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I have a MS Project 2007 plan with six months of work in it. I'm updating the % Work Complete on the tasks as we progress through the plan each week and month.

I'm moving the "Project Start" date each day I work on the project so that it re-levels the tasks based on the current date and I can tell when my projected release date will be.

What frustrates me is completed tasks remain to the right of my "Project Start Date" line. It seems like auto-leveling should move the completed work to the left of the "Project Start Date" line, correct? How do I make Project behave like I want?

I could be using MS Project totally wrong. Maybe I need to change my workflow a bit.

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If completed work/tasks are appearing to the right of today's date, this means that you have marked as complete a task that was in the future. This is a common mistake. Unfortunately, just because you marked it as 100% complete before it was supposed to be completed does not mean that MS-Project "realises" it should now be in the past. You need to do two things on a regular basis.

  1. When you actually start working on a task, make sure its Start Date matches the date you actually started on it, not when MS-P happens to have scheduled it.

  2. If it finishes early this means it did not require as much work to complete as planned. Rather than merely setting it to 100% complete, first ensure the Completed Work and Remaining Work accurately represent reality (i.e. Completed work is how much work was actually done, Outstanding Work should be zero if you are saying it is complete). If the task start date in MS-P matches when it did actually start, then this step will mean that you don't have tasks completed in the future, they always end on the day they actually ended.

The main problem with completed tasks in the future of an MS-P project plan is that the system continues to recognise the resource spend in the future days. So whatever resources were applied to the task are believed by the system to be actually working on that task in the future even though you marked it as complete! This is a bad thing as it means MS-P doesn't apply them to other tasks even though they are actually free to work on something.

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Resource leveling will not move remaining work forward. The resource leveling command's sole function to the resolve resource overallations.

If you want to move all remaining work out of the past, use the Tools > Tracking, Update Project, Reschedule uncompleted work to start after command.

Do not keep changing the Project start date. Set your status date (Project > Project Information) and use the Reschedule command after updating your tasks.

  • Although this is a useful observation, it does not actually answer the OP's question, which is about moving Completed work into the past, not Uncompleted work into the future. – Marv Mills Jan 9 '14 at 17:17
  • Ah, yes. Sorry - I read the question that he had remaining work in the past - not actual work in the future. – JulieS Jan 10 '14 at 21:55
  • In Project 2013 Updated Project is in the Project tab of the ribbon, and still called Update Project. – Adam Wuerl Jun 30 '15 at 16:34
  • Correct, but the OP is using Project 2007. – JulieS Jul 1 '15 at 18:06

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