I'm wondering what would be the best practice to complete the following:
Project Managers are using existing templates to initiate Product Development projects, which follow a stage gate process
Since MS Project implementation is new in the business, some projects are halfway done
What would be the best way to change the project schedule so that the right dates are loaded into the project? Currently, have just been changing the task start dates so that it's manually scheduled and adding in constraints if if still doesn't work, is there a better way of achieving this?
BlissL, Is there a better way? Absolutely! First, if you want schedules that are dynamic, then do NOT use manual scheduling. Also, do NOT enter dates directly into the Start field for any tasks as that adds a start-no-earlier-than constraint and effectively nullifies Project's ability to help manage a dynamic (i.e. real life) plan.
The best way to start a new plan from an existing template is to go to, Project > Schedule group > Move Project. Set a new Project Start date, including the time if your work days do not begin at the default 8:00 AM. I suggest you then go to, Project > Project Information and check the Project calendar to insure it is what you want for the new plan.
After that is all set up, make any adjustments to the plan (e.g. task duration, task dependencies, work, resource assignments and adding new or deleting existing tasks) as necessary but do NOT mess with task Start or Finish fields.