This guide is designed to give you an understanding of how the timing of schedules within Workamajig works by default, and advice if you choose to disable this feature in part or whole.
Auto schedule's designed workflow
The design of the Auto schedule features is to keep all project schedules current with what has actually been done. Good or bad.
In a perfect world, your tasks would occur one after the other, also known as a waterfall schedule. All tasks would have the default constraint of 'as soon as possible'.
Starting with the first task in the schedule, it would have a plan start date of today's date. Your assigned user(s) on that task would then log time to that very same task, today. That will populate the 'actual start date' of the task, and the 'plan start date' will never change.
Now imagine the task is set with a 2-day duration, so its 'plan complete date' is tomorrow. So then tomorrow the user(s) enter their time spent working on the task for that day and (all assigned users) mark it 100% complete. This will then populate the 'actual complete date' of the task, which will never change.
This moves the schedule on to the next task based on the setup of its predecessors. And from there, the process repeats.
Once all tasks are marked 100% complete. This is when the schedule is considered done. And will show as 100% complete on the projects page.
NOTE: The first time entry to the task will populate the 'actual start date' of the task, regardless of how many assigned users there are on the one task. And the 'actual complete date' is populated when the only or last person assigned marks the task done.
These are the three controls and their definitions for what is commonly referred to as Auto schedule in Workamajig (see the Transaction preferences [in-depth guide] for more info).
- Push schedule dates on tasks - Checked by default. This option makes it so any project that is active, and the task constraints and schedule direction meet certain criteria, will then push the plan start date of the task to the next day, if that task has no actual start date.
- Push scheduled end dates on started tasks - Checked by default. This option makes it so the plan complete date of the task will push to the next day, for tasks that are due today and have an actual start date and no actual complete date. This will then auto-extend the days in duration of the task as well until marked complete.
- Actual dates change the plan date - Checked by default. When a task is started (actual start date) or completed (actual complete date), the actual dates will change the plan dates to match.
NOTE: To retain a reference of the plan dates your schedule started with, you can use the More > Finalize schedule option to populate the original/baseline dates with what is currently in the plan dates.
What if scenarios
Task never gets started?
If the task never gets started, meaning no one enters time for the task. Then the plan start AND plan complete dates of the task and any predecessor task(s) after it also push a day with the overnight rescheduling.
Task never gets completed?
If the task was started (has an actual start date) but never completed, then once the plan due date of the task is today's date, it will forever push to be the current day until completed. And all predecessor tasks will push out a day with the overnight rescheduling.
There is one task I don't want to have Auto-schedule?
If you want the plan start date or plan complete date of a single task to not change, then you can use a different constraint on that one task. Such as 'must finish on'. But each constraint comes with its own behavior. So be sure to review the Task constraints [in-depth guide] thoroughly to understand what works best in your scenario.
There is one project I don't want to Auto-schedule?
In this case, you can change the schedule direction to 'from plan completion'. While this doesn't necessarily make this schedule free to do what you want. It does add a new default constraint of 'as late as possible'. This means the last tasks 'plan complete date' in your chain of predecessor tasks will line up with the project completion date. What this means, is that the remaining incomplete tasks will not change their dates. Keep in mind, however, that any task without a predecessor will have a planned completion date of the project's due date.
I want to get off the Auto-schedule train and manage task plan dates manually?
If this is the case, and for some this just works better. So don't feel you have to have auto-schedule to be good at Workamajig. But it will mean you are responsible to change any and all task dates as needed. So in this case, uncheck all three options in transaction preferences. If you do this, then constraints will have little to no impact on your schedules.
The biggest challenge is if you want to enable the three options down the road. As that can and will cause some unforeseen changes to ALL your schedules.
I want to have only 1 or 2 of the 3 Transaction Preferences checked?
While we recommend you have all three options with all on or all off. Each does possess unique behaviors in the system. So be sure to read how each option works and its impact on your goal.