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Difference between Start dates in P6

4 replies [Last post]
Jitendrakumar Patel
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Joined: 7 Jun 2013
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Hello everyone,

I am using P6 V15.2 and would like to clarify the fundamental difference beween start dates available in P6.

1. Start

2. Actual Start

3.Anticipated Start

4.Early Start

5.Late Start

6.External Early Start

7.Planned Start

8.Remaining Early Start

It will be appreciated if anyone can explain the difference between those.

Thank you very much in advance.

Jitendrakumar Patel( PE,PMP)


Rodel Marasigan
User offline. Last seen 5 days 19 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 25 Oct 2006
Posts: 1674

Hi Jitendrakumar,

The easiest way to understand or to get hint or information on P6 fields such as date is to activate the Hint-Help option by clicking the hint icon or press "Alt+F1". Then show all the columns of the fields that you wanted to get the information about then hover your mouse to each header of column that you need help. This very helpful option often neglegted by P6 users to use. See below:


Santosh Bhat
User offline. Last seen 5 hours 7 min ago. Offline
Joined: 15 Apr 2005
Posts: 366

Ron Winter published a paper in 2015 that should be reading for anyone using P6 titled "The Inner Workings of P6"

He makes it freely available on his website here: Published Articles by Ron Winter of Ron Winter Consulting LLC.

For this topic gead to the section starting on Pg11 about Activity Dates.

John Reeves
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Joined: 10 May 2013
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What is the most common format, doesn't it have to be Start, Finish, Late Start, Late Finish?  If you go to 6 columns doesn't that pretty much drive most non-schedulers crazy?  This is the only way to get the 100% "A" values and avoid confusion?

Zoltan Palffy
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Joined: 13 Jul 2009
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1. start is your current start date based on the data date and any predecessors not yet completed.

if the start date has an A next to it this is the actual start date of this activity 

2, The Actual start date is the actual start date that the activity started

3. Anticipated Start is the expected start date of the project, EPS node, or WBS level, used during the planning phase. This date is manually entered and is not affected by scheduling. An anticipated start date cannot be entered at the activity level.

4. Early start is the calculated during the forward pass and based on progress to date is the earliest date that the actviity can start.

5. Late start is calcuated during the backward pass and is the latest date that an activity can finish without being late.

6. External Early start is the early start for that activity that is LINKED to another project  

7. Planned start for an activity that has not started it is the date the activity is scheduled to begin. This date is set equal to the early start date. This date is not changed by the project scheduler once you apply an actual start date.

8. Remaining Early Start is the earliest possible date the remaining work for the activity is scheduled to begin. Before the activity is started the remaining start s the same as the palnned start. Once the activity has started, the remaining start is equal to the data date. When the activity is complete, the remaining start is blank.