Recording task progress ahead of schedule in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi, today I am going to clarify one important thing which bothers a lot of  of my Blog readers. I will go step by step through example and explain them.

First I’m going to build simple Project:

image

Now I will create three Resources:

SNAGHTML962d108

and I will assign them to Tasks:

image

I will now make Task 1 as 25% completed:

image

Task 2 actually starts earlier than planned (that is, earlier than its current Start Date). So Task 2 Actual Start Date is manually updated to an earlier date.

In the Mark on Trask -> Update Tasks dialog box I will enter 25% Complete , the earlier Actual Start Date for Task and click OK:

image

and:

image

and I will get:

image

Now, I will put status date to 24.07.2018, and then I will update the project to reschedule uncompleted tasks to after the Status Date:

image

and:

image

and I will get:

image

The Actual Start Dates of Task 1 and Task 2 are not changed, but their Finish Dates are changed for the later dates. That is  OK! Why? Start date is not changed because some work is already done and it was started at those Start Dates, so they cannot be moved or changed. What is done is DONE! It is written in the stone!

And now, where my blog readers have the biggest problem? Look at this.

I will make  Task 2 100% complete based on its earlier Actual Start Date and original Duration, so I will enter the Actual Finish Date in the Update Tasks dialog box:

image

Finally, I will get:

image

the question is: The Duration for this task is shown only 0.75 days instead of  its scheduled Duration of  3 days?

At the first look, it seems that this is a bug, because Start Date id 24.07.2018, finish Date is 26.07.2018, but Duration is 0,5 days instead of 3 days. But this is not a bug. I will explain why this is totally normal result:

  1. First I put 25% Completed for the Task 2 which had 3 days Duration. It means that actual Duration is 25% of 3 days is 0,75 days
  2. Then I moved the all unfinished Tasks after the status date, which is 24.07.2018.
  3. Because Task 2 has Finish to start relationship with Task 1, and Task 1 was supposed to finish at 27.07.2018, and the remaining part of Task 2 is supposed to start at that date (27.07.2018)
  4. BUT! I put 100% at %Complete, and Finish date to 26.07.2018. which is before Task 1 was finished.
  5. This means that Task 2 has no work left, so it was needed only 25% of original estimated work, and this is 0,75 days and 6 hours! If you have expected that those 2 days (25.07.2018, and 26.07.2018) work will be performed, you were wrong and this is because nothing is supposed to be done at that dates because Task 1 was not finished at that time. So the earliest date on which work on Task 2 is supposed to be done is 27.07.2018, and this is before the finish date of Task 1 which is 26.07.2018

Hope this helps.

Regards!

Advertisements
Posted in MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Calculate Variance in Working Days after setting another baseline in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi,

I’ve got a question which is: “How do you calculate the working days in formulas when the baseline is not Baseline 0, and you need to see variance of that Baseline?”

It’s easy and I’ll show you how with MS PROJECT 2016. First I will create a simple Project with only two Tasks:

image

Now I am going to create some Resources and I will assign them to those Tasks:

image

and:

image

Finally I will save thee Baseline:

image

Now, suppose that, for example, Task 1 was started at 17.07.2018 (instead of 16.07.2018), and Actual duration i1 1 day, but remaining duration will be another 3 days:

image

and:

image

Suppose that another Task, is needed for the Project, and John and Mary are going to work on that Task:

image

Let’s no switch to Variance Table:

image

As you can see, Task 1 has Start Variance 1 day (because it was started 1 day latter than planned) , and Finish Variance 3 days (because it has duration 2 days longer than planned, and it was started 1 day latter than planned).

And no suppose that this is your new plan, because Stakeholders, Sponsor, CEO, or anyone else approved it as a new Project plan. But for historic purposes the old should be saved, so you should save this new plan as Baseline 1 (I’m not going to show you pictures, because procedure is the same like when I saved first Baseline. You just have to choose Baseline 1. After I save this baseline I will get in Variance table this:

image

Do you notice any change? NO! Same result. Now, if you want to see Variance according to Baseline 1 you should follow this steps:

image

and:

image

and finally:

image

So now if I look at the Variance Table I have:

image

So now, everything is OK. you can do this for every single Baseline.

Regards!

Posted in MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Big or small Project – how to know which is which?

hqdefault

Hi,

many times I heard talking about big and small Projects. Many companies have different procedures for them. Of course procedures are lightweight for small Projects, and heavy for big ones. But, I am not going to talk about different procedures. I will talk about how recognize those Projects.

Almost every company which make differences among big and small project make it by the:

  • Budget – or how much will it cost?
  • Time – or how much will it last?
  • Resources – how many people are going to work on it?

