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Creating a simple project with project 2010 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I'm new to MS project and I think what I am trying to do is fairly simple, but I haven't been able to figure it out so far.

    Basically, I want to create a list of tasks with expected durations.  Then I want project to determine a projected finish date based on the total duration of all the tasks using TODAY as the basline. 

    In  other words, say I have a list with 5 tasks, each lasting a day.  The total duration would be 5 days.  I want to create a field that lists the projected finish date to be today + 5 days.  If today was the 1/1/2014, the projected finish date would be 1/6/2014.  If I completed one of the tasks, I would want the total duration to change to 4, making the projected finish date 1/5/2014.

    Can project do this?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    -Moe

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:28 PM

Answers

  • Hi Moe,

    Rather than try and help you write formulas etc, I think you'd be better off reviewing the following features in MSProject, you may just find project can do exactly what you want without the complexities of a formula!

    1. Remaining Duration

    2. Actual Start, Actual Finish, Actual Duration

    3. The Entry Table, and the Tracking Gantt

    4. (maybe) the Status Date.

    5. Baselines.

    6. Deadline dates.


    Ben Howard [MVP] <a href="http://www.applepark.co.uk/ben-howard-blog/">blog</a> | <a href="http://www.applepark.co.uk">web</a> | <a href="http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0790145369154.do">book</a>

    Friday, November 1, 2013 12:43 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Set the Task Mode to Automatically Scheduled.

    Enter your 5 tasks, and link them (highlight them all and press CTRL-F2).  Do not enter any dates, just the duration.

    Da dah!


    Ben Howard [MVP] blog | web

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:41 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes but I'm not sure why you need a custom field.  Create the 5 tasks and link them in Finish to Start Relationships.  Project will calculate the finish for each task as well as the finish for the chain of tasks.

    I don't follow how your projected finish date is moving however.  If I finish one of the 5 tasks, I still have 4 remaining tasks - but assuming I have finished the task on Jan 1 the finish of all 4 remaining should still be the same.

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Moe,

    Just to clarify a point often misunderstood by new users. You mention in your example that the total duration would be 5 days for the 5 tasks. Not true. If all 5 tasks are in parallel, the duration is still just 1 day. If the 5 tasks are linked finish-to-start, then the total duration is indeed 5 days. The best way to show this is to create a summary line and indent the 5 tasks under the summary. The total duration will then be displayed in the Duration field of the summary line.

    Duration is defined as the span in working time between the start of a task and the finish of that task. The duration for a summary line is the span in working time from the start of the earliest task under the summary to the finish of the latest task under that summary.

    And while I'm explaining, duration and work are two separate parameters in Project. Duration is simply a time span. Work is the effort expended by one or more resources to accomplish the task. If a single resource is assigned full time to a task then work and duration will be equal.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    Thursday, October 31, 2013 3:57 PM
  • All,

    Thanks for your quick replies.  I appreciate the effort you've put into trying to help me.

    Some clarifying statements:

    For this purpose, I'm really just trying to manage a timeline that really has only one deadline.  The duration for the tasks is cummulative, and the tasks cannot really be done in parallel.  They can however be done out of order.  I need to be able to account for the remaining duration in the case that it happens.

    Based on your suggestions, my project looks like this:

    Summary          5 days

    Task 1               1 day

    Task 2               1 day

    Task 3               1 day

    Task 4               1 day

    Task 5               1 day

    All the tasks are linked with auto schedule selected.  The summary doesn't change when a task gets completed, but if it did, it would represent the remaining expected duration of the project.  If I do not start and complete a task for three days, the expected duration would still be 5 days.  That is how the projected finish date slides.  On the other hand, if I complete three of the tasks on the first day, I only have an epected duration of two days remaining.  So I'm basically wondering if Project has the ability to run the following formula:  TODAY + EXPECTED DURATION = PROJECTED FINISH DATE.   I would then want to create a formula that would compare the "projected finish date" to a static "project due date" it would be something like: If PROJECTED FINISH DATE is > PROJECT DUE DATE, STATUS = RED, otherwise STATUS = GREEN.

    So my remaining problems are:

    determining how to account for completed tasks to come up with an EXPECTED DURATION,

    How to use the EXPECTED DURATION and the current date to determine a PROJECTED FINISH DATE

    How to compare the PROJECTED FINISH DATE to a PROJECT DUE DATE to determine STATUS.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    -Moe

    

    Friday, November 1, 2013 12:34 PM
  • Hi Moe,

    Rather than try and help you write formulas etc, I think you'd be better off reviewing the following features in MSProject, you may just find project can do exactly what you want without the complexities of a formula!

    1. Remaining Duration

    2. Actual Start, Actual Finish, Actual Duration

    3. The Entry Table, and the Tracking Gantt

    4. (maybe) the Status Date.

    5. Baselines.

    6. Deadline dates.


    Ben Howard [MVP] <a href="http://www.applepark.co.uk/ben-howard-blog/">blog</a> | <a href="http://www.applepark.co.uk">web</a> | <a href="http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0790145369154.do">book</a>

    Friday, November 1, 2013 12:43 PM
    Moderator
  • Ben,

    Thanks for your help, again.  Yeah, I was just using the formulas to explain my objective. 

    Between the "Remaining Duration" and "Status Indicator", I think I have most of what I need.  The only thing I'm missing is a projected finish date.  It can be easily determined by adding the remaining duration to the start date, but it would be cool if there was a field that did that for me.

    Thanks again.  I'll keep looking, but please let me know if you have any ideas.

    -Moe

    Monday, November 4, 2013 10:42 PM
  • So the projected finish date is the "finish date" of the last task on the project.  So I'm going to add "Project Summary Task" to my list above of the items you should review.   Simply put, each task has a planned finish date, known as the finish date, and an actual finish date. The planned finish date = actual finish date when the task is 100% complete, but until that time, the planned finish date can also be though of as the projected finish date (for each task).  the same is true of the Project Summary task :).  You can also find this information in the Project Information | statistics dialogue box.

    HTH, and it isn't too cryptic.


    Ben Howard [MVP] <a href="http://www.applepark.co.uk/ben-howard-blog/">blog</a> | <a href="http://www.applepark.co.uk">web</a> | <a href="http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0790145369154.do">book</a>

    Monday, November 4, 2013 10:57 PM
    Moderator