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Start/end date of newly created tasks

Introduction

The article below refers to a situation when a task has been added to a single "Own scope" Box. 

For example, the following situation:

  • The main Program-type Box has its "own" scope (tasks are added to the scope definition of the Box)

  • The project Box can be further divided ( for example, into Program Increments and Iterations)

  • If Program Increments and Iterations are set up to function as "sub-scope" Boxes = their scope is based on the main Box.

In the example below, a task can be in the OMEGA Box (own scope) + Program Increment 1 (sub-scope Box) + Iteration 2 (sub-scope Box)

image-20240123-093115.png

Start/end date not specified

To find out more about tasks without start/end dates, click here

Start/end date overwritten

Based on scheduling rules, the App can make changes to:

  • task duration

  • task placement on the timeline

Priority of scheduling rules

The scheduling mode of a task is the strictest scheduling rule, but it relies on parent-child relationships within the task tree.

It is necessary to understand the automatic rules that impact WBS to understand scheduling outcomes.

General priority of scheduling rules:

  1. Scheduling mode

  2. Dependencies

  3. Task period alignment

In reality, when you create a new task:

  1. WBS is determined by:

    1. Structure builders

      1. structure builders can be based on dependencies

    2. Manual task placement (adding a task in a particular spot in the task structure)

  2. Task period alignment applies

    1. rules of the "own scope" Box

    2. rules of the "sub-scope" Box → auto-assignment (sync with a selected field) 

  3. Scheduling mode rules apply (based on WBS)

    1. auto top-down > auto bottom-up

  4. Dependencies apply

    1. Strong dependencies dictate the placement of start/end dates

    2. Scheduling mode rules are prioritized. Dependency will still exist, but the outcome will be limited by scheduling mode

A newly created task changes based on other tasks, but it can also force other existing tasks to change.

New task 

Impacted by

Impacts

New task 

Impacted by

Impacts

dependencies

a task can be a target of a dependency (it is affected by the source task)

a task can be a source of a dependency (it affects other tasks) 

scheduling mode

"auto top-down" parent impacts:

  • "auto top-down" children

  • "auto bottom-up" children

all tasks impact an "auto bottom-up" parent

Task creation (field values) - scheduling mechanisms involved in task period calculation

When adding a task, the fields you fill in determine what scheduling mechanisms apply and how they will position a task.

Depending on:

  • the setup of a Box

  • task fields filled in

Mechanisms dependent on task field values

Result

Applicability

Mechanisms dependent on task field values

Result

Applicability

Structure Builders

Automatic WBS structure is based on Box Configuration > Tasks > Task structure.

Structure builder rules can be manually broken. This means that when you create a new task, it is placed according to Structure Builders, but afterward, you can move it.

If structure builders don't apply, tasks will be created exactly where you have manually specified.

Applies only if structure builders are active AND task is affected by them.

Box:
Structure builders can be deactivated for a given Box

Task: 
A task may remain unaffected if existing rules can't be applied to it (for example, "epic link" is used as one of the structure builders, but an epic link hasn't been defined for a task.)

 

 

sub-Box auto-assignment

(relevant to scheduling only if combined with Task period alignment)

Sub-Boxes (such as Iterations and Program Increments) can be synced with a selected field. This means that tasks can be automatically assigned to sub-Boxes based on a field value. 

This can change the task period if task period alignment rules are active for a given Box (main Program-type Box, Iteration, Program increment, etc.)

Relevant only if combined with Task period alignment rules. Otherwise, it has no impact on task scheduling. 

Box:

Auto-assignment rules can be created only when "sub-scope" sub-Boxes exist

Task:

A task may remain unaffected if existing rules can't be applied to it (for example, the "sprint" field is used to sync tasks with Iteration sub-Boxes, but the "sprint" field hasn't been filled in for a given task).

Task period alignment

While task period alignment isn't directly related to any field, depending on the scope definition rules:

  • adding a field value can automatically assign a task to a sub-Box

  • which will make task period alignment rules of that Box apply to a task

Applies if task period alignment is active. 

Task period alignment rules are set up per Box (Box Configuration > Tasks > Scheduling). Check the settings of your main Program-type Box and its sub-Boxes.

You can "set assignment on lower levels" directly from the main Program-type Box. 

Dependencies

During task creation, you can add dependencies. Scheduling rules resulting from those dependencies apply to a newly created task. 

Keep in mind, links between tasks can function as:

  • strong dependencies

  • soft dependencies (no scheduling impact)

  • structure builders

This means that adding a link can move the task within the WBS structure and/or move the task on the timeline. 

Applies only if task links have been added. 

 

Independent from task fields

 

 

Scheduling mode

Scheduling mode of newly created tasks is based on Box Configuration > Tasks > Scheduling settings. 

Always applies.

Box: 
Scheduling mode of newly created task is always based on Box settings.

Task: 
A task must always be in one of four available scheduling modes.

Position in WBS

Task position in the tree structure will affect what scheduling rules apply. 

Position in the tree is vital, as it determines what task is in the role of a 'parent' and 'child.' Tree relationships determine how the scheduling mode rules are executed. 

Task place in WBS is affected by:

  • structure builders

  • where the task was manually created

A task can be moved after it was created, but:

  • the rules resulting from the initial placement have already been applied (various task periods have been adjusted accordingly)

  • Moving a task will trigger period recalculation to validate rules resulting from the new position (task period will be changed if needed). Still, changes to other tasks won't necessarily be automatically reverted. 

Therefore, it is crucial to create a task in the correct place in the WBS.

A task can be moved using the Indent/outdent/move up/ move down button OR using the drag-and-drop method.

