I am using Project Professional 2013. In the Task Usage view, when I update the Actual Work for a task-resource Assignment for a particular month, the (Planned) Work for the remaining months of the assignment will be automatically recalculated. This is useful for the budget forecast for the remainder of a project.
For example, if Resource A is assigned to a (fixed-duration) Task X with a duration of 4 weeks, with 30 hours (of planned Work) per week from Resource A, for a total Work of 120 hours from Resource A. If after week 1, Resource A only spent 15 hours (instead of the planned 30 hours) on Task X, when I put the Actual Work of 15 hours for week 1 in the timescale view of the Task Usage view, Project 2013 automatically re-calculates the Work field for the remaining 3 weeks to be 35 hours (up from 30 hours). This way I know that for the fixed duration Task X, I will need Resource A to spend 35 hours per week for the remaining 3 weeks to make up for the hours not spent in week 1.
The thing is, Project 2013 seems to only do the re-calculation of the timescale Work if I update the Actual Work for a particular time unit (in this case, a particular week). If I update the Actual Work at the task-resource Assignment level itself or at the Task or Summary task level, the (weekly or monthly) planned Work for the remaining duration in the Task Usage view will not be updated.
I was wondering whether this is a known issue of Project. I am also interested in hearing everybody’s suggestions on whether there are other better ways to forecast the remaining Work in a monthly or weekly view, once a Task has incurred some cost (or Work).
Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Adam, if I understand your description (and I think I do, nicely described) you are correct in your explanation. If you update actual work in a single column (actual work, % complete, % work complete, etc.), Project simply applies the actual work against existing planned work. It doesn’t have enough information to determine “when” the actual work was performed. If you tell Project when the work is performed (using a timephased view), then Project has the information it needs to re-plan remaining work.
There isn’t really a “better” way other than to make the process simple. Customizing a usage view to how you gather information will help. Using Project Server to have team member enter actual work themselves is an obvious improvement if the number warrant the effort (in other words, you have a larger number of projects and team members). All this assumes that your original premise is that you need/want to enter actual work to track to budget.
Hope that helps…
Thanks for the valuable information, Larry. Much appreciated.
We do have the need to update our ongoing forecast of Cost and Work effort on a monthly basis.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I found that Microsoft Project will recalculate the Work for the remaining months when I updated the Actual Work for a particular month for a particular task-resource assignment in the Task Usage view.
The challenge is that our time/cost reporting categories do not always match up to the lowest level of the WBS. In most cases we report time/cost at the Summary Task level. That’s why I was hoping that Project would also recalculate the Work for the remaining months based on the Actual Work reported at the Summary Task level.
But I agree with your statement that Project “doesn’t have enough information to determine “when” the actual work was performed.” It makes sense.
I am hoping to hear from others who have had the need to do monthly updates of forecast for the remainder of their project, how you may have handled it in Microsoft Project.
Adam, I’m not sure I understand your challenge. You are correct that whatever level you are reporting time must be the lowest level of the WBS. That is also the level that Microsoft will recalculate remaining months, as you are asking. Otherwise the tasks under that level will affect the remaining months, and it has always been a best practice not to assign resources to a summary task. The problem comes in, if I understand correctly, when you want to provide additional details below the time reporting level. If that’s the case I would recommend creating another section that you can update using % complete or however you want to manage those details.
I don’t see another option but there are certainly other people that have had that challenge and may have other ideas. Good luck…