Monitoring and Controlling with MS Project

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    • #5075

      I use MS Project for planning and it produces wonderful/beautiful plans showing how the universe should unfold (or, at least, how my project should execute). The problem I have comes after I baseline and begin using MS Project to track actual execution. When I’m collecting status, I am adament with my team that they not give me % complete. I tell them I want to know how many days they’ve worked and how many days remain to complete a task. I then use Update Task to enter the info for each task.

      Everything works well for the first Status report. On the second status report, I update the remaining days and MSP updates the tracking gantt. My problem is that the the progress is reported as contiguous time sequence. It does not take into account a break of execution for a given task. Slowly, as tasks exceed the original planned intervals, my schedule starts to degrade and doesn’t show/forecast a correct end date. Overall % completion seems to be correct but the end-date doesn’t get updated to show the accumulated delays. I end up manually setting constriant start dates just to balance things. It seems to me that I’m missing an “update step” to have the tool accurately show pushed out dates.

      Most MS Project books spend enormous amount of space on planning and organizing schedules but offer little practical suggestions on the actual monitoring approach.

      Is there a good reference book on Monitoring techniques?

      Can someone tell me an effective workflow to update a slowly slippong schedule, update after update.

      I want a reference suitable for technology projects where the planned durations are frequently under estimated and the schedule slowly drifts past critical milestones. I can then employ techniques to recover schedule targets. But first… I need to know I’ve slipped.


    • #6685


      Great question that means you get what Project is supposed to do.  There are a couple of ways to accomplish that capability but I would suggest including the Actual Start, Actual Duration, Remaining Duration, Actual Finish, and maybe the Resume date to instruct MS Project to update tasks exactly the way you want it to.  The one book that I think does the best job of explaining this in more detail along with managing a dynamic forecast is Forecast Scheduling with Microsoft Project 2010″ by Eric Uyttewaal.

      Hope this helps…Larry Christofaro

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