Embodiments of the present invention are directed toward providing a method utilizing project management software for creating a project plan utilizing a top-down strategy allowing a user to describe high-level objectives before filling in details for the underlying tasks of which the high-level objectives are comprised. As an alternative to basing summary task dates and durations solely on subtask data, the present invention allows a user to enter dates and duration values into summary tasks regardless of when the corresponding subtasks occur. By utilizing a top-down project management approach, embodiments of the present invention promote utilizing summary tasks as a starting point of project planning. Users are able to input high-level objectives of a project when more specific details of subtasks are unknown. Because summary task data is not rolled-up from the subtask data, a user may specify details such as dates and durations of subtasks at a later time.