Trouble with negative costs and work allocation of hours RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    We are having trouble with the 'Cost' column. Some of our tasks are displaying a negative cost but we are not sure why this is happening. We have allocated resources and their daily rate.

    In addition, and not sure if this is related, we zero'd all the smaller task hours in the 'Work' column (as if starting again), and when we re-enter 1 hour for a resource, nothing is displayed in the main (top level/overview) task. When you enter 2 hours, then only 1 hour of cost is displayed in the top level task. Have we incorrectly entered information, or have we picked up a bug?

    Many thanks,


    Thursday, January 2, 2014 4:20 PM

All replies

  • Kirsty,

    First of all, what version of Project are you using? Second, is it updated with the latest service pack? Updates can be downloaded from:

    A few other questions. If you are using Project 2010 or later, do you have calculation set for automatic? Is your project manually scheduled or auto-scheduled (again, Project 2010 or later only)?

    When you talk about costs, are you referring to the Cost field itself, or is it perhaps the Actual Cost, Baseline Cost or one of the other cost fields?

    Given answers to the above, then we can help ferret out what may be wrong, if anything.


    Thursday, January 2, 2014 4:43 PM
  • Sorry John, I should have included these details.

    It’s version 2013.

    We (well Virtual IT, our IT provider installed it on the 12<sup>th</sup> December so I’m assuming we would have the latest version). Do you think there would be an update since then?

    The calculation is set for auto matic.

    Manually scheduled.

    And yes, it’s the cost field itself within the Task Usage view.

    Thanks so much for this and sorry if we’ve missed something / done something very obviously wrong but we’re scratching our heads at the moment…

    Thursday, January 2, 2014 4:58 PM
  • Kirsty,

    The date of installation has nothing to do with updates. It all depends on what version number was installed. If you look at the webpage I referenced for updates you can see the list of updates and read the knowledge base article that describes the problems addressed by each update. However, your IT provider should be able to tell you what is installed.

    If you change your schedule to auto-scheduled does everything correct itself? Manual scheduling has some nuances that can cause head scratching.

    One other thing you could try is to save the file as XML and then re-open in Project. This should clear corruption if that is the issue. Please note that you will lose any custom formatting using this process.


    Thursday, January 2, 2014 8:24 PM
  • Check Tools > Options and look for the check mark next to Task Status Updates Resource Status.  Sounds like this may be the culprit.

    Here're a couple blog posts on the topic:

    Andrew Lavinsky [MVP] Blog: Twitter: @alavinsky

    Thursday, January 2, 2014 8:30 PM
  • Hi All,

    Thank you for these suggestions. I am going to work my way through each of them to check if it solves the problem. I know for sure that we have all the updates available.

    As it's all a little confusing, before I started to work through your suggestions, I have noticed something...

    Mostly there is a positive number or a zero for all our tasks. I have noticed that the figures which are negative have a blue tick (the 'complete' symbol). This is all when in the Task Usage view.

    Friday, January 3, 2014 10:00 AM
  • Pardon me for bumping in - but if you add the Fixed Cost column to the Task Usage view - are there negative values entered?
    Friday, January 3, 2014 2:32 PM
  • It's related to progress.  The task is marked as complete, but the work is not.  As the cost is associated with the work, the system reconciles this by making Cost a negative number (which offsets the work, that is a positive number).  No it doesn't make sense, but the blog post explains it (or tries to):

    If you check the Actual Costs are Always Calculated by Project option, you won't have that issue.....although that then calculates cost based on actual work which may/may not work for you.

    Andrew Lavinsky [MVP] Blog: Twitter: @alavinsky

    Friday, January 3, 2014 2:38 PM
  • Just wanted to say that we're still working through this but thank you all very much with your help and suggestions!
    Tuesday, January 7, 2014 12:02 PM