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Baseline and actual start dates RRS feed

Answers

  • Hi,

    I'm afraid Project did not change the baseline start date! To check, insert the column "Baseline Start" - I hope the previous owner did set a baseline if not you do not (yet) have one.

    Project does match the start field with actual start: the start and finish felds are the base of further calculations so they have to reflect reality.

    If you want to set today's situation as the baseline, set a baseline. How to do that depends on the version. For all versions up to 2007, Tools Menu, Tracking, set baseline. Project 2010, Project ribbon, Set Baseline. After that, after tracking, you not only can compare actual (or actualized planned) dates with baseline dates, you also have the possibility to show Varianc fields such as Start Variance and Finish Variance.

    Greetings,

    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 1:03 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ben,

    You are most Welcome, we do tend to miss out on the teminologies when new to a tool :) Yes your Start Date changes when you enter Actual start Date as Jan mentioned above. The reason for this is that Start and Finish Dates are the only flexible dates holding the dynamic of the schedule (whenever Actual Dates are updated) to give estimates for the related/linked tasks. Basically they help in reflecting the schedule once a actual date is changed.

    As for the comparison purpose you can use Baseline values (holding estimated at a point) and Actual Start/Finish or Start/Finish to see the changes. Tracking Gantt view is one of the best way to track such delays etc.


    Sapna S
    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:23 PM
    Moderator
  • Ben, please open the Tracking Gantt view and see if it is reflecting the changes; when you delay the Start of a task by a day then estimated in Baseline Start - your Start variance does calculates.


    Sapna S
    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ben,

    I hoed the following line from my reply was clear enough (quote)

    Project does match the start field with actual start: the start and finish felds are the base of further calculations so they have to reflect reality.

    Maybe it wasn't because you ask again. Orf didn't you read my message through?

    So yes you cannot detect variations by comparing start to actual start; the only way to do that is by comparing start to baseline Start.

    And you should not write in those Baselien fields: I gave you the full recipe of setting the baseline values - again, I shall cut and paste:

    For all versions up to 2007, Tools Menu, Tracking, set baseline. Project 2010, Project ribbon, Set Baseline

    That copies all current values into the baseline fields. So if you do it AFTER entering actual values, of course variance is zero. The point is to do it at starting the project then you can compare.µ

    Greetings,

    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 3:07 PM
    Moderator
  • The task start is either the scheduled (planned) start if the task hasn't started yet, or else it is the actual start, ie either one or the other and actual trumps planned.
    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 3:46 PM
  • Hi,

    You're on your way but not yet there.

    Actual start and Actual Finish reflect the past, dates that are achieved, work that is done.

    But when some tasks shift (let's say they get an actual finish later than the baseline finish) they will also delay their succesor tasks, which in tuirn may push their successors forward... in other words these are tasks that now have a PLANNED date different from their baseline. That is not an ACTUAL date suince they have not started yet, it is START and FINISH: our current vision of the plan taking into account alll known changes.

    Summarizing: logically Actual dates are in the past, start and finish fields for unstarted tasks are in the future. Both can be usefully compared to beseline dates.

    Does that help?

    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Friday, August 19, 2011 5:24 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    I'm afraid Project did not change the baseline start date! To check, insert the column "Baseline Start" - I hope the previous owner did set a baseline if not you do not (yet) have one.

    Project does match the start field with actual start: the start and finish felds are the base of further calculations so they have to reflect reality.

    If you want to set today's situation as the baseline, set a baseline. How to do that depends on the version. For all versions up to 2007, Tools Menu, Tracking, set baseline. Project 2010, Project ribbon, Set Baseline. After that, after tracking, you not only can compare actual (or actualized planned) dates with baseline dates, you also have the possibility to show Varianc fields such as Start Variance and Finish Variance.

    Greetings,

    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 1:03 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ben,

    Jan has already made excellent points, adding on it if you still see that your Baseline 1 is changing with Actual Start; just check by hovering over the Column header if its a defualt Baseline Field or some custom formula field and named as Baseline. Also check on if the file has some macro etc.


    Sapna S
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 1:35 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks to both Sapna and Jan.

    Jan is of course right that the project start date didn't change, but it is clear that I have got my terminology wrong, which isn't a surprise as I'm new to this.

    What I meant is that the start of that particular task changed to reflect the actual start that I put in; I don't mean that the start of the whole project changed.

    So how about that? Is that normal for the Start to be the same as the Actual Start? Surely then you can't see that you're behind schedule... right?

    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:13 PM
  • Hi Jan,

    I added the "Baseline Start" column like you recommended. It was full of "N/A" values so I guess the previous owner didn't use it. So I put the project start date in the top cell of that column and left the rest as "N/A". I then added the "Start Variance" and "Finish Variance" columns, which both say "0 Days" all the way, even on the row where I delayed the Safety Briefing, where I would expect (I guess) that it should have a Start and Finish Variance of one day, right?

