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Using Expected Finish Dates - A Simple Way to Update Schedules in Primavera P6

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Kimberly Baker
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Author: Terri Maginnis

What is Expected Finish in Primavera P6? Expected Finish is a date field that is available at the activity level in P6 (activity table only) and P6 Professional (activity table and activity details). This field can be used when updating your schedule in order to indicate when you expect on-going activities to be completed. This can be very useful when you are involved in a project where the team gives you the date they expect to finish the work instead of the amount of time they need to complete the work. As a matter of fact, this is a very common situation on a project. This may be due to the fact that it is more natural for the human brain to come out with a date rather than calculating the time/effort that is necessary to reach that date.

The Main Benefits of Expected Finish As a project manager, it will make it easier for you to get the progress information during schedule updates, and possibly reduce the amount of time that you usually spend on that task. Also, one of the positive effects of using Expected Finish dates is that it helps induce a commitment from your team or your contractors regarding the dates they are giving to you on every progress meeting. Finally, unlike the Remaining Duration, the Expected Finish date does not require to be changed on every update cycle. Unless there is a change on “in-progress” activities, you can leave the Expected Finish date as it is and let P6 automatically update the remaining duration for you. This is particularly interesting in the case of Master Schedules, because they carry a lot of activities with long durations (several weeks to several months) with shorter update cycles (weekly or monthly).


How to Update A Schedule Using Expected Finish Dates The following example explains how to update activities in P6 depending on what occurred since the last update. Figure. 1 shows the status of the schedule as per last update (March 1st), with the update period in yellow and a new Data Date on April 1st.   

Status of activities as per last update

Status of activities as per last update  


The table below summarizes the actions to perform in P6 depending on the status of activities since the last update.


Activity A: The activity started and finished Set Actual Start and Actual Finish
Activity B: The activity started but has not finishedSet Actual Start and Expected Finish
Activity C: The activity was already started and has finishedSet Actual Finish
Activity D: The activity was already started and is still pendingUpdate Expected Finish if necessary


Figure 2 shows the schedule after activities have been updated, Data Date has been changed and schedule was recalculated. Note that the Expected Finish date on Activity D did not require to be updated, and P6 automatically calculated the Remaining Duration to reach that date.   Status of activities after update Status of activities after update


Be Careful! Do not use Expected Finish dates on activities that have not yet started. P6 would recalculate their durations in case they are delayed by their predecessors and it would not show any impact on their successors (Figure 3). If you have used Expected Finish dates to build your initial schedule, remove them.   The duration of Activity B has been recalculated, and Activity C has not been delayed

The duration of Activity B has been recalculated, and Activity C has not been delayed 


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Andrew Dick
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Also don't forget to update/check any existing expected finish dates during each update cycle, as the remaining duration will drive to zero if and when the data date equals the expected finish date on 'in-progress' activities.

to circumvent this when using expected finish dates, I run a global change to remove all expected finish dates from my scheudles following the progress update, that way any changes I make to the scheudle during the following cycle will flow through the logic and make the scheudle 'breath' properley.

Bryan Jandayan
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Can I update the date in the current Finish Date field instead of inputting in the Expected Finish Date? If yes, will there be a difference?