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Tracking actual dates without losing predecessors ?

Andrew Gross
Andrew Gross ✭✭✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2016 Posts

i use baseline start/finish columns and scheduled start/finish columns.  The start column uses predecessors but I also update the start/finish columns for actual start/finish.  The downside to updating them is that i lose my predecessors (they are deleted when I manually change start/finish).


Is there a SmartSheet best practice for preserving the predecessors? 


My initial thoughts (though this seems a bit unwieldy) is to have three sets of dates:

- Scheduled Start / Finish

- Baseline Start / Finsh

- Actual Start / Finish.


Only the actual start/finish would be updated unless a start/finish were to change schedule, in which case I would add (or adjust) lag in the predecessor to take into account the change.  This isn't a perfect record of the predecessor but at least they aren't wholesale deleted. 


Any thoughts?






  • Aaron C Graves
    edited 06/10/16

    I think it is a matter of importance and simplification. I would:

    1. 1. Use Start/Finish and Baseline/Finish + Finish Variance set only
    2. 2. Create a Baseline Predecessor column in addition to the Start/Finish Baseline
    3. columns
    4. 3. When the plan is finished,  copy and paste the Start/Finish/Predecessor data onto their respective baseline columns.
    5. 4. You will update only the Start/Finish columns to reflect actuals/updated dates along with % Complete.
    6. 5. Use the baseline to see what was planned.




  • Andrew Gross
    Andrew Gross ✭✭✭✭
    1. 2. Create a Baseline Predecessor column in addition to the Start/Finish Baseline


    Interesting idea, but since SmartSheet uses the current line # for predecessor (as opposed to a unique ID), I don't think this would work.




  • Kate French
    edited 06/14/16

    Hi Andrew, Though we don't have any programmed Baseline functionality at this time, an approach many customers take (and what it sounds like you're working with) is to create 3 new columns at the beginning of the project: 'Baseline (or Original) Start Date,' 'Baseline End Date,' and 'Date Difference.' The first two should be Date columns, and the last a Text/Number column. These new columns won't be used in the Gantt Dependencies so they won't change as the timeline changes.


    Highlight all of the dates in the Start and End Date columns and copy them to the new Baseline columns. Create a formula in the Date Difference that subtracts the Baseline Start Date from the Start Date to give you how far off you are from the Baseline. Check out the template called 'Smartsheet Formula Examples' in the Template Gallery for formula syntax and samples.


    As for preserving the predecessors, the best option at the moment would be to use the solution you're referring to - and we've got your vote for adding built-in baseline functionality!

  • Nikki

    +1  for baseline functionality!

This discussion has been closed.