Microsoft Project has two project data date fields that may be displayed as vertical lines on the schedule. These dates may be edited from the Project, Project Information… form:
- Current Date – This date is set to the computer’s date each time a project file is opened. It is used for calculating Earned Value data when a Status Date has not been set. The time of the Current Date is set by default to the start time of a day, see the picture below.
- Status Date – This field is blank by default with a value of NA. The Status Date will not change when the project is saved and reopened at a later date. It overrides the Current Date for calculating Earned Value data and is set by default to the finish time of a day, see the picture below.
I recommend that the Status Date is set and displayed as a vertical line on a progressed schedule and the Current Date not displayed, because the Current Date represents the date today and does not normally represent any scheduling significance.
Auto Statusing Using Update Project
The Microsoft Project facility titled Update Progress is used for updating a project as if it had progressed according to plan. This function sets Actual Start and Actual Finish dates, % Complete and Renaming Durations in proportion to a user-assigned date, and also sets the Status Date.
Select Tools, Tracking, Update Project… to open the Update Project form:
There are two options under Update work as complete through: which apply to in-progress tasks only.
- Set 0% – 100 % complete and this is the recommended option which sets the progress in line with the Status Date, or
- Set 0% or 100 % complete only. This option leaves the % Complete at zero until the task is 100% complete. This option supports the progress measurement philosophy of not awarding progress until the task is complete, but tasks often look behind schedule.