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Tracking changes to critical path via baseline? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I would like to be able to track changes to my critical path over the course of a project.  When I set my baseline, does Project have a way to record whether each task was critical when the baseline was saved, so as the schedule gets refined and updated through the project I can easily identify those tasks that are "newly critical" or "fallen off critical"?  Ideally I would like my baseline bars to show blue or red depending on whether the task was critical or not at the time the baseline was saved.  Then as the schedule changes I will be able to see those changes to the critical path.
    Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:58 PM

Answers

  • carrieeboe --
     
    What you are describing is not how Microsoft Project works.  When you save a Baseline in your project, the software captures the values in five major fields for every task (Duration, Start, Finish, Work, and Cost) plus the values in several minor fields such as Fixed Cost and Fixed Cost Accrual for every task as well.  The software does NOT capture whether any task was a Critical task at the time you capture the Baseline.  So, this means there is no default way to accomplish what you wish.
     
    An approach you might consider using to solve your problem is to create a custom task Flag field and call it something like Was Critical.  After you completely plan your project and save a Baseline, temporarily insert the Critical field and the new custom Was Critical field in side by side in any task view.  Then you can copy the data from the Critical field into the Was Critical field to create a pseudo-Baseline field of sorts.  During the executing stage of the project, you could compare the current value in the Critical field with the original value in the Was Critical field to see changes in the Baseline.  You could even create a filter to show when a task originally had a Was Critical value of Yes compared with a current Critical value of No, which means the task was Critical at the time you baselined your project.
     
    Beyond this, keep in mind that whenever a Critical task is marked as 100% complete, Microsoft Project no longer considers the task as a Critical task, and sets the Critical value to No.  So, that functionality right there might defeat your plans for the tool.  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:49 PM
    Moderator
  • There is one way to capture critical path each week and that is to keep a copy of the schedule each week with a date stamp added to the file name. Then you can go back over time to see how it changed.

    For time critical projects, I track teh Total Slack for each key deliverable by copying them to Excel. I then see Total Slack trend over time. Very useful report and possibly enough to replace need to see critical path each week?


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Friday, June 15, 2012 9:58 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • carrieeboe --
     
    What you are describing is not how Microsoft Project works.  When you save a Baseline in your project, the software captures the values in five major fields for every task (Duration, Start, Finish, Work, and Cost) plus the values in several minor fields such as Fixed Cost and Fixed Cost Accrual for every task as well.  The software does NOT capture whether any task was a Critical task at the time you capture the Baseline.  So, this means there is no default way to accomplish what you wish.
     
    An approach you might consider using to solve your problem is to create a custom task Flag field and call it something like Was Critical.  After you completely plan your project and save a Baseline, temporarily insert the Critical field and the new custom Was Critical field in side by side in any task view.  Then you can copy the data from the Critical field into the Was Critical field to create a pseudo-Baseline field of sorts.  During the executing stage of the project, you could compare the current value in the Critical field with the original value in the Was Critical field to see changes in the Baseline.  You could even create a filter to show when a task originally had a Was Critical value of Yes compared with a current Critical value of No, which means the task was Critical at the time you baselined your project.
     
    Beyond this, keep in mind that whenever a Critical task is marked as 100% complete, Microsoft Project no longer considers the task as a Critical task, and sets the Critical value to No.  So, that functionality right there might defeat your plans for the tool.  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:49 PM
    Moderator
  • There is one way to capture critical path each week and that is to keep a copy of the schedule each week with a date stamp added to the file name. Then you can go back over time to see how it changed.

    For time critical projects, I track teh Total Slack for each key deliverable by copying them to Excel. I then see Total Slack trend over time. Very useful report and possibly enough to replace need to see critical path each week?


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Friday, June 15, 2012 9:58 PM
    Moderator