And, for example, decision is:

  • If the Project is under $100.000 it will be considered as small, otherwise it will be considered as big
  • If the Project is under 3 months it will be considered as small, otherwise it will be considered as big
  • If the Project is going to be done under 10 people it will be considered as small, otherwise it will be considered as big

And, frankly, I do not agree with that. YES project can be measured with those parameters, but think about this: RISKS. From my point of view Project is big if it is risky. Let me explain that theory. Let’s say that you are going to upgrade 10 computers to the latest version of operating system. And you need 2 hours per computer. And you are going to be payed $500 per computer. And you need only two persons to do that. So, this is cheap, short, and not people demanding project. According to parameters mentioned above, it should be consider as small. BUT! What if those computers serves as as front end computers in the bank? What if mayor application is running on those computers. And, finally, if this application won’t work, you will get extremely angry customers. In other word, what if this upgrade project is risky? And it is, no matter of budget, time and resources. See where am i pointing at?

On the other hand, if you sold ERP system to company which is subsidiary of another Company. And it follows all processes and procedures as the main company. So, new ERP system is, more or less copy – paste Project. BUT, since we are talking about ERP, and licenses are expensive, we are talking, for example, about $500.000 budgeted Project. Is it big? Well, not exactly.

So risks, risks, risks, are always the primary measure when you think about your Project as big or small.

To be short, and jump in the conclusion at once. If your project is risky, no matter how small your budget, timeline, and resources demands are you should consider it as big!

 

Regards,

Nenad

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Material resources over different time than workload in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi,

I have interesting question from one of my Blog readers:
”I am working with Engineering services provider. I have created my resource pool sheet. I have assigned my resources (Employees/Engineers) on different projects. These engineers use different tools (licenses etc.) to complete the task.
We have to pay for those licenses quarterly. I cannot buy these licenses for one month.
I would like to know how to assign the license cost with resource (Employees/Engineers). Sometime my employees have 2 months workload but I have to pay the license cost for three months. Please guide me how can I use MS project for this?”

I will use MS PROJECT 2016 for this example. I will first create simple Projects with two Tasks:

image

As you can see Task 1 has 1 month, and Task 2 two months Duration.

Now I am going to create Resources:

image

As you can see License is Material cost. I will assign John and License to the Task 1:

image

and I will get:

image

You can see the result in the Cost table:

image

As you can see Total cost is $ 16.300 (John will work 8 hours per day * 100 $ * 20 days e.g. 1 month = $ 16.000 + License $ 300 = $16.300).

Now back to the Problem. How can you assign License to the Task if you for example have to buy License for three months and your Task is shorter? And how to get right Cost.

There are three ways:

  1. You can put price for three months (in my example $ 300) for the License and then assign one license per Task as I did. If you have same license which you will have to pay for 1 month, 2 months etc., then you will have more than one Resource (for example: 1 Month License, 2 Months License etc.)
  2. You can put price per month for License (for example $ 100), and then assign 3 Licenses per Task if you have to pay for three months. this is little bit confusing because even when you have right costs, someone could think that you need 3 Licenses, which you do not
  3. Use fixed Cost like I will do in Task 2, and then write in Notes what are those cost for:

image

Hope this helps.

Regards!

Posted in MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Customized resource calendar and its effect on task duration in MS PROJECT 2016!

Hi,

my blog reader has a question and I’m going to repro his scenario step by step, and answer the question using MS PROJECT 2016.

First I will create a 5 day Task:

image

There are 2 resources assigned to the project –  John and Mary:

SNAGHTML7c215204

Mary is supposed to work on a week  to 4-day 10hrs/week  schedule, so I customize her personal calendar:

image

and:

image

So Mary is supposed to work 10 hours per day from Monday to Thursday, but she is off at Friday. Now I will assign Mary to the Task:

image

As you can see, Duration is 5 days, even Mary is not working at Friday. How is it so?

Let see here:

image

and:

SNAGHTML7c29a6b5

and then:

image

As you can see 1 day of Duration is 8 hours! (see hours per Day option in the picture above).

So for Mary, Total work is 40 hours (10 at Monday, 10 at Tuesday, 10 at Wednesday, and 10 at Thursday). Duration of the Task is 40 hours (Total) / 8 hours per day = 5 days.

Now I will  add John to the Task, and he is “regular” worker, so he is suppose to work 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday:

image

The question from my Blog reader is: “How Project calculates the new 6-day Duration for the task?”

And the Answer is easy. When only Mary was assigned to the Task the Task duration wad 5 days. Now John will work 1 day more. As simple as that. He will work at Friday. So those 5 days + 1 days (Friday) is 6 days duration. Or let me explain that day by day:

  • Monday to Thursday: John works 8 hours = 1 day. Mary works 10 hours = 10to be worked /8 (hours per day) = 1,25 days. Duration is longest one, so it is 1,25 days
  • Friday: John works 8 hours = 1 day. Mary does not work. Duration is, obviously 1 day.
  • Total: 1,25 (Monday) + 1,25 (Tuesday) + 1,25 (Wednesday) + + 1,25 (Thursday) + 1 (Friday) = 6 days

Hope this helps.

Regards!

Posted in Micsrosoft Project 2016, MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It’s all about People!

group of people in a meeting

Hi,

as a Project Manager I red thousands and thousand articles about Project Management. I focused on tips “how to Manage Projects on right way, and how to get Projects done” and I found a lot of useful and helpful articled. BUT! No in most of them you will find what must be done. And this is great. But, how should something be done? Those answers are usually great, but general! What do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples.