 

Structure Builders

Example:

"Epic link" is listed as a structure builder:

The task is created directly in Jira. "Epic link" field has been filled in:

The task is nested according to the structure builder settings of a Box:

Even when you try to create a task in a particular spot in the structure, it will be moved according to existing structure builders: 

Changing an existing task can result in a task being moved based on structure builders:

Structure builder rules can be manually broken. This means that when you create a new task, it is placed according to Structure Builders, but afterward, you can move it manually within the structure.

Inline task creation

Two key things to keep in mind:

  • Between what tasks are you adding a task

  • Is the structure expanded

Between same-level tasks

When you create a task between the same level tasks (collapsed structure = two tasks on the same level), you will create a same-level task:

Task added:

Between different level tasks

The "add task" inline button can be positioned between different level tasks when the task structure is expanded. The resulting task is always created at the more indented level (nested lower in the structure):

Task added:

Additional example:

Add task button

Click on a task to select it (it is highlighted in blue). A same-level task will be created when you use the "Add task" button, regardless of whether the tree is expanded.

Resulting task

Directly in Jira

When you create a task directly in Jira, it will be positioned at the least indented level possible and placed at the bottom of the list.

Task position in WBS will depend on the structure builder settings of a Box. 

Scheduling mechanisms

In the sections below, you can find an explanation of what each scheduling rule is trying to accomplish.

Scheduling mode

Tasks can be in one of four modes:

  • Locked = task duration can't be changed (task unaffected by other scheduling rules; task limits period of children)

  • Manual = task duration has to be changed manually (task unaffected by other scheduling rules)

  • Auto top-down = task has to fit within the period of its parent 

  • Auto bottom-up = task period changes the period of its parent

What is the scheduling mode of newly created tasks?

Box settings determine the scheduling mode of newly created tasks.

  • parent affects child

  • parent is affected by child

child

locked

manual

auto top-down

auto bottom-up

parent 

locked

N/A

N/A

AFFECTS

AFFECTS

manual

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

auto top-down

N/A

N/A

AFFECTS

AFFECTS

auto bottom-up

AFFECTED BY

AFFECTED BY

AFFECTED BY

AFFECTED BY

Summary:

  • "auto bottom-up" parent = affected by period of any child task

  • "locked" parent = restricts period of "auto top-down" and "auto bottom-up" tasks

  • "auto top-down" parent = restricts period of "auto top-down" tasks and "auto bottom-up" tasks

"Auto top-down" parent task

An "auto top-down" parent task forces a child to fit within its period. 

Affected tasks:

  • other "auto top-down" tasks

  • "auto bottom-up" tasks

During task creation:

Situation

Outcome

Situation

Outcome

New task fits within the parent task period

no changes made to the period of the new task

New task partially fits within the parent task period

task duration shortened - days outside of the parent task period are 'cut off'

New task has no overlap with the parent task period

task duration = 1d

task placed on a timeline closer to the start/end dates specified during task creation

"Locked" parent task

A "locked" parent task forces a child to fit within its period. 

Affected tasks:

  • "auto top-down" tasks

  • "auto bottom-up" tasks

During task creation:

Situation

Outcome

Situation

Outcome

New task fits within the parent task period

no changes made to the period of the new task

New task partially fits within the parent task period

task duration shortened - days outside of the parent task period are 'cut off'

New task has no overlap with the parent task period

task duration = 1d

task placed on a timeline closer to the start/end dates specified during task creation

"Auto bottom-up" parent task

An "auto bottom-up" parent task is affected by the period of any child (regardless of their scheduling mode).

Dependencies

Strong dependencies move a task on a timeline.

Without the involvement of another mechanism, dependencies don't alter the task period.

Dependencies have a lower scheduling priority than scheduling mode.

The source of a dependency remains in its original position - the target of a dependency is moved.

Dependency

Result

Dependency

Result

End to start

End to end

Start to end

Start to start

Task period alignment

Task period alignment settings of a Box regulate the relationship between a task and a Box it's in. 

Task period alignment

Results

Task period alignment

Results

no alignment

task period = unaffected

precise alignment

Task period = Box period

smart adjustment

Task's time frame aligns with the start and/or end date of a Box. Task's length remains unchanged (whenever possible)

Task period alignment won't be realized if it conflicts with parent task period mode requirements. 

Conflicts

Starting state to which scheduling mechanisms are applied:

start/end date unspecified during task creation

start/end date specified during task creation

start/end date unspecified during task creation

start/end date specified during task creation

New task:

  • duration = 1d

  • start/end date = creation date

New task:

  • duration = based on start/end date

  • start/end date = as specified during creation

Scheduling mode vs. dependency

Order of execution:

  1. Scheduling mode is executed

    1. auto top-down parent = child adjusted to fit

    2. auto bottom-up parent = parent changed based on the child

  2. Dependencies are executed

    1. task moved according to a dependency

    2. if the "auto bottom-up" parent period has been changed during the scheduling mode execution, it won't be further changed (for example, if the parent has been lengthened to encompass the new child, it won't 'shrink' back down, even if it would be possible after dependency moved the task)

Scheduling mode vs. task period alignment

Order of execution:

  1. Task period alignment is executed

  2. Scheduling mode is executed - it overwrites the previous changes if necessary

Dependency vs. task period alignment

Order of execution:

  1. The task period alignment is executed.

  2. The task is moved according to the dependency.

This means that based on task period alignment, a task can be shortened/extended and then moved on a timeline. Since dependencies themself don't modify the task period, task duration will be determined by task period alignment, but the position will be based on strong dependencies.

Dependency vs. task period alignment vs. scheduling mode

Order of execution:

  1. Task period alignment is executed

  2. Scheduling mode is executed

  3. Dependency is executed