I notice a strange behavior of ms project when I use leveling resource. For example, I split the work of my team into two main activity (main task1, main task2); I added 6 task each of a duration of 3 days each. Then I add the project start date, for example, October 8, I assign a resource to the tasks, and I level my resource. The only constraint I put is "main task2" must start after "main task1". The project looks like the following:plan overview

Now I would like to report the status at 16 October, so I set status date 16/10 and then I received input from HD1 he worked 16h on task1 and 8h on task3. The remaining work for task1 and task3 remain the same as estimated at the beginning.

After updating the plan with "Update project" button, look like the following:

enter image description here

Now I would like to level HD1 and what I got is:

after level all

Task4 and Task5 are set before status day!!! But I would expect that all task are level after the status date not before?

Which are the right settings to enable such kind of behaviour?

More in general I have a plan where resource are shared with other higher prio activities on other projects and I would like to track how much time they are working on my project and how much time they spend on a single task. Have you think a different approach is better?

Thanks a lot for your help

2 Answers 2

  1. Things to remember:

a. Status Date is not a Data Date. It NEVER enters directly into the scheduling or leveling calculations.

b. In MSP, the only way to force un-started tasks to start after the Status Date, if it is not otherwise delayed by logic or leveling, is to impose a constraint.

c. By default, when updating status using task %complete, actual duration, or actual work, MSP will assume the task starts on its scheduled start date (even if it’s after the Status Date).

i. Rigorous status updating requires manual entry of actual dates (using the task tracking table) and manual entry of actual work using one of the Usage tables (if not a timesheet program.)

ii. Alternately, the default behavior can be modified using the first four checkboxes in the bottom section of the Advanced Project Options – i.e. “Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date….” You should test these out to confirm their exact behaviors in your projects.

  1. Issues with your initial schedule:

a. Each task should have a unique name.

b. Logical ties between summary tasks can cause a LOT of problems. I would suggest avoiding them if you are not an expert scheduler (in MSP).

  1. Issues with your update:

a. You’ve entered actual work (and a corresponding Actual Start) for the first Task3 (ID4) after the Status Date. That’s invalid. The first checkbox mentioned above would have automatically advanced this work to one day before the Status Date.

b. As a consequence, HD1 is not available on the first day after the Status Date. Invalid.

c. It is beneficial to remove leveling before using the “Reschedule uncompleted work…” part of the Update Project tool. That will impose constraints to keep tasks from being moved before the Status Date upon re-leveling.

  • Hi Tom, thanks a lot for your valuable input, expecially on point 2b. Regards. Nov 1, 2017 at 20:44

There is no way that I know of to always only level from the status date. But in the leveling options, you can set the date range in which you want to level your project. The default is "entire project", with this option the leveling will spread the tasks over the complete project duration. Pick a fixed date range to avoid tasks being moved in the past.

Regarding time tracking, it depends whether or not you are working with Project Server. If you use Project Server, it can be configured so that resources enter how much time they spent on each assignment. You can then approve it and import the data in your project plan. Without Project Server, you can still enter this data but you have to do it manually which can be very time consuming depending on project size and number of resources.

There are two main ways to do it:

  1. You track a total number of hours spent on the task. You enter this total in the "Actual Work" column in the Gantt Chart. You use the "Remaining Work" column to track remaining work estimates. You track the number of worked hours per time period.
  2. You enter this in a time phased view like Resource Usage or Task Usage. Add the "Actual Work" field to the time phased part of the view and enter the hours there. Use the "Remaining Work" field in the left part of the view to enter remaining hours.

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