Manually Scheduled Tasks and using Tasks for Actuals Entry RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am noticing some odd behaviors when using Manually Scheduled Tasks (we are using these for Agile development, ex: time-boxed Sprints) and when actuals are entered via Tasks.

    The following scenarios have occurred from PWA (not Project Pro) while entering actuals in 'Tasks' (not Timesheets). 

    1. Future actuals (fractions of time) populated future days when associate was entering time for current week.

    2. Remaining work was zero, and then updated, however upon entering an actual value for a day both remaining work and actuals value entered reverted back to zero.

    These are easily reproducible and are not consistently occurring; however are quite a distraction resulting in associates needing to 'clean-up' their actuals Tasks (for the future actuals issue).  So wondering if that even for a time-boxed scenario that Manually Schedule Tasks and Actuals via Tasks do not mix well.

    Are there some best practices when you use Manual Tasks and Actuals entry via Tasks?

    Monday, July 20, 2015 6:02 PM

All replies

  • I don't think there is any scenario where manual tasks are useful! They are there purely so people who used to schedule in Excel can write "no idea" in duration and date columns and can basically draw a picture.

    I don't know what story management software you are using, but tracking tasks in Project lets keep it simple.

    Assume 20 working days in the sprint. Assume 2 developers and 20 two day tasks. The key thing here is to track that two stories a day get completed. In Project if you say a task on a particular day has 1d of work and you set 1d of actual work, remaining work for that day will always go to zero and work = actual work.

    Can you describe exactly what you do, as from what you've written it seems Project is doing what it is meant to do.

    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book

    Monday, July 20, 2015 8:41 PM
  • Manual scheduling is next to useless, or at least no better than using a crayon or a whiteboard.

    Why not instead use auto scheduling?

    Enter the actual hours in the task usage view.

    Monday, July 20, 2015 10:33 PM
  • Thank you Rod.

    We use TFS, so details of Sprints are captured there regarding PBIs/Points.

    In Project we have Sprints listed as tasks for two reasons:

    1. For associates to enter their actuals in PWA for each sprint 
    2. To tie into Milestones in Project.  For example:  "Epic Topic ABC Complete" Milestone.  Sprints 1-4 contributed to that milestone being completes, so the Predecessors for that Milestone would be Sprint 4.  Then if PBIs for this Epic then transitioned into another Sprint, say Sprint 5 we would update the predecessor of that milestone to be Sprint 5.

    The reason to have the Sprints as manual as it seemed to allow us to respect the time-boxed dates of a sprint.

    However, to have actual hours 'falsely' update without any actions in Project Pro seems a bit odd, and not typical behavior.  However that is why I am asking.


    Friday, July 24, 2015 1:50 PM
  • I'd make sure you are on the latest patches as this is an issue which was fixed in one of the Cumulative Updates, I believe. I've seen it before but we weren't using Tasks.

    Few of my clients use Tasks as many team members have to do both project and operational work. Timesheets makes it easier to capture the various categories of work.

    I'm curious. Why did you decide to use Tasks versus the Timesheet with Single Entry Mode? The timesheet might provide a better sense of when items where updated.

    Manually Scheduled tasks are intended to capture the work for an activity without that activity being scheduled. I don't see an issue with how you are using it.

    Personally, I use Manually Scheduled Tasks to capture operational work and it works quite well for this as operational work isn't scheduled either.

    Treb Gatte, Project MVP | Blog | Twitter | CIO Magazine Blog

    Saturday, July 25, 2015 6:00 AM
  • Thanks for the information Treb.

    We have the March 2015 CU for Project Server 2010.  It appears there was also a May and June CU; but when I am looking at the info for those updates I have not yet found they contain a fix for Manual task issues.

    We use Tasks largely because the schedules are from a project manager / project team standpoint; rather than functions.  And the project manager is the one who processes the Task Updates and statuses the schedule.   Timesheets appear to add an additional layer of approval from the functional manager / timesheet approver, and that is not necessary for our usage at this point.

    The way you describe Manually Scheduled tasks is why we chose the setting on a select number of tasks.  (The majority of our tasks are Auto Scheduled.)  However after seeing these issues we may choose to change them back to Auto Scheduled and use fixed duration and adjust as needed as time passes to keep these type of tasks off the critical path or incorrectly impacting successors for our time-boxed Sprints.


    Wednesday, July 29, 2015 3:58 PM