In the first two articles of this series, a four-step tracking cycle was defined. It includes setting the status date, entering actuals, rescheduling incomplete work, and resource leveling the remaining schedule. This article addresses the third step in the cycle: rescheduling incomplete work.
Do Not Rewrite Project History
The status date defines the time through which project progress has been recorded. Work that was done in the past, prior to the status date, should be recorded in the past. This includes work that was scheduled in the future, but was started early and done in the past. Work that should have been done in the past, but was not, must be rescheduled to be done in the future, after the status date. This ensures that the work is recorded according to when it was performed, not when it should have been performed.
A Simple Example
In the following example, Task A started on 27th of September was marked as 50% Complete as of the October 1st Status Date. The task’s Status is Late, since the cumulative percent duration complete is less than what was planned through the Status Date. In the subsequent status update, on October 8th, the task is marked as 100% complete. However, it appears as if the remaining two days of work were done during the week of September 27th instead of during the week of October 4th.
We should have rescheduled the incomplete portion of Task A to be completed during the following week, after the October 1st Status Date. To do this, we must check the Split in-progress tasks box in the Schedule Options dialog. This allows us to show that work on the task was interrupted. Then, we use the Update Project dialog to reschedule the incomplete work to start after the current status date (October 1).
The result shows the remaining two days of work split and rescheduled to resume on October 4th. Note that Project considers the task Status to be On Schedule. The remaining work has been rescheduled into the future and is no longer considered late.
When the task is marked as 100% complete on October 8th, we see that two days of work were completed in the first week and the remaining two days in the second week.
How Do You Find Incomplete Work That Needs to be Rescheduled?
If you use the standard Incomplete Tasks filter, which shows tasks that are not 100% complete, it shows incomplete work in the past and in the future. If you use the standard Late Tasks filter, it shows tasks with a Status of Late, which means that the Cumulative Percent Complete field is not 100% complete by the Status Date.
Filtering for tasks that are not 100% complete and whose Finish dates are less than or equal to the Status Date works, as well. Selecting the Reschedule option across the entire project in the Update Project dialog finds the late tasks for us.
Does it Matter?
Some might argue that rescheduling incomplete work does not matter. If a task is completed prior to the Status Date, it is 100% done, regardless of when the work was completed. To see how earned value calculations are affected by not rescheduling incomplete work, see my prior article on the topic.