The Microsoft Project % complete considers task completed duration while % work complete considers how much work was actually performed during this duration.
In many situations the Microsoft Project % complete equals % work complete. However, when the task’s assigned resource has a non-uniform work effort the % work complete provides a more accurate picture of schedule progress. This may also be the situation when multiple resources are assigned to an activity working at non-uniform burn rates.
This article discusses the differences between the Microsoft Project % complete and % work complete.
Microsoft Project % Complete and % Work Complete
We begin with a demonstration project. In Figure 1 we have 2 resources.
We assign the pipe fitter resource to an activity. In Figure 2 we view this schedule in a split view.
Toggle details in the view tab and split view ribbon group. From the drop down menu we select resource usage to display it in the lower pane, again, Figure 2. In the resource usage table we right click on work and select actual work from the pop up menu, Figure 3.
Now both planned work and actual work are available for each resource.
In Figure 4 we see the pipe fitter is assigned to the activity at a uniform 8-hours per day work effort.
We enter progress for the pipe fitter in Figure 5.
The pipe fitter works three 8-hour days. The activity is five days duration, so the % complete 3-days/5-days computes to 60% duration complete. The % work complete 24-hours/40-hours also computes to 60% work complete. Great! So our % complete and % work complete values are equivalent.
Now let’s examine the situation when the resource has non-uniform burn rates, Figure 6.
The resource in this situation works a 32-hour week consisting of two 4-hour days and three 8-hour days. Now our values differ, Figure 7.
The % complete 3-days/5-days again computes to 60%. However, the % work complete 16-hours/32-hours now computes to 50%. In this situation the % work complete is a more accurate reflection of actual schedule progress.
Let’s now add the common laborer to the task, so we have multiple resources and non-uniform burn rates, Figure 8.
When we progress the schedule three days and according to plan, Figure 9, the % complete 3-days/5-days again computes to 60%.
The % work complete is the actual hours of all resources, 28-hours, divided by the planned hours of all resources, 60-hours. The % work complete computes to 47%. Again, the % work complete value provides a more accurate depiction of actual progress.
Using Microsoft Project’s % complete feature is the most efficient way to track schedule progress; it considers only the completed duration of a task. However, when the daily resource work output or work effort is non-uniform use % work complete to examine schedule progress.
The % work complete value tracks the daily completed work of the assigned resource. The % work complete analysis is also able to provide more accurate schedule progress when there are multiple resources working at differing burn-rates.