Scheduling/ duration/ report/ links between Projects RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I am creating a project template to be used for different clients. There are a few things that I am looking for in my project plan template:

    1. Display all duration in one unit only regardless of what unit they are entered in. [I tried making change from the option, but didn't help either.]

    2. Be able to hide tasks for those who don't need to view all the details. [I am not talking about inactivate option. I want to hide tasks just like hide column or hide feature in Excel.]

    3. I created two plans: one with the project related taks and the other to schedule reoccuring weekly status update meeting. I want the task plan to include meeting from the other plan by the date scheduled.


    Wednesday, November 6, 2013 7:05 PM

All replies

  • MeghnaBharucha --

    To answer your questions:

    1. I would recommend you enter all Duration values in Days, which is the default in Microsoft Project.  However, there is no way to prevent a user from entering Duration in any other time units, such as Hours of Weeks, for example.
    2. The only way to hide tasks is by using a filter.  You can modify the Gantt Chart view to include a filter that hides tasks that users do not need to see, and then teach them to remove the filter, as needed.
    3. There is no way to insert a project inside of a template.  I would include the Recurring Tasks in the template file and then teach your users how to set the Start date of the first meeting, and to delete meeting occurrences that are not needed.

    Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013 8:39 PM
  • Chiming in for #1.

    For reporting purposes, you can change the way the duration appears by using a custom text field and formula.

    If you wanted to show all durations in days in the custom field:

    ProjDurConv([Duration], pjDays)

    The text field will be read-only but will convert the durations entered into a common format for reporting purposes.

    You may use:

    pjHours - to show everything in hours

    pjDays - to show everything in days

    pjWeeks - to show everything in weeks.

    Monday, November 11, 2013 3:57 PM
  • Thank you very much for showing me the formula! I did get to that point by exploring myself but didn't know what to enter in the formula expression.

    There is one issue with this approach though. It only works for the subtasks. It doesn't give total duration for the summary tasks in any unit.

    Monday, November 11, 2013 4:08 PM
  • In the Custom Fields dialog set the option "Calculation for task and group summary rows" to "use formula.

    Monday, November 11, 2013 4:14 PM
  • Perfect! Thanks a lot! I am trying to attach an image in this message to show you another issue with this, but it doesn't look like the image is being attached properly.

    I created several subtasks for a summary tasks and for some reason, summary task doesn't reflect the correct duration sum from the subtasks. What can I do for that?

    Monday, November 11, 2013 6:24 PM
  • Hi,

    As said before, you can specify the calculation for summary rows (unfortunately in french in the screenshot below).

    In you case, since you are talking about duration, you would choose "sum" in the drop-down menu.

    Guillaume Rouyre - MBA, MCP, MCTS

    Monday, November 11, 2013 6:51 PM
  • Summary task duration as not necessarily the sum of the subtask duration.  A summary duration is the duration from the start of the earliest subtask to the finish of the latest.  If you have tasks that overlap or if the tasks have lag or lead added to the link relationship, it will not be the sum.

    In the example below - all three summary tasks have the same duration subtasks.  In Summary Task 1 - the tasks all start on the same day - so the duration is from the start of all the tasks, through the end of "2" - the 2 week duration task.

    Summary task 2 shows a different duration - all three tasks are linked Finish to Start.  The summary task spans from the start of the earliest (3) to the end of the latest (5).

    Summary task 3 shows a different duration.  Although all three tasks are linked F to S, there is a 6 day lag from the end of task 6 to the start of task 7.  The summary duration includes that additional 6 days.

    Perhaps you want to show work - if you have resources assigned their work is summed at the summary task level.

    Monday, November 11, 2013 6:56 PM
  • My apologize, indeed Julie's right!

    Sum would apply for work but not for duration. You'll have to write a formula taking the earliest start date and the latest finish date of the sub tasks.

    Guillaume Rouyre - MBA, MCP, MCTS

    Monday, November 11, 2013 7:17 PM
  • No additional formula is required.  Using the formula(s) I listed earlier with the options to "use formula" for the summary tasks should take care of it.
    Monday, November 11, 2013 8:07 PM
    • This is what I was talking about earlier. As you can see under the requirement phase, total duration for duration1 column should be 7.5 hr but it only shows 7 hr. Sometimes Project also has similar glitch for the start and finish date. Even with the proper predecessors, it has wrong start/finish date.
    Monday, November 11, 2013 8:49 PM
  • Not sure why it should be 7.5 hours in duration. Try turning on the display of time and look at the start and end times for the tasks.  You also have tasks that are constrained (tasks 9 & 11)

    Again, I think you may be confusing duration with Work.  If you have three tasks all scheduled for 4 hours but all starting at the same time, the summary task duration will be 4 hours.  Assuming one resource assigned per task, the work would be 12 hours.

