Monitoring your near critical tasks in Microsoft Project can be, in some schedules, as important as the critical ones. You need to be aware of where these activities are located on your schedule, so you can keep an eye on them as well as your critical activities. Any activities that have zero slack (float) can cause a delay to your project, if not performed exactly according to the schedule. But the activities that are near critical could easily become critical, even with minor delays?
This article describes how to create a filter, so you can easily view near critical tasks in your Microsoft Project schedule.
Creating a Near Critical Filter
Microsoft Project allows for the creation simple and somewhat complex filters. Fortunately, the filter required for monitoring near critical activities is fairly straight forward. We are going to create a near critical filter for the schedule displayed in Figure 1.
First select the View tab > Data ribbon group > Filter drop down menu | New Filter, Figure 2.
In the resulting Filter Definition dialog type in ‘Near Critical Filter’ in the Name field, Figure 3, use the drop down menus to enter ‘Total Slack’ in the Field Name column, ‘is greater than’ in the Test column, and ‘0.1d’ in the Value(s) column, Figure 3.
The 0.1 in the Value(s) column stands for one-tenth of a day. On the next row down select ‘And’ from the drop down menu in the And/Or column. Use the drop down menus to enter ‘Total Slack’ in the Field Name column and ‘is less than’ in the Test column, Figure 4.
Complete the filter by entering ‘15d’ in the Value(s) column, which stands for fifteen days, Figure 5.
Now you’ve just created a filter that will highlight or display only those tasks that have total slack between 0.1-days and 15-days.
Displaying Near Critical Tasks
Now in select View tab > Data ribbon group > Highlight drop down menu | Near Critical Filter, Figure 6.
Microsoft Project will highlight all your tasks that have a total slack between 0.1-days and 15-days, Figure 7.
You can now clearly see all the tasks that are non-critical but in danger of becoming critical if they are delayed in any way. If you want to display only the Near Critical tasks select the Filter drop down menu in the Data ribbon group, and the chose Near Critical Filter, Figure 8.
Microsoft Project 2019 will deactivate the Highlight feature and display only those tasks that meet the Near Critical Filter criteria, Figure 9.
The Task view has the option to display the total slack of each schedule task. However, to better spot specific tasks, such as Near Critical tasks, use a Filter to highlight those tasks that have total slack that meet your Filter criteria.
Microsoft Project allows you to display near critical tasks by:
- Creating a simple filter
- Using the highlight feature or Filter feature in the Data ribbon to better monitor those tasks
This is one of numerous ways to use Microsoft Project’s functionality to highlight and filter tasks for analysis.