Percentage completed vs. Actual Work in MS PROJECT 2013!


again, my Blog reader has a problem:

“Dear Nenad,

your blog is a real treasure and I am so happy I came across it a year ago when we started with the implementation of the MS Project Server 2010 and I was looking for quality blogs all around the world.

I have learned a lot from your practical tips of how to tweak the MS Project to optimize fine details, which may seem like hair-splitting at first sight, but are really important for users who use the system daily and appreciate every minute saved.

Now I came across a problem for which I am unable to find a solution and I would be immensely grateful if you could help me, at worst, at least finally establish that there is no solution.

The problem is that I would not like the change in »task completed« to affect actual numbers reported in the timesheet. Currently, when I progress task completion for a task (say, from 0% to 50%), planned hours get automatically recorded as actual in timesheets of users assigned to this task. Is there a way to disconnect setting task completion from automatically recording actual hours into the timesheet?”

After this beautiful words, I have to answer! I’m going to do that in MS PROJECT 2013

First I’ll create two Tasks in MS PROJECT 2013:


and two resources, as well:


I’ll assign John to the Task 2, and Mary to the Task 2:


Now I’m going to switch to the Task Usage View:


and I’ll get:


I’ll will now mark Task 1, and Task 2 as 50% Completed, and I’ll get:


After I do it for both Tasks I’ll get:


OK! I’ve got automatically Actual Work! But, that’s not what I wanted. I want that Actual Work remains 0 hours!

For That I must setup my Project:






and I’ll get:


Nothing happens?? Of course not! I’ll now mark both Tasks as 0% Completed, and again 50% completed. Then I’ll get:


You can see that I’ve added & Complete column! It says that Tasks are 50% Completed, but Actual hours are 0!

BUT! I’ll now mark Task 2 (for example), as 100% completed, and I’ll get:


As you can see, Actual hours are here!!!!

Now,  I will now mark Task 2 as 50% completed, and I’ll get:


So, Task 2 is 50% completed, but Work (hours) is 100% completed! And it does make sense! If you want to have Acutal hours = 0 , mark it again as 0% completed, than again 50% completed!

Hope this helps!



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, Microsoft Project 2013, MS PROJECT 2010, PMI, PRoject Management and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Percentage completed vs. Actual Work in MS PROJECT 2013!

  1. Shivani says:


    I just came across your resource tool and am hoping to find some help. I am having trouble disconnecting % Work Complete (Actual work done) from % Complete (what work progress should be, based on duration). I need this tracking tool for comparison. But they keep copying each other and I am not getting the roll ups. I was unable to find the Max. column heading when adding a column and several of your screen shots are not visible to tell under details what you are inserting. And then how we come to the % Complete Column but no % Work Complete to compare against. Could you please help provide some more clarity on this.

    Appreciate it.

  2. Guy Warwick says:

    Hi Nenad,

    thanks for this post, including screen shots. I can tell you that a resource needs to be assigned to the task to ensure break the calculation link between percentage complete and hours worked.

  3. Bruno Casagranda Neves says:


    just found your blog while struggling to input the timesheet into the project… thanks for the tips!

    Actually, with your recommendations I did manage to fill actual work. But in case the actual work was more than Work planned, the software keeps changing Work. Not a real problem in my case, but I believe there is some detail missing.

    Other issue is % Complete. I’ve read your post about different % in MSproj,, but I’m still not happy with the results in my project. Is there any way to avoid the correlation between %complete and Duration?

    Thanks a lot and best regards,

    Bruno Neves

    • Nenad Trajkovski says:

      work = duration * units. This is a formula, so you can not “break” this engine, e.g. there is no way to break correlation between % complete and Duration.
      And yes, if you put Actual work more than planned, the Work field will change as well. If you want to keeep original planned work than save the baseline, and look at that dfields.
      Hope this helps

      • Bruno Casagranda Neves says:

        Indeed, your reply was of great help.

        Thank you very much, best regards.


  4. Paul Carmichael says:

    Hi, I do like the idea of having a level of control over the % work completed however are there any other implications when you turn this setting off?

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