none
XML changes Task Duration RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello all,

    MSProject 2010... if you create a task with only materials assigned to it, save the file off as XML.. then open said XML file within MSProject, you find the duration has changed. I tried different calendars, just to see if there was a link, and it didn't change the phenomena. Duration from the original file doesn't matter, e.g. a 1 day task, 4 day task, etc... gets reduced when saved off as XML and opened from the XML file. 

    Why?

    Many thanks in advance and regards, Nate

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 2:21 AM

Answers

  • John

    Thanks so much for the reply. I installed the SP.. 

    I did figure out that the template I start from wasn't actually assigning a calendar to the tasks (despite showing the calendar in Project Information). Once assigned (going to Advanced tab of Task information and selecting calendar when having all tasks selected) then I see durations remain when converting to XML..  except if materials are placed on a task during the weekend, in which case it shortens it, as files below illustrate. We are having a number of issues in converting from MPP to XML so I'm trying to start simple and tackle the issues as they come.

    MPP Link

    XML Link

    Best wishes, Nate

    Thursday, June 14, 2012 10:48 PM

All replies

  • Nate,

    Sorry I can't confirm. I set up two tasks, both automatically scheduled. The first task with a 1day duration and the second with a 4 day duration. I created a material resource called "stuff" and assigned it as 2 units to the first task and 1 unit to the second task. I then saved as XML, closed and re-opened the XML file. All parameters were unchanged from the original file.

    Do you have SP-1 installed? If not, or not sure, go to, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ee748587, download and install it.

    John

    • Proposed as answer by Ismet Kocaman Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:31 PM
    Wednesday, June 13, 2012 2:49 AM
  • John

    Thanks so much for the reply. I installed the SP.. 

    I did figure out that the template I start from wasn't actually assigning a calendar to the tasks (despite showing the calendar in Project Information). Once assigned (going to Advanced tab of Task information and selecting calendar when having all tasks selected) then I see durations remain when converting to XML..  except if materials are placed on a task during the weekend, in which case it shortens it, as files below illustrate. We are having a number of issues in converting from MPP to XML so I'm trying to start simple and tackle the issues as they come.

    MPP Link

    XML Link

    Best wishes, Nate

    Thursday, June 14, 2012 10:48 PM
  • Nate,

    Unless you need a custom calendar for specific tasks, all tasks will take on the calendar ("standard" by default) as set under Project/Project Information. Otherwise there is no reason to assign calendars to tasks.

    With manual scheduling the user is  free to do a lot of things that wouldn't necessarily make sense in a dynamic schedule. For example, in your sample schedule the material is assigned on a non-working day. Project spreads the total 500 units across the 8 hour "work" day (even though it isn't a working day). Why saving to XML and re-opening changes the "spread" to only the first hour, I really don't know. But then I have to ask, so what, a manually scheduled task on a non-working day is a little strange anyway.

    If you set the tasks to all auto-scheduled and set a start-no-earlier-than constraint on second task, Project will alert you to the non-working day status and allow you to make it a working day. Or if you leave the task as manually scheduled and make a calendar exception such that 6/23/12 is a working day, then saving as XML and re-opening, preserves the duration of the task.

    When Project is used in non-standard ways, the resulting schedule will probably perform in a non-standard way. I'm not sure I see a valid "issue" with this particular scenario.

    John

    Friday, June 15, 2012 3:02 AM
  • John,

    Thanks again for your reply. I understand.. and you're right that a manually scheduled task with just materials on a nonworking day may be a strange practice and/or may not matter. If I set it to auto-schedule and say "sure, make this a working day" then any tasks or dependencies on that task or any other tasks that span across that weekend (but will not be worked) change start and stop dates because now that is a working day. Consequently I have to set all tasks to Manual to avoid that happening. We have various task plans and reasons to have a task with materials span across more than a week (or perhaps non-working day though that was more for illustration), in which case saving to XML changes that duration. So any other tasks linked to that task consequently change as well.. or any task I forget to set to manual that may span across that new working day and so on.. which is why some folks that have a 300+ line project plan end up with bizarre issues. 

    Seems to me like the only way to get this to work would be to set a guidebook or rule book on what to do if you have materials span more than a week, on a weekend (non-working day) or similar.. which involves an intricate process of setting something to manual, fixed duration, setting other tasks that may span that time frame to manual, then making the non-working day a working day, potentially changing other tasks to accommodate what MSProject perceives as a new amount of time or work available, etc.. in general a mess. If you wish to see it.. here's another example wherein various material tasks spanning more than a week (rather than single nonworking day) have their durations changed when saving to XML.

    MPP Example 2

    XML Example 2

    And.. yes, we have a nonstandard or custom calendar due to non-traditional work scheduling (we try to be as abnormal as possible) which further complicates things. Again many thanks for the valuable input and consideration.. Best wishes, Nate

    PS> Seems (to me) like since there are links in native (MPP) format between tasks, resources, calendar, etc, when saving to XML everything becomes a field and base value. When importing back into MSProject (which is essentially back to MPP, right?) then in reforming those links issues between fixed duration, units, work vs. working, non-working days vs. resource allocations arise.. and/or things change. Thanks again, John..

    Friday, June 15, 2012 4:09 PM
  • Sorry... for clarity/quickness, lines 11-13 in the 2nd example are materials that span > a week and consequently have duration changes.. regardless of type or scheduling. when going to XML.
    Friday, June 15, 2012 4:13 PM
  • Nate,

    I think the "bizarre" issues arise because you are using manual scheduling. As far as I can tell, manual scheduling was added as a feature since many users wanted more control or flexibility. Unfortunately with the flexibility comes loss of one of Project's main features; a scheduling engine that automates schedule calculations and helps to avoid logical scheduling conflicts.

    It is perfectly normal to have tasks and resources (labor and material) span across non-working days (e.g. weekends). Every schedule I've used has that condition many times over so I'm not sure I see the validity of using manual scheduling to force something on a normal non-working day.

    And just for your reference, the normal Duration, Start and Finish fields are new, (yes new), in Project 2010. They are tied to the manual scheduling option. The "old" fields that represent auto scheduling are now called Scheduled Duration, Scheduled Start and Scheduled Finish. And you thought your head was already spinning.

    John

    Saturday, June 16, 2012 10:44 PM