Using MS Project 2016 with Project Online 2013
We are set up in single-entry mode. only the only %’s we use are 0% and 100%.
We are using baselines
How we are using the system (I put this in because I know it is not fully used as it is intended):
We use PWA 2013 timesheets to track actual hours, but are only using those hours, at this point, to assess the variance between actual and the estimated hours that we are assigning to the tasks in project. In an ideal world, we would want PWA and MS Project 2016 to connect to PWA for the tasks to enter hours to, but for PWA and MS Project not to communicate regarding the impact of those hours to project or PWA. What is most important to us with Project and PWA is resource capacity.
How to avoid pre-populated hours in PWA. Resources go into their new time sheet and see pre-populated hours. I think I understand what is happening – a task is marked complete prior to the time sheet being open and the system auto populates the time for the completed task. If what I think is true, then I’m not sure how to avoid because tasks are often done before their finish date.
Because of how we use the system, the hours are distributed in increments that do not make sense. I’ve instructed resources to zero them out. There are instances when a cell of pre-populated hours is deleted and then the entire timesheet has an error and it can’t be saved. It seems to be related to % complete and trying to remove hours that have already been done, but I’m not sure. To resolve, we have to go into the project schedule, open up the task, and so on.
I know that we are not using the out-of-the-box way of using the system. We just want to capture actual hours to the tasks and compare them to the estimated hours we have to see where our gaps are in resource planning (to try and be proactive to folks saying they are so busy that they can’t even go to the bathroom and we don’t see it in the data :)). If there are any insights, please do suggest. It is a lot of manual intervention on my part and a lot to ask of resources and I do not want them to lose confidence in the system. Thanks much in advance!!
I’m a Project Server 2013 user so unless they’ve changed core functionality in 2016 or Online, I think I can help with Part 1. When using % Complete to track task progress, MS Project assumes that all planned work happened as it is currently mapped in the schedule. If a task Start date is 12/1/17, the finish date is 1/15/18, and the task is marked 100% complete on 12/15/17, MS Project will basically convert all planned work (past, present, and future) to actual work across the entire task duration of 12/1/17 to 1/15/18. Thus you end up with actual hours applied to future days.
If the scheduling/leveling engines had planned work set up across individual days with values such a 4.3, 5.25, 3.8, and so on, those are the hours that will become the actual hours on those days.
Project does NOT look at the 100 hours of work on the task, recognize that your are marking it complete on 12/12/17, move the actual finish to 12/12/17, and then distribute the 100 hours from start to actual finish. It simply takes planned work and converts it to actual work which could be planned in the past, today, or in the future.
My recommendation, to avoid future actual work magically appearing in the schedule is to be cautious when completing tasks. If the task has a future finish date, change the task as necessary so the finish date is today and then complete the task.
This may also help with your Part 2 question.