How to: Split Tasks in Microsoft Project

In this post we’ll discuss how to split tasks in Microsoft Project.  In other words, how to break tasks into segments representing the exact times work will be performed.

Microsoft Project tasks do not necessarily need to start on one day, and continue until the task is complete.  They can be broken up into segments.  In other words, work can be performed in a discontinguous fashion.  For instance, 16 hours in one week, 16 hours in the next week, and a final 4 hours the following week.  This technique is illustrated below.  Steps to perform it as also included.


Split bar, showing each segment of work

Split hours, in Task Usage view


I must warn you…  I feel this is a micro-management technique.  It can be good to define exactly when the work will be performed, right down to the hour, but do you really want to spend your time doing that?  That’s better left to the discretion of engineers who will actually be doing the work.

Follow these steps to split Microsoft Project tasks:

  1. Create a new task in the Gantt view (See the View menu)
  2. Right-click in the header area, and choose Insert Column
  3. Insert the Work column (it represents the planned work for a task)
  4. Enter 10 hours for the Work
  5. Choose View, Task Usage
  6. Notice the number of hours for each day (this is the time you will work on the task)
  7. Skip a few days, and enter some additional hours into the Task Usage view
  8. Choose View, Gantt Chart to return to the preview view
  9. Notice that the Gantt bar has been split to show the new hours