Deciding on a Data Date

Data Date: A point in time when the status of the project is recorded.
– A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

With each passing day, we seem to encounter more complicated projects accompanied by higher costs, more stakeholder requirements and more sophisticated time schedules. One of the repetitive challenges that project controllers and schedulers have to deal with is the schedule update, which requires collecting huge amount of actual data (start and finish dates, percent progress, resource usage, etc.) within a short amount of time.

For big complicated projects, the process of schedule update data collection can take many days. This is where one of the most common questions arises: Which data date should you consider?

In order to answer this, let’s analyze both options:

  1. Data date as the first day of the data collection process—In this case, during update analysis we will find that some of the actual data recorded in the last day of the collection process is assigned to the first day, which will cause out-of-sequence activities. This option may provide an indication of false ahead-of-schedule progress.
  2. Data date as the last day of the data collection process—In this case, during update analysis we will find that some progress wasn’t recorded, which will be delayed activities. This option may …

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