How to follow the Execution process in MS PROJECT 2010? –PART 2



In this post I will explain how can you track the Task progress using more sophisticated approach. If you remember I have a sample project:


I will now select the Task1 and open the Status Dialog Box for it:


and I will get:


What can we do with this screen?

  • % Complete: We can put percentage of Task complete like 17%, 23%, or some other. Sometimes you can estimate this figure, but sometimes you can not. For example, if you are writing one software module (e.g. coding) how can you estimate the percentage?
  • Actual duration: We can put the exact number of days, hours, months etc. for our task duration.
  • Remaining duration: We can put the exact number of remaining days, hours, months etc. for our task duration.
  • Actual Start: We can put when did the work on the task actually begins
  • Actual Finish: We can put when did the work on the task actually ends

When you fill one ore more fields in this mask MS PROJECT 2010 will calculate other fields.

In my first example I will put (for the Task1) Actual duration 2 days, and Remaining duration 3 days like this:


and I will get:


As you can see, Task1 has now Duration = 5 days, because it has 2 days of actual duration + 3 days of remaining duration. I will open Update Task screen again and you can see:


I will explain the figures.

  • Actual Start is unchanged, because I put only Actual duration, and Remaining duration.
  • Actual Finish is blank,because the Task is not completed (it has 3 more days in Remaining duration field)
  • %Complete is 40%. Why? Because the Duration (or Total duration) is 5 days, and we spent 2 days on this Task. 2/5 = 0,4 or 40%!


    For the Task2 I will put this values:


    Notice that I did not change the Remaining duration field. I get:


    As you can see, the Task is 100% finished (completed), because I put Actual duration and I did not touch the Remaining duration field. Task has started at 15.12.2011, because I put this value in the Actual Start field. Notice the Baseline bar, which is on the same place as the Task was planned, so you can see difference between planned and actual values.

    I will open Update Task screen again and you can see:


    The Task  is 100% finished, and the Actual Start and Finish are the same as Current Start and Finish. Notice one important thing: Current start and Finished field are not planned start and finish.

    For the Task3 I will put this values:


    and I will get:


    To explain what happens I will reopen Update Task screen:


    I told that I want Actual duration to be 3 days, Remaining duration to be 4 days, Actual start to be 23.12.2011, and Actual finish to be 28.12.2011 and that was the data conflict there are only four working days because between 23.12.2011 and 28.12.2011. MS PROJECT 2010 solved that conflict that it takes Actual Start, and Actual Finish as precedence (or top priority) fields, and based on those two field it make calculation of all other fields, that is: 100% Complete, Actual duration 4 days (the number of working days between Actual Start, and Actual Finish date.

    You can also track Actual work for the Tasks which is very good method if your Resources are responsible for tracking their tasks, or if they report their actual work to you. How can you do it? Read my next post.

    Until then I wish you Merry Christmas, and best Regards!

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    About Nenad Trajkovski

    Location: Zagreb, Croatia Occupation: Project Manager Interests: Project Management and MS PROJECT He was born in Zagreb, Croatia at 1963. After completing his college he started working on projects in different business areas (banking, manufacturing, automotive industry, distribution, oil companies, etc.) developing and implementing ERP systems into different companies. He has got a lot of experience working with people in different business processes and also possesses great knowledge in information technologies and financial services. Today he works as a business consultant, adn Project Manager in PERPETUUM MOBILE d.o.o. Zagreb. He is a regular lecturer for Project Management in MS Innovation Center in Varaždin, Logosoft Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and SEAVUS GROUP in Skopje Macedonia. He was named the best lecturer of WINDAYS 2008 while his lecture was also voted as the best. In addition, he was in TOP 10 lecturers at the MS SINERGY 2009 and MS VISIA 2009, 2010. Shares first place as the best lecturer of KulenDays 2009 and 2010 and PMI Conference 2009 in Zagreb. He is also a regular lecturer in the MS Community. He is a Certified Accountant and a PMP (Project Manager Professional) and a PMI-RMP (Risk Manager Professional), MCP, MCT, and Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist - Microsoft Project 2010. From 01.01.2012 awarded with MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Proffesional - Microsoft Project)!
    This entry was posted in MICROSOFT PROJECT, Microsoft PRoject 2010, MS PROJECT 2010, PMI, PRoject Management and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

    2 Responses to How to follow the Execution process in MS PROJECT 2010? –PART 2

    1. Nadya says:

      Thank you for your prompt reply. I’m afraid I cannot follow the execution process the way I want using MS Project. What I need is much about my previous question, I want to set up multiple tasks with estimated duration and assign one resource to them. And then, I want to be able to track them whether they are on time or not. For example task duration of 3 days (24 h), start on 13 jan – finish 17 jan. The assigned resource works different hours on it and finishes the task on 27 jan. By entering the hours spend on a task every day I want the result to be 3 day duration and only the dates to be changed: 13-27 jan. But MS Project automatically calculates different duration, or reduces hours. Please confirm or correct my assumptions. Can I use MS Project to track in such way?

      Kind regards,

    2. Nadya says:

      Hello Nenad,

      In MS Project 2010, is there a way to split a task that has 1 day duration (equal to 100% Unit, 8h per day). Let say it has to start and finish on Monday but the resource cannot spare that time because more important (unforeseen) tasks show up, and he has to work simultaneously on 2 other tasks. That way he works a few hours a day on three different tasks with equal priority and he finishes the task (with the estimated duration of 1 day) on Friday. How can I keep the duration 1 day (because actually it takes 1 day) but keep the start and finish dates on Monday and Friday.

      I have tried a different scenarios but I’m still stuck.

      Kind regards,

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