How can I not auto calculate Actual Work when task is completed RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm struggling with a MS Project 2016 issue (not server). In my project plan I want to capture the actual hours the resource has worked on a task. I can do that using Actual Work. The only problem is that when the Actual Finish date is set the task is marked complete and the Actual Work is updated with what is calculated in the Work field. So if the task is completed under the scheduled or budgeted time (e.g., budgeted 10 hours but completed in 8 hours) when I set the Actual Finish date the Actual Work is updated with the value in the Work field.  Since this overwrites the Actual Work hours I lose the ability to track true actual hours.

    Looking at the MS Project support document for Actual Work it states:

    By default, Project calculates actual work for assignments based on percent complete values that you enter for tasks. You can turn this setting off in the Project Options dialog box.

    When I go to File/Options/Schedule I'm not seeing what option I should select/unselect?  Is there a way to turn off the calculation for Actual Work when a task is complete?


    Tuesday, May 16, 2017 7:37 PM

All replies

  • Hi Mike,

    Just a preliminary question: why do you use the actual finish date when the task is not yet completed? Indeed Project will mark the task as completed as soon as you set the actual finish date and will consider the work on the task as actual work.

    I would rather suggest to (1) update the actual start date when the task starts, (2) update the actual work and remaining work on a regular basis, then (3) enter the actual finish date when the task is actually finished.

    Hope this helps,

    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MVP, P-Seller

    Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:24 AM
  • Guillaume - Thanks for the reply.  I am using an Actual Finish date to record when the task was completed.  I could instead update the Finish Date. 

    The issue that I have when I try and update the Actual Work field to something less than the Work (Scheduled) and then set Remaining Work to 0 is the Actual Work amount is updated to something other than what was entered.

    Example: Task 1 is Manually Scheduled

    Task 1 - Start = 4/3/17, Finish = 5/20/17, Budgeted Hours = 10, Work (Scheduled) = 8, Actual Work = 5, Remaining Work = 3.

    If I set my Finish Date = today (5/17) the Status = Late (since there is Remaining hours = 3)

    If I set Remaining hours = 0 (indicates that the task is complete) then the Work (Scheduled) is now updated to equal 5 hours.  Also, the Finish Date and Actual Finish Dates are now set to 4/3/17 (Start date).

    I have lost what my original Work (scheduled) amount and the Finish dates are not accurate.  I guess I could live the Work field issue and maybe use a Duration custom field instead of Work to retain the original amounts.  However, how can I keep my Finish date to the actual finish date?

    Thanks, Mike

    Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:56 PM
  • Mike,

    Have you baselined the project?  Baselines store away the original dates, durations, and assignments (but not logic, unfortunately).

    Keep in mind that Project always sees the world through this lense: Work = Actual Work + Remaining Work.  If you set the task to 100% complete, then it immediately sets Remaining Work to 0.  Then it adjusts either Work or Actual Work to satisfy the equation.  (I think which adjustment is made depends on a setting that escapes me at the moment.)

    The point is, the only way to track your original work estimate is using Baseline Work.  The baseline is the source of all variance and earned value analysis anyway.

    • Edited by Tom BoyleBPC Wednesday, May 17, 2017 3:36 PM Added 2nd sentence.
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017 3:34 PM
  • Tom - I have not baselined the project.  I did come up with a simpler approach that just uses the Work, Actual Work, Remaining and Start & Finish dates.  It should get me to where I need to be.


    Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:20 PM