In MSP, Tasks are Changing to 0 day Duration / Milestones

Document ID : KB000007476
Last Modified Date : 14/02/2018
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Some tasks change unexpectedly to 0 day duration and as a result Microsoft Project (MSP) coverts them into milestones. One way to reproduce the behavior is using the following scenario:

Steps to Reproduce:

1. In PPM, create a new project with one team member 

2. Create one task, and assign the team member to the task with some ETC

3. Open the project in MSP

4. Change the % Complete to 100 for the task to mark it completed (Note that at this time, the Remaining Work (ETC) then gets reduced to 0)

5. Save the project back to PPM

6. Open the project in MSP again

Expected Results: Task duration doesn't change, and the task is not a milestone

Actual Results: Task duration is changed to 0 days, and the task is then changed to a milestone

Applies to all supported PAS environments for specified releases.

This is working as designed:

  • If a task task is marked completed in MSP, any remaining work is deleted (moved to Actual Work). If time is tracked in PPM, the actual work inputted in MSP gets deleted in the save back to PPM, thus when the project is reopened in MSP, if it sees no Remaining Work (ETC) or Actual Work (Actuals) on a task, it will change the duration of the task to 0 (and will make it a milestone) since there is no work to do on it. 
  • This is also by design in the scenario where a resource is allocated 0% on a project team in PPM, and the resource is assigned a new task (Fixed Work or Fixed Units task type) in MSP. As MSP sees that their is no work to complete, it changes the duration to 0 (and makes it a milestone) since there is no work to do on it. 

This is working as designed as per the information mentioned above.

A couple of best practices to prevent this issue: 

1. Remove any assignments on a task before marking a task completed if actuals aren't tracked on the task. 

2. To prevent tasks from changing to 0 days when created in MSP:

  • It is recommended to have the resource's default allocation on the project in PPM be set greater than 0%. That way, when the resource is assigned to a task, the task duration will not change to 0. For steps to change the default resource allocation for all resources going forward, see KB: TEC1483859.
  • You can also add work to the task which will change the duration of the task from 0 days.
Additional Information:
  • Reference section 'Durations Changed Unexpectedly to Zero Days' of Microsoft Project (MSP) Task Integration with CA PPM for more information on the Zero day behavior where this can happen when you also delete the ETC/Remaining work on a task with one assignment.  
  • Reference TEC1483859: How can I change the Default value for Default Allocation %?