Set the status date

Microsoft Office Project uses the status date (status date: A date that you set [rather than the current date] for reporting the time, cost, or performance condition of a project.) to display progress with progress lines (progress lines: Visually represent the progress of your project, displayed in the Gantt Chart view. Progress lines connect in-progress tasks, creating a graph on the Gantt Chart indicating work that is behind and peaks indicating work that is ahead.), include non-timephased (timephased: Task, resource, or assignment information that is distributed over time. You can review timephased information in any available time period in the fields on the right side of the Task Usage and Resource Usage views.) progress information (such as percent complete (percent complete: A field that you use to enter or display how much of a task has been completed. This value is expressed as the percentage of the task duration that has been completed.)) in a project, or to calculate earned value (earned value: A measure of the cost of work performed up to the status date or current date. Earned value uses your original cost estimates saved with a baseline and your actual work to date to show whether the actual costs incurred are on budget.) totals. The status date is the same as the current date (today's date) unless you specify a different status date. You can also use the status date to determine where to place actual and remaining work in the schedule when entering progress information.

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How do I change the status date?

If you view your project's status by using progress lines, you see the project's status as of the current date. Likewise, if you enter progress information, the actuals (actual work: The amount of work that has been performed on a task or assignment. When you enter actual work on a task, the remaining work is calculated using this formula: Remaining Work = Work - Actual Work. Actual work is often referred to as "actuals.") and remaining work (remaining work: The amount of work, in terms of a time unit such as hours or days, that is left to be completed on a task. This is calculated as follows: Remaining Work = Work - Actual Work.) are scheduled around the current date. Earned value information is also calculated for the current date.

You can change the status date to enter or view progress information as of a date other than the current date. For example, you might want to change the status date to see what the project's status was as of last week, or, if progress reports are due Friday, but were sent in late, you might set the status date to Friday before entering progress information.

 Note   If you change the status date and you don't see anything changing in your project, you may have your calculation mode set to manual. To change to automatic calculation, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Calculation tab. In the Calculation options for Microsoft Office Project section, next to Calculation mode, click Automatic.

  1. On the Project menu, click Project Information.
  2. In the Status date box, type or select the status date you want.

To remove the status date, type NA in the Status date box.

 Note   If you update the project with actuals from a Microsoft Office Project Web Access timesheet (timesheet: In Project Web Access, the timesheet is a page where resources can record their progress on tasks and send updates to the project manager.) or some other source, you might want to set the status date to the last date of the timesheet period.

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How does the status date affect progress updates?

When you enter progress as percent complete or actual work (actual work: The amount of work that has been performed on a task or assignment. When you enter actual work on a task, the remaining work is calculated using this formula: Remaining Work = Work - Actual Work. Actual work is often referred to as "actuals.") to date, Project uses the status date to determine where to place actual work and where to schedule remaining work. You can modify the default settings for how the status date is used for placing actual work and remaining work where you want, particularly when assignments are completed earlier or later than scheduled.

The following check boxes on the Calculation tab of the Options dialog box (Tools menu) affect how Project schedules actuals and remaining duration (duration: The total span of active working time that is required to complete a task. This is generally the amount of working time from the start to finish of a task, as defined by the project and resource calendar.):

  • Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date    Consider tasks that are scheduled after the status date, and have actuals entered against them. If the Move end of completed parts after status date back to status date check box is selected, then if a task is scheduled after the status date and you enter actuals against it, Project moves the actual, completed portion of the task so that the completed work ends on the status date and any remaining work remains scheduled to begin in the future. Therefore, if the status date is set to today, and you enter actuals, the work is assumed to finish today, not in the future. But the remaining work is not expected to start until the future:

Move end of completed task parts after status date back to status date

  • And move start of remaining parts back to status date    If the Move start of remaining parts before status data forward to status date check box is selected, you can also select the And move start of remaining parts back to status date check box. With both check boxes selected, Project moves the entire task around the status date to show that work was done on the task and completed as of the status date and remaining work is continuing as of the status date:

And move start of remaining parts back to status date

  • Move start of remaining parts before status data forward to status date    Consider tasks that are scheduled before the status date and that have actuals entered against them. If the Move start of remaining parts before status data forward to status date check box is selected, then if a task is scheduled before the status date and you enter actuals against it, Project leaves the actual portion of the task as scheduled, but moves any remaining work to the status date. Therefore, if the status date is set to today and you enter actuals, the work is assumed to have been completed when it was scheduled, but it is assumed that the remaining work will begin immediately instead of in the past (before the status date):

Move start of remaining parts before status data forward to status date

  • And move end of completed parts forward to status date    If the Move start of remaining parts before status date forward to status date check box is selected, you can also select the And move end of completed parts forward to status date check box. With both check boxes selected, Project moves the entire task around the status date, to show that work was done on the task and completed as of the status date and that remaining work is continuing as of the status date:

And move end of completed parts forward to status date

These settings are particularly useful when you want to see "ahead of schedule" progress lines. They're also useful for changing how earned value is accrued.

If you change these settings, Project does not move the actual or remaining work at all; work remains where it was originally scheduled, even if you report that the work was completed several weeks earlier than scheduled.

 Note   These settings do not control the placement of actual and remaining work when you track progress by entering actual work by time period.

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How does the status date affect earned value?

Certain earned value costs are calculated as of the status date. For example, the budgeted cost of work scheduled (BCWS) (BCWS: The earned value field that shows how much of the budget should have been spent, in view of the baseline cost of the task, assignment, or resource. BCWS is calculated as the cumulative timephased baseline costs up to the status date or today's date.) is the portion of the cost that is planned to be spent on a task between the task's start date (start date: The date when a task is scheduled to begin. This date is based on the duration, calendars, and constraints of predecessor and successor tasks. A task's start date is also based on its own calendars and constraints.) and the status date. For example, the total planned budget (budget: The estimated cost of a project that you establish in Project with your baseline plan.) for a four-day task is $100, and it starts on a Monday. If the status date is set to the following Wednesday, the BCWS is $75. When you change the status date, the earned value calculations reflect costs up to and including the status date.

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How does the status date affect calculations for progress lines?

If you use progress lines to display progress information, you can display progress lines for the status date, current date, or regular intervals. To be sure that progress lines are shown correctly, on the Tools menu, click Options. Click the Calculation tab, and then select the Edits to total task % complete will be spread to the status date check box. This setting ensures that Project evenly spreads the work reported through percentage complete up to the status date. Then, when you display progress lines, the progress lines reflect the likely progress of work on any given date.

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