  1. Establish good relationship with sponsor
  2. Establish good communication with all stakeholders
  3. Make a good plan
  4. Communicate with the team often
  5. Raise problems early
  6. …..

You are all aware of that. All those tips have one single question in common, and this is: HOW? Again, examples:

  1. HOW TO Establish good relationship with sponsor
  2. HOW TO Establish good communication with all stakeholders
  3. HOW TO Make a good plan
  4. HOW TO Communicate with the team often
  5. HOW TO Raise problems early
  6. …..

If we ignore problems like Force majeure (Like hurricane or earthquaqe), and technical problems (like server crash), you will see that all challenges and problems are related to the people on the Project. So, when you read tips remember that there is no such a thing like: “One size fits all” tips.

Let me give you example. Some people want reports daily, and they are unhappy if they do not get them. some people like reports in PowerPoint, some in Power BI, some in Word, some in MS PROJECT, and some of them want to have a meeting when you will tell them how is your project going without using single tool. And they are all stakeholders. What will you do? Make multiple types of reports? One for each of them. Or would you pick the most important stakeholder (whatever “most importnat” means) and make just one type of report for this particular stakeholder? Do you want a tip? Real tip? It is: “I do not know!”. you should see what kind of persons are you dealing with. Are you dealing with stubborn one, or reasonable one. Can you show or convince them that making many kinds of reports are waste of time and money? Or not? Do you see where am i pointing at. PEOPLE!

Finally – the Culture differences. Today Business as usual is that you will have a Project surrounded with people around the globe. And they are different. with that I do not mean that some nations or cultures are better than the other. NO! Not at all! I just want to point out that what is common and usual in one culture, is unacceptable in other. For example in one culture that is usual thing to start the meeting with talking about politics or about family. In other that is considered as improper. And this is easy to solve if you have people from one culture in one meeting, and from the other culture in other meeting. but, usually you will have people from different culture in a single meeting in a single room.

I have 30 years of experience in Project Management. And if someone will ask me what are my tips I will say:

  1. Always act as a Professional. This is your job. Never, ever take ANYTHING PERSONAL
  2. Approach to every single person no matter of his/her role (Sponsor, Stakeholder, Developer, ..), differently. Yes, this is hard. But every person in this world is different. Respect that!
  3. Remember that every Project is unique, so do not use same procedures and approaches in every single Project
  4. Be aware that with some people (or many) you will have a problem to make understanding. You will. In every single project you will have at least one person who is hard to deal with. YES. HARD. Do not complain. Again, that is your job.
  5. Hope that you will have a luck, but be prepared that you will not, and expect problems.

My 5 cents

 

Regards

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Fixed Duration Tasks and Resource availability in MS PROJECT 2016

Hi,

today I will show you what happens wen you have Fixed Duration Tasks with Resources assigned to them, and those resource are unavailable at the specific time. I will use MS PROJECT 2016

First I will create simple Project with two Tasks (both Fixed Duration Type):

image

As you can see, both Tasks has 3 days Duration. I added two more columns to the Gantt Chart View: Work, and Type!

Now I will create two Resources, John and Mary, and I will put for Mary Vacation (e.g. non working time) from 11.06.2018 to 17.06.2017:

image

Finally, I will assign John to the Task 1, and Mary to the Task 2:

image

As you can see Work for the Task 1 is 40 hours (as expected), but for the Task 2 it is 0 hours. How is it possible? Even if this does not make a sense it is possible because Task has fixed duration, so it is supposed to be worked on from Monday 11.06.2018 to Friday 15.06.2018, and the Resource is unavailable at that specific time. So, when you assign Resource to the Task which is Fixed Duration type be aware and careful on that.

Now, let’s say that, for some reason Task 1 will have 7 days Duration instead of 5:

image

Now, as we know, Mary is on her Vacation from 11.06.2018 to 17.06.2017, and Task 2 has now Duration from 12.06.2018 to 19.06. So Mary is available at Monday 18.06.2018, and Tuesday 19.06.2018, but the work for her is still 0 hours.

Now I will put Duration for Task 1 at 1 day:

image

You can see that nothing has changed in work for Mary in this example either.

Maybe you have expected that work should be calculated for those days in which Mary is available, but it is not. Well, it is not calculated automatically.  But if he is unassigned from the Task and assigned again, then you will have what you have expected:

image

Now you can see that Mary will work from Tuesday 05.06.2018 to Friday 08.09.2018 (e.g. total 32 hours), and next Monday, 11.06.2018 she will not, because she is on Vacation and therefore not available.

Be aware of this:

  1. When you assign a Resource to the Fixed Duration Type, work will be calculated according to available time of that specific resource during specific Task period.
  2. If the Resource is unavailable to the Task for the whole Duration of the Task (e.g. Work is 0 hours), you will not get any warning from MS PROJECT
  3. If Start date of the Task is moved for any reason for the Task and Resource is became available for it (for specific or whole duration), MS PROJECT will NOT recalculate work for Resource! It will remain 0. So for this you should reassign same resource to the Task.

Regards!

Posted in Micsrosoft Project 2016, PMI, PRoject Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment