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Why does leveling ignore completed tasks?

If I have a mixture of completed and incomplete tasks, the incomplete tasks get scheduled on top of the complete ones unless I explicitly set the start date for leveling at the end of all completed tasks.

Is there any way to change this behavior?

Leveling tries to schedule tasks as close to the relevant end of the project as possible, given the various constraints, dependencies, resources, priorities, etc. If a task is marked as completed, it isn't blocking something else from being started, and if a task has nothing blocking it, it will be shoved up against the end of the project. I can see how one might make an argument that the presence of a completed task in a given time slot should signal the leveling code that another task couldn't be done by the same resource in that same time slot (assuming 100% effort), but that's not how it works now, and the option to not schedule tasks before a given date (tomorrow morning being the default offered) seems to handle this pretty well, IMO. Your Gantt chart shouldn't show future work as already completed — if the work was done earlier than expected, the Actual view ought to be updated to reflect that.

I think the long and short of it is that if you are building a plan and haven't actually started working it, you probably don't need to turn on the "don't schedule tasks before date" option in the level command, and if you are modifying a plan already in progress, you use that option, probably with tomorrow morning as the date. Is there something I'm missing with this argument?
The problem I have is that the tasks in the projects I'm scheduling often have highly unpredictable ordering of tasks. This means I often want to reorder the tasks before marking them completed. (Essentially, my tasks are more of a 'backlog' from agile methodology, than a rigid plan.)

What I wanted to do was just set the priority high on all the about to be completed tasks, then level to make them slot in after the previously completed tasks.

Setting the "don't schedule before date" sort of works, but it becomes difficult if the completed tasks for different resources finish on different dates. Then I can't use a single "don't schedule before" date, I have to use different ones for each resource. Then I'm left selecting tasks for each resource, figuring out the right date, and then leveling the tasks for that resource.

It would be much simpler if there was an option to have the leveling code not schedule new tasks on top of completed tasks.

Of course, maybe there is a better workflow that I'm missing?

Last edited by jelliot; 2011-09-07 at 08:42 PM..
Okay, I guess what I'm not understanding here is why you need to slot tasks in right after something that was completed in the past? Are you trying to construct a document showing what was done but not documented at the time it was done? Maybe a picture of a simple example would help...
Essentially you're right - I don't update my schedule every day. I might only update once every week or two. I'd still like to record what was done since the last time I updated.
In that case, why not just drag the tasks into place as you adjust their duration and completion percentage? Level incomplete work starting tomorrow and I think you've got what you want. Seems easier than tricking the program into divining what happened when!

You should also send in your feature request with Help->Send Feedback; maybe they'll think it is a cool idea and implement it.
Thats a good suggestion - thanks!

I've also fired off some feedback, so maybe we'll see a new feature down the road...

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