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How to output 'real' progress from MS Project

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miles goodchild
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It is easy to output % complete from MS Project however I have not yet managed to find out how to output either:
* Complete through - a value which appears to be only available to the Gantt graphic

* The date circled in the picture below - i.e. where a summary has really got to.

[img]http://i68.tinypic.com/2elgg05.jpg[/img]

These are especially useful when you have a summary task containing front or back end loaded activity so that in the first half of the summary you will have completed 75-90% of the actual work / duration but 75% complete would suggest that you're ahead of the schedule which is only actually half way through.

Any ideas gratefully received! :)

Thanks

Miles

 

 

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Tom Boyle
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I don't know of any existing vba code for computing the dates you reference.  

I think you are on the right track for "rigorous controls," though I would go a bit further.  At the very least, "rigorous project controls" starts with formal Baseline management and continues with systematic progress updating (i.e. accurate actual starts, actual finishes, expected finishes, and use of the "Status Date" as a pseudo-"Data Date") and dynamic forecasting.  That means NO incomplete work before the status date, NO completed work after the Status Date, and all "Completed Through" bars ending exactly on the Status Date (unless the task has been split).  Under these conditions, the dates you want to compute are trivial - it's the Status Date.

In re-reading, I suppose I should have taken exception to your original title - "Real" progress is rarely to be confused with schedule percent complete, the subject of our discussion here.  In my world we use an updated schedule to forecast future completion dates against a baseline, and "progress" is more of an "earned value" term.

miles goodchild
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Tom

Thank you for the calculation; I'll give it a go.

I agree that the % complete etc can generate misleading progress views especially in front or back end loaded summary tasks however it can be useful in conversations.  I always update the finish date to the actual expected end date etc so that each task's schedule is accurate and nomally aligns the % complete with today's date unless the PM has a cunning plan to recover the time.  Is this what you mean about the 'rigerous controls'?

Do you have any idea where to find the VBA for the circle I mention?  I ask as when producing summary pictures etc outside of project this would be a very useful date to be able to extract, far more usesul than the various %complete options :)

Thanks

Miles

Tom Boyle
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Miles,

"Complete Through" is simply a graphical representation of the Actual Duration added to the Actual Start.  You can create a custom date field for it using the formula: IIf([% Complete]>0,ProjDateAdd([Actual Start],[Actual Duration]),ProjDateValue("NA")).  (There's an optional calendar parameter in the ProjDateAdd function; it is generally safe to omit it here, but PWA/PS may give different results than standalone.)

The spot that a Progress Line drops to on a summary task (in your linked image) is a bit more complex - it's supposed to be similar to the summary's percent complete calculation, but weighted only for durations to the left of the Progress Line.  You could calculate it with a little VBA, but I wouldn't.

In my experience both schedule %Complete (whether subtask or summary task) and Progress Lines offer simple-seeming but inevitably confusing and misleading pictures of the project progress.  They are not used in my projects, and I advise new planners to avoid them in favor of rigorous project schedule controls.