Managing single tasks in automatically planned project plans - without fixed dates - for reporting

Occasional Contributor


I have a basic Project - logic and possible workaround question:

The requirement is to have an overview chart / table of IT worker projects in a department - precisely of the last/current project task within vaguely scheduled internal projects.

The internal projects often have no or just a vague schedule with no fixed start or ending dates. Currently these are shown and evaluated with visually fomatted PowerPoint timelines.

For better management and controlling of these projects by superiors, the department needs to only show a vague time plan over all employee projects and the last / current task/phase; from MS Project or likewise, preferably shown in Power BI.

But the projects, as data base for the BI reporting, should be managed and scheduled fully within the Project-logic.

Does one know a solution?
Is there a way to only pull certain tasks from a MS Online project for Power BI?

I hope my question/requirement is clear.

Thanks in advance

2 Replies
Sorry I have to admit that I am a bit confused. When you say "Vague" do you mean that the tasks in MS Project aren't linked up or only that they don't have fixed start or finish times for the whole project?
If the former then I would suggest implementing the correct logical linking between the tasks in the plans would be a good start.
Maybe you could start by defining what is actually in place and the report /output which needs to be produced?
For instance I have a bunch of projects which are running and the management wants to see what tasks have been completed last week by specific resources + I need to provide a list of what is coming up next week to each resource. The plans are fully formed logical networks which resource allocated to each task. To do this I use a combination of MS Project and Excel. But I don't know if this is the sort of thing that you are asking for :)

Hello Miles and every reader here,

I will make my inquiry more clear:

This is gonna be long, so tl;dr:

I am trying to manage 2 different types, rather states, of projects:

  • Vaguely planned ones with no fixed start or end date by day, and only be reported in Power BI by these vague start and end dates of a first and last task
  • After a switch when a project runs:
    Manage the project with full Project logic in Project Online and full reporting in Power BI of all tasks and milestones


The head of IT department wants to do 2 things (with Project Online, Power BI, maybe Planner and To-Do)

1. To the management board:

Show internal projects, those

  • only "vaguely" planned, with no start and finish dates
    • Important: These plans should only be tracked in reporting with tentative, "fake" start and finish dates
  • and then, after when the plan dates are fixed or projects are running, make a "reporting switch" - and track and enable reporting with the Project logic for all tasks

2. IT internally:

  • Track fully the progress of vaguely planned and fixed planned projects

My current try of implementing this:

As suggested by the user Doug B in in the PM exchange forum (external link)  :

  1. in the Project plan create a start task, manually planned, with zero duration and no ressources. This task is the only predecessor for the first real task in the project plan.
  2. Update the start date of the start task when the project will be running.
  3. Only this start task should be shown in Power BI reports

And now I work on flagging this start task with a formula to make an easy swich from a vague to a fixed project.
Thanks if you read this long post. And moreover, if you have a better solution.

Best regards