs includes two main categories of fixes:  general product fixes, that fixes and improve stability, performance, and security.  Is this true?

    - What is the right service pack (SP) 1 or 2?  Or is this a even more current updated SP to use for Microsoft Project 2010.  And  does updating the service pack really make a difference in how the software perform?  


    Saturday, November 14, 2015 11:14 PM

All replies

  • In answer to your questions

    : Milestones won't display on a timeline if you have not indicated they should be put there. I no longer have Project 2010 to give you the exact commands, but right mouse click on the timeline and pick one of the options to define what gets displayed.  Turn on milestones.

    : Start and finish dates will change when a) you change them, b) Project recomputes the schedule.  It won't change start/finish dates on tasks you manually entered them, though, as it will respect what you did.  If will change automatically scheduled tasks.

    : The number of the predecessors/successors has no impact on the start and end date and is irrelevant.  And if you "enter" a date, the date will "stick" with a constraint.  If you have predecessors to an automatically scheduled task, then project will compute the start date based on schedule logic defined by the predecessors.  Your "date changes" are probably caused by Project recomputing the schedule (as it is designed to do).

    : Project on a Desktop is a different product than Project Server.  It is irrelevant to think of "more stable".  When a whole lot of people are opening and closing a project file, there is no telling how they might "break" the schedule.  only allow qualified people (those who have both training and experience using Project) to make changes to a project plan to reduce risk of errors and changes.  (Corruption can occur with excessive use of copy/paste, saving to file servers, etc.... fully documented elsewhere on this forum).

    : Use the latest Service Pack for Project 2010.  Get it from Microsoft's web site.  You ask if what Microsoft publishes  about Service is true?  I have no reason to think what they write is not true.

    : The "right" service pack to use is the latest.  Check the Microsoft web site.  I *think* (but not sure) that Microsoft Update will automatically update Project for you (but please check that).


    Sunday, November 15, 2015 8:08 AM
  • Donna,

    I think Rob answered your questions but let me add a couple comments.

    In Project 2010 and later, whether a task is displayed on the Timeline is determined by the "Display on Timeline" option found under Task/Properties group/Task Information/General tab.

    A common mistake new users make is to directly enter start and finish dates for tasks. As Rob noted, doing so sets a constraint on the task and essentially defeats Project's dynamic scheduling function. The best practice is to enter minimal data and then let Project calculate the schedule. That minimal information is: Task description (in action verb form), an estimated duration, links to other tasks (logical flow of tasks), work and resource assignments. Using this basic information Project will create the schedule as a linked network of tasks. Once the plan is created and meets stakeholder needs (i.e. is viable and ready to be executed), a baseline should be set to preserve the original plan for later comparison with the current plan, which will normally change for various reasons as the plan is executed.

    With Project it is very important to apply the latest updates. Starting in February of 2015, users performing a Windows update will automatically apply the latest updates for Project. For reference, the following blog provides more information for Project updates:

    Hope this helps.


    Sunday, November 15, 2015 9:53 PM
  • And I add to what John said in addition to what Rob said ;-) that when sharing files it is important for everyone to be on the same update version to avoid problems. As they have, I strongly recommend everyone is on the latest update for all Microsoft software.

    The latest updates will also ensure compatibility with Project 2013 and 2016. The service pack makes little or no difference to how Project performs, but if all your applications (Project, Office and Windows etc) at the latest update level then you ensure the least number of bugs and the best compatibility and reliability when sharing data and more.

    It will cost you far more time and effort working on software that isn't up to date than you might lose from bugs introduced in the latest updates.

    Happy scheduling

    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book

    Sunday, November 15, 2015 11:18 PM