Dynamically setting project dates based on task dates

Unless I’m mistaken, the “due date” field on projects (e.g., within a portfolio) and other date-related fields like duration appear to be fully disconnected from the project’s task due dates. I checked threads like this one and this was the case ~a year ago; wanted to confirm this was still accurate.

If so, does anyone have recommendations/strategies for accomplishing this natively without API or 3p app? (Even just suggestions on how you enforce good behavior on manual updates)? Having project due dates that are disconnected from tasks makes portfolio management extremely cumbersome.

Hey @Stephen_Li ! To my knowledge this is still the case. I have a few thoughts.

To manage what you’re trying to do, I’d first create a milestone within the project called “[name of project] deadline.” I’d also set a rule that adds a comment to “please update the project deadline” if the task deadline is updated.

Now, I’d set the project deadline, too, so we can keep that visibility at portfolio level. To enforce good manual updates, I’d nominate someone to use the project update tool on a weekly or monthly basis. The new AI tool for this makes writing updates speedy, plus it’ll make it clear if you’ve got an erroneously premature deadline set.

In essence, I’m suggesting giving the project a deadline, and creating a task to demarcate the project’s deadline within it. And creating the systems that promote data hygiene within.

Personally, in these types of situations, I’ve also gone so far as to remove a due date from the project, so there’s one task-based due date field to manage that can push along with dependencies or adjust as needed.

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@Stephen_Li,

You’re correct; they’re dissociated. The project start and end dates seem to be envisioned as fixed/separate from the tasks, for better or worse.

Did you consider in your portfolio setting the Progress column by default to show Milestones (not tasks)? (I do that almost always.) Then you could have a “Project Done” milestone whose date could be kept in sync in various ways, including dependencies, and it would still be reflected in the portfolio, albeit not in the Project End Date field itself.

Thanks,

Larry

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@Cabriah_Ross /@lpb - Thank you both for these great ideas. I hadn’t considered switching to the milestone progress view, and I’ll definitely be doing that moving forward.

I do think this is a solid workaround, although some of my projects have too many milestones to display, regardless of how wide I make the column (since the project completion date would be sequentially last, this does make it hidden).

Additionally, I’m interested in seeing the start and end date of tasks for multiple projects at once to visualize a portfolio’s current timeline (Larry, your point about the purpose of project due date is well taken, and I do believe there’s a difference between the planned/actual timeline of a project). I have considered multi-homing every task into a main project specifically for this purpose, but that’s going to be 8000+ tasks so I don’t think it’s viable.

I like Cabriah’s idea of using rules to encourage proper data hygiene, but I don’t see any way around asking our project owners to update both their task timeline and the project’s due date manually (not a huge lift but annoying nonetheless).

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Great points, @Stephen_Li.

Could you just multi-home two Milestones (start, end) from each project into your master project? (You could even automate that if you gave them a custom field single-select value that only they have and no other regular tasks have.)

Please consider voting for both of these:

Thanks,

Larry

@lpb - Ah, great and simple solution (kicking myself for not just thinking of this earlier…). Upvoted both those posts, would be great feature uptades.

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