none
How to track and report using % Complete RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi.  I'm trying to understand how to record our Task Progress.  I've read several of the topics here regarding % Complete / Physical % Complete / % Work Complete and I'm still really not understanding the best way to record our team's progress toward completing the project and then report on it using Visual Reports and Excel.

    Here's an example.  Let's say we have Task A, which has an estimated duration of 5 days and work is set to 8 hours.  This is a task that is expected to take up to 8 hours over the course of a week.  It can't be done in one 8 hour time block, so it's spread out over a longer duration.

    In our environment it's not really useful to record the fact that "I've completed 4 hours of this task".  It's nice to know that 4 hours of work has been done but what we really care about is what % of the task is complete.  So people give us progress reports by saying they've completed 25%, 50%, 100% of the overall task.  We've been entering this % into the "% Complete" column on the Tracking Gantt.

    When I do a Visual Report to Excel starting from Task Usage, the Work and Actual Work columns seem to represent what I would expect them to be.  If the task has Work of 8 hours and we've recorded 50% in the % Complete column I will see 8 hours of Work and 4 hours of Actual Work in the report.  The problem I'm having is that the % Complete in the report is incorrect.  I've tried including % Complete, Physical % Complete, and % Work Complete, and none of them have 50% as expected.  A Task that was scheduled for 10 hours and is 100% Complete has 10 hours for Work, 10 hours for Actual Work, and 55% for "Percent Complete" in the pivot report that I've created.

    So, is there a different way we should be tracking the % of the task that has been completed?  Or a different way to report on it?  In a report I want to see the Task, the Work, the Actual Work, and the % Complete.

    Thank you for your help.

     - Cindy

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 4:39 PM

Answers

  • Hi Cindy,

     

    In the picture below you see on the right side a row for (Planned) Work and Actual work ("Act. W" in the picture).

    At the right side of those 2 fields, you can see that the backgroud is white, meaning you can enter data here (I did it for the 5 consecutive days with 1 hour per day in the actual work row in the picture above).

    If you want to enter 15 hours on your task, just enter the actual hours on the days those hours were done. Don't think in terms of "3 quarters" or something duration-related...( you are definitely thinking in terms of work in your last question!)

    As an example: if the 15 hours are done in 2 days it could be 8h on day one and 7h on day 2... Remainging work will be 5 but remainging duration will probably be something else! Remainging duration is dependent of the duration of the task you are talking about: in your case... if your task has a duration of 10 days (with 20h of work spread over those 10 days... 2hours per day), you can see in the picture below that the remaining 5 hours of work are spread over the last 8 days. In addidion, the hours you enter in this way are as in reality, and that is what I prefer!

     

    In the example above you could conclude that your resource consumed the plannen work too fast. during the days left there are only 0.63 hours (per day) left! In case your task is a support task, this would be a bad situation because the resource will probably need more hours to cover the whole duration of the task...

     

    Hope this brings you a step further ;)

    Wim


    Monday, December 19, 2011 9:28 PM

All replies

  • Do you have resources assigned to these tasks?  Are they summary tasks?
     
    What you're describing doesn't sound like normal behavior.
     
     

    Andrew Lavinsky [MVP] Blog: http://azlav.umtblog.com Twitter: @alavinsky
    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 9:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes, resources are assigned to each of the tasks.  In some cases they may be summary tasks, yes, but if a summary task has two subtasks, and both subtasks are 100% complete, and the Actual Work and Work both say 20 hours, then I would expect any of the % Completes to say 100% complete.
    - Cindy Hoskey
    Wednesday, November 9, 2011 10:07 PM
  • Hi Cindy,

    1. Which Visual report are you using?
    2. Do you say that you are adding resources on summary tasks?
    3. You are aware of the fact that "% Complete" in fact means "% Duration Complete"?
    4. Is your work spread in a flat way over your tasks (if Work contour is not flat, than % Work complete and % Duration Complete will be differtent, or in the example below, fixed duration task of 10 days duration, 8 hours initially planned and afterwards finished in 8 days by working harder per day...)

