Negative variance in critical path


If the scheduled finish date of a task is later than its baseline finish date and the task is on the project’s critical path, it will naturally impacting the finish date of the project.

Step 1: Make sure baseline is set for the project plan. Choose Project ribbon > Set Baseline in Schedule group. Select Baseline in Set Baseline drop down and click OK button.

Step 2: In Gantt Chart view, change the table to Tracking and record the actual in Actual Start, Actual Finish and % complete.

Step 3: Change the table back to Entry. Insert Flag1 column. This column will be customized to indicate if the critical task has missed its original finish date.
Step 4: Select the Flag1 column. Choose Project ribbon > Custom Fields in Properties group.

Step 5: In Custom Attributes section, choose Formula button and paste the below formula
IIf([Finish Variance]>0 And [Critical]=True,True,False)

Step 6: In Calculation for tasks and group summary tasks, choose Formula button and click OK button.

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Day count down


Timescale displayed in Gantt Chart (Bar Chart) has two tiers – the starting date of the week on the top, week day label on the bottom like the one below

You can customize the Timescale to display the number of days left to complete the project. This is how you do it.

Step 1: Double click the Timescale or right click the Timescale and choose Timescale
Step 2: Select Middle Tier tab. In Units drop down select Days and in Label drop down select 4,3, 2, 1, … (From End)

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How to know what affects the start date of a task?


If you are puzzled by how Project calculates the task start date, you are not alone. The task start date is based on several factors such as predecessors, dependency type, constraints, resources, task calendar, and much more. Project 2013 has a command called “Inspect Task”. This command can be used to know what drives the start date of the task. This command can be accessed from Task ribbon > Tasks group > Inspect drop down > Inspect Task

To get this work, select any task in your schedule and click Inspect Task. For instance, in the below picture the selected task has constraint, two predecessors but Task Inspector clearly tells the task is driven by the constraint