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Sorting out Overdue Tasks from Waaaayyyy Overdue Tasks

Recently, a colleague asked how he could tell at a glance which overdue tasks were at least 50% complete and which were less than 50% complete.

  • If <50% complete, show red alert (red circle icon)
  • If as least 50% complete, show yellow alert (yellow warning icon)

Now perhaps there’s a more elegant way to do this, but using the brute force method, here’s how I solved it.

1. Customize four fields [Number 1], [Number 2], [Number 3] and [Flag 1] as follows.

Late (field number1). The number fields are used to identify specific conditions, which are then aggregated into the Number 1 or “Late” field, which is exposed on the Gantt view in Figure 2.

Formula: [Number2] Or [Number3] Or [Finish]>Now() Or [Flag1]

>49% (field number2) is used to detect if a task is late and at least 50% complete:

Formula: [Finish]<[Current Date] And [% Complete]>49 And [% Complete]<100

<50% (field number3) is used to detect if a task is late and less than 50% complete:

Formula [Finish]<[Current Date] And [% Complete]<50

Flag 1 is used to detect if a task is complete:

Formula: [% Complete]=100

2. Set graphical Indicators for field [Number 1] (renamed “Late”) as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Graphical indicators
Sorting out Overdue Tasks from Waaaayyyy Overdue Tasks
3. Expose only the Late (number 1) field on the Gantt chart.

Sample results are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Sample results.
Sorting out Overdue Tasks from Waaaayyyy Overdue Tasks
A note on logic: Field number 1 uses the previous three fields to capture all possible conditions and produce an indicator based on the values found in each of them. Field 1 says, look at all these fields to see if this item is not yet due. Then if it is not yet due, do nothing. If field Number 3 is true, show a red dot. If Field Number 2 is true, show a yellow diamond.

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Written by Michael Nathan

Mike Nathan, PMP, is a career project manager with the information services firm of Wolters Kluwer. His current responsibilities include leading project success with the Advanced Technologies team within the Global Platform Organization, a shared services unit. Mike is currently leading the charge within his organization to ensure his project management peers and executive sponsors understand the value of professional project management tools and techniques. In his “spare time” he is running a proof of concept installation of Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 with aspirations of seeing the day that the enterprise is fully integrated on the platform. Prior to his five-year association with Wolters Kluwer, Mike was a key participant in establishing the CapGemini (then CapGemini Ernst & Young) Project Management Center of Excellence. This program produced 90 PMP-certified project managers in two years. Mike continues to mentor his peers in the “art” of project management, the tools that make it run and the ninja secrets which only come from years of getting dirty in the trenches. Reach him at mike@nathanconsulting.com.

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