Creating a Critical Path using Predecessors

Using predecessors maximizes schedule efficiency by setting the subtask order so each task may begin as soon as possible or progress in the ideal order. When you set predecessors in your schedule, you are creating a string of dependent tasks called a critical path. With a fully defined critical path, you can easily account for changes that occur in the project with just a few clicks.

A predecessor will indicate that Task 2 needs to begin a certain number of days before or after Task 1 is completed. If the start date or duration is changed for a task in the critical path, your schedule will automatically adjust all dependent tasks accordingly.

Set a predecessor

  1. In an open schedule, determine which subtask needs to be completed for the next subtask to begin.  You will set a predecessor for the second subtask. For example, you might set a predecessor of Electrical Labor for Electrical Rough-In Inspection. 

  2. Click the Predecessor cell for the second subtask.

  3. In the predecessor dialog box, enter the ID for the first (preceding task). Task ID numbers are listed in the ID column, which is located next to the subtask name on the left side of the schedule information.  

  4. Click OK. UDA Scheduling will set the start date for the second subtask as the next working day after its predecessor is completed, or according to the lag time you specified.

& NOTE: You can set UDA Scheduling to prompt you to automatically designate predecessors when using Click and Drag Task Bars to schedule a subtask immediately before or after another subtask. Go to Tools > Options and select the Scheduling Options tab. Select Prompt to Set Predecessors on Sequenced tasks.

Set a lag time for a predecessor

Setting a lag time will indicate that the subtask needs to start a specified number of work days before or after its predecessor's end date.

  1. In an open schedule, determine which subtask needs to be completed for the next subtask to begin. You will set a predecessor for the second subtask.

  2. Click the Predecessor cell for the second subtask

  3. In the predecessor dialog box, enter the ID for the first (preceding) task. Task ID numbers are listed in the ID column, which is located next to the subtask name on the left side of the schedule information.   

  4. In the predecessor dialog box, click Advanced to schedule a Lag Time. Select a positive number of days to schedule a subtask to start after its predecessorís end date, or a negative number of days to schedule a subtask to start before its predecessorís end date.

  5. Click OK.

Set sequential predecessors

If your tasks are in the order in which they should be completed, you can create a complete critical path quickly and easily by setting Sequential Predecessors. This feature will assign a predecessor for the subtask immediately preceding the second subtask in the task list.  

  1. Highlight all subtasks for which you would like to set sequential predecessors.

  2. Right-click in the highlighted area.

  3. Select Set Sequential Predecessors. UDA Scheduling will assign predecessors for all selected subtasks.  

Set same predecessor

You can easily set the same predecessor for multiple tasks.

  1. Highlight all subtasks for which you would like to set the same predecessor.

  2. Right-click in the highlighted area.

  3. Select Set Same Predecessor.

  4.  In the predecessor dialog box, enter the ID for the preceding task. UDA Scheduling will assign the predecessor for all selected subtasks.  

& NOTE: UDA Scheduling offers multiple tools for defining and analyzing predecessor and critical path relationships, including Autoset Predecessor, Show Predecessor Tree, Show Critical Path, and Reviewing Duplicate Tasks. Plus, with the new Baseline Scheduling feature, you will be able to compare the original schedule to the actual schedule.