     

    Regards
    Wim

     

     


    Friday, November 18, 2011 8:28 PM
  • Hi Cindy,

    Maybe you can answer some of my questions in order to give me an idea of what you are asking exactly ;)

    Regards
    Wim 

    Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:32 PM
  • Hi, Wim.  Sorry to ignore this.  I'm not entirely sure how to answer your questions because I'm still fairly new at this, and I get frustrated every time I think about this, so I've been sticking my head in the sand and trying to pretend this problem doesn't exist. 

    1) My original post has a description of the Visual Report I'm using.  It's customized, not a standard report, so it's better to look at the original description.  I can't give you a specific name.    It's any report, canned or custom, that is based on Task Usage, basically.

    2) No, we are not adding resources on Summary tasks.

    3) No, I was not aware that % Complete means % Duration Complete.  If that's the case, then why wouldn't that automatically be calculated?  For example, if it's a task that has a duration of 10 days, and it began 5 days ago on 12/10, shouldn't that automatically show up as 50% since 50% of the duration is complete?  If it's based on duration I would expect it to be based on the calendar.  If it's something I have to manually set, and I could go, today, and mark it as 10% complete even though 5 out of the 10 days have passed, then I just don't understand what it's supposed to represent.

    4) Based on your description, I'd say it is not flat.  We very often do have scenarios where there is 10 hours of work that needs to be completed at some point before the end of a 30 day span and often is completed before the end of the duration.  That's what we're trying to capture - the % of the actual work that has been completed, regardless of the duration.

    I hope this answers your questions.  Thank you for your persistence.

     - Cindy


    - Cindy Hoskey
    Thursday, December 15, 2011 5:59 PM
  • Hi Cindy,

    I'll start with an example that immediately shows the difference between % (Duration) Complete and % Complete:

    I think you should go through your real world scenario while looking via the Task Usage View as shown below.

     


      
    In the example above, I just clicked the 50% complete button in the Task ribbon. Those progress buttons are specifying progress in terms of DURATION. Since my work distribution is not flat, a difference between the duration and work % completed should be clear.
     
    Your case:
    When using the progress buttons (0, 25%, 50...), you are telling MSP to "complete the task as planned". This means that MSP will fill in actuals with the values he finds in the corresponding planned work field, and this for the "% duration complete" you've chosen.
    Consider this:
    • You have tasks with a duration 30 days
    • There are only a small number of planned hours of work (let say 8h), spread evenly over those 30 days
    • You want to use the progress buttons to report progress (so you agree with teh "complete the task as planned"-concept)

    assume that your resource says at the 15th day that he completed the task for 100% (he will not work on it anymore)...than he will have to

    • press the 50% progress button
    • Set the remaining duration of the task to 0!

    (I don't like this method because in most cases I don't like the concept of "complete the task as planned"... in most cases it is not correct ;) In the case above, there will be 4h of actuals spread over the first 15 days and nothing later on and no remaining work).

    In case your resource really works 8 hours before the 15th, he must be able to specify the real actual hours by entering them via task or resource usage view! he cannot work with the progress buttons anymore... 

    My suggestion for you:

    - Make following columns visible in the task usage view:
    • Duration and Work
    • % (Duration) Complete and % Work Complete
    • Remaining Duration and Remaining work

    - Create a task with an assignment
    - Try entering progress with the progress buttons or via entering actual hours in the timphase part of the view
    - Try the difference between setting "Remaining Duration" or "Remainging Work" to zero. 
    - Follow the values in the added fields 

    Once you feel comfortable with this, check if there is still a problem when reporting about this stuff...
    Regards
    Wim




    Thursday, December 15, 2011 9:55 PM
  •  

    Try this link to the newsgroup and try searching the group by topic keywords such as "% Complete", or "bricklaying" or search for my name and you will find many Q&A concerning tracking and the definitions of % Complete (it is actual duration/total duration).

    http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.project/about

    What you need to pin down ids the actual start and actual duration. % Complete will be calculated for you. Then re-estimate the remaining duration. Again % Complete will be calculated by MSP. So also will % Work Complete be calculated but it will be based on the necessary assumption. You can then use the task usage view to adjust this to whatever it really was

    The tracking table shows all the columns you need.

     

    Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:37 PM
  • Thank you, this is helpful.  I don't believe the "complete the task as planned" concept will work for us in the scenarios I've described.    I think what confuses me is how much the whole process of keeping track of task progress seems to revolve around the Duration, when I am always thinking about the actual amount of Work left.

