MS Project Scheduling

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    • #414509
      Debra Hunter

      I am having project scheduling madness – dates, that do not makes, multiple critical paths. I have been told that:

      The TASK TYPE need to be (FIXED DURATION).
      Project will not calculate correctly.
      November 19, 2018 to January 15, 2019 is more than 10 Days/

      Name % Complete Baseline Duration Baseline Start Baseline Finish Duration Start Finish
      VTA Bus Contracts:Document Management System 26% 0 days? NA NA 92.6 days 11/16/18 3/29/19
      PSSP Site Coordinator Training 40% 0 days? NA NA 10 days 11/19/18 1/15/19

      Is that true? Most of the tasks are fixed work and driven by the resource availability.

    • #414511
      Carlos Santos

      Hi Debra

      Could you explain your issue better, please?


    • #414516

      It sounds like you have a couple issues.
      To start with, multiple critical paths are often caused by tasks with missing dependency relationships, either successor, predecessor, or both. My first suggestion is to make certain every task has both (except very first and last tasks).

      For your scheduling issues, what’s driving the need to make every task Fixed Duration? Is it truly work that must be done in X days regardless of how many hours a resource works in that time? Fixed Duration tasks have two inherent problems. 1) You need to provide the duration (project will calc if none provided, but from then on it’s locked). 2) If resources have more work than can be completed in the fixed duration (think 80 hours in 5 days) then Project will simply adjust their allocation accordingly and the resource will end up over allocated.
      While there are scenarios where Fixed Duration makes sense, I’ve found that most effort driven tasks should be configured as Fixed Units so that duration is driven by the assigned work divided by the resources availability (assignment units).
      I will refer you to two other sources for additional scheduling and leveling information.
      Please see “Wanting to enter resources for tasks and have units assigned at 100%” topic in this forum from a few days earlier. It has notes about the background formulas used by Project during scheduling.
      And second, since you seem to be frustrated with MS Project scheduling, I’ll refer you to a series of MPUG articles on leveling. The first is Scheduling vs Leveling:
      While these articles get into the mechanics of how leveling works, they also provide guidelines for things to check before leveling and some tips on how to debug leveling issues.
      Hope this helps

    • #414532
      Debra Hunter

      There are no orphans – all predecessors and successors are identified. With the exception of a few tasks which really are fixed duration. My summary tasks appear as fixed duration although there subtasks are fixed work. I did not set the type on the summary tasks and I don’t seem to be able to change it.

    • #414533

      Summary tasks types are set by MS Project and can’t be manipulated by the PM so don’t worry about them.

      In your original question, you mentioned that durations are being calculated wrong. Let me point you to another article that discusses how Project actually determines a task duration.

      In short, Duration in project actually means only days on which work is scheduled to occur. So in your example, you have 10 days of work spread over several months. There could be many reasons for this.
      One is that the planned work is being split many times (1 hour this week, 1 hour next week, etc.) and the calendar duration is several months but the task duration shows 10 days because there are only 10 days in that task on which work is scheduled. This scenario is the article I referenced earlier.
      However, if there IS work scheduled on each day across several months (.1 hr/day for example) this could be caused by many things such as;
      * Dependency relationship: Task B is a successor of A. A starts Jan 1, and B Starts March 1. In this case Project can spread the work from A across several months without impacting critical path/completion date.
      * Multiple resources assigned: 5 resources each have 40 hours on Task A, but because of other tasks, each resource is working on Task A at different times.
      * Task priorities/leveling: Other tasks have a higher leveling priority field value or because of how Project levels, Task A is a lower priority in the leveling algorithm. As a result, Task A can be spread.
      * Assignment Units: Lets say Bob has a max units of 100%. Bob is on critical path tasks with an assignment units of 95% and on Task A (the one being spread) at 100%. Because the other tasks are scheduling first, Project can only allocate 5% of Bobs time on any day to Task A.

      Here’s some debugging questions that might help;
      * Does it matter that your VBA Bus Contracts task takes 90 days to complete? If not, maybe you do nothing to fix it.
      * Is this simply confusion about why 10 days of work is being scheduled across 90 days? Unfortunately, this starts getting into the details about how MS Project levels resources and the configuration/option settings you’ve selected.
      * If it must be completed in 10 days, then maybe this is a candidate for a higher leveling priority value at the task level (and change your leveling to use Priority,Standard).
      * What else is occurring at the same time in the schedule for the VA Bus Contracts assigned resources? Those tasks may be taking almost all the resources Max Units availability, but leaving a small amount of availability that the VBA Bus task is filling. Use the Resource Usage view set up on a daily timescale to see which other tasks are being allocated work for those VBA Bus resources at the same time. Maybe there’s an incorrect dependency causing those tasks to schedule earlier than needed. Sometimes just seeing where the work IS being allocated will point you to an answer.

      Bottom line, without seeing the schedule, it’s hard to pinpoint the root cause of the issue.
      I tried to map out some of the questions I’d ask if I were looking at the schedule with you.
      Hopefully they may help you identify the cause.

      Hope this helps

    • #414543
      Debra Hunter

      I can send you the file. what’s your address?

    • #414544

      Unfortunately, I don’t currently have access to MS Project Software at this time. Sorry.

    • #414584

      To Debra Hunter,

      If you have followed what Daryl Deffler develop and that no work, if you don’t mind send me your file *.mpp. I try to find what’s



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