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Task deadline and Actual Work relationship RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    Microsoft Office support website defines what constitutes a missed deadline: "... If the deadline date passes and the task is not completed, Project displays an indicator."

    https://support.office.com/en-us/article/deadline-task-field-8c6c4acd-1324-484a-a92b-9bd2eb313dfa

    I understand when a missed deadline is caused by a slippage of the predecessor task that pushes the current finish date of its successor to pass its deadline.

    But what I don't understand is the relationship between the deadline date and the actual completed efforts.

    For example,  if we have 3-day task scheduled for 12/05/16 - 12/07/16.  The task has a deadline set up for 12/07/16.  We also set up a project status date  for 12/08/16, that is, one day past deadline.  And finally we mark the task as 50% complete.

    Based  on the aforesaid Microsoft support deadline slippage definition, out task should display a missed  deadline indicator because the current status date  is past the deadline while the task is not fully completed.

    But Project doesn't do this, and does not display the missed deadline indicator.

    Please clarify this.

    Thank you,

    Alex




    • Edited by Alex Shafir Saturday, December 24, 2016 7:57 AM
    Saturday, December 24, 2016 6:48 AM

Answers

  • Alex, to answer your questions:
    1. I update “both”, though not all at once:
        a. For tasks with an actual start (regardless of %complete), Project imposes a “Stop” date corresponding to the Actual Start plus Actual Duration and a “Resume” date specified by the user. (This defaults to the Status Date if one exists, but the date is completely user-selectable.)  If “split in-progress tasks” is allowed, then the forward pass imposes Resume date as an early start constraint for the split parts after the Stop date (like “remaining early start” in OPV).
        b. For tasks without an actual start, Project imposes an early start constraint (SNET) at the date specified by the user.  Exceptions: if a later SNET constraint already exists, then Project leaves it in place; if a non-SNET constraint already exists, then Project leaves it in place and throws a “can’t update the task” warning.
    2. Once a task is 100% complete, schedule warning indicators add no value and are replaced by the check mark.  Keep in mind that in Project, the following equation always holds: Duration=Actual Duration + Remaining Duration.  When you enter an Actual Duration that is greater than the current value of Duration, then Project resolves the resulting conflict by setting Remaining Duration to zero (i.e. 100% complete) and adjusting Duration to match.
    3. Your question implies some relationship between Deadline date and Status Date that simply does not exist in my world.  Deadlines are only relevant as soft completion constraints for a small number of key project completion tasks or milestones in the future, resulting in negative Total Slack (and the Deadline-Failed indicator) if the forecast Early Finish exceeds the Deadline.  The option to “move start of remaining parts forward to the status date” exists to (partly) meet the basic requirements for a valid schedule forecast – i.e. all completed work is in the past (to the left of the status date line) and all uncompleted work is in the future.  Although I use other tools to meet them, these requirements are never irrelevant and apply to all tasks in the project.
    Rgds, tom


    • Marked as answer by Alex Shafir Wednesday, January 4, 2017 10:19 PM
    Wednesday, December 28, 2016 3:50 PM

All replies

  • Hi Alex,

    I believe we are facing a issue with "Status Quo". MS Project is a tool that waits for input before it runs to conclusions.

    Basically what I think happens here is that it waits for you to update the schedule. You tell us that you marked the task 50% done, and you are updating the schedule after the task should have been done. But you do not update the schedule enough. That is, you still need to tell MS Project that  unfinished work should be rescheduled to the future.

    You can do this by using the "Project --> Update Project" actions in the ribbon. And you will be able to select Reschedule uncompleted work to start after XX/XX/XXXX.

    If you do that the schedule will look like this and there will be an indicator:

    Missed deadline 

    Please let me know if this solves your question. Basically I'm saying "you were half way to the solution" :).

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!

    Erik v H

    • Proposed as answer by Tom BoyleBPC Tuesday, December 27, 2016 6:09 PM
    Saturday, December 24, 2016 10:36 AM
  • Thank you
    Monday, December 26, 2016 11:32 PM
  • Hi Erik,

    Thank you for you your reply.

    Before I posted my question I did try to update the project by rescheduling unfinished tasks after the date greater than  the deadline date. Project did its job alerting that the task passed the deadline date.

    But I thought that Project had to react to updated actual values without the need to reschedule unfinished tasks, similarly to its behavior when the task's current finish date is pushed past the deadline.

    Thank you,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Alex



    • Edited by Alex Shafir Tuesday, December 27, 2016 11:11 PM
    Monday, December 26, 2016 11:47 PM
  • Hi Alex,

    Good to hear, if the answer solved your question, could you please mark it as answered so that other people know this question is resolved?

