User Manual - Task Details

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TASK LINKS

Tasks are the work elements that are required to make up or deliver the project as a whole. Defining tasks is partially a dotProject job (in entering and structuring them) and partially a matter of planning and designing your project.

No task can exist without it being attached to a project. If you have a need for random / non-project based tasks then we'd suggest that you create a general project (we simply use a project called Odds and Ends). Other's may have multiple general projects if that suits their particular requirements or permissions issues (you may want to limit various people to various categories of odds and ends tasks for example). We currently do not support sub-projects but once we finish off the resourcing release then this will be in the pipeline for consideration.

In the 2.x branch there is no resource calendaring or accurate / detailed working hour calculations. See System Configuration for setting standard working hours as that is the only functionality that is currently available. Further releases will address specifics in this area - see Status Information

Contents

1 Adding / Editing Tasks

Tasks are created from within the project display screen (not the project listing - but when the project itself is displayed on the screen), as well as from individual task detail displays.

In the main project details display screen the "new task" option is on the right hand side of the screen.

You can also edit the details of a task by choosing the Crumb "edit this task" whenever it is available or clicking on the pencil icon (normally to the left of the task name) in many displays such as the Today Listing, todo, a project listing and so on.

Creating or editing pre-existing tasks is basically the same function so we have outlined both below. When you click on the New Task button or select an existing task to edit, dotProject will display a form that you can complete.

The form is divided up into a header section and then a series of tabs that divide up the rest of the required data. As with projects, many of these fields have a direct impact on the workings of dotProject so we are going to provide a detailed outline of them.

1.1 Task Header

The task header is the basic overlaying information required for each task.

Task Name This is the name that will be displayed on team member todo / today listings and throughout the project. You should try to develop a task name which firstly distinguishes this task clearly from others and also provides a quick visual reference to the requirements.
Status Set to active to include the task in all today and todo listings.

Inactive still contributes to project hours etc but will be displayed on Project Inactive Tasks tab and only in the today / todo listings if the option is selected at the top of the listing.

Progress This field indicates the % complete for the task. If you are editing an existing task then this % complete will be automatically set based on any task log entries team members may have made. Alternatively you can choose to update the % here.
Milestone Tick on if the current task is a milestone. Please see the Glossary for details of what a milestone is, but remember that a milestone will automatically default to a 0 duration (and therefore any pre-existing duration will reset if you change a pre-existing task into a milestone).

1.2 Details Tab

The details tab contains the remaining basic project information:

Task Owner The name of the task creator as set during entry - will default to the current user.
Access This field provides some security / permissions over and above those provided by user roles.
  • Set to Public, and the task is accessible by all users with access to this project;
  • Set to Protected and the task is accessible if the user is on the assigned / human resources list for the task and that user belongs to the same company as the Task Owner;
  • Set to Participant and the task is accessible to assignees only;
  • Set to Private and the task is only accessible by the Task Owner.[1]

As of 2.1.2 we have streamlined these flags to provide:

  • Public - The task is accessible if the task's project is accessible (standard Task -> Project -> Company permission dependency).
  • Privileged - The task is accessible if the user's company matches the project's company, the user is assigned to the task, or the user owns the task.
  • Participant - The task is accessible if either the user is assigned to the task or the user owns the task.
  • Protected - The task is accessible if either the user is assigned to the task or the user owns the task *and* the user and task owner are in the same company.
  • Private - The task is accessible only by the task owner.[2]
Web Address This field can be used to provide a web address / URL that the task relates to - it could be a page of documentation / a demonstration / a client's site or any other internal reference.
Task Parent A drop down box that allows you to select the parent for the current task being created / edited. Should automatically default to the displayed task when a new task was generated. In other words, if you display a previously created dynamic task on the screen and then choose the New Task button, dotProject will automatically set the Task Parent.
Task Type As with Projects themselves, task types is an optional categorisation field for tasks. At the moment type is not available as a filter.
Select Contacts Again, as with Projects, you can assign Contacts at the task level. Rather than repeat the specific instructions on how to do this, the function works identically to that of adding Project Contacts. Any task level contacts added are displayed in the main Task Detail display screen and not reflected at the project level.
Departments Also, as with Projects, you can assign Departments at the task level. Rather than repeat the specific instructions on how to do this, the function works identically to that of adding Project Contacts. Any task level departments added are displayed in the main Task Detail display screen and not reflected at the project level.
Target Budget Task budget field - currently not used in any calculations but could be used to store the target budget for this task if required.
Description Used to provide a detailed description of the task. Will be displayed when a user "hovers" on the task name.

