In-Progress Task Finish Date Calculation in Microsoft Project
Many planning and scheduling packages calculate a task Finish Date from the Data Date plus the Remaining Duration over the Task or Resource Calendar, whichever is applicable.
Unlike most planning and scheduling software packages, Microsoft Project ignores the Current Date and Status date when calculating an in-progress schedule. Instead it calculates the Finish date from the Actual Start Date plus the Duration and effectively ignores the Remaining Duration for normal calculation.
There is an in-built proportional link between Duration, Actual Duration, Remaining Duration and % Complete. It is not possible to unlink these fields (as in other scheduling software) and therefore not possible to enter the Remaining Duration independently of the % Complete.
Thus % Complete reflects the % of Duration of a task.
Current Date and Status Date
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.