My project is 75% complete and I have no problem getting a nice view in MS Project showing the remaining critical path. However, I want a view that shows how we got to this point, in other words I want to see the full critical path of the project, including tasks that have already been completed at this point. Is there a way to clearly show this?
You are describing something like an as-built critical path, which is not easily created even in the best of circumstances.
- MSP sets the Critical flag based on total slack, but total slack becomes meaningless for completed tasks. Thus, completed tasks are never “Critical.”
- Conceivably, you could implement some very rigorous status-and-update procedures to memorialize the (future) critical path based on total slack at each update window – i.e. just before marking the task complete. Then at some future time you would be able to look back through your marks to “remember” which tasks were critical at the time of their completion. I don’t know of anyone who does this. Obviously, you can’t do this after the fact.
- You can also use a macro or an add-in to trace driving logic backward from a project completion milestone to the project start, including completed tasks if you like. I routinely use this approach, and it yields good insight, subject to the accuracy of the logic and the Actual Start and Actual Finish dates.
Thank you for understanding the question and for the clear response. I think your #2 could work, it still seems surprising to me that this is not built in to MSP in some form for reporting what was the critical path at the end of the project. Dec 12, 2017 at 20:13
Fundamentally, project managers need to look forward, not back. An as-built critical path is most useful to forensic consultants resolving disputes long after completion. They essentially apply #2 retrospectively - its a tedious process, largely because the "actual" dates stored in the project are not supported by contemporaneous data (i.e. they're usually wrong.) Dec 12, 2017 at 23:43
As noted, I typically trace driving logic from beginning to end of project using an add-in. If the actual dates are accurate there will often be gaps in this path that may need to be explored. Dec 12, 2017 at 23:47
Agreed on looking forward. The only problem is when presenting the latest schedule to a manager two levels above who now only has visibility to the current issue causing delays to the project. This causes the manager to be unaware of the other delays from other tasks/resources prior to that point. Near the end of the project this is especially important as the currently slipping/delayed task might be wrongfully perceived by said manager as the main cause of the accumulated delays throughout the project. Of course at one point during previous status updates those other issues were presented Dec 19, 2017 at 19:12
The add-in that I use all the time for such purposes is called BPC Logic Filter. We developed it for internal use in our company, but we routinely share it with others that have a similar need. Dec 19, 2017 at 22:44
you can use a costumed column "Flag", and put a Yes for all the original critical tasks. Later you may have a view by groups, grouping by this costumized flag as criteria, that will show you in a separate group your original critical tasks, showing the progress of the original critical path, which is at the end the real progress of the whole project.