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MS Project: I know the Go Live date. When should my project start?
Posted on Wednesday, June 19 @ 21:06:15 EDT by webadmin

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You know when your Go Live date should be. The question is; when should your project start?

The following solution demonstrates how Microsoft Project can provide that answer in 2 steps.

This article assumes that you already have a Microsoft Project schedule that has been developed following scheduling best practices. This solution works great when using a Microsoft Project schedule template or when you have recurring projects that follow the exact same tasks.

We will work with this Wine Tasting Fundraiser project.

  1. Before we begin the 2-Step process, we must create two custom fields; "Deadline Variance Calculator" and "Target Go Live Date".

    Create the Deadline Variance Calculator field

    1.1 Right click on Predecessor and insert the column Duration2

1.2 Right click on Duration2 column heading and click on Custom Fields

1.3 Click on Rename and input "Duration Variance Calculator", then click on OK

1.4 Click on Formula and input the following formula:


1.5 Click on >Ok and >OK again.

1.6 Right click on the column heading and click on Hide


Create the Target Go Live Date field

1.7 Right click on the Predecessor column and click on Insert Column.

1.8 Select Text1

1.9 Right click on Text1 and click on >Custom Fields

1.10 Click on Rename and input "Targeted Go Live Date", then click on OK

1.11 Click on Formula and input this formula;

IIf([Duration2]=0,"",([Project Start]-([Duration2]/480)))

1.12 Click on >Ok and >Ok

1.13 As a last step, right click on the Target Go Live Date column and insert the column called Deadline

1.14 The view should now show both the Deadline and Target Go Live Date columns

You can see in the schedule above that this project has over 125 rows. It has been developed using Microsoft Project scheduling best practices and the Go Live Milestone is currently at Thur 4/5/18. You can see that there are a number of tasks that are planned to occur AFTER Go Live and the overall Project Finish date is currently at Wed 4/25/18.

But let's say it is 2019 and we want to Go Live on Thur 8/29/2019.

2. Here is the 2-step process to get to the new start date:

2.1 Step 1 – Input the known date for when the project needs to complete into the Deadline field.

Notice that the Targeted Start Date field automatically populated. Take note of this date.

2.2 Step 2 – Input Project Start Date

Click on >Project, >Project Information and input the Start date of 6/13/2019 (this was the Targeted Start Date)

Click on OK

Notice the Change Highlighting feature turned the background of many cells to blue. Note that all dates in your project schedule just changed. The new Go Live Milestone date is now Thur 8/29/19 just as desired. Since the Milestone Finish date is equal to the Deadline date, the Targeted Start Date now displays as blank. All tasks after Go Live also moved out and the overall Project Finish date is now Wed 9/18/19.

Finally, this example used a Go Live date somewhere in the middle of the schedule. As opposed to trying to use the "Schedule From Finish" option in Microsoft Project, I could easily created a Project Complete Milestone and applied the Deadline there. The solution would have worked just as well.


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