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Track the actual progress of tasks q Updating a Project q Compare baseline data to actual and scheduled data q Viewing a Network Diagram q Earned Value Overview Once the project starts, it’s time to begin tracking the actual progress of tasks and resources. Tracking is the process of gathering and entering task information into the schedule. You can track progress by entering all or some of the actual information. In the previous lesson, we complete our scheduling and resource assignments. For this lesson, we will assume our project is underway and that several tasks have either finished or are partially finished. We will then determine if our project is behind or ahead of schedule.

Objectives – MS Project 2010

 

q Track the actual progress of tasks

q Updating a Project

q Compare baseline data to actual and scheduled data

q Viewing a Network Diagram

q Earned Value Overview

Once the project starts, it’s time to begin tracking the actual progress of tasks and resources. Tracking is the process of gathering and entering task information into the schedule. You can track progress by entering all or some of the actual information.

In the previous lesson, we complete our scheduling and resource assignments. For this lesson, we will assume our project is underway and that several tasks have either finished or are partially finished. We will then determine if our project is behind or ahead of schedule.

Tracking Progress

Before we can begin tracking progress, the project schedule should be fully developed and a baseline plan should be set. Once work begins, progress should be tracked throughout the project. The more often we update the information, the easier it is to identify problems and take corrective action.

When actual information is entered, the project is automatically recalculated. For this reason, task progress should be entered starting at the top of the task list and continuing down the list.

There are three types of dates stored for each task:

Scheduled: Tasks that haven’t started yet or are in progress.

Actual: Tasks that are in progress or are completed.

Baseline: Originally planned dates. These dates are used to compare the original plan with the actual dates and scheduled dates. Baseline dates do not change.

There are fivetypes of actual data that can be entered in MS Project:

Actual start and finish dates

Percentage completion

Actual duration and remaining duration

Actual and remaining work

Actual and remaining costs

Our project was scheduled to begin on October 9 2013 and end on November 26, 2013. For the purposes of this lesson, we will assume that it is now Monday, November 11, 2013 and the project is underway

1. To ensure that all students are starting from the same scheduling parameters, download the following file: Lesson7Base.mpp. DO NOTuse your project file from week 6.

2. Open the above file in MS Project. If you receive a scheduling error select “Continue: Allow the scheduling conflict” and then immediately…

3. Save as MyLab7_XXX.mpp, where XXX are your initials.

4. Under File > Project Information >Advanced Properties, change the author’s name and the manager’s name to your name.

5. Change the name of the main summary task (task #1) to reflect your name.

6. Once you have made those changes, make sure the file is saved with a baseline! File > Project Information >Project Statistics). If your file does not have a baseline then save one (Project tab > Schedule > Set Baseline).

7. Finally, before continuing, under Project tab in the Status group, select Status Date.

8. Change the Status Date to November 11, 2013. (Important: You must do this every time you open this file!)

9. If you receive a Planning Wizard, allow the Scheduling Conflict.

Entering Actual Dates

1. Select task 3, Inventory Current Equipment.

2. From the Task tab and the Schedule group click on the arrow next to Mark on Track and select Update Tasks. The Update Tasks dialog box appears:

 

Figure 1

Do Not Click on the “Mark on Track” as this will automatically update the status as 100% complete. If you did this then use the Undo button to roll back the change.

3. In the Actual area, click the Finish down arrow.

4. Select/Enter October 10, 2013 and click OK.

5. If the Planning Wizard appears, click the radial, “Continue. Allow the scheduling conflict.”

6. The actual finished date is entered and a checkmark is displayed in the indicator field, and a progress bar is displayed on the Gantt chart.

7. Go back to the Task tab and the Schedule group click on the arrow next to Mark on Track and select Update Tasks.

8. Notice the actual start date has been entered, the actual duration was 2 days, the % complete is 100% and the remaining duration is 0d. Click Cancel.

9. Position your mouse on the checkmark in the indicator field and a tip box will open showing you when the task was completed.

