Animated Gantt Charts

In last week’s post on project cost tracking, we happened to use an animated GIF of a OnePager Gantt chart to illustrate how project costs changed over time. Since then, several customers have reached out asking how to do the same thing.

These animated .gif files can be inserted into a SharePoint Image Web Part, PowerPoint documents, and other office documents, to be included in your reporting.

This week’s post will show you step-by-step instructions on how to animate your OnePager Gantt chart, like this:

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New Video: Best Practices – Data Visualization in Planning Part 1

We’ve done quite a bit of research over the last few years into data visualization best practices, and the cognitive psychology of how people best absorb visual information. This two-part series is to summarize what we’ve learned so far, in an effort to help our audience be better communicators, and to foster conversation around making good charts in the planning community.

We hope you find it useful!

If this piques your interest, here is some continuing ed.

New Video: OnePager Output

OnePager gives you a LOT of flexibility when it comes to getting your visuals out and front of your audience for consumption.

We’ve created a video to help cover the settings you need to be aware of, and the steps to take, for Copy/Paste, Printing, Export, and Save As.

If you have any questions, or feel like we’ve missed something, please feel free to add a comment, or to send an email to support@onepager.com. We value your input and feedback.

Your Project Status Date isn’t Percent Complete

Microsoft Project gives users the ability to mark that their projects are complete through a certain date:

This is a useful feature in some circumstances, but It’s debatable how appropriate this practice is in general. While it’s nice to be able to set your project as current through a certain date, many project managers agree that you can’t simply declare things as finished, just because you’ve gotten to a certain point on the calendar. Real life projects just tend to be a little more complicated than that.

Right or wrong, Microsoft Project lets you do this, so what’s behind the percent complete values that it calculates? In my sample plan, Project re-calculates my percent complete values as follows:

Those percent complete values look ok, but when you go over to the native Microsoft Project Gantt chart, there is a problem.

At first glance, it looks pretty good. All five tasks are precisely lined up so that their progress bars hit the red line that represents the status date.

But as you look closer, there’s a problem. The percent complete values in Project don’t match the progress bars on the Gantt chart. For example, the percent complete value for Task A is 70%, but if you measure the width of the progress bar in Project’s Gantt chart, pixel-by-pixel it’s 74.7%.

When you build a report in OnePager, we use the percent complete values from Project:

Compare Task A between Project and OnePager. In Project, the progress bar is right up against the status line. In OnePager, the task appears as if it’s almost a day behind schedule. Tasks B and C have the opposite problem: Project shows them as on track, while OnePager shows them as ahead of schedule.

It’s not a question of right or wrong. It’s a question of apples and oranges. The date through which your project is complete is not the same as percent complete.

If you want your progress bars in Project to match OnePager, then you need to use percent complete across the board, since it’s a more precise calculation. To do this, right click on the Project Gantt chart and choose Bar Styles:

Now, in the Bar Styles form, change your all of your progress bars to use “% Complete” instead of using “CompleteThrough”. This will create a three-way match between the numeric percent complete values in your Project file, the progress bars in the Project Gantt chart, and the progress bars in OnePager:

After clicking OK, Project will change its Gantt chart progress bars to reflect the percent complete values that you see on the left, and will match what OnePager shows as well:

So while it’s sometimes tempting to use MS Project’s ability to quickly status your plan to a certain date, it’s important to recognize that the resulting percent complete values are going to have a degree of imprecision, due to working and non-working time in your project calendar.