1.3 Dates Tab

The dates tab groups together most of the date / time setting options. This tab also includes details of the sites settings for daily working hours and working days.

Start Date and Time Date and time for the task to commence
Finish Date and Time Date and time for the task to be completed
Expected Duration Number and unit of expected duration for the task
Calculate - Duration / Finish Date Options to generate the duration based on the start / end date and times or the finish date based on the duration and the start date and time.

Click on the Finish Date box to calculate the finish date field based on the start date / time + the expected duration (allowing with some limitations for the daily working hours / working days).. If you don't have a start date/time set then you will get an odd date in the finish date if you attempt to use this function. Click on the Duration option to calculate the duration field based on the start and end dates and times set. If you do not have either of these options set accurately then you could end up with an odd figure in the duration field.

As of the next major dotProject release we are starting work on a lot of infrastructure to enable us to be more reliably able to calculate these types of dates, based on the resources assigned and their availability. The current functionality is limited, but can be useful.

1.4 Dependencies Tab

For details on the Parent / Dependencies options and how they work refer to User Manual - Task Groupings The Dependency tracking tab on Tasks contains the following details:

Dependency Tracking - on / off Select the option required to either use dependency tracking or not
Dynamic Task If this option is turned on then the task is regarded as firstly a parent task and secondly dynamic meaning that it will take it's duration and start and end date based on the values of child tasks
Do not track this task Regardless of any dependencies that are set - turning this on will drop the task from the dependency set.
Task Dependencies Select the task that the current task will be dependent upon (if you wish to have more than one task dependent on the parent, then you will need to edit each potential child and set the parent).
Set task start date based on dependency If you leave this turned off then the only time that a task start date will be recalculated to match it's precedent task will be when that precedent task is marked as completed AND it's end date is reset as part of the task log.

Currently there is a known bug in that the tick does not remain displayed if you re-edit the task. We will not be resolving that immediately as this entire area is due for considerable rework in the next dotProject Major release.

All Tasks / Task Dependencies Using the arrows and highlighting the tasks you can move the tasks that you wish to have as dependent tasks to the from All Tasks to Task Dependencies (or back again to remove the dependency)
Set task start date based on dependency Turn this option on if you wish to have the task start date re-calculated based on the completion date of the dependent task - but remember that this recalculation will only occur at the time that the first task in the dependency chain is saved / altered). Further to this, this area is still a work in progress and we would strongly suggest that you do not rely on it.

NOTE: If you do not set an end date on a task this can result in that task not being displayed in today and todo listings automatically.

1.5 Human Resources Tab

The human resources tab contains the following information:

Resources / Assigned to These boxes allow you to select users to assign to the task by highlighting the name and clicking on the arrow in the required direction.
Percentage Directly under the resource assignment boxes is a % box - use this to select the percentage of a resources time that you wish to assign to a task BEFORE you do the assignment
Additional Email Comments Enter any additional comments that you wish to send out when notifications of this task go to the assignees. The details you enter in this box will not be retained / stored against the task record.
Notify Assignees of Task by Email This option is clicked on by default and will cause dotProject to automatically send notification of the new / updated task to all assignees EXCEPT if the assignee is the user making the changes - they will not receive an email notification by default.

1.6 Other Resources Tab

The other resources tab contains the following information:

Resources Lists all the available resources as added via non-human resources. For more details please refer to Non Human Resources section in this manual.
Assigned to Task Lists the resources that have been assigned to this task.

2 Deleting Tasks

To delete a task (provided, of course that you have permission to do so), go to the detailed Task View and there is a trashcan / delete option at the top right of the screen, above the task header information.

Deleting a task includes deleting any task logs recorded against that task. Deletion is final and cannot be reversed. The trashcan icon does not imply a windows like "restore" from trash function.

NOTE: The Delete option is NOT displayed when you are editing a task - only when you are displaying the task detail.

3 Return to...

...back to User Manual - Tasks

4 Footnotes

  1. ? NOTE: These flags relate to the direct task information and logs only and they do not extend control to attached items such as calendar events, attached files and so on. If you wish to attach files then you will need to control file access separately (file permissions will be properly available in dp2.1.2.
  2. ? NOTE: These flags relate to the direct task information and logs only and they do not extend control to attached items such as calendar events, attached files and so on. If you wish to attach files then you will need to control file access separately (file permissions will be properly available in dp2.1.2.
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