10. With completed tasks, you can either enter the actual finished date or enter 100% complete or both!

Entering Actual and Remaining Durations

1. Select task #7, Research Products and Services.

2. From the Task tab and the Schedule group click on the arrow next to Mark on Track and select Update Tasks

3. Click the Actual Duration up arrow until 2 days (2d) is displayed.

4. Click the Remaining Duration down arrow until 2 days (2d) is displayed. Click OK.

 

Figure 2

Figure 2 shows the completed Update Tasks window for task 7. The duration is 3.5 days, the actual duration is 2 days and the Remaining duration is also 2 days.

5. Still on task #7 Select Update Tasks again.

6. Notice the actual start date is entered as October 24 and percentage completion is 50%. (Note, since this task was originally at 3.5 days, you have just added one-half day to the duration. That is an additional 4 hours of work for each System Analyst. Therefore you just added 8 hours of additional work to your overall Project. The baseline, however, will still be at the original 3.5 days. Obviously this task took longer than you expected.

7. You will notice there is no icon in the task information column, but if you look at your Gantt chart for this task, you will see that the task is partially filled in with a black bar (indicating progress).

8. With partially completed tasks, you can either enter the actual duration with remaining duration or enter the percentage completed. You can also enter any different start date than that reflected. However to affect the change you must press OK.

Entering Percentage Completion

1. There is also a Tracking table and a Tracking toolbar that you can also use to update task information.

2. On the View tab, in the Resource Views group, click on Other Viewsthen More Views…and then select Task Sheet. Press Apply. (See figure 3).

 

Figure 3

3. Notice the Gantt chart has been removed from your view.

4. Still in the Viewtab, go to Tables in the Data group point to Table and select Tracking.

5. Your table should look similar to Figure 4.

 

 

Figure4

Figure 4 shows the Tracking Table. The columns are: Task Name, Actual Start, Actual Finish, % Complete, Physical % Complete, Actual Duration, Remaining Duration, Actual Cost and Actual Work. Based on the status entered, the Actual Start of the project is 10/9/2013, the % complete is 8%, actual duration 2.95 days, remaining duration 34.55 days, the actual cost $2,720 and the actual work 80 hours.

 

6. Go back to the Task tab. On the Schedule group you should see:

 

Figure 5

Figure 5 is a screen capture of the schedule area of the ribbon. It includes icons to update task completion by 0%, 25%, 75% or 100% complete.

7. Select task 4, Assess Current Department Needs, on the Task table.

8. On the Tracking toolbar, click the 75% button. This will complete 75% of the work.

9. The actual start date is entered as scheduled (October 10) since the predecessor was completed on time. The actual and remaining durations are updated as scheduled; 2.25 days has been completed (75% of 3 days) and there is .75 days remaining on the task. Your overall project completion percentage is 12% and this phase of the project (Proposal Creation) is 33% complete.

Note: using percentage completion data for tracking can be somewhat subjective and should only be used when everyone involved understands what the percentage means.

Entering Actual Work

Sometimes, you need to update or report actual work hours performed on a task. There are times the work that you projected for a resource or resources may be different than what they actually performed.

1. From the Task tab and View group, click on Task Usage.

2. Your screen should now appear as in Figure 6. (You may have to widen the task name column to see the entire task name).

 

Figure 6

3. From the Formattab, in the Detailsgroup, check Actual Workbox.

4. Notice the Details column splits into two rows: Work and Actual Work.

5. Go to task 7, Research Products and Services, and scroll, if necessary, until you see the hours work for the System Analyst. (See Figure 7).

 

Figure 7

6. In the row for Systems Analyst, select the cell with 16 hours for Thursday (Oct 24) that is in the Actual Work row (Act.Work). (DO NOT change the Work row!).

7. Change the 16 hours to 24 hours. If you receive a Planning Wizard, Allow the Scheduling Conflict.

8. Note the icon that appears in the Indicator Column. This indicates that the work assignment has been changed.

On your own, do the following:

1. Edit/track task 5, Design and Diagram New System, as 2 days actual duration with remaining 3 days duration. (Hint: Do NOT press OK…continue with next step…)

2. Edit task 5 for an actual start date of Tuesday, October 15, 2013. (Hint: Now, press OK.)

3. Edit/track task 6, Proposal to Accounting, as 50% completed.

4. For task 6, Proposal to Accounting, indicate that the Project Manager’s actual work for Tuesday, October 22from 11 to 7 hours.

