Understanding Calculation Options

You need to understand the calculation options that you can set in Project — they affect the "bottom line" of both the project's cost and schedule. You can review and change calculation options on the Calculation tab of the Options dialog box. Choose Tools O Options to display the Options dialog box, and then click the Calculation tab, as shown in Figure 12-1. In the paragraphs that follow, I describe the various options that you see in this figure.

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Calaiation options for Microsoft Office Project Calculation mode: Automatic C Manual

Calcufeie: (• All open projects C Active project

CaloJafcion options for "Project 1" F Updating task status updates resource status f Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date And ¡rave start of renarihg parts h =cu to status date Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date r A-.d rove end of roniple.fed parts Far v.-1 ■■ status date Earned j£alue... J

V Edits to total tasfc% complete wil be spread to the status date fv' Inserted projects are calculated ike summary tasks

W Actual costs are a*/*ays calculated by Microsoft Office Project I Edits to rota! siajai cost vfll be spre ad to cratlis da^B

Default [Ixed costs accrual: [prorated

V Calculate multiple critical paths Tasks are critical if slack is less than or equal to a

Calendar Collaborate

Calculate Now |

Set as Default . Cannftl I

Figure 12-1: Use this dialog box to set the options that Project will use to calculate your project's schedule and cost.

Calculation Mode and Calculate options: You can control when Project calculates changes that you make to the project; if you choose Automatic, Project updates your project as you make changes. If you choose Manual, Project reopens the Options dialog box and you can click the Calculate Now button to update your project. You also can choose to apply the calculation mode to all open projects or only to the active project. Automatic calculation is the default, but if your project is very large, calculating can take quite a while; under these circumstances, you may want to switch to manual calculation to save time. When your project is set to manual calculation and you make a change that requires recalculation, you see Calculate in the status bar — a reminder to calculate the project when you finish making changes.

Updating task status updates resource status check box: Select this box to have Project update resource status to correspond with any updated task status. (This option works in reverse, too. If you update a resource's status, Project also updates task status accordingly.) Suppose, for example, that you update the percentage of completion for a task. When you select this box, Project also updates the % Complete field for the resource and the assignment.

Note You can set calculation options that make Project change task start dates and *-"' adjust remaining portions of tasks when tasks begin early or late.

Adjusting for late or early starts: By default, when tasks begin late or early, Project doesn't change the task start dates or adjust the remaining portions of tasks. The following four check boxes are new to Project 2003 and enable you to change this default behavior so that Project updates the tasks in relation to the Status Date:

♦ Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date

♦ And move start of remaining parts back to status date

♦ Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date

♦ And move end of completed parts forward to status date

Tip You can find the project's status date in the Project Information dialog box (choose

Project o Project Information). If the status date isn't set. Project uses the current > date.

The check boxes work in pairs — that is, the first two check boxes work together, and the second two check boxes work together. To better understand Project's behavior and the first pair of check boxes, suppose that the Status Date is December 9 and you have a task with a Start Date of December 14 and a duration of 4 days. Furthermore, suppose that the task actually starts on December 7. If you select the first check box, Project moves the task start date to 12/7, sets the percent complete to 50%, and schedules the start of the remaining work for 12/16 — thus creating a split task. If you also select the second check box, Project makes the changes that I just described and moves the start of the remaining work to 12/9.

Now consider the second pair of check boxes. Again, suppose that the Status Date is December 9 and you have a task with a Start Date of December 1 and a duration of 4 days. Furthermore, suppose that the task actually starts on December 7. If you select the third check box, Project leaves the task start date at 12/1, sets the percent complete to 50%, and schedules the start of the remaining work for 12/9 — again creating a split task. If you also select the fourth check box, Project makes the changes that I just described but also moves the task's actual start date to 12/7.

Note that these options don't apply when you record actual information on Summary tasks. These options only apply when you make total actual value edits, including task total actual work, task actual duration, total percent complete, and percent work complete. The settings of these check boxes don't apply if you use timesheet information from Project Server to update your project.

Earned Value button: Click this button to set earned value options for the project.

- Cross- See Chapter 14 for more information about earned value.

Reference

Edits to total task % complete will be spread to the status date check box: By default, this box is not selected, which makes Project distribute changes to the task percentage of completion to the end of the actual duration of the task. If you select this check box, Project, instead, distributes the changes evenly across the schedule to the project status date.

Inserted projects are calculated like summary tasks check box: When this box is selected (as it is by default), Project treats inserted projects like summary tasks when calculating the project schedule, instead of treating them like a separate project.

Actual costs are always calculated by Microsoft Office Project check box. When you select this check box, Project calculates actual costs. You can't enter actual costs until a task is 100% complete — Project will overwrite any costs that you enter prior to 100% completion as it recalculates costs. You also can't import actual cost values.

Default fixed costs accrual list box: Use this list box to choose a method for Project to accrue fixed costs for new tasks. You can have Project accrue fixed costs at the start of a task or at the end of a task, or you can prorate the costs throughout the duration of the task.

Calculate multiple critical paths check box: When you select this check box, Project calculates and displays separate critical paths in the project — and sets the late finish date for tasks without successors or constraints to their early finish date. By changing the finish dates of these tasks, Project makes these tasks critical. When you deselect this box, Project sets the late finish date for these tasks to the project finish date, which leaves these tasks off the critical path.

Tasks are critical if slack is less than or equal to x days list box: By default, Project sets this value to 0 — only tasks with no slack appear on the critical path. You can force tasks in your project onto the critical path by increasing this value.

Set as Default button: The calculation options listed at the top of the box apply to all projects. While all other options shown in Figure 12-1 apply only to the project you are currently viewing, you can make them apply to all projects by clicking the Set as Default button.

Throughout the rest of this chapter, I use the default settings in Project to demonstrate the effects of updating a project.

See Chapter 15 for more information about inserting projects.

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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