Earned Value Calculation using “Physical % Complete” and Actual Work in Tracking Table Results in Earned Value Calculation of Zero
I teach Project Management at Oakland University using MS Project 2016 Professional. I am teaching the “Project Tracking” Module of the course where students enter actual data for MS Project to compare against planned data in the Baselined MS Project file with resources (personnel) entered via the Resource Sheet. We have chosen the “Physical % Complete” method of Earned Value Calculation and enter data in the MS Project 2016 Tracking Table for “Physical % Complete” and “Actual Work (labor hours actually expended on the task as of the Status Date). All setup variables in the File->Options dialog box on the Schedule and Advanced tabs have been set properly. When applying the Earned Value table, the Earned Value sometimes appears as Zero, depending on the order of data entry and when the Baselined file is saved. This seems to be an obvious bug in MS Project 2016 Professional. It appears that the “Physical % Complete” method of Earned Value is completely unreliable and therefore unusable which makes MS Project 2016 Professional unsuitable for real world project tracking.
My company is currently working with MS to resolve an MS Project 2013 bug related to earned value calculations. We use timesheets for Actual Work entry. We are also trying to use EV for management reporting but have run into the following bug that makes MS Project EV unusable. I’m not sure if this is what is impacting you, but I will describe the scenario we are seeing in case this helps.
Lets say the Start Date/Time for Task 1 is supposed to be 1/3/2017 at 4:55 PM and it’s a 40 hour (6 day) task. When actuals are applied, Joe, who is assigned to Task 1, enters 8 hours of actual work on 1/3. Looking at this you’d think the Earned value would reflect 8 of 40 hours applied, but that’s not how Project interprets it. When the 8 hours of Actual Work are applied, Project ASSUMES the actual start of the task is the same as the planned start date/time of the task. So rather than assigning an actual start of 1/3 8:00 AM and then filling the day with 8 hours of actual work, Project applies all 8 hours of actual work into the time period from 4:55 PM to 5:00 PM. We discovered this by displaying actual work task usage timescale data down to the hour/minute levels. When project does this and subsequently calculates earned value, project thinks that only 5 minutes of duration has been completed and that’s what it bases it’s EV calculations on…not the 8 hours of actual work.
As noted, we’re working with MS to resolve this issue but as of yet we are not seeing any solution scheduled into an upcoming CU.
Hope that helps a bit.