Comparing Planned vs Actual dates

I've searched a bit and there's been some questions that's the same but so far none of them helped me.

We create a project with planned start and end dates (some call these baseline dates) and then as we go through the project the dates changes in order to see when we will actually deliver the project. The dates we change is the Actual Start and End dates.

I'm looking for a way to easily compare these dates. So Task 1 should have taken 5 days but it took 8 days and this pushed out Task 2 by 3 days already. But now task 2 took 2 days longer so Task 3 is now 10 days in a delay. We want to show this to the stakeholders in order for them to take more accountability on their side about delays in the project. Is something like this possible in Smartsheets?


  • Hi Renaldo - maybe I can help.

    So you have separate columns for Planned Start, Actual Start, Planned End and Actual End? If that's the case, you could create a column that calculates the difference between Planned and Actual for both start date and end date. That would automatically update the difference between those dates when you change any of them. You could also add a cell at the bottom of the timeline that adds up the total delay so you can track the overall time lost.

    If you only have a single start and end date column, you could also add a row that calculates the duration or the difference between start and end date. Then add a column where you denote the standard turnaround time, or SLA - say, you expect the task to take 5 days. Then a third column calculates the difference between the actual duration and the ideal standard time. That will capture how much longer a task took than expected.


  • Sean,

    Curious if you know a single formula to calculate difference between Planned and Actual for both start date and end date? Trying to get the Total Time +/- value in a single column.


  • hi Sean,

    I have the same issue, I wonder how it can show the different between the planned date and actual date in the Gantt view. I do have the column of 'planned start', 'planned end', 'actual start' and 'actual end', and all of these columns' type are date.


  • Rather than create additional columns with actual start and actual finish, and then calculating divergence from the original plan, consider creating two sets of tasks: "Planned Task X" and "Actual Task X" (or for an activity named, say "Garden Party" you could use "pGarden Party" and "aGarden Party"). This will double the number of tasks that you will need to maintain in your schedule, but will make updating a lot easier, and it has the added benefit of being more clearly represented in the graphical portion of the Gantt Chart.