How to calculate planned % Complete?

You have updated the work progressed in % complete field, but there is no Project field that will give you the planned % based on the status date.

Create a custom field using a formula calculation the planned % complete, based on the status date.
1. Field : Expected minutes to status date (Number1)
– Insert a Number1 field in Gantt Chart.
– Right Number1 field and choose Custom Fields.
– Under Custom attributes, click Formula and type the below text
IIf([Status Date]<[Baseline Start],0,IIf([Status Date]>[Baseline Finish],[Baseline Duration],Abs(ProjDateDiff([Baseline Start],[Status Date]))))
– Under Calculation for tasks and group summary rows, choose Rollup with dropdown as sum
2. Field : Expected % complete (Text1)
– Insert a Text1 field in Gantt Chart.
– Right Text1 field and choose Custom Fields.
– Under Custom attributes, click Formula and type the below text
IIf([Status Date]=ProjDateValue(‘NA’),”No Status Date”,IIf([Baseline Start]=ProjDateValue(‘NA’),”No BL”,IIf([Baseline Duration]>0,FORMAT([Number1]/[Baseline Duration],”0%”),IIf([Milestone]=Yes And ProjDateDiff([Baseline Start],[Status Date])>0,”100%”,”0%”))))

You can change the project start date … later

We prepare a project plan assuming the work will start on a particular date. You insert the tasks, dependencies, set constraints and deadlines to them.

Later, you are told the project starts after one month. You might think this is very easy change to do. Click Project tab, click Project Information command, and change the Start Date to say 3 Nov 2014

You will notice Project displays a series of alerts that certain tasks is scheduled before new project start date, and also constraint dates of some tasks will be invalid as they are with respect to earlier project start date. Now, you need to rework on changing the constraint dates and deadlines of tasks.

Is there a better way to change the project start date that moves the constraint dates/deadlines relative to the project start date?

Yes. You can use the Move Project command in Project ribbon. In Move Project dialog, enter the new project start date and also check Move deadlines. Though the check box label is "Move deadlines" this affects both deadlines and constraint dates.

Now, Project will adjust the deadline date and constraint date relatively for all tasks.

Don’t fear if your project is rescheduled. Your Move Project command is just a click away!!

Watch-out: You can know who is working hard and who is not

Tracking man-power utilization is very important for project success. Resource Sheet view helps you to define the resource information of your project. Double-click the name of the resource and define the resource availability to the project.

After assigning this resource the task, Project checks the availability of the resource and marks the task with red color stick man if the workload is more or outside the availability in Gantt Chart view. This view doesn’t list how much the resource is loaded.

You can use the Resource Usage view to know who does what work, and the work assigned with remaining availability. Based on the requirement, change the time-scale (View tab, Timescale: dropdown). Right click the time-phased portion to insert the Remaining Availability field.

So, where are your resources are working hard and where not?

A beautiful way to be away from the devilish details – consolidate equivalent resources

Your team may have equivalent resources who can substitute each other. As a project manager, you can spend less time to maintain their details by consolidating their details.

A project team has three support staffs to handle the customer queries. This is a self organizing team with equivalent individuals who can take tasks as much they can do. As a project manager, you want consolidate their details to be away from the individual details.

In the Resource Sheet view, insert a "Support staff" resource and change the Max Units to 300%. 300% means you have 3 resources available 100% of their working time. When the work is given for more than 3 staffs (300%), Project will mark "Support staff" in red color

In this plan, after the pilot support is complete the team can handle customer calls and reply to customer queries.

You want one support staff to handle the pilot support. After the pilot is complete, you want the team to self organize and decide on the two individuals in-charge of answering the customer calls and one staff in-charge of replying to customer queries. They might want to substitute later, but you don’t want those details in your plan 🙂

You will now assign 1 "Support staff" to Pilot Support task, assign 2 "Support staff" to Answering customer calls and the remaining one resource to reply to customer queries.

After assignment, split the view and bring the Resource Graph on the bottom. Resource Graph will help you to understand how the support staff are occupied in this project.

In case you have assigned more work for these three staffs, Project will display a red color stick man in Gantt Chart and the excess work will displayed in red in Resource Graph

Are you ready to consolidate your equivalent resources? Share your thoughts.

Choose the best among the best

When you have many options to do the same work, you need to choose the best option with least cost and more benefit.

Let’s say you have three different ways to build your application and for each build you will choose different resources to do the work.You want to choose the build that is cost effective. Let’s say the cost rate of the five resources is as shown below

You have sequenced your tasks as Design, Build and Test.

Now, try different build options you need to change the duration, work and resource assign of Build task every time. A better option is use to have three build tasks with different duration, work and resource estimates

If you want to try with Build 1 estimates, select Build 2 and Build 3 tasks and inactivate them.

