Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Can tracking get too detailed?
Does it make sense to track 2.25 percent of
progress every other day on a two-month task?
Probably not. Except on the lengthiest tasks,
entering a percentage more finely broken down
than 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent complete
probably isn’t worth it. That’s partly because tasks
longer than a few weeks should probably be
broken down into subtasks for ease of tracking,
and partly because one of the main purposes of
tracking is reporting. If your boss or board or
client could really care less about when you hit
your exact 33.75 percent-complete point, why
track it?
On the other hand, if (for some reason known
only to you) your project must include a
sixmonth task and you can’t break it into subtasks,
you might use percentages such as 10, 20, 30,
40, 50, and so on to prevent having to wait a
month between updates with (apparently) no
progress to show.
You can also calculate percentage complete in more precise ways. For
example, if you estimate that a task should take ten hours of effort and your
resources report performing five hours of effort, you could say you’re 50
percent there. But be careful. Just because people have spent half the allocated
time doesn’t mean that they have accomplished half the work.
You could go by costs: If your original estimates said that your four resources
assigned to a four-day task would tally $4,000 of costs and the time your
resources report spending on the task add up to $3,000, you could guess that
the task is 75 percent finished. But again, just because you’ve spent three
quarters of the money doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished three quarters of
what you set out to do.
When a task’s deliverable is measurable, that helps a lot. For example, if you
have a task to produce 100 cars on the assembly line in four days and you’ve
produced 25 cars, you might be about 25 percent finished with the task. Or if
you were supposed to install software on ten computers in a computer lab
and you’ve installed it on five of them, that’s an easy 50 percent.
But not every task can be calculated so neatly. The best rule of thumb is to trust
your instincts and review what your team is telling you about their progress.
The simplest and quickest way to update percent complete on a task is to
click the task to select it in any view, and then click the 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or
100% button on the Tracking toolbar. Alternatively, you can double-click any
task to open the Task Information dialog box and then enter the percent
complete there. You can also select a task and click the Update Tasks button on
the Tracking toolbar to open the Update Tasks dialog box and make the
change there. If you want to enter a percentage in increments other than 25
percent, you’ll have to enter it in the Task Information or Update Tasks dialog
box or the Percent Complete column in any sheet view.
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