Task Estimate to Complete (ETC)

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Estimate to Complete (ETC) is the estimated time for a resource to complete an assignment. This value is important for project planning and revenue recognition. Estimates help project managers more effectively allocate work hours. Project managers can compare actuals to estimates, which can help produce more accurate forecasting and planning.
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Set Up Tasks for Top-Down Estimating
You can set up tasks for top-down estimating. You can also apply top-down distributions at the project level.
Follow these steps:
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Zero Out Existing Estimates
Before you can set up and apply top-down estimating at the task level, zero out existing estimates. To set up top-down estimating for detail tasks, zero out the ETC amount of the summary task.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. Complete the following field:
    • ETC
      Defines the total remaining work for the task. The list displays the value for the ETC field on the task estimating properties page.
      Required:
      No
      Verify that the ETC field is set to zero (0.00). If it is not, delete the amount and enter 0.
  4. Click Apply.
Enter Distribution Percentages
Enter a distribution percentage for each task to share a portion of the top-down distribution.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
    The list page appears.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. Complete the following field:
    • Top-down %
      Displays the percentage of the top-down estimate from the project that is distributed to the task.
  4. Save the changes.
Apply Top-Down Estimates Using Estimating Rules
You can apply top-down estimating to the tasks set up to receive the top down distribution using the estimating rules mode. Use this mode when you have a good idea of the number of hours necessary to complete all of the tasks in a grouping or project. At the summary-task level, the number is distributed through all the detail tasks that have resource assignments.
The top-down method can be most effectively used when assignments have no existing estimates. That is, the ETC field is set to 0). Prepare the tasks to receive the top-down distribution.
Example
You know that Phase I requires 100 hours to complete. Before you can enter the number and can apply it, you set up the tasks for the phase to receive some percentage of those 100 hours. In this case, you can enter 60 percent for Task A, and 40 percent for Task B. Once the tasks are set up to receive a percentage, you can apply the ETC. The number is distributed accordingly.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
    The list page appears.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. In the General section, complete the following field:
    • ETC
      Defines the total remaining work for the task. The list displays the value for the ETC field on the task estimating properties page.
      Required:
      No
      Enter the amount to distribute down to the detail tasks.
  4. Click Preview.
    The preview ETC change page appears.
  5. Click Apply.
    The ETC is distributed to the detail tasks, and the distribution is saved.
Task Estimating Rules
Create and apply estimating rules to calculate ETC automatically. For example, you can create an estimating rule for a group of tasks that considers the budgeted cost of the tasks in the ETC. Though you can create multiple task estimating rules for the same task, only one can serve as the default rule.
Create estimating rules at the task level, and run the rules for the tasks for which they were created. You create a rule at the phase level for a phase containing two detail tasks. The rule is applied to the tasks in the phase. If you create the rule at the detail-task level, you can only run the rule for that task.
You can run any task estimating rule from any page on which it exists at any time. Create an execution condition for all rules except the default rule, which cannot have an execution condition.
You can run individual estimating rules or can run them all. Rules are verified in the order listed. You require having two or more estimating rules with estimating conditions displayed in the list to reorder the list. You cannot reorder the default task estimating rule.
If you do not require a task estimating rule, delete the rule.
Apply Estimates to Tasks (ETC)
Follow these steps:
  1. Assign a resource to the task.
  2. Create the task estimating rule. If the rule is not the default rule for the task or phase, create the execution condition.
  3. Compare the generated ETC with the current ETC.
  4. Apply the ETC from the task estimating rule.
Create a Task Estimating Rule
A new row, for every new task estimating rule, displays in the Task Estimating Rules section of the task estimating properties page.
Enter or paste a formula directly into the Estimating Rule field to bypass the Operator and Value fields. Then, click Evaluate to evaluate the expression.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
    The list page appears.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. In the Task Estimating Rules section, click New.
    The create page appears.
  4. Complete the following fields:
    • Operator
      Displays the operator for the formula.
      Values:
      addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponential, or modulus
    • Value
      Defines the value for the estimating rule.
      Values:
      • Estimate for Another Task. Select the field to use the estimates from another task on this project.
      • Constant. Select the field and enter a number (integer or decimal) that serves as a fixed value for the estimating rule.
      • Project Attribute. Select the field from the list of numeric project attributes. You can use any numeric attribute in the estimating rule.
      Default:
      Estimate for Another Task
  5. Click Add.
    The expression is evaluated and, if successful, the new rule appears in the Estimating Rule field. If the expression does not evaluate successfully, an error message displays in the field.
