Editing the Task Actual Start Date
Project uses “NA” for the Actual Start date field
value until you enter an Actual Start date or modify the %Complete
field. Then, the date you enter or the planned start date replaces the
NA. Moreover, the planned (not
actual) finish date will shift using the planned duration to account
for any difference between actual start and what was the planned start.
Finally, any resource assignments to tasks with the same scheduled
Start date as the task will be assigned the Actual Start date of that
task. Microsoft Project then recalculates all assignments to that task
and might also impact successor tasks and assignments.
The Task Type conditions you
select from the Task Information settings can affect all the tracking
fields. Fixed Work, Fixed Duration, and Fixed Units tasks behave
differently to data edit changes, so make sure you consider the task
type settings as you update tracking data.
However, if the Actual Start date contains “NA” and
you edit certain fields, such as %Complete, Actual Work, and so on,
Microsoft Project will presume that the original planned Start date
should be used as the Actual Start date.
Make sure you enter the Actual
Start date if the task does not begin on the scheduled Start date,
before editing any of the other fields used for tracking progress. You
might see unexpected results if you edit another field prior to
entering the Actual Start date.
Editing the Task Actual Finish Date
Just like the Actual Start date, the Actual Finish
date contains “NA” in the entry until you edit information, indicating
the task is complete. If you do not provide an explicit Finish Date,
Microsoft Project presumes the task is finished just as scheduled. If
you enter an Actual Finish date, on the other hand, several data
conditions might change on your schedule:
Microsoft Project replaces the scheduled Finish date with the Actual Finish date.
you have not indicated the task has started, all progress fields that
still show NA will be replaced with the scheduled entry and the task
will be marked as 100% complete. Be careful if you enter an Actual
Finish date that is later than the scheduled Finish date. In this case,
Microsoft Project increases the values in various data fields, such as
task duration, costs, work, and other entries therein.
on the Actual Start and Actual Finish dates, Microsoft Project
calculates the Actual Duration and changes the scheduled Duration to
the same value, and then changes the Remaining Duration to zero.
Both % Complete and % Work Complete will be changed to 100% for the task and all assignments.
Actual Work and Actual Cost values for the task and assignments will be
calculated, whereas Remaining Work and Remaining Cost will be set to
If the tasks were on the critical
path, they will be changed to non-critical and preceding linked tasks
might also be set to non-critical.
In summary, if you enter an Actual Finish date,
Microsoft Project assumes you are finished with the task and calculates
all the unspecified actual values for tasks and assignments. You should
experiment with examples so you can learn how Microsoft Project behaves
in different situations.
Editing Task % Complete (Percentage Complete)
You can edit the task %Complete field to indicate
that a task has started or finished, so you need to become familiar
with the behavior of Microsoft Project when you perform edits. Whenever
you see the %Complete field, you should always mentally replace that
name with the phrase “%Duration Complete,” so that you recognize the
meaning of this field. Therefore, task % Complete provides a method to
track how much of the planned task duration, between the start and
finish dates, has been finished.
Microsoft Project will assume that the task %
Complete is zero until a task update has been entered—for example,
Actual Work, Actual Duration, and so on. %Complete is then calculated
with the following general formulas and rules:
% Complete = 100 × (Actual Duration / Duration)Duration = Actual Duration + Remaining Duration
You can either enter the percentage complete
yourself or let Microsoft Project handle the calculations by just
entering the Actual Duration, the Remaining Duration, or any other
field that calculates Actual Duration as greater than zero.
Several changes can occur when you edit the % Complete field:
When the Actual Start field is still NA, Microsoft Project replaces it with the scheduled Start date.
An entry of 100% causes Microsoft Project to use the scheduled Finish date to set the Actual Finish date.
Actual Duration is set equal to % Complete × Duration, whereas Remaining Duration is set equal to Duration – Actual Duration.
Work Complete is set equal to 100 × Actual Work / Work when the default
menu Tools, Options, Calculation tab, Task status updates resource
status check box is selected.
Cost and Actual Work are set the same as the scheduled time-phased work
and cost for the time period set by Actual Duration.
Remaining Work is set equal to the Work – Actual Work.