5. At this point in time, the project team has also met for the first 5 meetings. Show these meetings as being 100% complete.

 

 

Entering Changes in Fixed Costs

To enter changes to fixed costs, after you have begun a project, do the following:

1. Change to Gantt chart view. From the View tab, in the Data group point to Tables and select Cost.

2. Move the Gantt chart so you can see all the columns of this table.

3. Go to task #14, Install Wiring.

4. In the Fixed Cost column, change $4,000 to $6,000

5. Notice the column Baseline still says $4,000, but the total cost column says $6,000 for a variance of $2,000. (Note the variance column).

Tracking actual costs, other than fixed costs, can only be done after the task is completed or the remaining work is zero. In our lesson, the only task that is completed is task #3. To change that task’s actual cost would require changing the details of our task sheet to add cost information and then change that information. For this lab, we will not be doing this.

(Note: MS Project automatically calculates actual costs, so you must turn off this option to manually change actual costs.)

Comparing the Baseline to Actual Data

When we save our project with a baseline, we did so because we need to have something to serve as a basis for comparing costs, work and dates for task and resources. It is the only way we can know if we are on-schedule, within budget, etc.

Project baselines and actual data can be viewed graphically in charts or numerically in tables. The following describes the tools in MS Project to analyze and compare baseline, actual and scheduled data:

Tool Type Description
Tracking Gantt Chart Displays the actual and baseline information for tasks in a graphical format
Variance Table Displays the difference between actual information and baseline information
Work Table Displays the difference between actual and baseline work hours
Cost Table Displays the difference between actual and baseline costs
Cost Over budget Task Filter Displays all tasks with a cost greater than baseline cost
Slipping Tasks Task Filter Displays all tasks that are behind in schedule
Work Over budget Resource Filter Displays all resources with scheduled work greater than baseline work.

You can quickly see overall progress by displaying project statistics:

1. From the Project menu, click Project Information.

2. Click Statistics. Note: You may also use the icon on the Tracking toolbar to display these statistics.

3. You should see the information as in figure 8. The Percent Complete is for the entire project.

 

Figure 8

Or you can view the Tracking Gantt Chart:

1. From the View tab, select Tracking Gantt.

2. The Gantt chart now is displayed showing actual versus baseline scheduling information.

 

3. Another graphical representation of your project is the Network Diagram. The Network Diagram view displays tasks and task dependencies in a network or flowchart format. A box (sometimes called a node) represents each task, and a line connecting two boxes represents the dependency between the two tasks. By default, the Network Diagram view displays one diagonal line through a task that is in progress and crossed diagonal lines through a completed task.

4. To see the Network Diagram, select Network Diagram from the View tab. Your screen will look something like this:

 

5. You can change to zoom levels to see the more of the diagram, but for now leave it at 100%.

6. MS Project’s Network Diagram is similar to a PERT chart. You may want to view the legend on this diagram to see what each shape and color means.

Understanding Earned Value

Another way to view information about the baseline are in Earned Values. Earned value is a measure of cost of the work performed up to a given date in a project. Earned value information is based on three pieces of information. This information is:

· Planned Value (PV) – This is the amount of budget planned to be spent during a given period of time.

· Earned Value (EV) – This is a value indicating how much of the budgeted cost should have been spent given the amount of work actually completed.

· Actual Cost (AC) – This is the amount of money actually spent on the completed work.

Knowing these numbers can help you understand if the task (or project) is on, over or under cost and on, behind or ahead of schedule, by calculating variances.

To calculate the cost variance (CV) the formula used is EV-AC. A zero, “0”, indicates the task (or project) is right on budget. A negative number indicates the task (or project) is over budget and a positive number indicates the task (or project) is under budget.

Likewise to calculate a Schedule Variance (SV), the formula is EV-PV. A zero, “0”, indicates the task (or project) is right on schedule. A negative number indicates the task (or project) is behind schedule and a positive number indicates the task (or project) is ahead of schedule.

The shortcut rule for variances is a negative number bad (over budget or behind schedule) and a positive number is good (under budget or ahead of schedule).