    Kind regards,

    Erik

    • Marked as answer by Alex Shafir Tuesday, December 27, 2016 10:58 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Alex Shafir Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:27 AM
    Tuesday, December 27, 2016 11:46 AM
  • Alex,

    Erik has given you some good advice - to use the Update Project tool for re-scheduling uncompleted work to start after the status date.  In my experience it is very useful, though I have to be careful to only apply it to "selected tasks" (that are in progress) rather than the default selection of "entire project."

    You said, "But I thought that Project had to reacted to updated actual values without the need to reschedule unfinished tasks....."  This is correct if a) the in-progress task is NOT of type Fixed Duration; b) you have not unchecked the "Split in-progress tasks" scheduling option; and c) you have checked the box in Advanced Options to "Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date."   This last option re-runs a method each time the task's Actual Duration is changed and can lead to some pretty flaky results if you are not extremely precise with your updating procedures - I tend to avoid it.

    The Deadline-failed indicator reflect's the difference between the Deadline date and the Early Finish date for the task.  The "Status Date" drives neither of these.  The tools above can impose it indirectly. 


    Tuesday, December 27, 2016 6:09 PM
  • Hi Tom,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Please clarify the following:

    1). You wrote : "I have to be careful to only apply it to "selected tasks" (that are in progress) rather      than the default selection of "entire project."

         Under a task "in progress" did you mean a task that is a), partially completed, b).  0% completed or c).  both?

    2). I tried to follow your method and it worked only when the actual work or actual duration was smaller than
         task's current work or duration.
         If actual work or actual duration is larger than current work or duration, it didn't to trigger a passed deadline
         warning indicator for a task:

        Here is what I did:

    • Created a 2-day duration fixed units task
    • Assigned a resource at 100% capacity, so work = 16hrs
    • Set up a deadline for the task as task's EF date + 2 days which is an equivalent of 32hrs of work 
    • Selected "Split in-progress tasks" option (File -> Options -> Schedule -> Scheduling Options)
    • Selected "Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date"   option (File -> Options ->Advanced -> Calculation Options
    • Set up a Status Date same as the deadline date
    • Entered actual work or actual duration that is greater than the current work or current duration to make the task's EF date pass the deadline (e.g. 40 hrs of work or 5 days of duration)

      Task was marked as 100% complete, but no warning indicator was displayed:



    3).  You wrote: " The Deadline-failed indicator reflects the difference between the Deadline date and the Early Finish date for the task.  The "Status Date" drives neither of these.  The tools above can impose it indirectly".

       Even though your sentence is true, isn't it it's also true that without a set up Status Date that should coincide
       with the deadline date, the option
    "Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status
       date" becomes irrelevant?

    Thank you,

    Alex  

       

    Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:26 AM
  • Alex, to answer your questions:
    1. I update “both”, though not all at once:
        a. For tasks with an actual start (regardless of %complete), Project imposes a “Stop” date corresponding to the Actual Start plus Actual Duration and a “Resume” date specified by the user. (This defaults to the Status Date if one exists, but the date is completely user-selectable.)  If “split in-progress tasks” is allowed, then the forward pass imposes Resume date as an early start constraint for the split parts after the Stop date (like “remaining early start” in OPV).
        b. For tasks without an actual start, Project imposes an early start constraint (SNET) at the date specified by the user.  Exceptions: if a later SNET constraint already exists, then Project leaves it in place; if a non-SNET constraint already exists, then Project leaves it in place and throws a “can’t update the task” warning.
    2. Once a task is 100% complete, schedule warning indicators add no value and are replaced by the check mark.  Keep in mind that in Project, the following equation always holds: Duration=Actual Duration + Remaining Duration.  When you enter an Actual Duration that is greater than the current value of Duration, then Project resolves the resulting conflict by setting Remaining Duration to zero (i.e. 100% complete) and adjusting Duration to match.
    3. Your question implies some relationship between Deadline date and Status Date that simply does not exist in my world.  Deadlines are only relevant as soft completion constraints for a small number of key project completion tasks or milestones in the future, resulting in negative Total Slack (and the Deadline-Failed indicator) if the forecast Early Finish exceeds the Deadline.  The option to “move start of remaining parts forward to the status date” exists to (partly) meet the basic requirements for a valid schedule forecast – i.e. all completed work is in the past (to the left of the status date line) and all uncompleted work is in the future.  Although I use other tools to meet them, these requirements are never irrelevant and apply to all tasks in the project.
    Rgds, tom


    • Marked as answer by Alex Shafir Wednesday, January 4, 2017 10:19 PM
    Wednesday, December 28, 2016 3:50 PM
  • Tom,

    Thank you,

    Alex

    Wednesday, January 4, 2017 10:19 PM