  6. Click Finish.
    The rule is created.
Create Execution Conditions
Create a task estimating rule execution condition if an existing estimating rule is not the default rule. Execution conditions determine when the rule is required to run. An executing condition is not required for the default rule.
Verify that a task estimating rule exists before completing this procedure. The [Define execution conditions] link appears only if a rule is established.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
    The list page appears.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. In the Task Estimating Rules section, click [Define execution conditions] next to an existing task estimating rule.
    The execution condition page appears.
  4. Complete the following field:
    • Object
      Defines the object.
      Values:
      Project or Task
    The field that appears or becomes available next depends upon the type of object selected. If Project is selected as the object, then select the Field or Operation field and select a value. If Task is the object, then select the field and select a value.
  5. Complete the following field, and click Add:
    • Operator
      Displays the operator to use in the formula.
      Values:
      = or !=
    • Right
      Defines the Constant or an Object.
  6. Click Add to add the expression to the Expression field.
  7. Click Evaluate to evaluate the expression.
  8. Click Save and Return.
    If successful, the new rule displays in the Task Estimating Rules section. If the expression does not evaluate successfully, an error message displays in the field.
    Enter or paste a formula directly into the Estimated Rule field to bypass the Operator and Value fields. Then, click Evaluate to evaluate the expression.
  9. Save the changes.
Compare Generated ETC with Current ETC
You can compare the ETC generated by the task estimating rule with the current ETC (the one in place before running the rules).
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
    The list page appears.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. Select the rule and click Run.
    The run estimating rules page appears.
  4. View the following fields:
    • Current ETC
      Displays the total Estimate To Complete (ETC) for the task. The value for this field is derived from the ETC field on the task estimating properties page.
    • ETC from Rules
      Displays the total Estimate To Complete (ETC) for the task generated from the applied task estimating rule.
Apply ETC from Task Estimating Rules
You can run an estimating rule at the phase, task, or project level, which applies ETC values to the task based on the rules. Use the following procedure to apply task estimating rules to the phase or summary task and to its detail tasks. To run a task estimating rule for a phase or summary task, select the required task to apply the rule to all its detail tasks. Or, select one or more of the detail tasks to apply the rule individually.
The order in which tasks are listed on the task estimating page is important. If none of the task estimating rules meets its execution conditions, the default rule is run. If only a default rule exists, then that rule is run. The process of applying ETC is executed automatically after verifying all the rules in the list in the order in which they are listed.
You can either run the task estimating rule on all listed tasks or select which tasks to run the rule. In the absence of a rule to run, all the rules are evaluated in the order in which they appear. Also, the first rule that meets the execution conditions is run.
  • Create and apply estimating rules to distribute ETC values in a specific way. For example, you can create an estimating rule for a specific group of tasks that considers the planned cost of the tasks in the estimate. 
  • Create the estimating rules at the task level, and you can only run them for the tasks for which you created them. 
  • Though you can apply estimating rules at the project level, you cannot create them at the project level.
The names of the phases or groupings for which the rule is run are highlighted in a different color. Use the ETC From Rules column to compare the ETC previously generated for the phase with the ETC generated from the applied rules.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project and click Tasks.
    The list page appears.
  2. Open the task and click Estimating.
    The task estimating properties page appears.
  3. Select the check box next to the rule and click Run.
    The run estimating rules page appears.
  4. Select the check box next to the task to apply ETC, and click Apply ETC from Rules.
Edit Task Estimating Rules or Conditions
Task estimating rules appear in the list on the task estimating properties page.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open a project and click Tasks.
  2. Open a task and click Estimating.
    The estimating rule page appears.
  3. Edit the following fields:
    • Operator
      Displays the operator for the formula.
      Values:
      addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponential, or modulus
    • Value
      Defines the value for the estimating rule.
      Values:
      • Estimate for Another Task. Select the field to use the estimates from another task on this project.
      • Constant. Select the field and enter a number (integer or decimal) that serves as a fixed value for the estimating rule.
      • Project Attribute. Select the field from the list of numeric project attributes. You can use any numeric attribute in the estimating rule.
      Default:
      Estimate for Another Task
  4. Click Add.
    The expression is evaluated and, if successful, the new rule appears in the Estimated Rule field. If unsuccessful, an error message displays in the field.
  5. Click Finish and Save.
  6. To edit an execution condition, click its name. 
    1. To define a condition for the default rule, click the
      Define execution conditions
      link. 
    2. Edit the execution condition and save the changes.