    Thank you for your patience.

    Ben

    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:22 PM
  • Hi Sapna, thank you for that suggestion. I'm pretty sure it's not a custom column with that name because it wasn't there before a few minutes ago when I added the "Baseline Start" column by simply selecting it from the list.

    Best wishes

    Ben

    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:23 PM
  • Hi Ben,

    You are most Welcome, we do tend to miss out on the teminologies when new to a tool :) Yes your Start Date changes when you enter Actual start Date as Jan mentioned above. The reason for this is that Start and Finish Dates are the only flexible dates holding the dynamic of the schedule (whenever Actual Dates are updated) to give estimates for the related/linked tasks. Basically they help in reflecting the schedule once a actual date is changed.

    As for the comparison purpose you can use Baseline values (holding estimated at a point) and Actual Start/Finish or Start/Finish to see the changes. Tracking Gantt view is one of the best way to track such delays etc.


    Sapna S
    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:23 PM
    Moderator
  • Ben, please open the Tracking Gantt view and see if it is reflecting the changes; when you delay the Start of a task by a day then estimated in Baseline Start - your Start variance does calculates.


    Sapna S
    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:37 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Ben,

    I hoed the following line from my reply was clear enough (quote)

    Project does match the start field with actual start: the start and finish felds are the base of further calculations so they have to reflect reality.

    Maybe it wasn't because you ask again. Orf didn't you read my message through?

    So yes you cannot detect variations by comparing start to actual start; the only way to do that is by comparing start to baseline Start.

    And you should not write in those Baselien fields: I gave you the full recipe of setting the baseline values - again, I shall cut and paste:

    For all versions up to 2007, Tools Menu, Tracking, set baseline. Project 2010, Project ribbon, Set Baseline

    That copies all current values into the baseline fields. So if you do it AFTER entering actual values, of course variance is zero. The point is to do it at starting the project then you can compare.µ

    Greetings,

    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 3:07 PM
    Moderator
  • The task start is either the scheduled (planned) start if the task hasn't started yet, or else it is the actual start, ie either one or the other and actual trumps planned.
    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 3:46 PM
  • Hi Jan,

    Thanks for taking the time to help. You can be certain that I did read your post through; I just didn't understand it. Like I mentioned, I've never used Microsoft Project and I'm not used to the terminology either. I'm sorry if I caused you any inconvenience.

    So I now have a Start, Finish, Baseline Start, Baseline Finish, Actual Start and Actual Finish. And I now know not to write in the Baseline fields. I've also followed your instructions to populate those fields with values, which currently represent the Start and Finish values. Thank you.

    I understand that these Baseline values are basically the dates of how the project was expected to progress, and then the Actual Start and Finish are the values that I change as I go along to monitor the project. Still not quite sure what the point is of the Start and Finish values; they seem kind of useless now I have the new columns. I guess, as Trevor says they display either the baseline or the actual, depending on whether the task has started, I just have to leave them alone, right?

    So then, Sapna,

    You suggested going into Tracking Gantt view after I change my Actual Start time for the task that's behind schedule. I have put the task behind schedule by changing the Actual Start date and changed to that view. It said there was going to be a conflict so I cancelled that and instead changed the finish date of the preceding task "Arrive in Thailand", then it would let me postpone the task I wanted to. I got to Tracking Gantt View as you instructed and it seems to show bars a little bit longer than the baseline bar, and it says "100%" next to the bars, so I guess that means they're finished but behind schedule.

    I guess I have a long way to go before I can really achieve much on this program, but it's a start. Everyday's a school-day.

    Thank you for your support, all three of you.

    Friday, August 19, 2011 4:28 PM
  • Hi,

    You're on your way but not yet there.

    Actual start and Actual Finish reflect the past, dates that are achieved, work that is done.

    But when some tasks shift (let's say they get an actual finish later than the baseline finish) they will also delay their succesor tasks, which in tuirn may push their successors forward... in other words these are tasks that now have a PLANNED date different from their baseline. That is not an ACTUAL date suince they have not started yet, it is START and FINISH: our current vision of the plan taking into account alll known changes.

    Summarizing: logically Actual dates are in the past, start and finish fields for unstarted tasks are in the future. Both can be usefully compared to beseline dates.

    Does that help?

    • Marked as answer by BenCh1 Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
    Friday, August 19, 2011 5:24 PM
    Moderator
  • Ah ha! That makes sense. Thank you.

    So Start and Finish represent that which is planned, based on that which has already happened; as opposed to the Baseline Start and Finish, which represent that which was originally planned before anything happened. I see.

    Yes. That does help.

    Thank you very much.

    Monday, August 22, 2011 2:20 PM
  • Yeah you got it right about Start/Finish. You are most welcome Ben.
    Sapna S
    Monday, August 22, 2011 2:24 PM
    Moderator