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Work Hours Changing on a Fixed Work Task when decreasing Duration RRS feed

  • Question

  • The way we do our scheduling is to create all of our tasks as fixed duration, reconcile any date issues, then we load them all with hours, change the task type to Fixed Work and baseline.  We are using the %Work field to capture status.

    Recently we discovered that if we decrease the duration of a task to less than the baseline duration on a task that is in progress, the work hours change, even though the task type is fixed work.

    So as an example, I have a fixed work task that is baselined to 10 days with 100 hours assigned.  I have taken 10% credit in the %Work field.  Next week I'm told that status is 20% but that the task will only take 7 days.  When I decrease the duration, my work hours change.  This defeats the purpose of choosing 'Fixed Work' as the task type.

    As a work-around we found that if we zero out the status, decrease the duration, and then put the status back, the hours don't change.

    So my question is, why is my work changing on a fixed work task?

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 2:15 PM

Answers

  • Set status date (project/project information) to 10/1/2010 (last Friday)

    Key 9/28/2010 in the Actual Start column. Start changes to 9/28, Finish changes to 10/11.

    Key 6 days in the Remaining Duration column, or duration column (I tried it both ways), Finish changes from 10/11 to 10/5

    Key 90% in the %Work Complete column.

    Note: Remaining duration changes to 0.6 days, duration stays at 6 days, finish stays at 10/5/2010 5:00 PM.  Actual Work moves to 0.45 hours and remaining work changes to 0.05 hours (3 minutes)

    I was unable to get the value of "work" to change in Project 2007 or 2010.

    Although this is a head scratch, verify you are up to date on service packs and updates.  P2007 is on SP2.  Both have plenty of updates as well.

    Might you consider donating the file? jeaksel  *at* yahoo *dot* com


    If you feel this post answered the question, please vote for it. I am also available here:
    msprojectblog.com
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:00 PM

All replies

  • VTENGRCHIC:

    It is important to have a process of capturing and entering progress.  Project does not enforce rules of progress entry well.  Since you did not give many details about the version, I tried to replicate your scenario in both 2007 and 2010 and could not get it to repeat the error you describe.  My question to you is: Where are you updating the duration at?  i.e. are you doing it in the entry table in the duration field, the tracking table in the remaining duration field, a custom table with a custom duration field?  When tracking or changing the duration of a task, I tell my students to do it with the remaining duration field.

    As you know, a fixed work task should not recalculate the work.  So, I always ask the most simple question: Have you verified that the tasks is set to fixed work?  With the process you describe, it does leave the possibility that it is still a fixed duration, which of course will cause a recalculation of work when you change duration.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 2:45 PM
  • Status is being taken incorrectly.  Assuming the task starts on a Monday and proceeds to the following Friday, I set it up like this.

    Fixed duration, assign Fred and Barney each with 50 hours of work spread over 10 days.  This is a resource utilization of 63% each (I use two resources since I am trying to avoid overloading). Change to fixed work, baseline. Notice how we have assumed the resources are level loaded for each day of the task. I am assuming the 10 day task are 10 contiguous work days (with 1 weekend in the middle).

    On what day did you claim the 10% Work Complete?  If it was at close of business on Monday (the first day of the task), I might believe it (it is the first day of the task).  So make sure you are setting the status date, let's assume you take status every day.  Set the status date to Monday, claim 10% work complete.  If my assumption is wrong, you are already very behind.  After claiming this status, you have *Remaining Work*=90 hours, *Remaining Duration*= 9 days. Notice these names are not *duration* and *work* ... Project has separate columns for *Remaining: duration, cost, work, overtime work, etc*

    Now set the status date to Tuesday. Claim 20% Work Complete.  In your post you say "Next Week" ... well that scares me.  If the task ran into week 2 and you are not at least 50% complete then I challenge (1) Was the 100 hour estimate correct? (2) You have 90 hours of remaining work to accomplish in 1 week? (3) I cannot accept you are 10% done in 1 week, claim 20% the second week and then say duration decreases to 7 days (done on Wednesday)?  Really? You have 80 hours of remaining work to get done in a very short period .... if my assumptions are correct.  Back to the subject...

    As of Tuesday, your team reports 20% work complete but the task duration will only need to be 7 days, not 10 days.  So, they say they can do it in 3 less days.  What you want to do is subtract 3 days from *Remaining duration* not *duration*.  So you key 5 days to *Remaining Duration* Notice how %Work Complete remains at 20% but %Complete (a duration based measure) jumps to 29%.  The remaining work column stays at 80 hours because it is a fixed work.  You should now ask your task owner if they truly believe the assigned resources (Fred and Barney) will be able to dedicate enough time to complete the work in 5 more days ... that amounts to full time until  close of business next Tuesday. Their utilization just jumped from 63% to 100% for the remaining duration.

    So, I am with Gregg .... are you sure it is Fixed Work task type?


    If you feel this post answered the question, please vote for it. I am also available here:
    msprojectblog.com
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 3:24 PM
  • I'll try to answer all of the questions:

    The very first thing I verified is that all of my tasks are fixed work.  Yes, they are.