    One clarifying question.  You mention "entering actual hours in the timephase part of the view".  I'm not sure I understand what that means.  Into which column/field should I enter the actually completed work hours? (for a task that would take 20 hours of work, and someone says "I'm three quarters done with it", where should those 15 hours be entered?  Or am I supposed to enter the 5 remaining hours somewhere?)

    Thanks again, Cindy


    - Cindy Hoskey
    Monday, December 19, 2011 9:00 PM
  • Hi, Trevor.  Thanks for your help.  It's not really the Duration that I care about, it's the Work.  The duration may have little or no relationship to the actual work.  It may be 8 hours of work spread out over 28 days, and the person may actually complete the work in 14 days.  That's the part I'm trying to keep track of - % of the work complete.
    - Cindy Hoskey
    Monday, December 19, 2011 9:02 PM
  • Hi Cindy,

     

    In the picture below you see on the right side a row for (Planned) Work and Actual work ("Act. W" in the picture).

    At the right side of those 2 fields, you can see that the backgroud is white, meaning you can enter data here (I did it for the 5 consecutive days with 1 hour per day in the actual work row in the picture above).

    If you want to enter 15 hours on your task, just enter the actual hours on the days those hours were done. Don't think in terms of "3 quarters" or something duration-related...( you are definitely thinking in terms of work in your last question!)

    As an example: if the 15 hours are done in 2 days it could be 8h on day one and 7h on day 2... Remainging work will be 5 but remainging duration will probably be something else! Remainging duration is dependent of the duration of the task you are talking about: in your case... if your task has a duration of 10 days (with 20h of work spread over those 10 days... 2hours per day), you can see in the picture below that the remaining 5 hours of work are spread over the last 8 days. In addidion, the hours you enter in this way are as in reality, and that is what I prefer!

     

    In the example above you could conclude that your resource consumed the plannen work too fast. during the days left there are only 0.63 hours (per day) left! In case your task is a support task, this would be a bad situation because the resource will probably need more hours to cover the whole duration of the task...

     

    Hope this brings you a step further ;)

    Wim


    Monday, December 19, 2011 9:28 PM
  • That's very helpful, Wim.  We're going to play around with this in our real data over the next few weeks.  I'm sure this will make a big difference in managing our project time.
    - Cindy Hoskey
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 2:37 PM
  • Success!

     

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:12 PM
  • Cindy,

    If you could let go of the idea that it is primarily all about the work, and accept that it really all begins and ends with the duration, then you would see that it all becomes more obvious and simple rather than complicated, confusing and baffling.

    Any work or cost that occurs must occur between the start date and the finish date.

    Any actual work or actual cost must occur on days of actual duration.

    Have you noticed that the duration column is right next to the task name column in the entry table, and that the work column isn't even in the entry table? That's not for no reason.

    You say that you are trying to keep track of the work, but are you not interested in the schedule and finishing on or before some date?

    MS Project is built around the critical path method, and that has nothing to do with resources or work.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:37 PM
  • Cindy,

    You say at 3):

    3) No, I was not aware that % Complete means % Duration Complete.  If that's the case, then why wouldn't that automatically be calculated?  For example, if it's a task that has a duration of 10 days, and it began 5 days ago on 12/10, shouldn't that automatically show up as 50% since 50% of the duration is complete?  If it's based on duration I would expect it to be based on the calendar.  If it's something I have to manually set, and I could go, today, and mark it as 10% complete even though 5 out of the 10 days have passed, then I just don't understand what it's supposed to represent.

    Here is why. You have assumed that if a task started 5 days ago then it must have 5 days of actual duration, but this is not always necessarily so. If a task started 5 days ago, ie 5 days before the status date, the it has a possible actual duration of any number of days up to, but no more than, 5 days, so perhaps fewer than 5 days. Of the 5 actual days that's possible, maybe the task was started and then proceeded for perhaps only 2 of them and was then interrupted. So you have to tell MSP that. You would input this into the actual duration column in the tracking table. This would then leave 3 days of planned duration in the past relative to the status date. Since you cannot plan to do something in the past, these 3 days will have to be moved into the future. In MSP2003/2007 this is all done with the tracking toolbar. In MSP2010 it is done with "Mark on track" and "move"

    Monday, December 26, 2011 3:57 AM