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MS Project - Status Late RRS feed

  • Question


  • We have had issues previously in the project with delays, and tasks not getting done.  With this in mind, I have set all the project task start constraints to "as early as possible" to give the Project Managers the greatest possible time to complete any tasks.

    However, this brings up an annoying problem.  For any task that isn't on the critical path, the status shows as "late" as soon as the start date is passed.

    For example: Task X has a start date of the 1st of January, set by start "as early as possible". Because it's not on the critical path, it doesn't actually need to start until several days later. However, in MS Project, as soon as 1st Jan passes, the status will show as "Late".  

    This is frustrating, as there are likely to be other tasks that are actually late and delaying the project. I would like the MS Project file to be clear about which tasks these are.

    The only solution I can think of is setting all the tasks to start "as late as possible" - which I don't want to do for the reason above. I have also looked into custom status entries, but am not sure if this is possible.

    Would be grateful for any other suggestions.



    • Edited by EdLambourn Tuesday, November 15, 2016 4:07 PM
    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 3:53 PM

Answers

  • Let's talk about basic maths for a moment. When you have a set of tasks (or a set of anything, really) a very common and effective technique for dealing with the set is to partition the set into classes. So in the critical path method the really clever part is that it recognises that the tasks can be partitioned into those which are critical and those which are not, based on the observation that some have zero float and some have non-zero float.

    MSP describes status as "Late", as you say, because of the rule applied to the definition of "status" but you disagree with that because you don't like the definition. But I do like it mainly because it is simple and obvious, and useful. So it is just a matter of opinion about the definition.

    It is not only important to know the status of the critical tasks. When a noncritical task is scheduled to start in the past because it could have, but it has not actually started (status = "late"), that is still an important thing to know, because when that task gets re-scheduled to start in the future it will use up some of its float and move closer towards becoming critical. The reserve gets used up, and the risk of delay increases.

    No matter how tempting it might be to set tasks ALAP for whatever reason, don't do it.

    • Marked as answer by EdLambourn Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:13 AM
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:14 AM

All replies

  • EdLambourn,

    I suggest the simple solution of applying a filter that only shows Critical tasks. You can do this either with an auto-filter or a custom filter.

    Hope this helps.

    Just for reference, there is no constraint type of "as early as possible". The constraint is "as soon as possible".

    John

    Tuesday, November 15, 2016 9:29 PM
  • Let's talk about basic maths for a moment. When you have a set of tasks (or a set of anything, really) a very common and effective technique for dealing with the set is to partition the set into classes. So in the critical path method the really clever part is that it recognises that the tasks can be partitioned into those which are critical and those which are not, based on the observation that some have zero float and some have non-zero float.

    MSP describes status as "Late", as you say, because of the rule applied to the definition of "status" but you disagree with that because you don't like the definition. But I do like it mainly because it is simple and obvious, and useful. So it is just a matter of opinion about the definition.

    It is not only important to know the status of the critical tasks. When a noncritical task is scheduled to start in the past because it could have, but it has not actually started (status = "late"), that is still an important thing to know, because when that task gets re-scheduled to start in the future it will use up some of its float and move closer towards becoming critical. The reserve gets used up, and the risk of delay increases.

    No matter how tempting it might be to set tasks ALAP for whatever reason, don't do it.

    • Marked as answer by EdLambourn Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:13 AM
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:14 AM
  • Since you are only, for the moment, interested in critical tasks which are late, run the critical tasks filter, as John says.
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:16 AM
  • I guess I have to change my thinking to realise that showing non-critical tasks as "late" does have a use , and consider using a filter if I'm really bothered by it!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:14 AM
  • Thanks for the suggestion - I will use a filter if it is really bothering me!
    Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:15 AM