    However, I am not changing the remaining duration field, I am changing the duration field.

    And I was just giving the data above as an example, not a real task.

    We are using MS Project 2007.

    So here's my real example: First of all, we status our schedules weekly.  Whether or not that is often enough, is not up to me to decide, it's what's been mandated to me. 

    I have a fixed work task that is baselined from 12/1/10-12/15/10, 10 days long.  I have one resource assigned to this task with 0.5 hours assigned to this resource to complete the task.  Last week the task was statused with a forecast start of 10/05-10/18 with 0% status.  This week I was told that the task started on 09/28, is 90% along and will finish on 10/5.  So I put 09/28 in the Actual Start column, changed the status in % Work Complete to 90% and then changed the duration from 10 to 6 days.  When I did that, it changed my work from 0.5 hours to .45 hours.  I've been able to repeat this several times on different tasks, but this is exactly how I did it.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 3:59 PM
  • I tried changing the Remaining Duration field instead of duration and MS Project still changes the work. 
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:07 PM
  • I'll try to answer all of the questions:

    The very first thing I verified is that all of my tasks are fixed work.  Yes, they are.

    However, I am not changing the remaining duration field, I am changing the duration field.

    And I was just giving the data above as an example, not a real task.

    We are using MS Project 2007.

    So here's my real example: First of all, we status our schedules weekly.  Whether or not that is often enough, is not up to me to decide, it's what's been mandated to me. 

    I have a fixed work task that is baselined from 12/1/10-12/15/10, 10 days long.  I have one resource assigned to this task with 0.5 hours assigned to this resource to complete the task.  Last week the task was statused with a forecast start of 10/05-10/18 with 0% status.  This week I was told that the task started on 09/28, is 90% along and will finish on 10/5.  So I put 09/28 in the Actual Start column, changed the status in % Work Complete to 90% and then changed the duration from 10 to 6 days.  When I did that, it changed my work from 0.5 hours to .45 hours.  I've been able to repeat this several times on different tasks, but this is exactly how I did it.


    If you are concerned about work, then instead of 90% complete enter the actual work. Then enter the remaining work. That way your work will be correct. You can then adjust the end date.

     


    Jack Dahlgren blogs at:
    Project and Retrovention
    and rarely Twitter
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:12 PM
  • We don't track actual work in our schedules, we have other tools to track the actual work.  We track progress in our schedules. 

    Normally we don't even look at the Work column b/c we assumed that once we changed the task to Fixed Work it would never change.  But what the work does affect is the rollup of our tasks b/c when the work changes, it is incorrectly weighting the tasks, and so when we roll our tasks up to different levels for reporting purposes, we are providing incorrect status.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:17 PM
  • Set status date (project/project information) to 10/1/2010 (last Friday)

    Key 9/28/2010 in the Actual Start column. Start changes to 9/28, Finish changes to 10/11.

    Key 6 days in the Remaining Duration column, or duration column (I tried it both ways), Finish changes from 10/11 to 10/5

    Key 90% in the %Work Complete column.

    Note: Remaining duration changes to 0.6 days, duration stays at 6 days, finish stays at 10/5/2010 5:00 PM.  Actual Work moves to 0.45 hours and remaining work changes to 0.05 hours (3 minutes)

    I was unable to get the value of "work" to change in Project 2007 or 2010.

    Although this is a head scratch, verify you are up to date on service packs and updates.  P2007 is on SP2.  Both have plenty of updates as well.

    Might you consider donating the file? jeaksel  *at* yahoo *dot* com


    If you feel this post answered the question, please vote for it. I am also available here:
    msprojectblog.com
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:00 PM
  • Jim, I sent you my file.  Please let me know if you did not receive it.
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 4:35 PM
  • Jim,

    I have faced a similar situation too. Work on a Fixed Work Task changes when we vary duration. Of course, I too have updated the Duration field & not remaining Duration field. Thoughts?

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018 5:03 PM
  • Percy66,

    it is very difficult to give a good answer with so little information but I will try.

    When you update the progress, do you first set a status date?

    Do you make the update in the tracking table?

    Do you record the actual start, actual finish and actual duration of the tasks which are finished?

    For tasks which have actually started but not yet actually finished, do you record the actual start, actual duration and remaining duration.

    Progress tracking has been written up many times in this forum and also in the newsgroup microsoft.public.project. This group was used a lot up to about 2010 when most of the traffic moved to this forum. Here are some samples:

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/microsoft.public.project/trevor$20rabey$20$25%7Csort:date/microsoft.public.project/gUa_ZD9__98/93sXogFE0A4J

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/microsoft.public.project/trevor$20rabey$20$25%7Csort:date/microsoft.public.project/bCyYpGDZ3ag/A1IYdlSOchsJ

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/microsoft.public.project/trevor$20rabey$20$25$20complete$20bricks%7Csort:date/microsoft.public.project/4dMuQphg0Pk/YfnUSXbb2R4J

    Wednesday, February 28, 2018 10:55 PM