Only assign due dates when ready

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Dan Engerer
edited 12/09/19 in Smartsheet Basics

Hi. I've found that traditional PM software has a hard time keeping up with the realities of how projects generally go: Lots of unexpected delays, nothing goes according to plan, etc. 

QUESTION: 

What is the best way to assign due dates only when a predecessor task has been completed? That is, so that if person A is late, person B doesn't see a bunch of red in their to-do list. 

BACKGROUND:



One issue I'm trying to mitigate is numbness to overdue tasks. When a project (almost inevitably) gets delayed, everyone's tasks start to turn red even if it's "not their fault". This is very bad from an incentive/personal responsibility standpoint.



I realize that this may be useful for fixed-date goals, such as an upcoming holiday, etc. That's not what I'm talking about here - I'm talking about the majority of long-term projects, such as product launch. Artificial due dates, like it or not, are functionally more like targets than actual due dates (because if they get exceeded, well, life must go on). That being said, In these cases, internal due dates are more a function of when things actually get accomplished.

Thanks! 

Comments

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Wow. That's a can of worms. 

    If you wanted to do this automatically using the UI front-end, then there are things missing, I think. Your post deserves more time than I have today to devote to it, but it is extremely thought-provoking for me.

    Craig

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I almost had this figured out and was in testing (successfully I think) when I discovered an issue with Smartsheet's interpretation of Duration.

     

    If your start date is 10 Aug. and your duration is 2w, it will give you a due date of 20 Aug. That's only 10 days, not 14. BUT... If I enter 14d into my  duration, it will give me a due date of 24 Aug. 14 days.

     

    They are basically saying that 1w = 5d (work week, ok), yet they don't take into account the ACTUAL work week.

     

    "2w" and "14d" should give me the same result. Either both should take into account any weekends that may fall within that range or both shouldn't.

     

    Or am I ranting about something that is my own mistake?

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    You are mis-interpreting your results

    1w == 1 work week == 5 work days

    14d = 14 work days

    In Project Settings, you can set working days (and hours).

    The system is showing you what you asked for.

    You can also work on a non-working day by using the "e" designator

    e14d

    There is a slight peculiarity that sometimes e14d and 2w don't match, but I forget the reason why.

    Craig

     

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Also, if you are trying to solve this in the Smartsheet tool without 3rd party tools, my experience is I ran into  too many exceptions to be viable:

    1. Only X number predecessors 

    2. Only FS predecessor type

    3. No lead / lags to the predecessors.

    It wasn't worth it to continue for me as a PM.

    Smartsheet does not have a way to parse long lists that make it worthwhile (also why I am opposed to multi selection Dropdown unless this is addressed)

    Craig

     

     

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    You are mis-interpreting your results

    1w == 1 work week == 5 work days

    14d = 14 work days

     

    If 14d = 14 work days, then my end date should be 30 Aug, yet I am getting 24 Aug as my result. So I am getting 14 days regardless of whether or not they are workdays.

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    You're right here for sure. I continued with the testing by throwing in some extra predecessors and some lag/lead time. Parsing everything out and accounting for all variables is a huge pain. I can make it work with one or two predecessors, but anything more than that makes getting it to work a massive ordeal.

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    This is what I get when workdays M-F and workday is 8 hours

    I've played around with this problem a few times. I need someone smarter than me to take my design and turn it into reality. I don't know any PM tools out there that completely into my world-view.

    Craig

    2w_vs_14d_vs_e14d.png

  • Paul Newcome
    Paul Newcome ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I must have had something somewhere else on the sheet jacking things up. I had checked my dependencies settings. Everything was the same (Mon-Fri/8 Hour day), but for whatever reason, my "14d" was being read as "e14d". I have no idea why it was doing that. I created a brand new sheet, started completely over from scratch, and now I am getting the same results as you.

     

    I have no idea what was going on with that other sheet... It was my "Testing for Community" Sheet, so it had all kinds of mess all over the place. I'll be deleting that and starting a new one as that one is obviously jacked up. Haha.

     

    I went back to it after getting the appropriate results on my new sheet, double checked everything, and was still getting different results.