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Duration Logic on Start Column

Is there any logic that is not obvious running behind the scenes on the "Duration" column that affects the "Start Date"?


See picture below.  On Training Day 18 deliverable, each task is taking 0.25h and the rolled-up total is 0.156d. Why row 368 is pushed to the next day ("3/22/2017") if all tasks above it are less than 8 hours per day? That row, "First Party Tables - Financial Tier Table" should show 3/21/2017 since all the taks above do not exceed 8 hours. 


What am I missing????



Duration Logic on Start Date.PNG


  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭



    I think you will find, if you trace backwards, that Training Day 18 is not scheduled to start at the beginning of the day on 3/21 but rather ... later.

    The parent task has a predecessor of the previous training day, so starts as soon as that one ends, not on the next morning.


    A recent change to Smartsheet makes this even harder to see - we used to be able to strip out the date from the date/time columns to see the time value. We can't anymore.


    There is no way (that I know of) to force the system to "round up" to the end of the day except by knowing that 5 x 0.25 hours is 1.25 and to round out the day there needs to be somewhere a lag or lead of the remaining day.



  • Sergio Seplovich
    edited 01/12/17



    Thank you for your reply! 


    So, if I understand you correctly, the logic is that, unless the duration on the previous day adds-up exactly to the full 8 hours (per the configuraion on the project setting that 1d = 8H), then the next task is not really starting on the date shown but maybe truly starting earlier (if the previous day did not add-up to 8 hours) or later (if the previous date added-up to more than 8 hours)??


    What is the best approach setting the duration to ensure that each day adds-up to a full 8-hour day and without having to set any tasks to 0 since this would make that task a milestone?


    For the only reason I am trying to get all the tasks to add up to 8 full hours per day is to avoid setting a task as a milestore when it is not.  


    These training sessions are truly 2 hours each but other tasks in the project are full 8 hours each so, how do I deal with that? Seems I am in a catch 22: on a one hand, I need to set either hours or days to avoid making those tasks milestones when they are really not. On the other hand, if I do set some duration value, I need to try to do the math to ensure they all add-up to 8 hours so this can equate to 1 day?


    There must be a better way!!


    I very much appreciate your feedback!


  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭



    To your first paragraph, no, not quite.

    If the Start Date is shown as 1/23/17, then it is scheduled to start on that date.

    However, based on predecessors, there is no convenient way to know what TIME it is is starting on that date.


    If the first task in project is 2 hours, and the next 5 are 2 hours and dependent sequentially, then they would start at

    1. 8am

    2. 10am

    3. 1 pm *

    4. 3 pm

    5. 8am the following day.


    * Note that Smartsheet used to assume that there was 1 hour break at noon. Always unless the work day was less than 4 hours or 23+. With recent changes, I can no longer verify if this is still the case.


    To your second paragraph:

    Very much personal preference. I use different methods for different scenarios.

    If you are tracking date and completion, but not using the estimated/actual times to determine cost (a 2 hour task costs X while a 4 hour task costs 2X), then here's one that springs to mind for you training example


    If you have 5 tasks that are done per day and while they are typically (by convenience, process, or true dependency) done in a certain order, instead make them all SS (start-to-start) and 8h duration. They will be in the system as 5 parallel tasks that start and end on the same day.


    There is a big differnce between effort and duration.

    I have a 2 hour task (effot) but it takes me 4 days (duration) to do it because I can only do 30 minutes of effort per day.


    If it is critical to round up to 8 hours, then you need a new task that is of some duration (not 0) to get the total for the day to 8.


    Sorry, this is really difficult to explain because there is so many variables.



  • Craig:


    Thank you!! Very helpful explanation. I truly appreciate it!



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