You will now notice that Build 2 and Build 3 will no longer affect the schedule and the resource availability, this can help you to total estimate with Build 1 as the option. Now, you can try to activate and inactivate the other two tasks to know the best option.

Inactivate tasks is available since Project 2010. Don’t delete the task rather preserve it for future reference

The Purpose of ‘% Complete’ field

Are you one among those who think % Complete field indicates the real work that is completed?

Are you someone who is looking why doesn’t Project update % Complete field every time the file is opened?

Why should we have three fields to measure progress: Percent Complete (% Complete), Percent Work Complete (% Work Complete), and Physical % Complete when they should be same?

Project provides three % complete fields to measure the progress of the task: % Complete, % Work Complete and Physical % Complete

% Complete field is calculated based on task duration. For instance, a 10 day task is 30% Complete at the end of the 3rd day from the start date of the task. This task is late if the % Complete is less than the expected value as the status date.

% Complete is used only for task with duration based estimates. % Complete will vary when the user updates the remaining work and remaining duration fields.

% Work Complete field is calculated based on the effort spent by the resources assigned to the task. For instance, a resource is assigned to 10 days long task. The first five days he plans to spend 4 hours per day and the remaining days he plans 8 hours per day. On the 3rd day of the task, the % Work Complete field will be 20% and % Complete will be 30%. On the other hand, if the effort is 8 hours per day across 10 days, on the 3rd day of the task % Complete and % Work Complete will be 30%.

% Work Complete is used only for task with effort based estimates. % Work complete will not be same as % Duration complete the effort is distributed unevenly across the task.

Physical % Complete field requires the baseline with cost information and status date to be set. In this example, Sai and Adi have the cost rate as $1/hour and the status date is set to end of Friday. In the Task Usage view, inserting BCWS row on the time-phased data will display the planned cost (BCWS – Budget Cost Work Scheduled / Planned Value) till Friday

On Friday, Build 1 task has produced only 30% of the final output and Build 2 has produced 80% of the final output. After changing the Earned Value Method of these tasks to Physical % complete, the Physical % Complete is updated to 30% for Build 1 task and 80% for Build 2 task. In the Task Usage view, after inserting BCWP (Budget Cost Work Progressed / Earned Value) and ACWP (Actual Cost Work Progressed / Actual Cost)

So, the next time you update progress as yourself these simple questions:

1. Is this task estimated based on work or duration?
2. Is the value of work completed same as the duration or work completion?

Is there a way to set a default path to insert subproject?

You can divide a large project into smaller project and consolidate them by using Subproject command within Project 2013. This option is also used when you have cross dependencies between one project plan and another.

The project help manual at gives you step-by-step process to insert sub project to master project.

The challenge is : How to send the master project and inserted projects? Should the client create the same exact folder as the one created by the sender when inserting the sub projects?

The answer is as long as the master project and inserted projects are in the same folder when it was linked, you should be able to send the client the files. When the client opens the master project, files will link normally and be opened. Instead you can avoid this risk by creating a single file by removing the link between the master project and inserted project by selecting the insert project name, right click and select Information. Select the advanced tab and uncheck "Link to project" option.

Where is the current date used?

Where is my current date used? What is so special about this? Should I care about it? These are the questions you will get on looking at Project Information dialog (Project ribbon, Project Information command).

This field is special. It updates itself with the system date every time you open a plan. The date in this field is used in multiple places within Project.

1: In time-scale views, such as Gantt Chart or Team Planner, the vertical line is drawn with respect to current date

2: If you want new tasks inserted to be scheduled with respect to current date, you can change "Auto scheduled tasks scheduled on:" to Current date in File, Options dialog. This means new tasks inserted will be set Start No Earlier than constraint (if the project is scheduled forward) or Start No Later than constraint (if the project is scheduled backward)

3: To update work as complete through the current date click Project, Update Project command. Note: In Update Project dialog, though the default date is current date, Project defaults the time to 5:00 pm.

So, the next time you see the Current Date remember these benefits

Scheduling Nightmare with Fixed Duration tasks

You have 5 days fixed duration task assigned to a resource. The task is completed ahead of time and actual work spent by the resource is 20 hours. When you update the actual work to 20 hours and remaining work to 0 hours, you will observe Project WILL NOT update percent complete to 100%. You will also notice the ellipsis character (…) at the end of the Gantt bar for this task, indicating there is uncompleted Remaining Duration on the task.

Why does this happen?

Since the task is fixed duration, Project doesn’t reduce the total duration when the work is completed earlier. So, I would recommend you to begin looking for an ellipsis character at the end of any Gantt bar for an in-progress task.

To resolve the problem, the PM should change the Task Type for the completed task to either Fixed Units or Fixed Work. This change will not matter because the task is completed. Once done, Microsoft Project will shorten the Duration to the correct time span for the completed work, will reduce the Remaining Duration to 0d, will enter the correct Actual Finish date, and will mark the task as 100% complete.