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.

Individual 2hr OnePager Training Offered At $249

Until very recently, the only way to get formal OnePager training was to purchase group training.

Now you can purchase a 2hr OnePager training class, for you as an individual, at $249.

If you’ve had a hard time convincing your colleagues that training would be beneficial, but you know it will be, this is definitely for you.  Even a seasoned user will have several “aha moments” within the first 20 minutes.

We’ll be adding classes over time, so if the schedule doesn’t meet your needs, send a note to sales@onepager.com or just take a fresh look now and again.

You’re welcome to send any questions to jleslie@onepager.com, any time.

Data Visualization – Suggestions for A Fresh Design Phase

One thing we’ve talked a lot about in the last year is that creating your visuals in planning (data visualization and plan communications) is a very specific area of study, and discipline.

photo credit: menshealth.com

Communications in business, generally, should be designed for optimal readability by their audience, to cut risk. Miscommunication in business is bad. This means we need to actually put some think-time and design-work into our plan-related communications.

If you and your organization haven’t circled back around just yet, to make sure you’re doing it right, this article might help give you some food for thought on how to retroactively initiate a design phase. Continue reading