    I've never seen project to miscalculate dates.  Show time and let's try to get this sorted out :-)
    Monday, November 11, 2013 9:10 PM
  • Please look at the task # 28.
    Monday, November 11, 2013 9:29 PM
  • How do I turn the time display on?
    Monday, November 11, 2013 9:31 PM
  • Assuming you are using Project 2010, File > Options, General - Date format under Project View.

    Monday, November 11, 2013 9:45 PM
  • Thanks! Please look at task # 28 in my image attached previously and tell me why it's not calculating .5 hr in the total duration.

    Also, when I include total cost column in the ghantt chart, it calculates total cost from the standard rate entered in the resource sheet and multiplying that with Duration column in the ghantt chart. Is there a way I can change that formula so that total cost is calculated by multiplying std. rate with actual duration?


    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 4:33 PM
  • The .50 hour duration could be happening at the same time as other tasks.  Does it end after the other tasks?  What does the start and end time on the summary task say?

    Regarding costs - Project will calculate actual costs based upon actual work.  Display the Actual Cost field to see that calculation.


    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:56 PM
  • Please look at my attached image in the earlier posts. You can see that the start/finish dates and predecessors are set fine. Here it is again...
    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 10:27 PM
  • Instead of guessing - can you zip the file and email it to me?

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013 11:07 PM
  • Thanks for trying to help, but I can't send the file as it contains organization specific information.

    Btw, how do I add monthly holidays into the base calendar?

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:16 PM
  • Hi,

    Note that you have to distinguish with Project Server base calendar (for days off of your country) and resource calendars (for resource holidays or exceptions).

    Below is a link for editing an enterprise calendar:

    And here is a link explaining how to edit resource calendars.

    Hope this helps.

    Guillaume Rouyre - MBA, MCP, MCTS

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:49 PM
  • Regarding the summary calculation - turn on the display of time, take another screen shot and post and we'll try to help.

    It isn't clear to me that you are using Project Server.  To edit the calendar in Project desktop,  Project tab - Change working time.

    Select the date in the calendar and enter the name of the exception.

    For details see

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 7:32 PM
  • I am not on Project Server but I do have Professional Project 2010. Thanks for the suggestion for the calendar. I included them in my plan. 

    Please look in the attached image. As you can see task 34-39 are clearly not overlapped with any other tasks based on their start/finish and dependency. However, I believe they are indicated as overallocated because I have assigned multiple resources to them. Please suggest how I can correct this issue because clearly they are not overallcoated. I just want both resources to be involved in getting those tasks done.

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:05 PM
  • I really can't tell anything from snippets of a file listed.  Yes, you are correct, tasks 34 through 39 are all scheduled in F to S relationships.  However, the indicator is that a resource who is assigned to the task is overallocated - but it may be a conflict with another task that you are not showing.

    Apply the Resource Usage view and scroll to see any dates with red hours.  Then follow down to see where the overallocation is occurring.

    As a comment 10 minute tasks are likely a bit too fine grained and detailed.  With that level of detail, the project manager will spend time managing the Project file - not managing the project.

    Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:34 PM
  • Ok. So I figured it out. For some reason, Resource Usage sheet didn't reflect correct work amount (based on the task duration assigned in the Gantt Chart) for all the tasks listed under each resource.

    I agree that with that level detail we will be wasting time but unfortunately in the Project, all tasks with the same resource assigned to them to start and finish at the same time have to be linked without reflecting them as overallocated.

    Ideally, I would create a summary task with few sub tasks and allocate let's say an hour to the summary task to handle all the sub tasks for it in hr. So the resource can spend 5 min on one subtask or 20 min on the other but complete the whole summary task in an hour. So I tried doing it in the Project and it would clearly reflect the whole summary task as overallocated. Maybe you can share some insight in doing it better.

    Anyways, the big question I now have is that is it possible to show in the project on a new sheet maybe when exactly each resource has to work based on their assignment in the Gantt Chart?

    Thank you for your help! :)

    Friday, November 15, 2013 3:51 PM
  • You may add the Start and Finish Fields to the Resource Usage view to look at detailed information for each resource.

    Regarding level of detail:

    Tasks with a duration of an hour may also be too fine grained.  I do not suggest attempting to use Project as a detailed check list.  You have over 20 tasks that roll up to a summary of only 8 hours.  At that rate, you can easily create a project of tens of thousands of lines where the entire project will span one month.

    Friday, November 15, 2013 4:39 PM