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Articles -> MS Project Server 2003 -> Actual Work vs. Actual Work Protected Values

Actual Work Protected vs. Actual Work values in MS Project Plan:

Actual Work (AW) in MS Project Plan is the overall work done on the tasks but not necessarily submitted from PWA.

Actual Work Protected (AWP) values are entered through the PWA timesheet and approved by PM.

Actual Work Protected is valid for only assignments in the project plan. When PM approves the timesheet updates from PWA, actual work values go into Protected Actual Work and Actual Work columns of MS Project plan.

A project manager can edit the Actual Work values but not the Actual Work Protected in Project Professional. System simply looks at each assignment in PWA, and prevents PMs from changing tasks in the project plan file in any way that causes a conflict in actual work values between the two sources.

Note: Editing actual work in MS Project Plan is not possible when your Project Server configured with Managed Time Periods option.

Discrepancy between Actual Work and Actual Work Protected values:

When working with timesheets for status updates, Actual work and Actual Work protected should always be the same. When this is not the case (e.g. if PM manually changed the Actual Work of an assignment in MS Project plan for which timesheet reporting was done), you get an out of sync message. Synchronizing will then copy the information from the timesheet (Protected) into the Actual Work field of the project plan again.

Note: Please make sure there are no actual hours entered for local resources in the project plan. If you have actual hours for local resources in the project plan, when you use the Protected to Sync feature, it overwrites the AWP values into AWP. This makes AW for local resources as 0 hrs. (Always AWP values for local resources are 0 hrs due to actual hours for local resources are not received from PWA, instead those hours entered directly into project plan.)

If actual hours were entered for local resources is valid, please do not use the Sync to Protected Actuals feature on project plan.

Steps to Syncronize AW & AWP:

Open project plan -> Tools menu -> Tracking -> Sync to Protected Actuals -> Save Project

Actuals cannot be protected if timesheet tracking done by percent complete OR timesheet tracking done by actual and remaining work OR if you're not receiving your actuals from PWA timesheet."

Sync issues & Troubleshooting:
  • AW and AWP values are not same after doing Sync to Protected Actuals
  • Detailed task values have same AW & AWP values but values are not matching at summary task level

Issue1: AW and AWP values are not same after doing Sync to Protected Actuals:

The one of the reason beyond this issue is, when a new resource is added to a task that already has had time reported against it by other resource.

The following example explains the root cause beyond this issue and also offered the solution for this issue.


In project plan let’s say, you have the following information for the task.

Please note the below information from Gantt chart:

    Task name: Define project objective and information

    Resource: Chak Tukkadi

    Actual Work: 24 hrs

    Actual Work Protected: 24 hrs

Chak Tukkadi has been submitted the actual work from PWA and task has been approved by project manager. So, AW & AWP values have same values. So far, everything looks good.

Now, PM received the information that Chak Tukkadi is not going to be work on this project. So, PM decided to have a new resource named Ken Hughes in the place of Chak to continue the task. PM decided to replace Ken Hughes on this particular task.

PM access the task information dialog box and trying to assign Ken Hughes on this task.

When PM selects the Ken Hughes name and click OK on Task information window, PM will get the prompt “The selected item has some actual values. Do you still want to delete it?”

PM have two choices on this prompt; Yes or No

Case 1: If PM clicks on No on delete actual values prompt:

See the Gantt chart values, actual work is still same, but you will see the two resource names assigned to the task. It means, actual work entered by Chak Tukkadi has been retained also the future work can be managed by Ken Hughes.

Case 2: If PM clicks on Yes on delete actual values prompt:

By clicking on Yes, PM agree to delete the actual hours submitted by Chak Tukkadi. Please see the below for Gantt chart and the values after clicking Yes.

Do you see the AW & AWP values on above Gantt? AW is 0 hours and AWP is 24 hours. AWP values are the actual hours submitted by Chak from PWA. By clicking the Yes on prompt, Actual work has been deleted for this task. But AWP values are retained. These values are protected by nature. In this scenario, if you are trying to sync the values of AW & AWP by using Tools menu -> Tracking -> Sync to Protected Actuals, you will not see any synchronization. The reason is AWP values are not submitted by Ken Hughes.

Solution: The above non synchronization issue can be addressed by Republishing the assignments with Overwrite actuals entered by resource option. Project owner should do the below steps.

  • Enter the AWP value in AW column (In this example, enter 24 hrs in AW column for Ken Hughes)
  • Make sure now AW & AWP is same for the task
  • (At this step, you will see 24 hrs for both AW & AWP)
  • Highlight the task have the sync issue (In this example, selecting the entire row of the tak “Define project objective and information”)
  • Collaborate menu -> Publish -> Republish Assignments -> Overwrite actual work entered by resources under Settings

  • Tools menu -> Tracking -> Sync to Protected Actuals will sync the values on both AW & AWP columns

Issue 2: Detailed task values have same AW & AWP values but values are not matching at summary task level

In some cases summary tasks will calculate the inaccurate AW & AWP values. This may be the case for those unassigned tasks. In this case, try indenting the underlying tasks which should sync refresh AW & AWP values.


Please see the Gantt chart below; details tasks have the same values for both AW & AWP. But the summary task has different values. If you are trying to use Sync to Protected Actuals feature, but the values are not in sync.


Intend the summary task by introducing the new task at row 1; (In this example, I inserted new task called Summary)

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