Generating Earned Value Data

o p Earned value data begin to be generated as soon as you save a project baseline. Then as you

® start entering progress information, such as actual start or finish dates, actual percentage w completed, and so on, Microsoft Project compares the actuals against the baseline, calculates variances, and plugs those variances into earned value calculations. There are three categories of earned value fields, each with a different focus:

Saving the Baseline

Save the project baseline when you have built and refined the project plan to your satisfaction and just before you start entering progress information against tasks. The project plan should show all tasks and resources assigned, and costs should be associated with those resources. The project plan should reflect your target schedule dates, budget amounts, and scope of work.

To save a baseline, click Tools, Tracking, Baseline.

Starting with Project 2002, you can now save up to 11 different baselines. However, earned value is calculated on only a single baseline. To specify which baseline should be used for earned value analyses, follow these steps:

1 Click Tools, Options and then click Calculation.

2 Click the Earned Value button.

The Earned Value dialog box appears (see Figure 13-1).

Earned Value


Earned Value options for 13PrdDev.mpp

Default task Earned Value method:

1 % Complete


Baseline for Earned Value calculations:

| Baseline (last saved on Tue 4/6/04)

1 Close 1

Figure 13-1. Specify which of 11 possible saved baselines should be used for the earned value calculations.

3 In the Baseline For Earned Value Calculations list, click the baseline you want to use.

For a complete discussion of baselines, see "Saving Original Plan Information Using a Baseline" on page 298.

Entering Actuals

The counterpart to baseline information for earned value calculations is the actuals information. To enter task progress information manually, click Tools, Tracking, Update Tasks and then complete one or more of the progress fields indicating percentage complete, actual and remaining duration, or actual start and finish dates.

To enter true timephased actuals, enter actuals in the timesheet portion of the Task Usage or Resource Usage view. Otherwise, Microsoft Project derives timephased actuals by dividing any total amount entered into the timespan of the assignment.

If you're set up for enterprise project management using Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Server 2003, progress information is probably automatically updated in your project plan as team members submit task updates from their use of Microsoft Office Project Web Access 2003.

If you and your project server administrator have set up Project Web Access to record actual work performed per time period (days or weeks), you'll receive true timephased actuals from the team members. However, if Project Web Access records actuals by percent complete or total actual work and remaining work, again, Microsoft Project derives timephased actuals by dividing any total amount entered into the timespan of the assignment.

For more information about manually entering progress information, see "Updating Task Progress" on page 308.

Microsoft Project can calculate variances as soon your project plan contains baseline as well as actuals information. With variances, the earned values fields begin to populate.

Specifying the Status Date

Earned value data are calculated based on a particular cutoff date, or status date. Unless you specify otherwise, the status date is today's date. You can specify a different status date, for example, if you want to see figures based on the end of the month, which was last Thursday. To enter a status date, do the following:

1 Click Project, Project Information.

2 In the Status Date box, enter the status date you want.

Because Microsoft Project stores timephased data for values such as baseline and actual work, cost, and so on, earned value can be calculated based on the specified status date.

Tip Calculate earned value based on physical percent complete

You can change the basis of earned value calculations from percent complete, based on task duration, to physical percent complete, based on a physical rather than time measurement. Click Tools, Options, and then click Calculation. Click the Earned Value button. In the Default Task Earned Value Method list, click Physical % Complete.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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