Actual Duration vs. Actual work in MS PROJECT 2016



I got a Business Case from my Blog Reader wit, of course, a problem. I will go step by step through it with MS PROJECT 2016!

In Italic font is my blog reader Text

1. I created a Task A – non-effort-driven, fixed units with Duration= 5d, Work = 60h (this will be calculated)


2. Task A has two resources assigned at their max capacity: John at 100% and Tom at 50%. , John’s standard hourly cost  is $100/h, Tom’s $200/h




I will switch to the Task Usage View now:


3. Planned Works for individual resource over the planned task duration are:  for John = 40h and for Tom 20h (See Picture above)

4. I enter actual 40h of actual work for one of the resources (John) (for this I will add two Columns in Task Usage View):


Project calculates Actual task Duration as 3.33d (Actual Work / Total Units = 40h/150%) which equals to 67% Complete for that task.

Here is my question:

While understanding that 40h/8h per day = 5d of the duration,  there is a little confusion with the Actual Duration of 3.33d.
Shouldn’t the Actual Work of 40h for John same as the Actual Work for the task as a whole be distributed over these 3.33 days and NOT over the original planned duration of 5 days as it’s shown in the Task Usage view?    That is, if  John’s Actual Work is spanned over Actual Duration of 3.33d,  then John’s Actual Work should be 26.4d because 24h over the first 3 days (8h/day * 3days)  plus another 2.64 h for the part of the day 4 (8hrs/day * 0.33 day) of a total of 24+2.64 = 26.4h instead of 40h.

The answer is – NO. This is misunderstanding! How MS PROJECT calculates Actual Duration:

  1. How many hours are scheduled per day? 12 (8 for John, and 8 for Tom)
  2. How many hours was John working during 5 days. 40! (8 hours per day)?
  3. Actual Duration is 40 hours (actual) / 12 hours (planned per day) = 3.33 (actual Duration). Or you can calculate like this: 40 hours (Actual) / 60 hours (Planned) * 5 days (Planned) = 3.33 (Actual days)

The problem is that you should understand that if you put 40 hours actual for John that means that John has worked as planned, e.g. 8 hours per day 5 days.

But, since Tom didn’t work at all, the actual duration is calculated as I explained above!

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 2013, MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Actual Duration vs. Actual work in MS PROJECT 2016

  1. Alex Shafir says:

    Thank you very much.

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