1. To see the Earned Value numbers in MS Project, first switch back to the Gantt chart view and then from the View tab and the Data group, select Tablesthen More Tables,from the list select Earned Value. The PV, EV, AC and SV and CV are now displayed.

2. Notice three other columns, EAC, BAC and VAC

a. EAC is “Estimated Cost at Completion”. This is the new forecast value of the final budget, based on current actual values.

b. BAC, “Budgeted Cost at Completion” is the baseline value.

c. VAC, “Variance at Completion” is the difference between the BAC and EAC (BAC-EAC). As with SV and CV, negative numbers represent an over budget condition and positive numbers represent below budget.

The project’s current PV = $22,919.23. What do you think this means? (NOTE: If your value is $0, then make sure you have set the Status Date to 11/11/2013, per step 4, page 2.) If your EV amounts do not match, then the status information has been entered incorrectly.

It means that if we had worked according to the plan, we would have completed $22,919.23 worth of budgeted work. What do the EV and AC mean?

Note the positive VAC. As of this date, we expect our project to be $1,710.01 under budget at completion.

There are 2 other values which can be calculated from the PV, EV and AC. These are SPI (Schedule Performance Index) and CPI (Cost Performance Index). These values are ratios and can be used for trend data.

To calculate SPI, divide the EV by the PV (EV/PV=SPI). When the SPI is at 1, the project (or task) is right on schedule, when the SPI is less than 1, the project (task) is behind schedule and when the SPI is greater than 1, the project (task) is ahead of schedule.

To see the SPI values, again go to More Tables and this time, select Earned Value Schedule Indicators.

Note the project has an SPI value of 0.31. This means the project has completed 31% of scheduled work… or that for every $1 worth of work scheduled, only $0.31 worth of scheduled work has been completed. Do you know why this is? Hint: Look for those tasks with negative SV’s. Note the task that has a particularly large SV.

The last value we are going to look at is the CPI or Cost Performance Index.

To calculate CPI, divide the EV by the AC (EV/AC=SPI). When the CPI is at 1, the project (or task) is right on budget, when the CPI is less than 1, the project (task) is over budget and when the CPI is greater than 1, the project (task) is below budget.

To see the CPI values, again go to More Tables and this time, select Earned Value Cost Indicators.

The Project’s CPI is 1.05. This indicates the project is ahead of schedule. For every $1, the project team completed $1.05 worth of work. Not bad so far! See if you can identify the tasks that helped the project to be under budget.

 

At this point:

  1. Save your file
  2. Print out the following reports: (use proper header/footer information)

1. Project Summary

2. Overbudget Tasks

3. Earned Value

 

This concludes our survey of MS Project 2010. MS Project is a great tool to help manage projects. It does take effort, but with proper usage the effort will pay off with better project results.

There is much more to explore and learn. We hope this will encourage you to explore more about the tool.

When submitting required printouts, if you are not bringing them to class, from the Print Preview Page, take a screen shot (in Windows <ALT><Prt Scr>) of the report and paste the screen shot to a MS Word Document. Make sure to crop the screen to show only the report. After cropping, resize the image appropriately. If the printout is on more than 1 page, paste each page individually. Save the Word document containing printouts as Week_7_Printouts_XXX.docx (where XXX are your initials) and submit this file to the Weekly iLab Dropbox.

 

When you have completed this lesson please save it as MyLab7_xxx.mpp and submit the file to the Weekly iLab Dropbox.

Also complete the following page and submit the Review Question sheet to the Weekly iLab Dropbox.

 

Review Questions

Name ____________________________

Answer the following questions:

1) Why is it best not to enter a percentage (%) completion?

2) According to your Project Summary, is this project on schedule? Will you be over or under budget and by how much?

3) After printing out the Earned Value report, define (you may use MS Project help) the following terms and write in the Total Values of each from your Earned Value Report (Make sure your current date is properly set to 11/11/2013).

PV:

 

 

 

EV:

 

 

 

AC:

 

 

 

SV:

 

 

 

CV:

 

 

 

EAC:

 

 

 

BAC:

 

 

 

VAC:

 

Turn in this sheet with your MS Project file to the Week 7 iLab Dropbox.

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