Identifying potential problems by using plan checks

Plan checks analyze your plan and flag potential planning issues. Use this option to check for problems, such as scheduling issues, invalid estimates, and priority mismatches.

Before you begin

For information about plan views, see Creating and editing plan views.


  1. From the Planned Items tab, click Create View or Edit View.
  2. In the Options tab, click the down arrow next to the More (More) icon, and then click Plan Check.
  3. In the field to the right, choose one of the following plan checks:
    • Invalid Estimate Check: This check displays a warning if you attempt to change the Time Remaining value to a number that is more than the Estimate value.
      Note: If you use Time Spent for your project (rather than Time Remaining), this check does not happen.

      Example of Invalid Estimate Check warning

    • Planning Problems Check: If a problem exists with the schedule of work items in a plan, a warning is displayed. For example, a warning is displayed if a work item is scheduled after its due date, has no estimate, is scheduled after the iteration ends, or if the due date has passed.

      Example of the Planning Problems Check warning

      Note: The Planning Problems Check is available in non formal projects only.
      You get a warning if, for example, the due date of an item is after the planned to be completed date. In Agile plans, the scheduler plans the schedule in this way:
      • The scheduler collects all work item assigned to a person in an iteration.
      • The scheduler sorts the work items by their sequence value (this is not the rank)
      • If the sequence value is not set or is equal to the rank, then the schedulersum up the effective estimates of all n work items to figure out the start date of work item n+1

      For information about scheduling in traditional project planning, see

    • Priority Mismatch: If the priority of a parent work item is not the same as its child work items, a warning is displayed.
      Note: You must add the Priority attribute in the Column Display tab for this plan check to display.

      Example of Priority Mismatch Check warning

    • Traditional Planning Check: This option displays warnings for traditional planning when any of the following conditions are true:
      • The start and finish dates are not within the constraints of the Start No Earlier and Finish No Later parameters.
      • A work item owner is not allocated to the project.
      • A work item owner is used to full capacity within the current project allocation.
      • Time is entered for the successor work item before the predecessor work item is complete.
      • Work item predecessors planned for different iterations are ignored in the current work item schedule.
      • A dependency is created between parent and child work items.
      Note: The Traditional Planning Check is available in formal projects only.

      Example of the Traditional Planning Check warning

    • Cross-Project Planning Problems Check: This option displays warning messages when any of the following conditions are met:
      • The rolled-up schedule for a work item on the plan exceeds the end date of the iteration that the plan is associated with.
      • The planned for date of a plan item exceeds the plan's iteration end date
      • The rolled-up schedule for a work item on the plan exceeds the due date that is specified on the work item.
      • The work item for the tracked item is not planned for any iteration.
      • The work item for the tracked item is not assigned to an owner.
      Note: The Cross-Project Planning Check is available in cross-project plans only.

      Example of Cross-Project Planning Problems Check warning

    • Contributes To Planning Problems Check: Use this check in a plan that contributes to cross-project plan items. The check displays a warning message if a contributing work item is planned for an iteration that ends later than the iteration of the work item that it contributes to.
      Note: To track the early release end dates that the work item contributes to, you can add the Earliest Contributes To End Date attribute in the Column Display tab. A contributes to link that has a target work item on a different server is ignored when computing the value of the Earliest Contributes To column or when performing the Contributes to Planning Problems Check.

      Example of Contributes to Planning Problems Check warning

  4. Click OK, and then save the plan.