Updating MSP RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'll admit I'm a P6 guy, but I do a fair amount of work in MSP (2010 or 2013.) In P6, I usually deal with updates by asking my customer for an actual start date, then an expected finish date (not worried about resource accounting....) I NEVER use a customer's estimate of Percent Complete -- it's complete rubbish in my opinion. (end rant...)

    Anyway, MSP doesn't seem to have an "expected finish" construct. I can post the Actual Start, but what's the best way to post an expected finish? I'm happy to let MSP calculate Percent Complete, just don't know the technique. If the end date doesn't change, I can handle that (there's a nice little button on the ribbon for that...) but if the end date is expected to change, what would I do, alter the duration? That's not very quick and easy. 



    Friday, August 1, 2014 1:30 PM

All replies

  • Jim --

    Instead of asking for an expected finish date, why don't you ask them how many days they think they have left to complete the work?  Whatever number they give you goes into the Remaining Duration column.  That would then change the Finish date of the task to the expected finish date.  Just a thought.  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Friday, August 1, 2014 1:53 PM
  • I'd follow Dale's excellent advice. The process should be the following, assuming as you said that you're not assigning resources but only managing tasks:

    1. collect actual duration done on tasks by your resources,
    2. enter the collected actual duration for each task (the actual start date will be populated),
    3. enter the remaining duration which will update the duration accordingly,
    4. whenever remaining duration will be equal to 0, the actual finish date will be populated.

    Note that tracking a plan using duration could be a source of misunderstanding and give a wrong vision of the remaining amount of work.

    Hope this helps,

    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MCP, MCTS |

    Friday, August 1, 2014 2:13 PM
  • Hi Jim,

    What my learned colleagues suggest is perfect; here's the quick and easy way to enter it

    On the task ribbon click mark on track, then update tasks: all you need is there frfor teh taking


    Friday, August 1, 2014 2:25 PM
  • I realize that there is a reasonable argument for work percent complete differing from duration percent complete. Problem is, I have long experience with 90% complete tasks that essentially never finish, and 25% complete tasks that finish the next day.

    One man's perception of percent complete can easily be vastly different from another's, and both can argue intelligently, yet forcing them to agree on an expected finish date crystallizes their perceptions and brings them to an agreement on something. 

    If I were using resources, I might think further, but my view has generally been that resource loading and leveling should be pro-forma and/or forensic, not day-to-day. That changes a schedule into an accounting module, which can easily subvert its primary task of keeping track of when stuff is gonna get done.

    I know I'm in the minority here, but my grey hair should count for something, eh?

    Anyway, I didn't realize MSP had actual duration and remaining duration fields (silly me...) so I'll use them as you say, Dale and Guillaume. I did know about "mark on track", and Dale's method sounds perfect.

    Thanks, guys.


    Friday, August 1, 2014 2:30 PM
  • Jim,

    There is a Tracking Gantt View and a Tracking Table. The word "tracking" is the giveaway.

    The Tracking Gantt View is much the same as the regular Gantt View, except that the formatting of the chart allows the baseline bars to appear alongside, or rather underneath, the schedule bars.

    The Tracking Table has all of the columns/fields that are needed for, well, tracking of course.

    When I track progress, I make sure I can see what I am doing before I start, so I have the Tracking Gantt View and the Tracking Table both visible. I also make sure I have a status date set and it is displayed on the chart as a vertical red line. Then it is a matter of asking the right questions in the right order and putting the answers in the right place. The first fact that can be obtained is the actual start date, and I think that's why that column is the first one in the Tracking Table. You can type it in, then the actual duration (also a fact). If you have the special circumstance of the actual start date being the same as the scheduled start date, and the act duration being the duration from the actual start up to the status date, you can skip the typing and just hit the mark on track button.

    While Dale suggests asking for a remaining duration, and others might suggest asking for a finish date, they both really amount to the same thing, and getting the people to estimate one or the other is much the same, one being no harder or easier to estimate.

    I never ask anyone for a percentage of anything, whether it be the duration, work or cost, or the task itself (such as the percentage of how many bricks they have laid). A percentage is usually taken to be some sort of pseudo measurement which requires no accuracy or precision. But actually it is a fraction with a numerator and a denominator, so I ask for the numerator and denominator.

    Sunday, August 3, 2014 12:47 AM