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

Document ID : KB000007476
Last Modified Date : 22/02/2019
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Issue:

Some tasks change unexpectedly to Zero (0) day duration (Durations zero out) when opening a project from Clarity PPM and as a result Microsoft Project (MSP) coverts the tasks into milestones.
To reproduce the issue when a task with one or more resource's assigned is marked completed and there are no actuals:

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 (Example 5 hours)

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) changes to 0 and the Remaining Work is moved to the Actual Work column (5 hours in this example))

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

Note: If you save the project back to PPM Clarity, the task is then also a milestone there as well. If you notice any incorrect data in MSP, it's recommended to not save the project back to Clarity as the data will be incorrect there as well.

Cause:

This can happen if:

  • 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 also applies if hours were submitted on a timesheet for a task but the Post Timesheets job has not yet been run as the hours are not converted to actuals until the job is run)
  • 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. 
  • If the task Type if Fixed Units and there is no ETCs or actual work on the task.
Resolution:

Some 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. Check to make sure hours submitted for a task have been posted and show up as actuals on the task before marking the task completed. (Hours change from ETCs to actuals once the Timesheet is in Posted status (which happens after the Post Timesheets job has been run)

3. To prevent tasks from changing to 0 days when created in MSP due to a resource being allocated 0% on the project in PPM:

  • 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.
4. For tasks without ETCs/Actuals that are still open, use a task type of Fixed Duration to prevent the tasks from being converted to Milestones.
5. Additionally, check to make sure you are on a supported Microsoft Project update (it's recommended to be on the latest version). See KB000011553
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.  
  • If you are seeing this issue for tasks with actuals, see KB000124007
  • Reference TEC1483859: How can I change the Default value for Default Allocation %?
For a list of many known MSP issues/defects see:
  • KB000071385 - CA PPM and MSP integration - List of Knowledge Documents
  • KB000015956 - CA PPM and MSP integration known defects - Support Technical Document Index